COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (7-2) plays the first of four consecutive road games when it faces Chicago State (5-3) at 2 p.m. (CDT) this Sunday, Dec. 19. Live audio is available at www.arizonaathletics.com, as well as on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: It was a night of milestones as senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler scored an Arizona single game record-tying 35 points and Arizona won its 33rd consecutive home game with a 96-80 victory over UC Santa Barbara in front of 2,035 fans at McKale Center Thursday night. In addition to the 35 points, Wheeler pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds for just her second career double-double. The senior also drained a career-high seven three-pointers, which also ties a school record for most treys in a game. She was 13-of-22 (59 percent) from the field and 7-of-11 (64 percent) from downtown. She added five assists and four steals. Junior Natalie Jones also tallied a career-high on the night. The guard finished with 23 points on 8-of-10 from the floor, including a career-high 4-of-5 from downtown. She added a career-high eight assists to go along with three rebounds and two steals. Meanwhile junior center Shawntinice Polk tallied 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. Arizona shot 54 percent from the field, a season-high 57 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free throw line on the game. The Wildcats made a season-high 12 long balls, tied for the second highest trey total in school history. The Gauchos combined for a 43 percent shooting percentage. Both teams pulled down 33 boards and committed 17 turnovers on the game.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Wheeler, who averages 17.8 points, 4.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game. Polk adds 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, while Jones averages 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is out-shooting its opponents 47 percent to 36 percent and out-rebounding them 39.7 to 34.9.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: After an 11-day break, Chicago State collected its third consecutive win, a 58-45 victory over Ohio Wednesday night, despite committing 25 turnovers. The Cougars shot 46 percent from the field, 67 percent from three-point range and 53 percent from the free throw line on the game. Chicago State out-rebounded Ohio 42 to 40. Junior Renada Blackburn led the way for the Cougars with 16 points and 13 rebounds, her third double-double of the season. Freshman Zondranika Williams added nine points, while Wendi Walker and Tina Hill scored eight points apiece in the win.
On the season, the Cougars are led by Blackburn, who averages 12.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Hill adds 9.5 points, while Williams averages 8.5 points and 4.3 assists per game. As a team, Chicago State is shooting 35 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 47.6 to 39.6.
SERIES SHORTS: This is the first-ever meeting between Arizona and Chicago State.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: The Wildcats currently lead the Pacific-10 in blocked shots (4.9) and defensive rebounds (25.6), rank second in field goal percentage defense (.354), third in scoring offense (74.4), rebounding offense (40.5) and rebounding margin (5.4), fourth in field goal percentage (.464), fifth in scoring margin (13.9), scoring defense (60.5), rebounding defense (35.1), turnover margin (4.1) and offensive rebounds (14.9).
Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks second in assist/turnover ratio, third in steals, fourth in scoring and assists, and ninth in minutes played. Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding, blocked shots and defensive rebounds, ranks fifth in field goal percentage and seventh in scoring. Natalie Jones ranks eighth in offensive rebounds and 14th in rebounding, while Jessica Arnold is ninth in three-point field goals made.
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 25th nationally in field goal percentage (.464), 30th in scoring offense (74.4), 38th in field goal percentage defense (.354), 41st in both scoring margin (13.9) and blocked shots (4.9), and 48th in won-lost percentage (.750).
HOMECOMING FOR WHEELER: Sunday’s game at Chicago State marks the first time in her four-year career that senior captain Dee-Dee Wheeler will play in her native state. The game Saturday will take place less than 10 miles from Dunbar Career Vocational Academy where Wheeler attended high school. The last time Arizona played in the Prairie State was Dec. 22, 1994, when it fell 92-86 at Northern Illinois.
WILDCAT FRESHMEN SEEING LOTS OF PLAYING TIME: Arizona’s four freshmen - Jessica Arnold, Ch?© Oh, Chari Smith and Ashley Whisonant - are making their presence felt. In Arizona’s nine games this season, the foursome have accounted for 35 percent (635 of 1800) of the team’s minutes.
WHEELER’S CAREER NIGHT PROPELS PERCENTAGE: When Dee-Dee Wheeler scored a career-high 35 points Thursday night, she did so by connecting on 7-of-11 from three-point range. Not only was the seven treys a career high, but the 64 percent rocketed her season three-point percentage from 20 percent (6-of-30) to 32 percent (13-of-41).
JONES ON A ROLL: Junior guard Natalie Jones has drastically stepped up her scoring production over the last six games. After averaging just 6.0 points per game in the first three games, Jones has reached double-digit scoring in each of the last six games, including a career-high 23 against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 16. Her season average is now 11.6.
WHEELER PLAYS IN 100TH GAME: When she took the court in Athens, Ga., last Sunday, point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler was playing the 100th game of her career. The senior has started in 96 of her career’s 101 games.
POLKEY RANKS NINTH IN CAREER SCORING: With her first basket Thursday against UC Santa Barbara, junior Shawntinice Polk moved into sole possession of ninth place all-time at the UA in scoring. The center now has 1,216 career points, just 11 points away from Aimee Grzyb (2001-02) in eighth place.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: In the 33-year history of Arizona women’s basketball, when the Wildcats reach 80 points, they are almost guaranteed a win. Arizona is 159-20 (89 percent) all-time when reaching the 80-point plateau. Since Joan Bonvicini’s arrival in 1991, the Wildcats are 120-13 (90 percent) when scoring 80 points or more. This year alone, Arizona is 4-0 in games where it has reached 80 points in the scoring column.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 42 consecutive games. The last time she failed to reach double-digit scoring was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 89 of her 101 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 40 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and three as a junior). The longest streak came at the start of her career, when she opened the 2002-03 season with eight consecutive double-doubles. During her three seasons, the Wildcats are 30-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in field goals made (610), field goals attempted (1,319) and minutes played average (32.1), third in scoring (1,562) and steals (242), fourth in scoring average (15.5), three-point field goals made (147) and three-point field goals attempted (414), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.355), sixth in games started (96), seventh in total minutes played (3,242), eighth in assists (376) and ninth in free throw percentage (.733).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (40), blocks (185), rebounding average (10.3) and field goal percentage (.593), second in total rebounds (749), third in scoring average (16.7), sixth in field goals made (501) and free throws attempted (382), seventh in minutes played average (29.0) and ninth in scoring (1,216).
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 33: The Cats have won 33 games in a row at home, the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (39). The last time the Wildcats were defeated at home was Nov. 22, 2002, when they lost the 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71. Arizona then won its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 30th nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 1,891. Connecticut is the leader with a 13,231 average, while Pac-10 opponents Washington and Stanford rank 23rd and 25th, respectively, at 3,023 and 2,916.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season will be broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson returning for his 10th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have three games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Sunday, Jan. 9 - 2:30 p.m. vs. Stanford
Saturday, Jan. 29 - 4 p.m. vs. Maryland (FSN)
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon (FSN)
In addition, the Wildcats’ home games against Southern California (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 26) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package with FSN.
UP NEXT: Arizona opens Pac-10 play in Seattle, Wash., with a 7 p.m. (PDT) game at Washington next Monday, Dec. 27.