COMING UP: The No. 24/25 Arizona women’s basketball team (2-1) travels to Provo, Utah, for a 2 p.m. game at Brigham Young (2-0) this Saturday, Nov. 27. The game will be broadcast live on www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona suffered a 33-point loss, falling 78-45 at No. 9/10 Ohio State in the semifinals of the Preseason WNIT last Wednesday. The Wildcats shot a season-low 34 percent from the field on the game and went 0-for-7 from three-point range, while the Buckeyes connected on 52 percent of their shots, including 55 percent from downtown and 90 percent from the charity stripe Ohio State also out-rebounded Arizona 34 to 29 and won the turnover battle 19 to 23. Junior center Shawntinice Polk led the Wildcats with 16 points and eight rebounds, while senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler added 13 points. Polk was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts over the Wildcats’ three games in the WNIT.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Polk, who averages 17.0 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. Wheeler adds 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, while sophomore Shannon Hobson averages 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is shooting 43 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 43 to 36.7.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Brigham Young defeated Nevada 81-64 Wednesday night to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Cougars led by as many as 21 in the first half, but Nevada cut the BYU lead to 11 by halftime. In the second half, the Wolfpack got as close as five points (57-52), but that would be as close as it would get as the Cougars rallied for the 17-point win. BYU shot 46 percent from the field, 57 percent from downtown and 72 percent from the free throw line on the game. The Cougars out-rebounded Nevada 37 to 30 and forced 17 Wolfpack turnovers while committing just seven. Mallary Gillespie and Kristen Kozlowski led BYU with 21 points apiece, while Ambrosia Anderson added 15 points and Julie Sullivan rounded out the group of double-figure scorers with 10. She also added five assists, four steals and two blocks. Anderson and Danielle Cheesman pulled down a game-high eight boards each, while Kozlowski grabbed seven.
The Cougars are led this season by Gillespie, who averages 16.5 points off the bench. Anderson and Kozlowski average 12.5 points per game. Anderson also adds 7.5 boards. Cheesman pulls down a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game, while Sullivan adds 9.5 points, 6.0 assists, 3.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. As a team, Brigham Young is shooting 49 percent from the field, 52 percent from three-point range and 52 percent from the free throw line this season. The Cougars are outscoring opponents 78.5 to 60.0 and out-rebounding them 39.5 to 32.5.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona is 4-5 all-time against Brigham Young. The two teams last met on Dec. 12, 2003, in Tucson, with the Wildcats winning 83-69. Arizona is 3-2 at home, 0-2 away and 1-1 at a neutral site vs. the Cougars.
INJURY UPDATE: Senior center Danielle Adefeso is out for an undetermined amount of time after suffering a shoulder injury during the Ohio State game.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Arizona has been noticeably stronger in the first half than in the second half this season. The Wildcats are averaging 38.7 points in the first half and just 28 points in the second half. In addition, Arizona is outscoring opponents 116-86 in the first half, but being outscored 107-84 in the second period.
HEAVY BURDEN: Arizona’s All-America candidates senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler and junior center Shawntinice Polk, the team’s top two scorers, are carrying much of the load for the team this season. In the first three games this season, the duo has accounted for 43 percent of the team’s points and 31 percent of the minutes on the floor.
TROUBLE WITH THE THREE: Arizona’s opponents are more than tripling the Wildcats this season in three-pointers. While Saint Mary’s, Rice and Ohio State have combined for 23 treys (7.7 per game), Arizona has made just seven (2.3 per game). What’s more, six of those three-pointers came in the Wildcats’ season-opener against Saint Mary’s, five by freshman guard Jessica Arnold. Arizona has not drained a shot from downtown since the 2:53 mark of the first half against Rice, when freshman Chari Smith made the team’s only three of the game. Since then, Arizona has gone 0-for-13 from beyond the arc.
TALE OF TURNOVERS: Arizona is averaging 19.0 turnovers per game this season, up from its 17.3 average a year ago. At the same time, the Wildcats are dishing out just 10.7 assists per game for an assist/turnover ratio of 0.6.
WILDCAT FRESHMEN MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Arizona’s four freshmen - Jessica Arnold, Ch?© Oh, Chari Smith and Ashley Whisonant - are making their presence felt. In Arizona’s two wins this season, the foursome have accounted for 30 percent of the Wildcats’ points (66 of 200) and 32 percent of the minutes (192 of 600). However, the freshmen were held to just six points on 23 percent shooting (3-of-13) in Arizona’s loss at Ohio State last week.
POLKEY NAMED ONE OF TOP FIVE CENTERS: For the second year in a row, junior center Shawntinice Polk has been named one of the Top 5 centers in the nation by ESPN.com. Joining Polkey on the list are Katie Feenstra of Liberty, Sandora Irvin of TCU, Janel McCarville of Minnesota and Jessica Moore or Connecticut. Polkey is the only repeat selection.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 29: The Cats have won 29 games in a row at home, good for the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (36). 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 went on to win its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 36 consecutive games. The last time the Chicago native failed to reach double digits in the scoring column was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 83 of her 95 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 39 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and two 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 29-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in minutes played average (32.2) and field goals attempted (1,228), third in scoring (1,437) and field goals made (561), fourth in scoring average (15.1), steals (219), three-point field goals made (134) and three-point field goals attempted (385), sixth in games started (90), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.348), ninth in total minutes played (3,056) and assists (344), and 10th in free throw percentage (.733).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (39), blocks (164), rebounding average (10.6) and field goal percentage (.592), third in scoring average (17.0), fourth in total rebounds (710), sixth in field goals made (468), seventh in free throws attempted (358) and 11th in scoring (1,138).
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 returns home for a 7 p.m. game against UTEP next Monday, Nov. 29.