March 9, 2003
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Shawntinice Polk is looking forward to a little rest and relaxation after she helped No. 22 Arizona defeat No. 25 Washington 74-51 in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament on Sunday.
"I haven't played this much basketball in my life," she said after scoring 22 points. "Playing back-to-back like this is tough."
Polk, who became the seventh Wildcat to reach the 500-point mark in a season, will have at least one more game before getting a couple of weeks off before the NCAA tournament begins.
Arizona will meet the winner of a later game between Stanford and UCLA for the championship Monday.
"We're starting to peak but more than anything it's about confidence and playing with poise down the stretch," said Wildcats coach Joan Bonvicini. "We did an excellent job of pressuring and Pokey really stood her ground."
Dee-Dee Wheeler added 15 points as the third-seeded Wildcats (22-7) extended their season high win streak to six games. Krista Warren had 14 points.
"We're still trying to earn some respect," said Warren.
Andrea Lalum scored 14 points to lead Washington (22-7), which had won five of its previous six games.
The Huskies had no answer for Polk, the 6-foot-5 freshman of the year in the conference. The Wildcats were able to consistently get the ball inside to her.
"The Wildcats played awesome," said Washington coach June Daugherty. "They took us out of a lot of things and we had trouble with their defense."
Washington, almost certain to receive a bid for the NCAA tournament, received a scare when an Arizona player inadvertently stepped on Giuliana Mendiola's foot with 4:33 remaining. She was able to walk off the court under her own power and was attended to on the bench.
Mendiola, the conference player of the year, left the game with a sprained ankle after getting seven rebounds, nine assists and seven points.
"Arizona played great on both ends of the court and we didn't," said Mendiola.
Arizona, which has won nine of its last 10, shot a tournament-record 53.6 percent from the field while taking advantage of Washington's subpar shooting. The Huskies made just 20 of 62 shots (32 percent).
Washington and Arizona tied for second place during the regular season, and the Huskies were awarded the No. 2 seed based on their overall record.
The Wildcats advanced to the semifinals with a 70-56 win over Oregon State while Washington beat USC 64-63 on Saturday.
Wheeler made a pair of free throws to give Arizona a 65-41 lead with 6:38 left to play.
The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, making 10 of their last 17 shots of the half.
Washington was just over 27 percent from the floor, missing its last 10 shots and committing six turnovers in the final eight minutes.
Emily Autrey's layup with 12:18 left in the first half finished off an 11-0 run by the Huskies, but Arizona outscored Washington 22-5 the rest of the way to take a 31-19 halftime lead.