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Wildcat Women Head to Eugene for First-Ever Pac-10 Tourney
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/26/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 26, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: It'll be something of d?j? vu when the sixth-seeded University of Arizona women's basketball team (14-13 overall, 10-8 Pac-10) plays rival and third-seeded Arizona State in the first round of the inaugural State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament next weekend. The Wildcats, who just ended regular-season play with a win over the Sun Devils last weekend, will be facing ASU again on Saturday, Mar. 2, at 2:15 p.m. PST.

The tournament will run from Mar. 1-4 at McArthur Court on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore. The bottom four seeds will have "play-in" games on Mar. 1, then first-round play begins at 12 p.m. PST on Mar. 2, with the No. 2 seed Washington taking on the winner of the game between No. 7 Oregon and No. 10 Washington State.

Second-ranked Stanford enters as the No. 1 seed after going undefeated in conference play for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Cardinal will play the winner of the No. 8 UCLA-No. 9 California game in the first round at 6 p.m. PST on Mar. 2.

Arizona finished the season in a tie for sixth place in the Pac-10 standings with Oregon, but the Wildcats earned the No. 6 seed through the tie-breaker procedure. Arizona's game against the Sun Devils in the first round of the tournament can be heard live in Tucson on KJLL 1330 AM and over the internet at www.arizonaathletics.com beginning at 2:45 p.m. Tucson time.

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) - 8.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.6 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 16.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) - 12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.4 apg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) - 10.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.0 apg
20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) - 5.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.6 apg

OFF THE BENCH:
4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) - 9.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.2 spg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg
31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) - 4.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.8 apg
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F,, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) - 1.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.1 bpg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) - 0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats finished regular-season play with 14-13 overall and 10-8 Pac-10 records, their worst regular-season overall mark since the 1994-95 team went 11-19. Despite that, the Cats earned their best Pac-10 mark since 2000. The Cats, who are coming off a season-ending 72-66 win over Arizona State at home last weekend, have won three of their last five games.

With a 16.3 ppg average, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney leads the Wildcats in scoring. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 12.6 ppg, followed by sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb (10.6 ppg) and senior center LaKeisha Taylor (9.8 ppg).

Junior wing Krista Warren is the team's top rebounder, averaging 8.3 boards per game. Pickney is a close second with an average of 8.0 rpg, while Taylor is third, grabbing 5.7 rpg.

As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.741), is second in scoring (74.7 ppg), second in three-point field goal percentage (.370), third in overall field goal percentage (.434) and third in three-pointers made per game (5.93 pg).

Individually, the Cats have three players among the conference top-20 in scoring -- Elizabeth Pickney is sixth (16.3 ppg), Dee-Dee Wheeler is 11th (12.6 ppg) and Aimee Grzyb is 18th (10.6 ppg). Krista Warren is fourth in rebounding (8.3 rpg), and Candice Allen (2.10 spg) and Dee-Dee Wheeler (2.00 spg) are fifth and sixth, respectively, in steals. Pickney is also fourth in blocked shots (1.22 bpg), fourth in free throw percentage (.840) and fifth in rebounding (8.0 rpg).

FREE-WHEELIN': Freshman Dee-Dee Wheeler has been an exceptional rookie all season, but over the last seven games, she has been phenomenal. She has averaged 15.9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game over that stretch. She has also been shooting 59.7 percent (40-67) from the floor, 60.0 percent (15-25) from three-point range and 76.2 percent (16-21) from the line. Wheeler is among the current Pac-10 leaders in seven different statistical categories.

Wheeler has reached double digits in scoring in 19 games this season. That's the highest number of double-digit scoring performances for any Wildcat freshman since current senior Elizabeth Pickney tallied 19 as a rookie during the 1998-99 season.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: With five wins in their last seven games, the Sun Devils are 21-8 overall and 12-6 in the Pac-10. Finishing in a tie with Washington for second place in the Pac-10 standings, ASU earned the No. 3 seed for this weekend's conference tournament.

Senior guard Amanda Levens leads ASU in scoring, with a 17.1 ppg average. Senior center Melody Johnson follows at 12.1 ppg and is the team's top rebounder, at 6.7 rpg. Sophomore forward Betsy Boardman is third on the team in scoring, with an average of 9.4 ppg, and senior forward Cian Carvalho is second in rebounding, grabbing 5.7 rpg.

As a team, Arizona State is leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.6 ppg), three-point field goal percentage defense (.303) and rebounding defense (33.0 rpg). Amanda Levens is the conference's third-leading scorer (17.1 ppg), and Melody Johnson is second in field goal percentage (.551).

In her sixth year with the Sun Devils, head coach Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford, 1988) holds an 86-85 record at ASU. She has a career record of 126-125 in nine years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils have a 34-27 edge in the series with Arizona, including wins in three of the last four meetings. Earlier this season, Arizona State handed the Wildcats an 87-64 thumping in Tempe on Dec. 30, but Arizona retaliated with a 72-66 victory over the Sun Devils at home on Feb. 23. That win ended a three-game losing skid against ASU for the Wildcats. Arizona had a 14-game win streak over the Sun Devils broken last year when ASU swept the Cats.

LAST MEETING WITH ARIZONA STATE: Junior wing Krista Warren had a double-double off the bench to lead Arizona to a 72-66 win over rival Arizona State at home on Feb. 23. The victory ended a three-game losing skid for the Wildcats against the Sun Devils, becoming Arizona's first win over ASU since the 2000 season.

As expected with any rivalry game, the first half was very close, with three ties and nine lead changes. Neither team was able to get ahead by more than four points for the first 14 minutes of the contest, until Arizona scored nine unanswered points to gain a five-point (28-23) edge with 5:49 left in the first. ASU quickly cut that lead back down to one (28-27) just 35 seconds later, then the Cats answered with a 7-2 spurt that gave them a six-point (35-29) lead at 2:22. Arizona held onto a 40-33 advantage at halftime.

The Wildcats opened the second half with four straight turnovers and two missed shots, allowing Arizona State to climb back to within three (40-37). The Cats responded with a 7-0 burst, pushing out to a 10-point (47-37) lead with 14:23 left in the game. The Sun Devils scrapped back to within five (53-48) at 9:59, then the UA exploded for a 13-3 run to take a 15-point (66-51) lead with six minutes to play.

Arizona still had that spread with 3:25 left in the game and had to withstand a late 11-2 surge from the Sun Devils take the victory. The win gives Arizona its best Pac-10 mark since going 13-5 in conference action during the 1999-2000 season.

Aimee Grzyb led the Wildcats with 16 points and a game-high-tying six assists, while Krista Warren finished with 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Candice Allen racked up 15 points, six rebounds and a trio of assists, and senior LaKeisha Taylor had 13 points and six rebounds while playing her final game in McKale Center. Only seven Wildcats saw action in the game.

HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has nurtured the Wildcat program into an upward-rising powerhouse. In 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to six postseason appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

In her 11th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 193-130 (.599) mark at Arizona and is 518-201 (.720) in 23 years as a head coach. She is 23-14 in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.

Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.

DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 103-93 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 69-38 league mark over the last six seasons combined.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach in 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1992) is in her 10th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. In his third year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players and is the director of the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp. New assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) was just added to the Wildcat staff on Feb. 11. Her duties include recruiting, scouting and floor work with the players.

LOOKING AHEAD: If the Wildcats win Saturday's matchup, they will advance to play the winner of the Washington game on Sunday, Mar. 3, at 12:30 p.m. PST. That contest will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports Net.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Arizona garnered a perfect 6-0 record in televised games this season. During those contests, the Cats averaged 84.5 points per game, out-scored their opponents by an average of 16.3 ppg and shot 46.5 percent from the floor, 38.1 percent from three-point range and 82.8 percent from the free throw line.

NEWS FROM BEYOND THE ARC: During Pac-10 play this year, the Wildcats set a new school record for the most three-point field goals made in league action. This year's squad amassed 102 three-pointers in conference action, breaking the previous mark of 95 made by the 1995-96 team.

The Wildcats also need to make only three more 3-pointers this year to set a new school single-season record as well. They currently have 160 on the season, and the record is 162, set by the 1999-2000 squad.

GOTTA PLAY DEFENSE: Arizona is 11-1 this year when holding opponents to 69 points or less.

RECORD WATCH: With her start against Arizona State last Saturday, Elizabeth Pickney has become Arizona's new career leader in games started, with 111. She surpassed former Wildcats Adia Barnes (1995-98) and Lisa Griffith (1997-2000), who both started 110 games in their careers.

Pickney also needs to make only five more free throws to become Arizona's career leader in free throws made. The current record is 472, set by Adia Barnes, and Pickney has 468.

HALFTIME TELLS IT ALL: This season, Arizona is 11-2 when leading at halftime, but the Cats have gone 2-10 when they trail at the break. They went 1-1 in games that were tied at halftime.

MUSICAL LINEUPS: Although she has had only 10 active players available all season, Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini has used nine different starting lineups this year. The lineup most frequently used has been Krista Warren, Elizabeth Pickney, Dee-Dee Wheeler, Aimee Grzyb and Julie Brase, used in 10 games with a 6-4 mark. The most successful lineup, with a 3-1 record, was Warren, Pickney, Grzyb, Brase and LaKeisha Taylor.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW: During the first 13 games of the season, the Wildcats averaged only 69.2 points per game and shot only 40.2 percent from the floor, including 32.9 percent from three-point range, while garnering a paltry 5-8 record. However, over their last 14 games, the Cats have averaged 79.9 ppg and have been shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc while collecting an 9-5 mark.

PUT UP SOME POINTS: The Cats are 6-3 this season when Elizabeth Pickney scores 20 points or more.

GOING POLLING: Nine of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2001-02 schedule were either ranked or receiving votes for ranking in the most recent polls.

In this week's Associated Press Poll, Stanford remains in the No. 2 spot, and Notre Dame moves up to No. 21. Arizona State, Washington, New Mexico and UC Santa Barbara all received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is also ranked No. 2, and Notre Dame re-enters the poll at No. 25. Pepperdine, New Mexico, Arizona State, Holy Cross and Rice were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.

CLOSE BUT...: Fourteen of Arizona's 27 games this season have been decided by nine points or less, with eight of those being decided by five points or less.

CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 16 different statistical categories. She recently became Arizona's career leader in blocked shots, now with 146. Pickney is first in career games started (111), second in scoring (1610), second in free throws made (468), second in free throws attempted (608), second in field goals made (567), second in total rebounds (729), third in career rebounding average (6.1 rpg), fourth in scoring average (13.4 ppg), fourth in double-doubles (11), fourth in field goals attempted (1151), fourth in free throw percentage (.770) and fifth in total minutes played (3292).

Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.371), sixth in career three-pointers made (83) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (224). Aimee Grzyb is fourth in three-point percentage (.364), fourth in three-pointers made (99) and tied for fourth in three-pointers attempted (272).

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:Although the McKale Center has historically been kind to the Cats, they logged six losses at home this season, their most losses in McKale since the 1994-95 team dropped seven home games.

The Wildcats have won 29 of their last 38 home games and are 51-14 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 116-49 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 182-157 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 30-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 140-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 100-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 19 of this season's 26 games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in 16 games... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 10 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 11 contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in eight games.

KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 6-0 when shooting 80% or better from the line... 6-4 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 11-2 when leading at halftime... 13-5 when scoring 70 points or more... 11-4 when shooting better than its opponent from the free throw line... 11-1 when holding its opponent to 69 points or less.

BUT ON THE LOSING END...: The Cats are... 0-6 when giving up 80 points or more... 3-9 when shooting worse from the free throw line than the opponent... 2-10 when trailing at halftime... 4-8 when making fewer three-pointers than the opponent... 8-13 when shooting less than 80% from the line... 1-8 when scoring 69 points or less... 4-9 when three or fewer players reach double digits in scoring... 3-8 when shooting under 40% from the floor.

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