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No. 22 UA Women's Basketball Plays Host to USC, UCLA This Week
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/14/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 14, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: Taking a brief respite from the road, the 22nd-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (10-4 overall; 4-2 Pac-10) will face the L.A. schools at home this weekend. The Wildcats will take on USC on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., then the Cats face UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center.

TICKETS: Tickets are always available for UA women's basketball home games. Admission price is $6 for general, $4 for UA faculty and staff, $4 for senior citizens and $4 for youth (high school and under). UA students get in for free with their CatCards. Call the UA Athletics Ticket Office at (520) 621-2287 for more information.

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Sr., Cloverdale, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, Fr., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, So., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Jr., San Jose, Calif.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)

OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#32 - Svjetlana Papcevic (F, 6-2, Jr., Sarajevo, Bosnia)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats are 10-4 overall and 4-2 in Pac-10 play after splitting a pair of games on the road in Washington over the weekend. Arizona ran off an 86-65 win at Washington State on Jan. 9 but was edged at Washington, 60-59, on Jan. 11. The Cats have settled into a solid fourth place in the Pac-10 standings, following UCLA (5-0), Stanford (4-0) and Washington (4-1).

Seven of Arizona's 10 wins this season have been by 21 points or more, and in their last five wins, the Cats have had an average margin of victory of 27.5 points per game.

After the loss to Washington, the Cats dropped to No. 22 in this week's Associated Press Top 25. They didn't drop as far in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, coming down just three spots in that one to No. 21 this week. The Cats are No. 21 in this week's WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50 as well.

With averages of 18.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. She has 10 double-doubles in just 14 career games. Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 15.4 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.7 rpg.

Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, and is third in scoring (12.9 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart (12.8 ppg), while senior guard Julie Brase leads the team with an average of 4.8 assists per game.

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring (78.4 ppg), field goal percentage (.506), three-point field goal percentage (.384), rebounding (40.6 rpg) and assists (20.07 apg). Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (11.3 rpg) and is second in scoring (18.6 ppg) and blocked shots (2.14 bpg). Krista Warren is tops in field goal percentage (.661), while Julie Brase is second in assists (4.79 apg) and in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.39).

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Jan. 12, Krista Warren is second in the nation in field goal percentage (.661), while Shawntinice Polk (.620) is 12th in the same category. Polk is also ninth in the nation in rebounding average (11.3 rpg), 24th in blocked shots (2.1 bpg) and 38th in scoring (18.6 ppg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (.506), tied for sixth in assists (20.1 apg), is 19th in scoring (78.4 ppg), 27th in three-point field goal percentage (.384) and is tied for 28th in rebounding margin (+6.6 rpg).

SCOUTING USC: With rough non-conference schedule this season, USC stands at 6-10 overall and 1-4 in Pac-10 play. The Women of Troy have lost three in a row and eight of their last 10 games, the majority of which have been road contests. USC has played 10 road games already this season, as opposed to just six home contests. They are 3-7 in road contests, including a close 72-64 loss at UCLA on Sunday.

Four USC players are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by junior forward Ebony Hoffman with 15.5 points per game. She is also the team's top rebounder, at 9.9 per game. Junior transfer Rometra Craig has the team's second-highest scoring average, at 14.8 ppg over the eight contests for which she has been eligible. Junior guard Aisha Hollans is averaging 12.2 ppg, and sophomore forward Rachel Woodward is registering 10.4 ppg.

Sixth-year head coach Chris Gobrecht (USC, 1977) has a 50-88 record at her alma mater. She is 402-291 in 24 seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. USC: The Women of Troy have a solid 36-12 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Cats have won 10 of the last 14 meetings with USC. The two teams split last season's games, each winning on the other's home court. Arizona has a 7-16 all-time record against USC at home.

LAST MEETING WITH USC: After digging themselves a 21-point hole by halftime, Arizona dropped a 71-64 decision to USC at home on Feb. 16, 2002.

The Women of Troy jumped on the Cats right away, going up by an 11-2 spread in the first four minutes of the game. Arizona scrapped back to within five several times over the next four minutes, but USC went on a 12-1 run to gain a 16-point (29-13) lead at 7:39.

The Wildcats scored a pair of buckets to get to within 12 with just under six minutes remaining in the half, only to see USC out-score them, 15-6, for the remainder of the period. The Women of Troy held a massive 44-23 lead at the break, marking Arizona's largest halftime deficit of the season.

The Wildcats came out with intensity in the second half and opened the period with nine unanswered points to chop the deficit to 12 (44-32) in the first five minutes. Arizona couldn't seem to get any closer, and eventually USC fought back out to a 19-point (63-44) lead with 5:02 left in the game.

That was when the Cats went on a 20-3 run of their own over the next four-and-a-half minutes, a spurt that was highlighted by three 3-pointers from Dee-Dee Wheeler. Down only 66-64 with 36 seconds left in the game, Arizona was unable to get any other shots to drop after that. The Cats' strategy to foul and stop the clock was unsuccessful, as USC went 5-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win.

Wheeler finished the contest with a game-high 21 points, three assists and three steals for the Cats. Aimee Grzyb had 11 points, as the only other Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring. Krista Warren contributed eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.

SCOUTING UCLA: On a six-game win streak, UCLA is 10-4 overall and 5-0 in conference action after defeating rival USC, 72-64, at home on Jan. 12. During this win streak, UCLA has had an average margin of victory of 24 points per game. The Bruins, who received votes for ranking in both of this week's polls, will play at Arizona State on Thursday before heading to Tucson for Saturday's game with the Cats.

Averaging 19.8 points per game, senior guard Michelle Greco leads both UCLA and the Pac-10 in scoring. Freshman guard Nikki Blue is second at 14.1 points per game, followed by fellow freshman Lisa Willis at 8.9 ppg. Another rookie, forward Julia Pitts averaged 10.0 ppg and 5.9 rpg over the first eight contests of the year before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

In her 10th year at the helm of the UCLA program, head coach Kathy Olivier (UNLV, 1983) has a 140-132 record.

THE SERIES vs. UCLA: The Bruins have a 34-14 lead in the series with the Wildcats, but Arizona has won three in a row against UCLA and has taken 12 of the last 19 meetings. The Cats swept UCLA last season for the first time in four years.

LAST MEETING WITH UCLA: Riding a 26-4 early second-half run, Arizona racked up a 77-62 win over UCLA at home on Feb. 14, 2002. This marked the Cats' first sweep of the Bruins since the 1998 season.

Arizona jumped out to a 10-point (16-6) lead in the first six minutes of the game, which UCLA quickly cut to four at 12:23. The Cats used an 8-0 spurt to regain a 12-point (24-12) advantage midway through the period, but the Bruins managed to scrap back to within six (30-24) with 4:26 left in the half. Arizona hung on for an eight-point (41-33) advantage at halftime.

The Wildcats scored the first nine points of the second half to go up by 17 (50-33) in the first three minutes, then completed the run with a 17-4 spurt that put them up by 30 (67-37) at 12:11. The Bruins out-scored Arizona, 25-10, over the remainder of the game, but the Cats had built enough of a cushion to take the victory.

Four Wildcats reached double digits in scoring, led by Elizabeth Pickney's 19 points and nine rebounds. Aimee Grzyb racked up 16 points, and Dee-Dee Wheeler drained three of her five 3-point attempts on her way to 14 points and four assists.

Candice Allen came off the bench for 11 points, three rebounds and a pair of blocks. Seeing her first action since spraining her ankle two weeks before, Krista Warren continued to dominate the boards for the Cats, grabbing eight rebounds while contributing four points.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION: Arizona's road woes continued as the Cats split a pair of games in Washington last weekend.

With four starters in double figures, the 18th-ranked Wildcats ran by Washington State, 86-65, in Pullman on Jan. 9. Holding a double-digit lead for the last 24 minutes of the game, the Cats were able to win their third in a row despite committing 22 turnovers in the game.

Dee-Dee Wheeler led all scorers with 20 points while contributing five rebounds and four assists. Aimee Grzyb registered 18 points and six assists, and Krista Warren shot 6-for-7 from the floor on her way to 12 points and nine rebounds.

Shawntinice Polk was limited to just 16 points and six rebounds, but she did earn five assists in the game. Fellow freshman CoCoa Sanford came off the bench for an outstanding effort of nine points and eight rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. Julie Brase had a game-high seven assists to go with six rebounds.

The story was much different in Seattle on Jan. 11, as The Wildcats' inability to hit free throws this season finally caught up with them, and they were edged by Washington, 60-59. The 59 points was Arizona's lowest offensive output of the season to date.

The Cats held a 38-27 lead at halftime, but the Huskies came out gunning in the second half and used a 17-8 burst to slice Arizona's lead to just two points (46-44) midway through the period. The game remained close, and the Cats held a narrow three-point (59-56) lead with 45 seconds left in the game.

With just 23 seconds remaining, Shawntinice Polk was whistled for her fifth foul of the game, and Washington's Giuliana Mendiola nailed two free throw attempts to get her team back to within one point. After being intentionally fouled by the Huskies, Dee-Dee Wheeler missed the front end of a one-and-one with 18 seconds left, then Aimee Grzyb did the same with only 13 seconds remaining.

Washington grabbed the rebound from Grzyb's missed free throw and had enough time to go the length of the court for the game-winning shot at the buzzer. The loss was Arizona's third straight in Seattle.

The Wildcat starters accounted for all 59 of Arizona's points in the game. Polk logged a game-high 20 points and six rebounds, while Grzyb finished close behind with 19 points and four assists. Wheeler had 11 points and just missed a double-double with a career-high nine rebounds. Krista Warren pulled down a season- and game-high 11 rebounds.

ARIZONA 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 her previous 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini guided the Wildcats to six post-season appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Now in her 12th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 202-134 (.601) mark at Arizona and is 527-205 (.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 107-96 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 73-41 league mark over the last six seasons combined.

BONVICINI GETS WIN No. 200 AT ARIZONA: With a 96-65 victory over Oregon on Jan. 2, 2003, Joan Bonvicini earned her 200th win as Arizona's head coach. It was her 525th career victory as well.

CALL HER POLKEY: At her request, Shawntinice Polk would appreciate being called "Polkey" (single-name reference only) as much as possible. No, she is not on a power trip -- she simply has an intense dislike for her first name.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next week, the Wildcats begin a brutal four-game road swing. On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Cats wrap up the first round of Pac-10 play with a contest at Arizona State at 6 p.m. Then they head straight from Tempe up to Madison, Wis., for their final non-conference contest of the regular season at Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 1:30 p.m. CST.

Arizona will begin the second round of conference action at Oregon State on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. PST, and then the Cats play at Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 12 p.m. PST in a contest that will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.

ARIZONA'S RECORDS THROUGH THE FIRST ROUND OF PAC-10 PLAY: With a current conference mark of 4-2, the Wildcats still have a chance to equal their best record ever through the first round of Pac-10 play, which was 7-2 in both the 1998 and 2000 seasons.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 8-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 1-3 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 10-1 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their four losses... Arizona is 7-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 10-2 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-2 when shooting worse... Arizona is 8-1 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 2-3 when three or fewer players get to double figures.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 57.9 percent (117-202) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only three games so far.

This is unusual for a Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona. No UA team has ever shot below 65 percent since Bonvicini's arrival in 1991-92, and the Cats hit 70 percent or better from the line in three of the last four seasons. Last year's team drained a sizzling 74.0 percent of its charity shots.

POLKEY RACKING UP THE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Shawntinice Polk has tallied 10 double-doubles on the season, becoming the first player since Adia Barnes in 1996-97 to reach that total.

A MATCH MADE ON THE COURT: On Dec. 30, senior forward Krista Warren became engaged to Nathan Luckow, who is in his third season as a manager for the UA women's basketball team. The two plan to marry some time this summer.

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 31-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 146-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 106-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 14 double-doubles already this season. That's the highest team double-doubles total since the 2000-01 team had 21 for the year.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In the Jan. 13 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 17, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 22. Six of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- Stanford (No. 7), LSU (No. 9), Illinois (No. 12), Ohio State (No. 32), Washington (No. 33) and Georgia (No. 37).

GOING POLLING: Nine of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2002-03 schedule were either ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

In this week's Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 2 and Stanford is No. 6. Washington, Ohio State, Illinois, New Mexico, UCLA and Georgia were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 3 and Stanford is No. 5. Illinois, Georgia, Ohio State, Washington, New Mexico, Pepperdine and UCLA all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won eight of its last 11 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season and are 2-3 on TV this year.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is tied for fourth in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.374), is fifth in career three-pointers made (104) and is fifth in three-pointers attempted (278).

Senior forward Krista Warren is fifth in career rebounding average (5.4 rpg), fifth in field goal percentage (.510) and is tied for ninth in double-doubles (8). She recently broke into the career top 10 in total rebounds, now standing at No. 9 with 522 boards.

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (342), third in three-pointers made (128), fourth in minutes-played average (30.6 mpg) and tied for fourth in career three-point percentage (.374).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.405), is sixth in career minutes-played average (29.6 mpg) and is ninth in three-point field goals made (64).

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 35 of their last 45 home games and are 57-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 122-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 188-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents by 20 boards or more in three games this season... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 362-423 (.461) all-time record, however it is 166-87 (.656) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 197-108 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 6-1 in home games, 4-3 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests this season. Last year, Arizona was 9-6 at home, 5-7 on the road and 0-1 in neutral games.

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