Oct. 28, 2003
WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team will play its annual intra-squad Red & Blue Game on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center. Admission is free, and all Wildcat players and staff will be available post-game for an autograph session with the fans.
"RED" TEAM: (wearing white)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Sr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Sr., San Jose, Calif.)
#50 - Shannon Hobson (F/C, 6-2, Fr., Perris, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, So., Anchorage, Alaska)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, So., Glengowrie, Australia)
#10 - Linda Pace (G, 5-9, Fr., San Diego, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, So., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, So., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, So., Inglewood, Calif.)
#25 - Rachael Schein (G/F, 5-11, Fr., Las Vegas, Nev.)
practice player - Kyle Hopkins (F, 6-1, Fr., Santa Barbara, Calif.)
practice player - Josh Mora (G, 5-10, Fr., Eugene, Ore.)
practice player - Martin O'Boyle (C, 6-4, Fr., New York, N.Y.)
practice player - Leo Thornton (G, 6-0, Jr., Arcadia, Calif.)
THE GAME: Six Wildcat returnees and two newcomers are currently slated to play on the "Red" Team (wearing white). Four other Cats will be on the Blue Team, along with four of the team's male practice players. Players could be switched from team to team, based on head coach Joan Bonvicini's judgement during the course of the game.
THIS YEAR: With mentions in several preseason polls already, the outlook is quite promising for the Cats this year. Arizona returns 10 letterwinners from a 2003 squad that went 22-9 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-10. The Wildcats were the runners-up in last year's Pac-10 Tournament after finishing in a tie for second with Washington during regular-season conference play.
Three starters return this year, led by All-America candidate, sophomore center Shawntinice Polk. Also returning are senior guard Aimee Grzyb and junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler, and sophomore guard Natalie Jones appears to be the heir-apparent for the opening in the lineup left by the graduation of Julie Brase. The biggest question for the Cats this year will be replacing starter Krista Warren at the four.
WHO'S BACK: Questions about that four spot aside, there is no doubt who the starter will be at the five - the Wildcats return a 6-5 center who received plenty of notice last year as a redshirt freshman. The 2003 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Shawntinice Polk was both an Associated Press and Kodak honorable mention All-American last season and received countless other accolades. She has already been named to the Wooden Women's Award Preseason All-America Team for this year and has been listed as a preseason candidate for the Wade Trophy.
Polk averaged 17.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last year, setting or tying 19 school records during the season, including an astounding 21 double-doubles for the year.
Lost in all the furor surrounding Polk, junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler quietly had a tremendous season as a sophomore. She racked up averages of 16.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and, along with Polk, was named first team All-Pac-10. Wheeler's speed and court awareness make her the perfect inside-out combination with Polk.
The most experienced returnee on the team is senior guard Aimee Grzyb, who enters her fourth season as a starter for the Cats. Grzyb averaged 10.5 points and 3.5 assists per game and continued to be a threat from three-point range.
In keeping with Bonvicini's preference for a three-guard offense, sophomore Natalie Jones is the top candidate for the other guard spot, replacing graduated three-year starter Julie Brase. Jones played in all 31 games last year, earning the starting nod four times. Averaging 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, Jones was an honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection.
Junior center Danielle Adefeso is another returnee with a solid amount of experience. She played in 26 games off the bench in 2003, averaging 5.5 minutes, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 points per game. She will be relied upon again this year to give Polk much-needed rest during games.
Another returnee up front is sophomore Anna Chappell, a reserve in 13 contests last season, who is expected to have a greater impact this year after further developing her game during the off-season. Fellow sophomore CoCoa Sanford played in 24 games last year, receiving the starting nod once. She averaged 6.3 minutes, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 points per game.
In the backcourt, redshirt sophomore guard Katrina Lindner should make more of an impact this year after coming back from her second ACL tear. She played in 10 games off the bench last season before going down with the knee injury in early February.
Senior guard Jessica Duger made the team last year as a walk-on but was unable to play until second semester, due a to mid-year transfer during the 2001-02 season. She saw action in eight games, averaging almost three minutes per contest.
The one guard whose status for 2004 remains questionable is sophomore Phakisha Peterson, who has been out of action since the discovery of stress fractures in her legs over the summer. Peterson saw time in 26 games last year, averaging 5.7 minutes, 1.2 rebounds and 1.0 points per game.
ABOUT THE NEWCOMERS: A 6-2 true freshman, Shannon Hobson is one of the prime candidates for the starting job at the four. Hobson was a two-time Street & Smith's All-American and was the 2003 Press-Enterprise Riverside County Female Athlete of the Year while playing for Perris (Calif.) High School. She was ranked No. 21 among the top 100 centers in the nation as a senior by All-Star Girls Report.
A 5-11 product of Las Vegas' Centennial High School, Rachael Schein was a two-time All-Nevada, four-time all-region and four-time all-conference selection with the Bulldogs. Her team posted a 124-7 mark during her career there and won back-to-back state titles. Schein recorded averages of 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals per game as a senior.
At 5-9, guard Linda Pace was named All-San Diego County twice and All-Coastal League three times while playing for Francis Parker School in San Diego, Calif. Pace finished her career sixth on the San Diego County all-time scoring list and broke Francis Parker's all-time scoring record with 2,529 career points. She was the third-leading scorer in San Diego County as a senior, posting averages of 29.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
WHO'S GONE: Four players who were on the roster at the end of 2002-03 will not be back this season. Starters Julie Brase and Krista Warren exhausted their eligibility last year. Brase is now an assistant coach for the Loyola Marymount women's basketball team, and Warren married Wildcat team manager Nathan Luckow last May. She is in the process of completing her degree in studio art.
Guard Robin Roberson left the program at the end of the season, and forward Svjetlana Papcevic has returned to her native Bosnia.
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 13 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to seven post-season appearances, including five NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.
Entering her 13th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 214-139 (.606) mark at Arizona and is 539-210 (.720) in 23 years as a head coach. She has a career record of 23-15 in NCAA tournament play and has lost in the first round only once 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 118-100 against Pac-10 teams, although they have an 84-45 mark against conference teams over the last six seasons combined.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) enters her third season with the Wildcats, having gained the additional duties of recruiting coordinator during the off-season. Barney's responsibilities also include scouting, floor work with the players and assisting with the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp.
The newest member of the staff is first-year assistant Shimmy Gray (Michigan, 1994), who recruiting, scouting and on-floor coaching of both guards and post players for the Wildcats. She also assists in the operations of the Joan Bonvicini Basketball Camp.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats will see their first action against outside competition on Tuesday, Nov. 4, when they face the Latvian Select team in an exhibition at 7 p.m. Arizona will play an Athletes in Action team on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the final preseason tune-up before opening the season officially on Saturday, Nov. 22, against Northern Arizona at 2 p.m.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT THIRTEEN: The Cats have won 13 games in a row at home, tying the second-longest home win streak in the program's history. The last time the Wildcats won that many consecutive home games was when they logged 13 straight home victories from Nov. 18, 2000, to Feb. 18, 2001. The school record for longest home win streak is 15 games from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.
CATS IN THE RANKINGS THIS YEAR: Arizona is nationally ranked in three of the five preseason polls released so far. Lindy's has the Cats at No. 17, Women's Basketball News Service ranks the UA No. 20, and Athlon Sports places the Wildcats at No. 23.
GOING POLLING: Six of Arizona's 2003-04 opponents are nationally ranked in the various preseason polls. Texas, a potential opponent at the Hawai'i tournament, is ranked among the top five teams in all five preseason polls. Its highest ranking is No. 1 in SLAM Magazine, and its lowest ranking is No. 5 in the Athlon Sports poll.
Stanford is also ranked in all five polls, but its standing ranges wildly, depending on the poll. The highest ranking is No. 4 in the Athlon Sports poll, with the lowest being No. 13 in the Women's Basketball News Service rankings.
LSU is ranked in four of the five polls, coming in highest at No. 6 in Lindy's and lowest at No. 21 in Street & Smith's. UC Santa Barbara is also in four of the polls, with a high ranking of No. 10 in the Women's Basketball News Service poll and a low ranking of No. 22 in Street & Smith's.
Virginia is ranked No. 15 in Athlon Sports and No. 20 in Lindy's, while Washington is ranked No. 25 in Lindy's.
HIGH-POWERED OFFENSE: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, Wildcat teams have won 68 games by margins of 20 points or more. Ten of those blowouts happened last season alone.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 42 of their last 52 home games and are 84-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's previous 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 129-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 195-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to the 2001-02 season, Arizona has won 12 of its last 18 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games that season but were just 6-6 on TV last year.
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 148-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 108-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.
CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers made (148), third in three-pointers attempted (415), fifth in three-point percentage (.357) and fifth in minutes-played average (30.8 mpg). She needs just seven more points to join Arizona's top 20 all-time leading scorers' list.
Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in career three-point percentage (.366), third in career scoring average (14.4 ppg), tied for third in minutes-played average (31.0 mpg), is seventh in three-point field goals made (89) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (243).
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won nine of their 12 season openers. They had a streak of seven straight season-opening wins snapped with a close 78-71 loss to No. 3 LSU in overtime to begin last season.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 374-428 (.466) all-time record, however it is 178-92 (.659) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 208-112 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: Last year, Arizona was 13-1 at home, 7-6 on the road and 2-2 in neutral games.
2002-03 IN BRIEF: After two seasons of mediocrity, the Arizona women's basketball team burst back onto the national scene in 2002-03, racking up a solid 22-9 mark and earning the most victories for any team in three years. The Wildcats were 13-5 in Pac-10 play and finished in a tie for second place with Washington, equaling Arizona's best-ever finish in the league standings. The Cats received a No. 3 seed in the second annual Pac-10 Tournament and ran over Oregon State and Washington before falling by a narrow margin to powerhouse Stanford in the championship game.
Arizona earned an at-large bid in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, making the Big Dance for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. With just four juniors and seniors, the young and inexperienced Wildcat team lost in the first round of the tournament to a veteran Notre Dame club, but merely getting back into the tourney was a step in the right direction for an Arizona squad that will definitely make some noise in the next couple of years.
The 2003 Wildcats set or tied 52 school records this season, including most blocked shots (120), lowest opponent field goal percentage (.378) and most double-doubles (26). By herself, freshman phenom Shawntinice Polk set or tied 19 of those school records, a number that included new marks for single season rebounds (335), rebounding average (10.8 rpg), blocked shots (80) and freshman scoring (538).
Polk was named both an Associated Press and Kodak/WBCA honorable mention All-American and was the 2003 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, marking the second straight season that Arizona featured the league's top rookie. Polk and sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler were named first team All-Pac-10, while Polk also received Pac-10 All-Freshman Team laurels. Fellow rookie Natalie Jones was an honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection. For the third time in the last six seasons, head coach Joan Bonvicini was named a finalist for the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award.
INDIVIDUALLY IN 2002-03: With averages of 17.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk led Arizona in both categories last year. Racking up a school-record 21 double-doubles on the season, Polk also set new school records for single-season rebounding (335), single-season blocked shots (80) and freshman scoring (538 pts). She became only the seventh player in the program's history to reach the 500-point mark in one season and became the first freshman ever to finish among the top 10 in the Pac-10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler was second in scoring, with 16.2 ppg, and was third in rebounding, with 4.6 rpg. She logged 501 points for the season, making her just the eighth player to reach that mark in one year. It also marked the first time in the program's history that two Wildcats have reached 500 points in the same season.
Senior forward Krista Warren was second in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, and was third in scoring (11.9 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb was fourth on the scoring chart, at 10.5 ppg.
AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, at least that's the way it was for the final three months of last season. Over the Cats' last 13 wins of the year, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and shot 48.4 percent (92-190) from the field, including 38.5 percent (20-52) from three-point range. On the season, Arizona was 9-0 when Dee-Dee Wheeler reached the 20-point mark.
In the Wildcats' final six losses, Wheeler averaged only 12.2 ppg and 4.0 rpg. She shot just 31.3 percent (31-99) from the field and a mere 20.5 percent (9-44) from beyond the arc.
LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats were 16-4 last season when out-rebounding their opponents... They were 5-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats were 21-6 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... Arizona was 20-2 when scoring 70 or more points... The Cats were 22-3 last year when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but were 0-6 when shooting worse... Arizona was 14-2 when four or more players reached double digits in scoring but was only 8-7 when three or fewer players got to double figures... The Wildcats were 11-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.