Nov. 19, 2001
WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (1-0 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) continues its season-opening three-game homestand this week against the champions of both of last year's postseason tournaments. The Wildcats will take on defending WNIT champion Ohio State on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m., then the Cats face defending NCAA champion Notre Dame (No. 15 AP/No. 15 USA Today) on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 5 p.m. Both contests will take place in the McKale Center and will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) = 9.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) = 12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) = 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) = 10.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) = 18.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.0 apg
OFF THE BENCH:
4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) = 10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.0 spg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) = 15.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
31 - Robin Roberson (F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) = 2.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 1.0 spg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) = has not played
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) = 2.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats opened their 2001-02 season with an 81-77 win over Pepperdine at home on Sunday. The victory marked Arizona's seventh straight win in season openers.
Junior guard Julie Brase leads the team in scoring with 18.0 ppg, followed by freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler's 15.0 ppg. Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney has a 12.0 ppg average, while sophomore guards Candice Allen and Aimee Grzyb have 10.0 ppg scoring averages each.
Junior wing Krista Warren has the team's top rebounding average, at 11.0 per game, followed by Pickney and Grzyb with 6.0 rpg each.
Arizona returned eight letterwinners and three starters from last year's 20-12 team. Pickney is the team's top returning scorer (15.5 ppg) and top returning rebounder (6.3 rpg).
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won seven straight season openers and nine in the 11 years she has been at the UA.
ABOUT OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes are 1-0 on the season after tipping off with an 85-60 victory over Ohio at home on Sunday. OSU is not currently ranked, but it did receive votes for ranking in both of this week's polls.
Junior forward Courtney Coleman put up a game-high 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Ohio, while fellow junior DiDi Reynolds pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to go with 18 points. Senior guard Tomeka Brown had 13 points, and five other Buckeyes came off the bench to contribute to the scoring effort.
Ohio State has nine letterwinners back from last season's 22-11 team that won the postseason WNIT title with a 62-61 victory at New Mexico last March.
Head coach Beth Burns (Ohio Wesleyan, 1979) has a 68-50 record in five years at the helm of the Ohio State program. She is 219-133 in 13 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. OHIO STATE: Wednesday's meeting with be the first for the Arizona and Ohio State women's basketball teams. The Wildcats have plenty of experience against OSU head coach Beth Burns, though. During Burns' eight seasons (1990-97) as head of the San Diego State program, Arizona had a perfect 3-0 record against the Aztecs.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Ranked No. 15 in both the AP poll and the USA Today/ESPN poll this week, the Fighting Irish opened their season with a low-scoring 42-35 win over Valparaiso at home on Sunday. Notre Dame will play at No. 20 Colorado State on Wednesday before heading to Tucson for Saturday's game.
Against Valpo on Sunday, freshman center Teresa Borton notched a game-high 14 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Junior guard Alicia Ratay snagged 11 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Le'Tania Severe added seven points and six rebounds.
The Irish return seven letterwinners and two starters from last year's NCAA championship team that went 34-2.
Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw (St. Joseph's, 1977) holds a 323-117 mark in 15 seasons with the Irish. She is 411-158 in 20 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. NOTRE DAME: The Irish won both the previous meetings with Arizona -- 85-81 on Dec. 3, 1988, in Charlottesville, Va., and 95-65 last year in South Bend.
THE LAST MEETING WITH NOTRE DAME: Arizona suffered a 95-65 loss at then-No. 5 Notre Dame on Nov. 20, 2000, in South Bend, Ind.
The Irish opened the contest with a 16-5 run and never looked back, pushing out to a 28-point (57-29) lead at the half. The Cats struggled at the start of the second, watching as Notre Dame opened the period with a 19-4 spurt that pushed the lead to 43 points (76-33) at 14:07.
Arizona was finally able to stop the bleeding by out-scoring the Irish, 32-19, over the remainder of the contest, but the Cats never came any closer than 25 points in those final minutes.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Five Wildcats reached double digits in scoring as Arizona slipped past Pepperdine, 81-77, in the season opener at home on Sunday.
The Cats jumped out to a quick 22-8 lead in the first seven minutes of the game before Pepperdine responded with 10 unanswered points, cutting the lead to four (22-18) at 10:08. Arizona out-scored the Waves, 27-14, over the remainder of the half and took a 49-32 lead into the break.
Arizona stretched its lead to 24 (56-32) within the first minute-and-half of the second, then seemed to go cold from the floor as Pepperdine put on a massive 41-16 surge and took a one-point (73-72) lead at 1:25. Julie Brase nailed a three-pointer for the Cats with just a minute remaining to give the UA a 75-73 edge.
Pepperdine answered with a bucket of its own, tying the game at 75-all with just 45 seconds to go. The Waves put Krista Warren at the line, where she nailed both her free throws to send Arizona ahead by two (77-75). Pepperdine then put Wildcat Dee-Dee Wheeler at the line, and the freshman coolly drained a pair of free throws to give the UA a four-point (79-75) lead with only 16 seconds left in the game.
The Waves notched another basket with just eight seconds remaining, then sent Elizabeth Pickney to the charity stripe with five seconds left. She hit both her attempts to give the Cats the final four-point spread.
Brase led all scorers with her career-highs of 18 points and seven assists. Wheeler nailed 15 points off the bench, and Pickney had 12 points and six rebounds. Warren grabbed a career-high-tying 11 rebounds while contributing nine points. Guards Aimee Grzyb and Candice Allen had 10 points each, with Grzyb collecting a career-high six rebounds and Allen snagging four steals.
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 straight postseason appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.
In her 11th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 180-117 (.606) mark at Arizona and is 505-188 (.729) 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 94-85 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 60-29 league mark over the last five 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. Fourth-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players and assists with scouting and recruiting. 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 WILDCAT ON THE WAY: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, are expecting their first child in April 2002.
CHALLENGING START: Over the first 15 days of the 2002 season, the Wildcats will play six games, facing at least five teams that saw postseason action in 2001. That slate will include last year's WNIT champion Ohio State, the NCAA champion Notre Dame and the WNIT runner-up New Mexico.
COUNTDOWN TO THE BLOCKS RECORD: Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney has 114 career blocked shots. She needs just seven more to tie the school record of 121, set by former Wildcat Marte Alexander (1995-98).
CATS INK THREE DURING FALL SIGNING PERIOD: The Wildcats signed three players during the fall signing period last week. Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, Calif./Hanford HS), Svjetlana Papcevic (Sarajevo, Bosnia/Pratt Kans. CC) and Natalie Jones (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage HS) all signed National Letters of Intent.
Polk originally signed with Arizona last year, but her NLI was rendered void when she failed to meet academic requirements for this school year. She signed a new letter during the early signing period this fall.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats will play three games in six days next week. Arizona takes to the road for the first time this season when it plays at New Mexico on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. in "The Pit".
The Cats then return home to play host to Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Holy Cross for the 11th annual Arizona Basketball Classic. Wisconsin and Pittsburgh will face-off in the first game on Friday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m. in the McKale Center, followed by Arizona and Holy Cross at 8 p.m. The consolation game will be played on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m., with the championship game following at 3 p.m.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Eight of the 19 opponents on the Cats' 2001-02 schedule were either ranked or receiving votes for ranking in the most recent polls.
In the Associated Press Preseason Poll, Stanford is No. 7, Notre Dame is No. 15, Arizona State is No. 21, Wisconsin is No. 23 and Washington is No. 25. Ohio State, USC and UC Santa Barbara all received votes for ranking.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is No. 8, Notre Dame is No. 15, Washington is No. 21 and Arizona State is No. 25. Wisconsin, UC Santa Barbara, Ohio State and USC were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 12 different statistical categories. She is second on the career blocked shots list, with 114, and is only seven blocks from tying current career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121. Pickney is also fourth in career rebounding average (5.5 rpg), fourth in scoring average (12.6 ppg), fourth in free throws made (330), fifth in free throws attempted (444), tied for fifth in games started (85) and sixth in field goals made (424).
Pickney is seventh on Arizona's career scoring chart, with 1181 points. She needs just 18 points to move into the sixth-place spot, which is currently occupied by her former teammate Lisa Griffith (1997-2000), who had 1199 career points.
Junior guard Julie Brase is tied for second in career three-point percentage (.382) and eighth in career three-pointers made (55). Only a sophomore, guard Aimee Grzyb is already fourth in three-point percentage (.363), is tied for ninth in three-pointers made (53) and is 10th in three-pointers attempted (146).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Including a 15-2 record last year, the Wildcats have won 21 of their last 24 home games and are 43-8 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 108-43 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 174-151 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 135-18 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 95-11 when topping that 80-point plateau.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Wildcats ended last season's road play with eight straight losses away from McKale... The Cats haven't won a road game since a 68-65 victory at Stanford on Jan. 6, 2001... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 339-405 (.456) all-time record, however it is 143-69 (.675) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 184-98 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: This year, Arizona is 1-0 at home, 0-0 on the road and 0-0 in neutral games. Last season, the Wildcats were 15-2 at home, 4-9 in road games and 1-1 in neutral contests.
THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.
CATS DEALT ANOTHER BLOW: After already losing one guard to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury before the season ever started, the Wildcats lost yet another guard to an ACL tear during the last week of October. Freshman Katrina Lindner, who is from Glengowrie, South Australia, tore her right knee ACL late in the first half of the Red & Blue Game on Oct. 30. She will have surgery some time late in November and will be redshirted for the season.
The Wildcats lost sophomore guard Jenn Chesney to an ACL tear during preseason workouts in September. She had surgery to repair the injury and will also be redshirting this season.
This was the third ACL injury the Wildcats had in only seven months. The first was when then-sophomore Krista Warren suffered the same injury at Oregon in early March.
CLARK WITHDRAWS FROM SCHOOL: Guard Mandakova Clark, who would have sat out this year after transferring from Rutgers, withdrew from the University of Arizona at the end of October and will not be returning to the school.
INAUGURAL PAC-10 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The first-ever Pac-10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament will be held on Mar. 1-4, 2002, at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. The winner of the tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
ITALY TOUR 2001: On May 18 through June 2, the Wildcats went to Italy for the program's third foreign tour. The tour began in Venice then advanced to Verona, Como, Milan, Lucca, Pisa, Florence and concluded in Rome. The Cats went 5-1 against club teams in many of these cities and visited a multitude of historical sites along the way.
Elizabeth Pickney was the team's second-leading scorer (21.7 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg). LaKeisha Taylor was the second-leading rebounder (7.5 rpg), and Candice Allen finished the tour as the third-leading scorer, with 11.7 ppg.
Seeing her first action since March 2000, Julie Brase averaged 10.5 ppg and 5.5 apg. Aimee Grzyb posted 9.2 ppg and 4.0 apg, while Jenn Chesney averaged 4.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Krista Warren went with the team on the trip, but was unable to play because she was still rehabilitating from an ACL injury suffered last March.
BY THE NUMBERS: Sixteen of Arizona's 20 wins last year were by a total of 10 points or more... Five of those wins were by spreads of 30 points or more... Nine of the UA's 12 losses were by spreads of 10 points or less... The Cats hit four or more 3-pointers in 22 games... Arizona had 15 or more assists in 18 games... The Cats had 10 or more steals in 13 games... Arizona forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 14 contests... The UA scored 80 points or better in 15 games.
KEYS TO THE WIN: Last season, Arizona was... 13-4 when out-rebounding its opponent... 18-6 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 11-2 when shooting 50% or better from the field... 16-3 when four or more players reached double digits in scoring... 15-2 when leading at halftime... 13-4 when forcing more turnovers than it committed... 19-3 when scoring 70 points or more... 14-5 when opponents scored 71 points or less.
DOUBLING UP: The Wildcats collected a total of 21 double-doubles last season, the program's highest double-double total since the 1995-96 team tallied 21. Of Arizona's 21 double-doubles during the year, eight belonged to guard Reshea Bristol, and all of hers were points-assists double-doubles. Six different Wildcats logged double-doubles during the season.
2000-01 IN REVIEW: Arizona certainly saw its share of ups and downs during the 2000-01 season. The Cats started the year with a short squad of 12 players, only two of whom were starters at the end of the 2000 season. Through a variety of injuries, player departures and academic issues, the Wildcat roster was decimated, and the team was down to only eight active players by season's end.
Despite all the distractions and the prevailing inexperience of last year's squad, the Wildcats finished the year with a 20-12 overall record, their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. They were 9-9 in Pac-10 play and finished in fifth place, their lowest finish since 1995.
For the first time since 1996, Arizona failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth, but it did receive a Women's National Invitation Tournament slot. The Wildcats downed Pepperdine, 85-65, in the first round of the WNIT but fell, 75-62, at New Mexico in the second round to end their season. The WNIT berth gave the Wildcats their sixth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10.
The team set or tied 39 school records last year, including most home victories (15), most points scored in a season (2,521) and highest single season scoring average (78.8 ppg).
Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring offense (78.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.59 apg). The Cats were second in both free throw percentage (.700) and rebounding (39.8 rpg) and were third in field goal percentage defense (.400) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).
2000-01 ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney ended the season as the Cats' leading scorer, with 16.4 ppg, and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). Senior guard Reshea Bristol was second in scoring, with 15.6 ppg, and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.56 apg).
In addition to leading the Pac-10 in assists, Bristol was second in steals (3.0 spg), fifth in scoring and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.34). Pickney was third in the league in scoring, fourth in blocked shots (1.47 bpg), sixth in field goal percentage (.505) and ninth in rebounding. Taylor was second in field goal percentage (.587).