COMING UP: The No. 25 Arizona women’s basketball team (10-3, 2-1) will play in the friendly confines of the McKale Center for the first time in three weeks at 7 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 7, when it hosts California (8-5, 2-2). Live video, audio and stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com. The game will also be broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
ArizonaAthletics.com Coverage: Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium audio/video service, can listen to the radio broadcast and watch the McKale Center video webcast live with Paul Johnson callling the action. Free, real-time statistics are also available.
Audio only: $6/month
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona suffered its first Pac-10 loss of the season at the hands of its biggest rival Monday night, falling 69-47 at Arizona State. The Wildcats shot 44 percent from the field, 27 percent from three-point range and just 32 percent from the free throw line on the game. Arizona State connected on 50 percent of its shots from the field, 20 percent from beyond the arc and 54 percent from the charity stripe. Arizona was out-rebounded 37 to 27 and committed a season-high 28 turnovers on the game. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led all players with 26 points. She also added six rebounds. Junior Natalie Jones pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Wheeler, who averages 19.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Junior Shawntinice Polk, currently out with a knee injury, adds 13.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, while Jones averages 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is out-shooting its opponents 45 percent to 36 percent and out-rebounding them 39.3 to 37.2.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Senior forward Leigh Gregory and freshman center Jessica Lawson scored 14 points each to lead California to a 64-56 victory over Washington State Tuesday evening at Haas Pavilion. Kiki Williams added 11 points, while Kristin Iwanaga led the Bears with six rebounds and tied her career high of five steals. Cal shot 52.0 percent in the first half and finished the game at 48.9 percent, while WSU converted 42.3 percent of its opportunities after shooting only 39.3 percent after halftime. The Bears entered the game ranked No. 2 nationally in three-point percentage (47.5) and shot 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from long range against the Cougars.
On the season, the Bears are led by Gregory, who averages 13.2 points per game. Iwanaga and Williams add 10.9 and 10.8 points per game, respectively. Jessica Lawson leads the team with 5.2 rebounds per game. As a team, Cal is shooting 45 percent from the field and 47 percent from downtown, compared to the 43 and 32 percent, respectively, of its opponents. The Bears are outscoring their opponents 68.9 to 66.2, but are being out-rebounded 34.0 to 34.4.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona leads the all-time series with California 27-13. The last time the two teams met, on Feb. 7, 2004, Arizona won 77-59 in Tucson. The Wildcats are 15-4 at home, 12-8 away and 0-1 at a neutral site vs. the Golden Bears.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: The Wildcats currently lead the Pacific-10 in field goal percentage (.454) and blocked shots (4.5), rank second in field goal percentage defense (.358) and defensive rebounds (25.1), third in scoring (71.5), rebounding (39.3) and rebounding margin (2.1), fourth in scoring margin (10.2), three-point field goal percentage (.341) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.281), and fifth in scoring defense (61.3) and rebounding defense (37.2).
Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler leads the league in scoring, ranks second in assist/turnover ratio, fourth in assists, steals and minutes played, seventh in three-point field goals made and 16th in rebounding. Shawntinice Polk leads the league in blocked shots, ranks second in defensive rebounds and field goal percentage, third in rebounding, seventh in scoring and tied for eighth in offensive rebounds. Natalie Jones ranks 15th and Shannon Hobson ranks 19th in rebounding, while Jessica Arnold is sixth in three-point field goal percentage.
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 26th nationally in field goal percentage, 41st in won-lost percentage, 44th in field goal percentage defense and 46th in scoring.
Individually, junior Shawntinice Polk ranks 12th in field goal percentage and 21st in blocked shots per game. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks 25th in points per game and 42 in steals per game.
WILDCATS HAVE NATION’S LONGEST HOME WIN STREAK: The Cats have won 33 games in a row at home, the longest streak in the nation. The last time the Wildcats were defeated at the McKale Center was Nov. 22, 2002, when they lost the 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71. Arizona then won its final 13 home games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
HAPPY TO BE HOME: After playing four games in three states over the last two and a half weeks, the Wildcats are eager to return home to play a pair of games at McKale. Arizona posted a 3-1 record on the road between Dec. 19 and Jan. 3, a stretch that included two bus trips across the state of Washington.
WHEELER STARTS 100TH GAME: When she took the court against Arizona State in Tempe on Monday night, senior Dee-Dee Wheeler was making the 100th start of her career. In doing so, she became just the sixth Wildcat ever to start 100 or more games.
BONVICINI NEARS 250TH WIN AT ARIZONA: Head Coach Joan Bonvicini currently boasts a 248-151 (.622) record in 14 years at the helm at Arizona. The winningest coach in Arizona women’s basketball history, she needs just two more wins to reach the 250 mark.
SUPER SUB: Freshman guard Ashley Whisonant, the team’s first player off the bench, is making her presence felt. The Bowie, Md., native ranks fifth on the team in scoring with 6.6 points in 19.5 minutes per game. She was the only non-starter named to the all-tournament team of the Mission Management & Trust 2004 Fiesta Classic.
WHEELER BECOMES SECOND ALL-TIME SCORER: When she sank a free throw at the 3:47 mark of the second half last week at Washington State, senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler became the second all-time leading scorer at Arizona with her 1,621st point, moving ahead of Elizabeth Pickney. She now has 1,649 points on her career, 588 behind Adia Barnes’ 2,237 career points.
INJURY UPDATE: Last Monday’s game at Washington took its toll on the Arizona women’s basketball team. Junior All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk went down with a left knee injury just before the game’s conclusion and is listed as day-to-day. Freshman guard Jessica Arnold exited in the first half with a left shoulder injury and is out indefinitely.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: In the program’s 33-year history, the Wildcats are almost guaranteed a win when they reach 80 points. Arizona is 159-20 (89 percent) all-time when reaching the 80-point plateau. With Joan Bonvicini at the helm, the Wildcats are 120-13 (90 percent) when scoring 80 points or more. This year alone, Arizona is 4-0 in games where it has reached 80 points in the scoring column.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 46 consecutive games. The last time she failed to reach double-digit scoring was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 93 of her 105 career games. What’s more, she has 26 games with 20 or more points during her career, including five this season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 41 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and four as a junior). The longest streak came at the start of her career, when she opened the 2002-03 season with eight consecutive double-doubles. During her three seasons, the Wildcats are 31-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring (1,649), field goals made (643), field goals attempted (1,395) and minutes played average (32.2), third in steals (252), fourth in scoring average (15.7), three-point field goals made (155) and three-point field goals attempted (434), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.357), sixth in games started (100) and total minutes played (3,381), and eighth in assists (390) and tied for ninth in free throw percentage (.732).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (41), blocks (189), rebounding average (10.3) and field goal percentage (.593), second in total rebounds (772), third in scoring average (16.5), sixth in field goals made (512) and free throws attempted (387), seventh in minutes played average (28.9) and eighth in scoring (1,240).
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 44th nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 1,915. Connecticut is the leader with a 14,252 average, while Pac-10 opponents Oregon, Washington and Stanford rank 24th, 28th and 30th, respectively, at 3,657, 3,029 and 2,916.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 10th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have three games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Sunday, Jan. 9 - 2:30 p.m. vs. Stanford
Saturday, Jan. 29 - 4 p.m. vs. Maryland
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon
In addition, the Wildcats’ home games against Southern California (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 26) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package with FSN.
COACH’S SHOW BEGINS NEXT WEEK: The Joan Bonvicini Coach’s Show will begin a new season next Monday, Jan. 10. Hosted by Wildcat radio announcer Paul Johnson, the show will be broadcast live from 6-7 p.m. on KJLL 1330 AM and will be held at the Varsity Clubs of America, located at Speedway and Alvernon. The show features Bonvicini with several special guests, ranging from players to staff members. Fans are invited to join the audience of the show at the Varsity Clubs each week during Pac-10 play.
UP NEXT: Arizona hosts Stanford for a 2:30 p.m. this Sunday, Jan. 9. The game will be televised live to a national audience on FSN.