As the 2004-2005 Arizona women’s basketball season quickly approaches, get ready to rhyme. That’s right, I said rhyme. After all, there is one rhyme that will capture the essence of this upcoming campaign. So, are you ready? Here we go... “Polkey-Dee-Dee, Polkey-Dee-Dee, Polkey-Dee-Dee!” How did you do? Get used to saying those two names because they make up the best inside-out duo in the nation!
One look at Polkey’s (Shawntinice Polk, 6-4, Jr., Hanford, Calif.) numbers in her first two go ?'rounds in the Pac 10, and one realizes that greatness is there for the taking. She is already a two-time honorable mention All-American and has virtually rewritten the Wildcat record book. Dee-Dee Wheeler (5-6, Sr., G, Chicago, Ill.) does not receive the same amount of media coverage but is every bit as good. It is not a stretch to entertain the idea that Dee-Dee is one of the nation’s top five point guards and it may be arguable that she is now the best in the country at her position.
So, what does this all mean for Wildcat fans this season? This all means that watching the Wildcat women play will never be dull! Dee-Dee will always be running or shooting and Polkey will be manning the inside like, as one coach put it, “a human condominium.” But Arizona will need to give this dynamic duo some help if it is to repeat as Pac-10 champions. Back is an improving Natalie Jones (5-10, Jr., G, Anchorage, Alaska), and the promising Shannon Hobson (6-2, So., F, Perris, Calif.). Guards Linda Pace, Katrina Lindner and Rachael Schein give the team some needed depth on the perimeter. Danielle Adefeso and Anna Chapel will help some on the inside. However, Joan Bonvicini will need to see immediate impact from her freshman class in order to compete for a title.
Tucson’s own Jessica Arnold, the 5-4 guard from Palo Verde High School is good enough to start as is Chari Smith, a 6-3 forward out of Los Angeles, California. Arnold could allow Dee-Dee to move to the off-guard, which would allow her to run more and shoot more, all which would be good for Arizona. A productive Smith would take pressure off of Polkey and allow Hobson to continue to grow into a high scoring finesse player. This also would be good news for the Wildcats.
But in the end, it all comes down to the rhyming duo of Polkey and Dee-Dee. Nobody has proven that either can be guarded, and if they both stay healthy the Cats will be in the hunt for another conference championship. Arizona won 24 games last season and has posted 20 or more victories in four of its last five campaigns. Winning 25 games is not out of the question if the “big two” can continue to get better. If they do, seventy-five dollars for a season ticket will seem like pocket change.
Okay. I have given you enough time to practice. Here we go! “Polkey-Dee-Dee, Polkey-Dee-Dee, Polkey-Dee-Dee...”
See you on the radio!
Every Wildcat game this season, beginning with the Red-Blue Scrimmage, will be heard live on KJLL Radio 1330AM.