Nov. 16, 2001
Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 16) - The University of Arizona women's basketball program has inked three student-athletes during the early signing period, announced head coach Joan Bonvicini on Friday. Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, Calif./Hanford HS), Svjetlana Papcevic (Sarajevo, Bosnia/Pratt Kans. CC) and Natalie Jones (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage HS) have signed National Letters of Intent to join the team for the 2002-03 season.
Shawntinice Polk, a 6-4 center, originally signed with Arizona last fall, but her NLI was rendered void after she failed to meet academic requirements for this school year. She signed a new NLI this week.
Polk led Hanford to an astounding 119-13 record during her time at Hanford (Calif.) High School from 1998-2001, including four consecutive undefeated league titles. She racked up 2163 career points, 1326 rebounds and 384 blocks while earning all-conference, all-city and all-county honors all four years. Polk was a 2001 Parade All-American, USA Today All-American, Nike All-American and WBCA All-American. She averaged 16.1 points, 13.1 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game as a senior, leading the Lady Pups to a 31-2 overall record and its first-ever CIF Division II state championship.
"We're very anxious to get Shawntinice in here and to have her be a part of our program," said Bonvicini, who is beginning her 11th season at the helm of the Wildcat program. "Shawntinice will be a threat for us at both ends of the court. She creates a match-up problem for opponents because she's a good shot-blocker and has such a strong presence on the floor."
A 6-2 post player, Svjetlana Papcevic is currently a sophomore at Pratt (Kans.) Community College, where she is averaging 17.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game and is hitting 71 percent from the field. Pratt is 4-0 on the season and is predicted to be one of the top teams in the Jayhawk Conference. As a freshman last year, Papcevic averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists a game while shooting 79 percent from the free throw line. She helped Pratt to an 18-14 record in 2001.
"Svjetlana has excellent court sense, is a great shooter and a savvy passer," said Bonvicini. "She is a great all-around player who will be an excellent addition to our team and program. She'll be a nice complement to Shawntinice down low."
Natalie Jones is a 5-10 guard who has been rated as one of the top 10 shooting guards in the country by All-Star Girls Report. She was an honorable mention Street & Smith's Preseason All-American this season and earned honorable mention USA Today All-American laurels last year. She was a three-time All-Alaska and All-Region IV selection while leading East Anchorage to three straight Region IV championships and two consecutive Alaska state championships. Jones registered 18.3 points, 4.5 steals and 3.7 assists per game last year as she led East Anchorage to a perfect 27-0 record. She also attended the adidas All-American Camp in the summer of 2001 and was named the West Region MVP there.
"Natalie is competitive and an excellent all-around player, "said Bonvicini. "She's great at driving the lane and making things happen on the court. We wanted to sign a talented taller guard, so she'll be a perfect fit for our program. She's a big-time player and one of the best guards we've ever signed here."
"We are looking to sign a couple more players in the spring, but our staff has done an excellent job on the recruiting class so far this year," said Bonvicini.
The Wildcats tip off the 2001-02 season on Sunday, Nov. 18, against Pepperdine at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center.