March 8, 2003
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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 22nd-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (21-7 overall; 13-5 Pac-10) has advanced past the first round of the 2003 State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament for the first time. In the semifinals on Sunday, Mar. 9, the No. 3 seeded Wildcats will take on the No. 2 seed Washington at 12:30 p.m. PST in HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The contest will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net. The winner of this game will have the opportunity to fight with the winner of the Stanford/UCLA game for the Pac-10 Tournament title on Monday, Mar. 10, at 7:30 p.m. PST.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: Standing at 21-7 overall, the Wildcats extended their win streak to five games with a 70-56 win over No. 6 seed Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament on Saturday. The win streak is the Cats' longest of the season and is the longest the UA has had since winning seven in a row midway through the 2000-01 season. The Wildcats have won each of their last five games by spreads of 14 points or more.
Arizona has logged its first 20-win season since 2000-01, and this is the first time the Cats have reached 21 wins since the 1999-2000 season.
Arizona has advanced past the first round of Pac-10 Tournament play for the first time ever. In last year's inaugural conference tourney, the Cats were knocked off in the first round by eventual tournament champion Arizona State, 66-58.
With averages of 17.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With a school-record 20 double-doubles on the season, Polk has set new school records for single-season rebounding (304), single-season blocked shots (74) and freshman scoring (497 pts). Polk needs just three more points to become only the seventh player in the program's history to score 500 points in one season.
Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.6 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.6 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.1 boards per game, and is third in scoring (11.7 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart, at 11.0 ppg.
WARREN JOINS TOP SCORERS: With her 20-point performance against Oregon State on Saturday, senior forward Krista Warren has amassed 882 career points and has joined the ranks of Arizona's top 20 all-time leading scorers. She is currently No. 19 on Arizona's career scoring list, needing 13 points to move into No. 18.
WILDCATS WIN PAC-10 AWARDS: Shawntinice Polk has been named the 2003 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, marking the second year in a row that a Wildcat has earned that award. Polk was also named to the All-Pac-10 Team and to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. Dee-Dee Wheeler was selected to the All-Pac-10 Team for the first time in her career, and Natalie Jones was honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: Ranked No. 25 in this week's AP Poll, No. 2 seed Washington improved to 22-6 on the year with a narrow 64-63 win over No. 7 seed USC on Saturday. The Huskies have won three games in a row and five of their last six.
Posting averages of 17.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, junior guard Giuliana Mendiola leads Washington in both categories. Senior guard Loree Payne is second in scoring, averaging 14.6 ppg, and fellow senior Andrea Lalum is second in rebounding (4.6 rpg) and third in scoring (11.0 ppg).
In her seventh season with the Huskies, head coach June Daugherty (Ohio State, 1978) has a 122-84 record at Washington. She has a career mark of 245-158 in 14 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON: The Huskies have an overwhelming 25-10 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats have won six of the last nine meetings with the Huskies. The two teams split their games during regular season play, with Washington taking the game on its home court, 60-59, on Jan. 11 and Arizona winning, 79-66, in Tucson on Feb. 6.
LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON: With revenge on their minds for a one-point loss earlier this season in Seattle, the unranked Wildcats handed then-No. 20 Washington a solid 79-66 defeat at home on Feb. 6.
Arizona scored the first bucket of the game, then Washington notched five straight points, taking a narrow three-point (5-2) lead just over one minute into the game. Then the Wildcats put on a massive 22-5 run to gain a 14-point (24-10) advantage at 13:52. The Huskies used their own 14-4 spurt over the next six minutes to chop Arizona's lead to just four points (28-24), but the Cats responded by out-scoring UW, 17-6, over the remainder of the half to take a 45-30 spread into halftime.
The Wildcats opened the second half with a Dee-Dee Wheeler layup that gave them a 17-point lead, then Washington used a 15-4 surge to slice the deficit to just six points (51-45) with 13:01 left in the game. That would be the closest the Huskies would get for the rest of the contest.
Arizona scored seven unanswered points over the next minute on the clock to put the spread back at 13 points (58-45). UW got back to within nine twice after that, but a 16-4 surge by Arizona late in the game gave the Cats a 19-point (76-57) advantage with only 4:12 left. Washington out-scored the Wildcats, 9-3, down the stretch, but the spread was just too much to overcome.
Dee-Dee Wheeler shot 10-for-18 from the floor on her way to a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Hampered by foul trouble most of the game, Shawntinice Polk still got 14 points and 4 rebounds in just 17 minutes of play. Krista Warren contributed 14 points and six rebounds, while Aimee Grzyb had 11 points and four rebounds. Bench players CoCoa Sanford, Danielle Adefeso and Robin Roberson combined for 12 much-needed points and 10 rebounds.
RECAPPING THE OREGON STATE GAME: Krista Warren went off for a game-high 20 points to lead No. 3 seed Arizona to a 70-56 win over No. 6 seed Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament on Saturday.
The Beavers opened the game with six unanswered points and still led by five (10-5) at 15:09 before the Cats could get on track offensively. Arizona then scored nine unanswered points to take a four-point (14-10) edge at 13:09.
Oregon State hung around, however, and never led the Cats expand their lead more than that four points for the next nine minutes. The Beavers tied the score at 21-all with 5:17 left in the first half, then Arizona used a 13-2 run over the next four minutes to gain an 11-point (34-23) advantage. The Wildcats led 36-26 at the break.
Within the first four minutes of the second half, Oregon State cut the Cats' advantage to seven points (40-33), then Arizona went on a 9-2 spurt to go back up by 14 points (49-35) with 13:21 to play. The Beavers came no closer than eight points for the remainder of the game, although that was how close they were to the Cats with 1:45 to go in the game. OSU began fouling the Wildcats, and Arizona responded by hitting 9-for-10 from the free throw line down the stretch.
In addition to Warren's 20 points, the Cats got 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds from Shawntinice Polk, her 20th double-double of the season. Dee-Dee Wheeler added 14 points and four steals, while Julie Brase and Aimee Grzyb put up eight points apiece.
LOOKING AHEAD: Hoping for a return to the "Big Dance" for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the team will gather on Sunday, Mar. 16, to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on ESPN at 3 p.m. The Cats last saw postseason action in the WNIT at the end of the 2000-01 season.
GETTING IT DONE: After a 12-game stretch that saw her average just 8.9 points per game, Krista Warren has really stepped up her production over the last three contests, averaging a solid 15.3 points per contest. Against Oregon State on Saturday, she reached the 20-point mark for the first time since scoring a career-high 25 points at Stanford on Dec. 29.
TAKING DOWN THE RANKED TEAMS: The Wildcats have beaten three ranked teams (four if you count a team ranked in just the Coaches' Poll) this season, the most wins over Top 25 teams since beating four ranked squads in 1997-98.
LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 11 of its last 15 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 5-4 on TV this year.
CATS BREAK SCHOOL BLOCKS RECORD: As a team, the Wildcats have set a new school record for single-season blocked shots, with 111. The old record was 102 set by the 2000-01 squad.
GOOD CONFERENCE SEASON: The Cats' 13 conference wins this year is their highest Pac-10 victory total since the 1999-2000 team got 13 league wins. Arizona finished regular-season Pac-10 action in a tie for second place with Washington, matching its best league finish ever. The Wildcats previously tied for second in both the 1997-98 and 1999-2000 seasons. Arizona also finished the year with a perfect 9-0 mark in conference play at home for the first time in school history.
AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, and that's definitely the way it's been since January. Over the Cats' last 12 wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 19.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and shot 48.9 percent (86-176) from the field, including 40.8 percent (20-49) from three-point range. On the season, Arizona is 9-0 when Dee-Dee Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.
In the Wildcats' last four losses, Wheeler averaged only 13.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg. She shot just 36.6 percent (23-63) from the field and a mere 19.2 percent (5-26) from beyond the arc.
LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 15-2 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 5-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 20-4 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their seven losses... Arizona is 13-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 21-3 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 14-2 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 7-5 when three or fewer players get to double figures... The Wildcats are 10-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
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.
DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 24 double-doubles this season, setting a new school record for most double-doubles in a season. The old mark was 22 double-doubles, set by the 1981-82 squad.
CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona gave up an average of 8.3 more points per game in the second half than in the first... The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents by 20 boards or more in three games this season... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 373-426 (.467) all-time record, however it is 177-90 (.663) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 207-111 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 13-1 in home games, 7-6 on the road and 1-0 in neutral contests this season. Last year, Arizona was 9-6 at home, 5-7 on the road and 0-1 in neutral games.