COMING UP: The No. 25 Arizona women’s basketball team (4-1) hosts the Mission Management & Trust Fiesta Classic this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5. The Wildcats face UNC-Greensboro (1-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, in McKale Center. The other first-round game is Delaware (2-1) vs. Weber State (3-1) at 1 p.m. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona won its 30th-consecutive home game Monday night, easily defeating Texas El Paso 79-47, as the Wildcats scored 44 points off 34 Miner turnovers. Arizona shot 48 percent from the field and 57 percent from three-point range on the game, but just 54 percent from the free throw line. UTEP connected on just 33 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 77 percent from the free throw line. The Wildcats also out-rebounded the Miners 36 to 33. Ten of the 11 Wildcats that suited up for the game scored, led by junior guard Natalie Jones, who posted a game-high 17 points on 7-of-11 from the field. She also added four assists and three rebounds. Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler finished with 16 points, five steals, three assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot. Three players ?- junior center Shawntinice Polk, sophomore Shannon Hobson and freshman Jessica Arnold ?- finished with nine points apiece for Arizona. Polk also pulled down a team-high six boards.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Polk, who averages 14.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Wheeler adds 14.0 points, 4.6 assists and 2.8 steals per game, while Hobson averages 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is shooting 47 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 39.2 to 35.8.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
UNC Greensboro- Pittsburgh came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to down UNC Greensboro 62-55 in the championship game of the UNCG women’s basketball Tournament last Saturday. UNCG built its lead to as many as 14, but the Panthers rattled of 15 straight points to take the lead for the first time, 50-49 with 6:50 left. The Spartans tied the game 53-53, but Pitt (3-0) scored nine of the last 11 points to secure the win. Jasmine Byrd led UNCG with 15 points, while freshman Megan Chamberlain had 14 points and seven rebounds. Byrd and KaLeah Latham were named to the all-tournament team.
The Spartans are led by Byrd, who averages 10.0 points and 2.7 steals per game. Latham and Irene Otamiri lead the team in rebounding with 4.3 per game. As a team, UNCG is shooting 26 percent from the field, 21 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line this season.
Delaware- Sophomore guard Tyresa Smith came off the bench to register career highs with 18 points and 10 rebounds as Delaware shot 53 percent from the field and reached its highest point total in four years on the way to an 83-58 victory over Stony Brook Tuesday night. Smith, who came off the bench after starting the first two games this season, connected on 9-of-16 shots from the field and also dished out three assists and posted four steals in 27 minutes as the Blue Hens rebounded from a 67-58 loss at Georgetown Saturday. Sophomore guard Alena Koshansky added 15 points, including three three-pointers, while Tiara Malcom recorded 12 points and six rebounds, and Julie Sailer and Tiffany Young each added nine points to lead a balanced Blue Hen effort. The 83 points were the most scored by Delaware in its last 81 games, since an 87-72 win at Marist Dec. 22, 2001. The Blue Hens dominated in almost every statistical category, shooting 53 percent from the field for the game, committing just 14 turnovers and out-rebounding the Seawolves 44 to 24.
The Blue Hens are led this season by Malcom, who averages 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Koshansky adds 12.3 points, while Smith averages 11.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. As a team, the Blue Hens are shooting 42 percent from the field, as are their opponents. Delaware is out-rebounding its opponents 40 to 28.3.
Weber State- The Wildcats (3-1) defeated host Loyola Marymount 78-62 last Saturday to claim the tournament title at the LMU Thanksgiving Tournament in Los Angeles. Weber State shot 52 percent from the field and made 10 three-pointers on the game. For the fourth straight game, senior Julie Gjertsen led the Wildcats. She scored 17 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and was named tournament MVP. Becky O’Neil had eight points and seven rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team. The Wildcats had three other players in double-figure scoring and all were career-highs. Sara Tuomi scored 12 points, Laura Porter chipped in 11, and Jillian Ricks added 10 points.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by back-to-back Big Sky Player of the Week Gjertsen, who averages 19.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. O’Neil adds 12.3 points and 6.5 boards per game. As a team, Weber State is shooting 44 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 37.5 to 33.8.
UNC Greensboro- This is the first-ever meeting between Arizona and the Spartans.
Delaware- Should the Wildcats face Delaware on Sunday, it will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
Weber State- Arizona trails the all-time series with Weber State 3-4. The last time the two teams met, on Dec. 10, 1995, Arizona won 92-46 in Tucson. Arizona is 1-2 at home and 2-2 away vs. Weber State.
USA Today/ ESPN Poll Nov. 30, 2004
Rank School 04-05 Total Last1. LSU (37) 6-0 997 2
(first-place votes) Record Points Week
2. Stanford 4-0 886 5
3. Notre Dame 6-0 869 6
4. North Carolina (1) 5-0 857 7
5. Tennessee (2) 4-1 825 1
6. Georgia 4-1 786 3
7. Texas 2-2 749 4
8. Connecticut 1-1 719 8
9. Duke 5-1 673 9
10. Ohio State 5-1 640 10
11. Baylor 3-1 569 12
12. Texas Tech 1-1 545 11
13. Purdue 3-0 522 13
14. Vanderbilt 4-0 446 15
15. Michigan State 4-1 388 14
16. DePaul 4-0 360 19
17. Kansas State 3-1 337 16
18. Minnesota 4-1 320 17
19. Rutgers 4-0 295 18
20. Louisiana Tech 2-0 227 21
21. Boston College 3-1 194 20
22. TCU 5-1 181 NR
23. Maryland 3-1 137 22
24. Houston 5-0 75 NR
25. Arizona 3-1 74 24
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma 71, Villanova 63, UCLA 54, Wisconsin Green Bay 28, Oregon 20, West Virginia 17, Richmond 14, Washington 11, Iowa 10, Arizona State 8, USC 6,
New Mexico 5, Utah 5, Old Dominion 4, Temple 3, Santa Barbara 3, Miami 2, Penn State 2, Alabama 1, Eastern Michigan 1, Montana 1.
Associated Press Poll Nov. 29, 2004
Rank School 04-05 Total Last
(first-place votes) Record Points Week
1. LSU (42) 6-0 1,098 2
2. North Carolina (1) 5-0 996 5
3. Notre Dame 6-0 948 6
4. Tennessee 4-1 923 1
5. Stanford 4-0 919 7
6. Georgia 4-1 857 3
7. Texas (1) 2-2 840 4
8. Connecticut 1-1 805 8
9. Baylor 3-1 777 9
10. Duke 5-1 726 10
11. Ohio State 5-1 669 11
12. Texas Tech 1-1 529 12
13. Vanderbilt 4-0 527 14
14. Purdue 3-0 496 15
15. Michigan State 4-1 493 13
16. Rutgers 4-0 395 17
17. DePaul 4-0 388 19
18. Minnesota 4-1 364 18
19. Kansas State 3-1 306 16
20. Boston College 3-1 294 20
21. Louisiana Tech 2-0 188 23
22. Maryland 3-1 169 22
23. TCU 5-1 147 NR
24. Villanova 3-1 90 24
25. UCLA 3-1 88 NR
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma 84, Arizona 41, Iowa 27, North Carolina State 18, Oklahoma State 17, Houston 16, Utah 12, Arizona State 8, New Mexico 8, Wisconsin-Green Bay 8,
Richmond 6, Middle Tennessee State 4, Penn State 4, Tennessee-Chattanooga 3, Montana 3, West Virginia 3, Temple 2, Washington 2, Iowa State 1, Oregon 1.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY:In the 13-year history of the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Arizona has won the tournament nine times. Three times the Wildcats lost in the championship game, while in the 2001 tournament, Arizona failed to play in the championship game and actually lost the third-place game. Arizona has had 32 all-tournament team players, including nine MVPs. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler has been named to the all-tournament team in each of her three previous appearances, while junior Shawntinice Polk is the reigning two-time MVP.
INJURY UPDATE: Senior center Danielle Adefeso is out for an undetermined amount of time after suffering a shoulder injury during the Ohio State game.
BONVICINI TO RUN HALF MARATHON SUNDAY: Head Coach Joan Bonvicini will run in the Bobbi Olson Half-Marathon at 7 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 5. The Bobbi Olson Half-Marathon supports the Bobbi Olson Ovarian Cancer Fund at the University of Arizona through the Better Than Ever Program.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 30: The Cats have won 30 games in a row at home, the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (39). The last time the Wildcats were defeated at home was Nov. 22, 2002, when they lost the 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71. Arizona went on to win its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 22nd nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 2,106. Texas Tech is the leader with an 11,876 average, while Pac-10 opponents Washington and Oregon rank 18th and 19th, respectively, at 3,023 and 2,927.
JONES MAKES A STATEMENT: In Monday’s win over UTEP, junior Natalie Jones scored a season-high 17 points on 7-of-11 (64 percent) shooting. The guard has shot 64 percent or better from the field four other times in her career: Feb. 15, 2004 at USC, when she was 7-of-9 (.778) from the field for 18 points; Dec. 29, 2003 vs. Washington State, when she shot 83 percent (5-of-6) for 13 points; Jan. 26, 2003 at Wisconsin, when she made 5-of-7 shots (71 percent) and finished with 12 points; and Jan. 23, 2003 at Arizona State, when she was 4-of-5 from the field (80 percent) and finished with nine points.
ARNOLD LEADING THE WAY FROM DOWNTOWN: Freshman guard Jessica Arnold currently leads the team from three-point range, having made nine of 12 (50 percent) from downtown. Perhaps more telling is the fact that she’s made those nine in just three games as she was 0-for-4 against Rice and 0-for-2 at Ohio State. In the season opener against Saint Mary’s, the Tucson native made 5-of-6 (83 percent) from beyond the arc.
TALE OF TWO HALVES: Arizona has been noticeably stronger in the first half than in the second half this season. The Wildcats are averaging 41 points in the first half and just 30 points in the second half. Monday’s game against UTEP marked the first time all season that Arizona has outscored an opponent in the second half. The Wildcats are outscoring opponents 205-136 in the first half, but being outscored 177-150 in the second period.
POLKEY MOVES INTO TOP 10 IN SCORING: With her sixth point at the 6:35 mark in the first half in Arizona’s win over BYU last Saturday, junior center Shawntinice Polk moved into the Top 10 all-time scorers at the UA. The center now has 1,161 career points, good for 10th place.
HEAVY BURDEN: Arizona’s All-America candidates senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler and junior center Shawntinice Polk, the team’s top two scorers, are carrying much of the load for the team this season. In the first five games this season, the duo has accounted for 41 percent of the team’s points (144 of 355) and 30 percent of the minutes (296 of 1000).
TROUBLE WITH THE THREE: Arizona’s opponents are more than doubling the Wildcats this season in three-pointers. While Arizona’s five opponents have combined for 33 treys (6.6 per game), Arizona has made just 15 (3.0 per game). What’s more, Arizona failed to make a three-pointer against Ohio State and made just one against Rice. Freshman guard Jessica Arnold has made more than half (9 of 15) of the Wildcats’ treys.
WILDCAT FRESHMEN SEEING LOTS OF PLAYING TIME: Arizona’s four freshmen - Jessica Arnold, Ch?© Oh, Chari Smith and Ashley Whisonant - are making their presence felt. In Arizona’s five games this season, the foursome have accounted for 34 percent (338 of 1000) of the team’s minutes.
POLKEY NAMED ONE OF TOP FIVE CENTERS: For the second year in a row, junior center Shawntinice Polk has been named one of the Top 5 centers in the nation by ESPN.com. Joining Polkey on the list are Katie Feenstra of Liberty, Sandora Irvin of TCU, Janel McCarville of Minnesota and Jessica Moore or Connecticut. Polkey is the only repeat selection.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 38 consecutive games. The last time the Chicago native failed to reach double digits in the scoring column was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 85 of her 97 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 39 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and two 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 29-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in field goals made (575) and field goals attempted (1,254), third in scoring (1,472), steals (228) and minutes played average (32.1), fourth in scoring average (15.2), three-point field goals made (134) and three-point field goals attempted (388), seventh in games started (92) and three-point field goal percentage (.345), eighth in assists (355), ninth in total minutes played (3,117) and tied for ninth in free throw percentage (.732).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (39), blocks (170), rebounding average (10.5) and field goal percentage (.589), third in scoring average (16.8), fourth in total rebounds (722), sixth in field goals made (478), sixth in free throws attempted (369), seventh in minutes played average (29.4) and 10th in scoring (1,161).
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season will be broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson returning for 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 (FSN)
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon (FSN)
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.
UP NEXT: The losers of the first-round games will square off at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, in the consolation game. The winners of the first-round games will play for the tournament title in the championship game at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.