Feb. 25, 2003
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WHAT'S HAPPENING: In the midst of a three-game homestand, the 24th-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (18-7 overall; 11-5 Pac-10) will look to finish regular season play on a high note this week when it plays host to the Bay Area schools. The Wildcats will face ninth-ranked Stanford on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.
Arizona wraps up regular season play on Saturday, Mar. 1, against California at 1 p.m. in a contest that will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net. Dave Sitton and Mary Murphy will be calling all the action for that contest. A brief ceremony will be held after the Cal game to honor this year's Wildcat seniors -- players Krista Warren and Julie Brase and manager Alexis Johansen.
TICKETS: Tickets are always available for Arizona women's basketball home games. Prices are $6 for general admission, $4 for senior citizens, $4 for youth (high school & under) and $4 for UA faculty and staff. UA students can get in for free with their CatCards.
ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Sr., Cloverdale, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, Fr., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, So., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Jr., San Jose, Calif.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)
OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#31 - Robin Roberson (F/G, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)
SCOUTING ARIZONA: On a modest two-game win streak, the Wildcats have won five of their last six games and are 18-7 overall and 11-5 in Pac-10 play. The Cats' 11 conference wins this year is their highest Pac-10 victory total since the 1999-2000 team got 13 league wins.
The Wildcats remain in third place in the conference standings, behind Stanford (14-2) and just a half-game behind Washington (12-5). Four of Arizona's five conference losses this season have been by eight points or less.
The win over ASU helped the Cats move up one spot to No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 this week. Arizona held steady at No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. The Wildcats are No. 23 in this week's WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50 as well.
With averages of 17.5 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With a school-record 18 double-doubles on the season, Polk has the second-highest rebounding total (273) and the second-best point total (437) for any freshman in UA history. She needs just 11 more rebounds to tie the school record for most boards in a season.
Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.6 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.7 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, and is fourth in scoring (11.2 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third on the scoring chart, at 11.8 ppg.
THIS COULD BE CONFUSING: Although the Cats are currently in third place in the conference standings, a sweep this weekend would move them into second place. An Arizona sweep and a Washington loss to Washington State on Saturday would give the Cats sole possession of second, but an Arizona sweep and a Washington win would tie the Cats for second.
That's when a series of tie-breakers would come into play to determine the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds for the conference tournament. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head, but Washington and Arizona split this year. The second tie-breaker is how each team performed against the rest of the conference from top down. Since both teams would have split with Stanford at that point, you would then have to look at all the following teams to determine seed. That's where a whole host of "what-ifs" would come into play, determined by the outcomes of all of this weekend's games.
So, stay tuned to the Pac-10's web site, www.pac-10.org, for final seedings, which should be announced around 6 p.m. PST on Saturday, Mar. 1.
POLKEY APPROACHES REBOUNDING RECORD: With 273 rebounds on the year, Shawntinice Polk needs just 11 more boards to tie the school record for most rebounds in a season. The current record is 284, set by Tonee Buntin in 1981-82. Polk's total of 273 rebounds is the most boards for any Wildcat since Dana Patterson collected 279 in the 1986-87 season and is the third-highest single-season rebounding total in school history.
HOME WIN STREAK GOES TO ELEVEN: The Cats have won 11 games in a row at home, the second-longest home win streak in the program's history. The last time the Wildcats won that many consecutive home games was when they logged 13 straight home wins from Nov. 18, 2000, to Feb. 18, 2001.
CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.484) and is second in scoring (74.7 ppg), scoring margin (+10.6 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.385), rebounding (39.6 rpg), rebounding margin (+4.5 rpg), blocked shots (3.72 bpg), assists (18.08 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.97).
Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (10.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.619) and is second in scoring (17.5 ppg) and blocked shots (2.36 bpg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.02) and is third in assists (4.28 apg). Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.585).
CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Feb. 24, Shawntinice Polk is eighth in the nation in field goal percentage (.619), 10th in rebounding (10.9 rpg) and 18th in blocked shots (2.4 bpg). Polkey is the only freshman among the top 30 rebounders in the nation.
In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.484), 14th in assists per game (18.1 apg) and 26th in scoring (74.7 ppg).
SCOUTING STANFORD: The ninth-ranked Cardinal are 22-3 overall and 14-2 in the Pac-10 and have clinched the 2003 regular-season conference title with a sweep of USC (63-55) and UCLA (79-61) at home last weekend. Stanford has won three games in a row and seven of its last eight. The only two conference losses for the Cardinal so far this season came at USC (75-72) on Jan. 26 and at Washington (92-68) on Feb. 13.
After sitting out the first nine games of the season with a back injury, junior forward Nicole Powell has played in the last 16 contests and has taken over as Stanford's leader in both scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg). Sophomore guard Kelley Suminski is the only other player averaging in double digits in scoring, with 11.8 points per game. Sophomore forward Azella Perryman is second in rebounding, at 7.2 rpg, and is tied with fellow sophomore Sebnem Kimyacioglu for third in scoring, each recording 9.5 ppg.
Head coach Tara VanDerveer (Indiana, 1975) holds a 418-108 record in her 17th season at Stanford. She is 570-159 in 24 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. STANFORD: The Cardinal have a commanding 34-10 lead in the series with Arizona and have won four in a row against the Wildcats, including an 82-74 win in Palo Alto earlier this season. Arizona's last win over Stanford was a 68-65 victory on Jan. 6, 2001, in Maples. The Cats haven't beaten the Cardinal in Tucson since an 81-67 victory over Stanford on Feb. 27, 1999. Arizona has a 6-15 all-time record when facing Stanford at home.
LAST MEETING WITH STANFORD: Then-No. 21 Arizona let a double-digit lead slip away as it suffered an 82-74 loss at then-No. 6 Stanford on Dec. 29.
The first half was a close one most of the way, featuring six ties and four lead changes. Neither team led by more than four points until the Wildcats went on an 11-6 run over the final four minutes of the period to take a 38-33 lead into halftime.
The Cats opened the second half with eight unanswered points and pushed their lead to 13 (46-33) just a minute-and-a-half into the period. Stanford responded with 10 unanswered points of its own to slice Arizona's lead to just three (46-43) at 15:59.
The Wildcats scored seven straight points to go back up by 10 points (53-43) just a minute later, only to see the Cardinal slash the lead back down to four points (55-51) at 12:47.
Arizona's 8-0 run over the next two minutes proved to be the Cats' last gasp, however. The Cardinal out-scored Arizona, 31-11, over the last 10:29 of the game to win their fourth in a row over the Wildcats.
Shooting 12-for-18 from the floor, Krista Warren led all scorers with a career-high 25 points to go with six rebounds. Shawntinice Polk barely missed another double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds and was credited with a team-high six assists. Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other Wildcat in double digits, with 15 points and six rebounds.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears are 9-16 overall and 5-11 in conference action after splitting games with the L.A. schools at home last weekend. Cal lost to UCLA (72-54) on Feb. 20 but recovered to pull off a 60-50 win over USC on Feb. 22, ending a four-game losing skid. California will play at Arizona State on Thursday before heading to Tucson for Saturday's game.
Averaging 10.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, junior center Timea Ivanyi leads Cal in both categories. Junior guard Nihan Anaz is a close second in scoring, at 10.3 ppg, while sophomore forward Leigh Gregory is the squad's second-leading rebounder, grabbing 4.9 per game.
In her third season with the Golden Bears, head coach Caren Horstmeyer (Santa Clara, 1984) has a 28-53 record at Cal. She has a career mark of 249-177 in 15 years.
THE SERIES vs. CALIFORNIA: Arizona has a solid 24-13 lead in the series with California, the only Pac-10 series in which the Wildcats have a lead. The Cats have won 15 in a row over the Golden Bears and 18 of the last 19, including an 83-53 win over Cal earlier this season in Berkeley. Arizona is 13-4 all-time when playing California in Tucson. The Wildcats haven't lost to Cal since Feb. 11, 1995 (94-66 in Berkeley), and they haven't lost a home game to the Bears since Mar. 4, 1993, an 81-74 defeat.
LAST MEETING WITH CALIFORNIA: Then-21st-ranked Arizona overcame 26 turnovers with 64.3 percent shooting from the field when it drilled California, 83-53, in Berkeley on Dec. 27. The 30-point win was Arizona's biggest spread ever in Berkeley.
Coming in from Christmas break, the Cats were sluggish in the opening minutes of the game, never trailing but never leading by more than seven points in the first 15 minutes. They also committed 12 turnovers during that stretch. The Wildcats out-scored Cal, 13-2, over the final 5:20 of the first half to take a 37-20 lead into the break.
The Cats began the second half with a 14-2 run that pushed their lead to 29 points (51-22), which the Bears answered with an 11-3 spurt that cut the lead to 21 (54-33) at 13:39.
That was the closest Cal would be for the rest of the game, as Arizona used a 29-13 run over the next 11 minutes to stretch their advantage to 37 points (83-46), their largest lead, with 2:58 to play. Cal scored the final seven points of the game.
Arizona shot 64.3 percent (36-56) from the floor, tying the school record for single-game field goal percentage. They also drained six of their seven three-point attempts and were credited with 21 assists on 36 buckets.
Dee-Dee Wheeler shot 13-for-16 from the floor on her way to a new career high of 29 points to go along with five rebounds, four steals and a trio of assists. Aimee Grzyb was 8-for-9 from the field, tallying a season-high 18 points with four assists.
Shawntinice Polk, who was fighting an upper respiratory infection, was held to just six rebounds to go with 17 points, ending her school-record double-double streak at eight. Julie Brase added seven points and five assists, and Robin Roberson logged a career-high nine rebounds and six points.
RECAPPING THE ASU GAME: A 23-2 run midway through the first half propelled Arizona to a 72-52 win over rival Arizona State at home on Feb. 22.
With a start that was reminiscent of the two teams' meeting one month earlier in Tempe, Arizona State jumped on the Wildcats immediately, running out to a 16-7 lead in the first eight minutes of the contest. This time, however, the Cats recovered from a bad start to put on a 23-2 run over the next eight minutes, gaining a 12-point (30-18) advantage with 4:03 to play in the half.
ASU got back to within eight points (34-26) with 16 seconds left in the period, but Arizona's Dee-Dee Wheeler nailed a three-pointer with three seconds remaining in the half to give her team a 37-26 lead at the break.
The Wildcats didn't let up in the second half, opening the period with an 18-9 run that pushed their lead out to 20 points (55-35) at 12:01. The Sun Devils scrapped back to within 17 points (59-42) with 8:05 left, but that was the closest they would come for the rest of the game as the Cats extended their home win streak to 11 games.
Wheeler finished with a game-high 18 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Shawntinice Polk got her 18th double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high five assists. Aimee Grzyb added 14 points, while Robin Roberson came off the bench for 11 points and four rebounds.
The Wildcat defense forced ASU into committing 27 turnovers and kept all five Sun Devil starters in single digits in scoring.
LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, the Wildcats head for San Jose, Calif., to participate in the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament on Mar. 7-10 at HP Pavilion. All 10 conference women's teams will participate in the tournament, with the bottom four seeds competing in "play-in" games on Friday, Mar. 7. First-round action officially begins on Saturday, Mar. 8.
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.
POLKEY SETS NEW BLOCKS RECORD: With 59 blocked shots on the year, Shawntinice Polk has set a new school record for single-season blocks. The old record was 53, set by Tonee Buntin in 1981-82 and tied by Marte Alexander in 1997-98.
LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 10 of its last 14 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 4-4 on TV this year.
TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE PAC-10 STATS: In conference action only, Arizona is the top team in the league in field goal percentage (.486), field goal percentage defense (.381) and assists (17.88 apg). Arizona is the only team in the Pac-10 that is holding conference opponents under 40 percent shooting in league play.
In Pac-10 games, Shawntinice Polk is shooting a conference-best 63.1 percent from the floor.
THREE-POINT DROUGHT: After shooting a solid 38.4 percent (86-224) from three-point range over the first 16 contests of the season, the Wildcats have hit just 29.1 percent (39-134) from beyond the arc in the last nine games.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 40 of their last 50 home games and are 82-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 127-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 193-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona's numbers at home have simply been outstanding this season. Not only are the Cats 11-1 in home contests this season, they have out-scored opponents by an average of 16.4 points per game and have out-rebounded opponents by an average of 6.7 boards per game. Arizona is hitting a whopping 49.5 percent (381-769) of its shots from the field in home games. The Cats are averaging 78.2 points, 40.8 rebounds and 19.7 assists per game in McKale this season.
AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, and that's definitely the way it's been for the last several weeks. Over the Cats' last nine wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 19.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 51.9 percent (70-135) from the field, including 44.1 percent (15-34) from three-point range. On the season, Arizona is 8-0 when Dee-Dee Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.
In the 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 13-2 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 4-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 17-4 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their seven losses... Arizona is 12-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 18-3 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 13-2 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 5-5 when three or fewer players get to double figures... The Wildcats are 10-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
GOTTA CRASH THE BOARDS: Although dominating on the boards for much of the season, Arizona has been out-rebounded in three of its last five games. The Cats were out-rebounded in both of their last two contests, marking the first time all season that they have been out-rebounded in back-to-back games.
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.
FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 61.8 percent (244-395) from the stripe and have shot better than 60 percent in only 12 games.
This is unusual for a Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona. No UA team has ever shot below 65 percent since Bonvicini's arrival in 1991-92, and the Cats hit 70 percent or better from the line in three of the last four seasons. Last year's team drained a sizzling 74.0 percent of its charity shots.
BUT WE'RE GETTING BETTER...: The positive is that, after shooting just 57.3 percent (130-227) from the line over the first 15 games of the season, the Wildcats have hit 67.9 percent (114-168) of their free throws over the last 10 contests. The Cats shot a season-high 85.0 percent (17-20) from the line when they played at USC on Feb. 16.
DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 22 double-doubles this season. That ties the school record for most single-season double-doubles, which is 22 set by the 1981-82 squad.
CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona is giving up an average of 8.9 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 370-426 (.465) all-time record, however it is 174-90 (.659) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 204-111 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 11-1 in home games, 7-6 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests this season. Last year, Arizona was 9-6 at home, 5-7 on the road and 0-1 in neutral games.