Dec. 11, 2001
WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (4-3 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) will have an eight-day break for finals before heading to Nacogdoches, Texas, this weekend. The Wildcats play at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1:30 p.m. CST.
ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) - 7.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.7 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 18.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.7 spg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) - 14.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) - 9.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
OFF THE BENCH:
31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) - 5.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.3 spg
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) - 0.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 0.2 spg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) - 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
20 - Julie Brase (INJ) (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) - 5.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.7 apg
4 - Candice Allen (INJ) (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) - 9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.4 spg
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats brought their three-game losing skid to an end last weekend with a 74-65 win at Rice and improved their record to 4-3 overall. That win also ended a nine-game road losing skid which dated back to last season.
With 18.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney is leading Arizona in both categories. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is the only other Wildcat averaging in double figures, with 14.1 ppg. Senior center LaKeisha Taylor is third on the scoring chart, averaging 9.9 ppg, and is third in rebounding, at 5.3 rpg.
Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth in scoring, averaging 9.3 ppg, followed by fellow sophomore Candice Allen, who is currently sidelined because of a concussion suffered on Nov. 30, with 9.0 ppg. Junior wing Krista Warren is averaging 7.4 ppg and is the second-leading rebounder, with 6.6 per game.
As a team, Arizona is leading the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.792) and steals (11.43 spg) and is second in scoring offense (76.9 ppg). Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler leads the league in free throw percentage (.909), while Candice Allen is second in steals (3.40 spg) and Elizabeth Pickney is second in blocks (2.14 bpg).
JOAN BONVICINI TO COACH HER 700th GAME: Sunday's contest will be the 700th game of Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini's career. She has a 508-191 record in 23 years as a head coach.
INJURY REPORT: Junior guard Julie Brase suffered a lower back sprain during the Pittsburgh game on Dec. 2 and is currently listed as day-to-day. Sophomore guard Candice Allen suffered a grade-three concussion against Holy Cross on Nov. 30 and is also day-to-day.
Freshman guard Katrina Lindner tore her right ACL during the Cats' annual Red & Blue Game on Oct. 30, and sophomore guard Jenn Chesney also tore her right ACL during preseason workouts in September. Both players will be redshirting this year.
SCOUTING STEPHEN F. AUSTIN: With three losses in their last four games, the Ladyjacks slid to 2-4 on the year after dropping a 75-55 decision at UC Santa Barbara last weekend. SFA's game against Arizona this weekend will be its first home contest of the 2001-02 season and opens a three-game homestand for the Ladyjacks.
Senior guard Latisha Prater is leading SFA in both scoring (10.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg), with fellow senior Chaquita Dilworth close behind in both categories, averaging 10.2 ppg and 6.7 rpg. Junior guard Nathesia Wright is the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 9.2 points per game.
First-year head coach Lee Ann Riley (Baylor, 1985) has a 2-4 record with the Ladyjacks.
THE SERIES vs. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN: Arizona won the only previous meeting with Stephen F. Austin, 90-76, in 1998 in Tucson.
LAST MEETING WITH SFA: Arizona wrapped up a five-game homestand with a 90-76 win over Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 10, 1998.
The first half was a close one, with neither team leading by more than six points. Arizona had a four-point advantage with just 21 seconds left in the period, then the Ladyjacks converted a layup and subsequent free throw with just one second remaining in the half to cut the Cats' lead to 39-38 at the break.
SFA opened the second half with an 12-6 spurt, taking a five-point (50-45) lead barely six minutes into the period. Arizona responded by out-scoring the Ladyjacks, 32-16, over the next nine minutes and gained a 16-point (77-61) lead with five minutes remaining in the game. The Ladyjacks were unable to recover from that run and came no closer than eight points through the waning minutes of the contest. Arizona shot 9-for-10 from the line over the final 1:59 to seal the win.
Then-freshman Elizabeth Pickney had eight points, four rebounds and three blocks for the Cats, while then-freshman Julie Brase notched five assists, four points, four rebounds and a steal. LaKeisha Taylor, also then a freshman, saw less than a minute of action in the contest.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Arizona's "Houston Connection" -- Elizabeth Pickney and LaKeisha Taylor -- combined for 34 points and 14 rebounds in front of a hometown crowd while leading the Wildcats to a 74-65 win at Rice on Dec. 8. The victory ended a nine-game road losing skid for Arizona, which improved to 4-3 on the year.
After a close first few minutes of the game, Arizona used an 11-2 run to go ahead by nine points (20-11) at 12:05. Rice fought back but seemed unable to come closer than five points, until it finished the half on 12-3 run that included six unanswered points at the end of the period. The Owls led by one point, 31-30, at halftime.
Rice jumped on the Cats right away in the second half, opening the period with a 6-1 spurt to take a five-point (37-32) lead less than two minutes into play. The next 11 minutes saw five ties and five lead changes before Arizona's Aimee Grzyb nailed a short jumper at 7:36 that gave the Cats a two-point (57-55) edge. That proved to be the bucket that sent Arizona ahead for good.
The Wildcats went on a 9-3 run, gaining a six-point (64-58) lead with 3:59 to play. Rice scored four points to get back to within two (64-62) with just over two minutes left, but Arizona out-scored the Owls, 10-3, down the stretch to pull off its first road win since Jan. 6, 2001.
Elizabeth Pickney shot 10-for-13 from the free throw line en route to a game-high 22 points, six rebounds and four blocks in front of her hometown crowd. LaKeisha Taylor, also a Houston native, racked up 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds, despite playing much of the game in foul trouble.
Dee-Dee Wheeler had 16 points, a game-high seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, while Aimee Grzyb finished the game with 15 points. Robin Roberson contributed five points, and Krista Warren added six rebounds and four points. The Cats had only eight players available for the contest, with guards Julie Brase and Candice Allen missing the game due to injury.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has nurtured the Wildcat program into an upward-rising powerhouse. In 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to six straight postseason appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.
In her 11th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 183-120 (.604) mark at Arizona and is 508-191 (.727) in 23 years as a head coach. She is 23-14 in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.
Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 94-85 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 60-29 league mark over the last five seasons combined.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach in 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1992) is in her 10th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Fourth-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players and assists with scouting and recruiting. In his third year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players and is the director of the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp.
NEW WILDCAT ON THE WAY: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, are expecting their first child in April 2002.
MOVIN' ON UP: Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney just moved up into the No. 3 spot on Arizona's all-time scoring list, with 1300 career points. She surpassed Dana Patterson (1985-88), who had 1299 career points. Pickney is only 15 points away from moving into the No. 2 spot, which is currently occupied by Timi Brown (1987-91), with 1315 points.
Pickney will likely finish her career as the second-leading scorer in Arizona history. It would be quite difficult for her to catch Arizona's all-time leading scorer, Adia Barnes (1995-98), who racked up 2237 career points.
FREE THROWS AND TURNOVERS TELL THE TALE: The Cats have been getting to the free throw line often enough during this season's games, but it's only when they shoot well, really well, from the stripe that they win. Arizona has shot 85 percent (85-100) from the line in the season's four victories. In the Cats' three losses, they hit only 70.6 percent (48-68) from the stripe.
Arizona needs to take care of the ball to win too. In their wins, they have averaged only 18.3 turnovers per game, but in their losses, they committed 23.3 turnovers per game.
BOMBS AWAY: Arizona is averaging 6.1 three-pointers made per game so far this year, having nailed 43 treys over the first seven games of this season. They were 10 games into the 2001 season before they collected that many three-pointers made last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona begins Pac-10 play at home against the Bay Area schools next week. The Cats face sixth-ranked Stanford on Wednesday, Dec. 19, then take on California on Friday, Dec. 21. Both contests will tip at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.
After Christmas, Arizona continues conference play at Arizona State on Sunday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Six of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2001-02 schedule were either ranked or receiving votes for ranking in the most recent polls.
In this week's Associated Press Poll, Stanford is the only opponent ranked, standing at No. 6. Arizona State, Notre Dame, Rice and New Mexico all received votes for ranking.
In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is ranked at No. 5. Arizona State, Notre Dame, Washington and Rice were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 12 different statistical categories. She recently became Arizona's career leader in blocked shots, now with 128. Pickney is second in free throws made (371), second in free throws attempted (493), fourth in career rebounding average (5.7 rpg), fourth in scoring average (13.0 ppg), fourth in field goals made (463) and fifth in games started (91).
Pickney is third on Arizona's career scoring chart, with 1300 points. She needs only 15 more points to move into the second-place spot, which is currently held by Timi Brown (1987-91), who had 1315 career points.
Junior guard Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.369), is tied for eighth in career three-pointers made (59) and is 10th in three-pointers attempted (160). Only a sophomore, guard Aimee Grzyb is already fourth in three-point percentage (.367), seventh in three-pointers made (61) and ninth in three-pointers attempted (166).
GOTTA REBOUND: Arizona has been out-rebounded in five of the season's seven games so far. They are being out-rebounded by an average of 6.1 boards per game for the season. The biggest rebounding disparity was 17 boards, which came on Nov. 27 when the Cats were out-rebounded by New Mexico, 52-35.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 23 of their last 28 home games and are 45-10 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 110-45 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 176-153 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
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 30-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 136-19 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 96-12 when topping that 80-point plateau.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Cats have hit four or more 3-pointers in six of this season's games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in four games... The Cats have had 12 or more steals in four games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in three contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in two games.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 3-0 when shooting 80% or better from the line... 3-0 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 4-2 when scoring 70 points or more... 3-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the free throw line... 4-1 when holding its opponent to 77 points or less.
PICKNEY BECOMES UA CAREER BLOCKS LEADER: With a career-high-tying five blocks at New Mexico on Nov. 27, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney has taken over as Arizona's career blocked shots leader. She has 128 career blocks, placing her ahead of former career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Cats are 3-0 this season when Elizabeth Pickney scores 20 points or more... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 342-408 (.456) all-time record, however it is 146-72 (.670) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 184-98 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: This year, Arizona is 3-2 at home, 1-1 on the road and 0-0 in neutral games. Last season, the Wildcats were 15-2 at home, 4-9 in road games and 1-1 in neutral contests.
THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.