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No. 19 Arizona Plays at Ohio State in Only Action of the Week
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/11/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 11, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 19th-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (4-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) hits the road again this weekend to open a stretch that will see it play four of the next five games away from the friendly confines of the McKale Center. In their only action this week, the Wildcats will play their second straight Big Ten opponent, when they take on Ohio State on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 2 p.m. EST in Value City Arena in Columbus. The contest will be broadcast live all over the state of Ohio on the Ohio News Network. It will not be aired in Tucson.

POSSIBLE 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)
#4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, Jr., Ontario, Calif.) - currently on indefinite hiatus from the team due to personal reasons
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.) - not eligible until January
#31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#32 - Svjetlana Papcevic (F, 6-2, Jr., Sarajevo, Bosnia)
#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 four-game win streak, the Wildcats moved up two spots in the AP poll this week, now standing at No. 19, and they are making their first appearance of the season in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, coming in at No. 24. The Cats are also No. 14 in this week's WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50.

Arizona is coming off a weekend that saw the team take the title at its own Fiesta Bowl Women's Basketball Classic. The Cats defeated UC Riverside (95-66) in the first round to advance to the title game, where they slipped past a strong Illinois squad (75-73) to take their eighth title in the 12-year history of the tournament. The Wildcats' current four-game win streak is their longest since they put together a seven-game win streak midway through the 2000-01 season.

Sporting averages of 19.2 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk leads Arizona and the Pac-10 Conference in both categories. Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 15.8 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.6 rpg.

Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.6 boards per game, and is third in scoring (14.6 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart (13.0 ppg), while senior guard Julie Brase leads the team with an average of 4.6 assists per game.

As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.503) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (.383), rebounding (42.2 rpg), rebounding margin (+8.6 rpg), blocked shots (4.2 bpg) and assists (20.60 apg). Individually, Polkey leads the league in both scoring (19.2 ppg) and rebounding (13.8 rpg) and is second in blocked shots (2.2 bpg). Dee-Dee Wheeler is tied for second in three-point percentage (.500) and is third in three-pointers made per game (2.40 pg).

COUNTDOWN TO 200: Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini needs just three more victories to reach 200 wins at Arizona. She currently has 197 wins in 12 seasons with the Cats.

WILDCATS IN THE RANKINGS: The Wildcats are ranked No. 19 in this week's Associated Press Top 25, marking the first time since January of 2001 that they have been ranked in back-to-back weeks. This is also the UA's highest ranking since getting to the No. 19 spot in the Jan. 15, 2001, AP poll.

Arizona is also ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll this week for the first time since February of 2001. The Cats' current ranking of No. 24 is their highest in that poll since coming in at No. 23 on Feb. 19, 2001.

SCOUTING OHIO STATE: Coming off a 74-64 loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 8, the Buckeyes are 3-2 overall. They will play at Ohio University on Friday, Dec. 13, before taking on the Wildcats on Sunday. Ohio State is not currently ranked but did receive votes in this week's Coaches' Poll.

Averaging 17.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, senior forward Courtney Coleman leads Ohio State in both categories. Sophomore guard Caity Matter is second in scoring, with 14.6 ppg, while fellow sophomore Ashley Allen and junior forward LaToya Turner are registering 10.4 ppg each. Senior forward D'wan Shackleford is second on the team in rebounding, averaging 5.4 boards per game.

In his first season with the Buckeyes, head coach Jim Foster (Temple, 1980) has a 3-2 record. Coming to OSU after a very successful stint at Vanderbilt, he has a career record of 507-227 in 25 seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. OHIO STATE: Arizona won the only previous meeting with the Buckeyes, 90-76, last season in Tucson.

LAST TIME AGAINST OHIO STATE: Candice Allen came off the bench for a then-career-high 18 points to lead Arizona to a 90-76 victory over Ohio State at home on Nov. 21, 2001.

The Wildcats opened the game with a 20-6 run over the first eight minutes, and Ohio State answered with 15-8 spurt to chop the lead to only eight (42-34) with a minute left in the half. The Cats got a trey from Allen, who had 12 first-half points, and a bucket from Krista Warren to take a 13-point (47-34) advantage into halftime.

The Buckeyes used a 13-6 run, fueled by a trio of three-pointers from DiDi Reynolds, to slice Arizona's lead to only six (57-51) at 13:15 in the second. The Cats answered with an 18-3 run that included a stretch of 10 unanswered points. Ohio State out-scored Arizona, 11-4, over the final three minutes of the contest, but it was too little, too late as the Cats improved to 2-0 on the season.

Wildcat Elizabeth Pickney shot 8-for-8 from the free throw line en route to a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds. LaKeisha Taylor put up her first double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Warren put up 15 points and nine rebounds, while Dee-Dee Wheeler had nine points and a game-high five assists off the bench.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION: Arizona registered wins over UC Riverside (95-66) and Illinois (75-73) last weekend to take the title at its own Fiesta Bowl Women's Basketball Classic. It was Arizona's eighth title in the 12-year history of the tournament.

During the first-round game against UC Riverside on Dec. 7, the Wildcats ran up 20-point leads on the Highlanders several times, but UCR was able to cut the lead in half several times. Arizona finally used a 25-6 run over the final nine minutes of the game to put the Highlanders away for good.

As a team, Arizona out-rebounded UCR by 25 boards (51-26), the highest rebounding margin since the Cats set the school record with a +37 margin against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 8, 1995.

Dee-Dee Wheeler shot 6-for-8 from three-point range on her way to a career-high 28 points. Shawntinice Polk racked up 18 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, while Krista Warren added 16 points and Aimee Grzyb had 15. Julie Brase was credited with a career- and game-high 10 assists.

In the championship game against Illinois on Dec. 8, Arizona zipped out to a quick 14-point lead midway through the first half, only to see the Illini begin a three-point barrage that resulted in a tied score at halftime. The Cats managed to compile a nine-point advantage midway through the second half, but Illinois surged again to tie the game once more with nine minutes left. Arizona never led by more than five points after that, but it was enough to give the Cats their eighth tournament title and fourth win in a row.

Polk shot 10-for-15 from the floor and led Arizona with 23 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Wheeler cooled off a bit from the previous day but still drained both her three-point attempts on her way to 15 points. Warren and Grzyb had 14 points apiece.

ARIZONA 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 her previous 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini guided the Wildcats to six post-season appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Now in her 12th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 197-132 (.599) mark at Arizona and is 522-203 (.720) 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 103-94 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 69-39 league mark over the last six 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 11th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. In his fourth 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. Assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) was just added to the Wildcat staff last February, and her duties include recruiting, scouting and floor work with the players.

THE LITTLEST WILDCAT: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello was certainly busy during the off-season! On April 9, 2002, she gave birth to Zachary Robert Ianello, the first child for Denise and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach.

CALL HER POLKEY: At her request, Shawntinice Polk would appreciate being called "Polkey" (single-name reference only) as much as possible.

LOOKING AHEAD: In the midst of a stretch that will see them play four out of five games on the road, the Cats return home briefly for a game against New Mexico on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. Arizona hits the road again next weekend for a game at UNLV on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m. PST. After Christmas, the Wildcats open Pac-10 action in the Bay Area, playing at California on Dec. 27 and at Stanford on Dec. 29.

ALLEN OUT INDEFINITELY: Junior guard Candice Allen is taking some time away from the team to deal with some personal issues. Her return has yet to be determined.

POLKEY SETS SCHOOL RECORD FOR CONSECUTIVE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Shawntinice Polk has registered a double-double in each of the season's five games so far, becoming the first player in UA history to have five double-doubles in a row. The previous high was four in a row by Adia Barnes midway through the 1996-97 season.

SHARING THE WEALTH: The Wildcats have had four different leading scorers in the season's five games. Polk is the only player who has led the Cats in scoring in more than one game.

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 142-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 102-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In this week's WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank is No. 16, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 58. Eight of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- Stanford (No. 1), USC (No. 9), Illinois (No. 15), Georgia (No. 25), Ohio State (No. 29), Oregon (No. 32), Arizona State (No. 44) and UNLV (No. 46).

GOING POLLING: Eleven of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2002-03 schedule were either ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

In the Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 2, Stanford is No. 5 and Georgia is No. 20. New Mexico, Arizona State, Washington, Illinois, USC and Oregon were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 3, Stanford is No. 4 and Georgia is No. 20. New Mexico, Washington, Arizona State, USC, Oregon, Pepperdine and Ohio State. all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won seven consecutive televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season alone. Over the last four seasons, the Cats have a 10-7 record in games that are broadcast on TV.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is fourth in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.374), fifth in career three-pointers made (92) and is sixth in three-pointers attempted (246).

Senior forward Krista Warren is tied for fifth in career rebounding average (5.3 rpg), is tied for 10th in double-doubles (7) and is tenth in field goal percentage (.489).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (294), is tied for third in three-pointers made (106), is fourth in minutes-played average (30.3 mpg) and fifth in career three-point percentage (.361).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.423) and is sixth in career minutes-played average (29.1 mpg). She needs to make just one more three-pointer to move into the top 10 in career treys made.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 32 of their last 42 home games and are 54-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 119-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 185-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 356-420 (.459) all-time record, however it is 160-84 (.656) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 194-107 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 3-1 in home games, 1-0 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.

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