Nov. 5, 2001
Tucson, Ariz. (Nov.5) -- The Arizona women's basketball team survived its first exhibition game of the 2001-02 season, with an 83-81 victory over a competitive Team Concept, in front of 725 at McKale Center on Monday night.
Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney sealed the win for the Wildcats, sinking two clutch free throws with 15.4 seconds left in the game. After a 26-point performance in the team's annual Red & Blue Game last week, Pickney tallied a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of playing time to spear-head the Arizona offense.
Fellow senior LaKeisha Taylor complemented Pickney's play up front for the Wildcats, contributing 15 points and 11 rebounds. Providing a big spark off the bench was freshman point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler, who tallied 12 points and five assists in 23 minutes of play.
"I thought that Dee-Dee Wheeler had a great opening night," said Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini, who is beginning her 11th season with the Wildcats. "She is going to be a heck of a player."
The Wildcats came back from a 38-36 deficit at the half, out-scoring Team Concept, an AAU team composed of former collegiate basketball players, 47-43 in the final period.
"The players we played against were obviously seasoned veterans," said Bonvicini. "They all have college experience, and some of them have even played pro ball."
Although Team Concept sported six players over six feet in height, the Wildcats managed to out-rebound Team Concept, 48-27. "[Tonight] our rebounding was excellent," said Bonvicini. "We rebounded well in crunch time and showed a lot of poise. It's (rebounding) that is going to win games for us this season."
Next up for the Wildcats will be their final tune-up of the 2001-02 season against the NWBL USA Elite team on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center. Arizona will open the regular season against Pepperdine at home on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m.