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23rd-Ranked Wildcat Women Take on New Mexico at Home
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/17/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 17, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: In the midst of a stretch that will see it play four out of five games on the road, the 23rd-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (4-2 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) gains a brief respite from its travels with a home game this week. The Wildcats will take on New Mexico on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.

TICKETS: Tickets are always available to UA women's basketball games. Price of admission is $6 for adults and $4 for senior citizens, youth (HS and under) and UA faculty and staff. UA students get in free with a CatCard.

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: The Wildcats are 4-2 on the season after an 84-65 loss at Ohio State on Sunday. That loss ended a four-game win streak for the Cats and caused them to drop to No. 23 in this week's Associated Press Top 25. Arizona also slipped to No. 23 in the WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50 but remained at No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Sporting averages of 18.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk leads Arizona in both categories. Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 15.0 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.0 rpg.

Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.0 boards per game, and is third in scoring (13.3 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart (12.3 ppg), while senior guard Julie Brase leads the team with an average of 4.5 assists per game.

As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.485) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (.394), blocked shots (3.83 bpg) and assists (18.83 apg). Individually, Polkey leads the league in rebounding (13.3 rpg) and is second in scoring (18.8 ppg) and blocked shots (2.17 bpg). Julie Brase is third in assists (4.50 apg), Krista Warren is third in field goal percentage (.648), and Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in three-pointers made (2.33 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.

SCOUTING NEW MEXICO: On an eight-game win streak, the Lobos stand at 8-1 on the season after defeating Dartmouth (69-43) and Memphis (78-42) over the weekend to win their own Southwest Airlines Lobo Shootout. UNM lost its season opener at USC, 55-48, on Nov. 23 but has won every contest since. Seven of those eight wins were on UNM's home court.

The Lobos aren't ranked in the AP Poll this week, but they did receive 44 votes, just 10 votes away from the No. 25 spot. They are ranked No. 25 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, only one vote behind the Wildcats.

Sporting averages of 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, senior center Jordan Adams leads New Mexico in both categories. Senior forward Chelsea Grear is second in both, averaging 12.0 ppg and 6.4 rpg, and junior forward Melissa Forest is third in both scoring (10.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg).

In his eighth year at the helm of the UNM program, head coach Don Flanagan holds a 152-73 record with the Lobos.

THE SERIES vs. NEW MEXICO: The all-time series between Arizona and New Mexico is tied at 7-7. The Lobos have won six of the last nine meetings with the Cats, including the last two in a row.

LAST TIME AGAINST NEW MEXICO: Despite a 17-point performance from Elizabeth Pickney, Arizona fell to New Mexico, 75-67, in Albuquerque on Nov. 27, 2001.

Arizona opened the game with an 11-4 spurt that was promptly answered by UNM, which scored 12 unanswered points to take a 16-12 lead midway through the first half. The Wildcats recovered to out-score the Lobos, 20-8, over the remainder of the period and held an eight-point (32-24) advantage at halftime.

The teams traded buckets through the early minutes of the second half, then New Mexico put on a 14-3 run that gave it a 45-42 lead at 11:46. Arizona scored back-to-back baskets, gaining a one-point (46-45) edge at 9:31, but that was the Cats' final lead in the game. The Lobos used a 13-6 spurt to go ahead by eight (68-60) with less than two minutes remaining, and the Wildcats never came closer than five over the waning seconds of the game.

In addition to her team-high 17 points, Pickney grabbed eight rebounds, also a team high. Fellow senior LaKeisha Taylor added 11 points and five rebounds, while Dee-Dee Wheeler had 10 points and six rebounds in her first collegiate start. Robin Roberson had a season-high eight points and grabbed four rebounds, and Candice Allen had seven points and a trio of steals.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION: A 22-5 run at the beginning of the second half gave Ohio State all the momentum it needed to defeat Arizona, 84-65, in Columbus on Sunday. The loss ended a four-game win streak for the then-19th-ranked Wildcats.

The first half was one of small spurts for both teams. Ohio State opened the game by out-scoring Arizona, 16-8, over the first seven minutes. The Wildcats responded with 12 unanswered points to pull ahead by four (20-16) at 9:45. OSU used its own 9-0 run to go back up by four (27-23) three minutes later, only to be out-scored by Arizona, 16-10, over the remainder of the period. The Cats held a narrow two-point (39-37) lead at the break.

The Buckeyes tied the game right away in the second half, but Arizona scored its own bucket to go back up by two just seconds later. Then the Cats began a stretch that saw them make only two of their next 14 field goal attempts, and in the meantime, OSU used a 22-5 run to go ahead by 15 points (61-46) by the 10:29 mark. Arizona came no closer than 12 points the remainder of the game, and the Buckeyes led by as much as 21 points (82-61) with 1:44 left.

The loss was the Wildcats' worst since falling by 19 (72-53) at Oregon on Jan. 4 of last season. It also ended the Cats' four-game win streak, which had been their longest in two seasons.

Shawntinice Polk led the Cats with 17 points and 11 rebounds. That was her sixth double-double in six games as a collegiate athlete, further extending her school-record streak of consecutive double-doubles.

Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other player to reach double digits in scoring, tallying 11 points, three assists and a game-high three steals. Aimee Grzyb added nine points, while Natalie Jones notched eight points and Robin Roberson had six points to go with four rebounds.

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 197-133 (.597) mark at Arizona and is 522-204 (.719) 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.

LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona hits the road again this 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 CONTINUES RECORD DOUBLE-DOUBLES STREAK: Shawntinice Polk has registered a double-double in each of the season's six games so far, becoming the first player in UA history to have six 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 six 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. 22, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 37. Six of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- Stanford (No. 10), USC (No. 11), Illinois (No. 21), Ohio State (No. 27), Georgia (No. 28) and New Mexico (No. 35).

GOING POLLING: Ten 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, Washington, Arizona State, Illinois, Ohio State and Oregon were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 3, Stanford is No. 5, Georgia is No. 20, and New Mexico is No. 25. Washington, Ohio State, Arizona State and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won seven of its last eight televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season alone. Over the last four seasons, the Cats have a 10-8 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 (.373), fifth in career three-pointers made (93) and is sixth in three-pointers attempted (249).

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 (.488).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (298), third in three-pointers made (109), fourth in minutes-played average (30.4 mpg) and fifth in career three-point percentage (.366).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.415) and is sixth in career minutes-played average (29.1 mpg). She just broke into the career top 10 in three-point field goals made, standing at No. 10 with 54.

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 356-421 (.458) all-time record, however it is 160-85 (.653) 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, 1-1 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.

THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-4 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last nine years.

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