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UA Women's Basketball Tries to "Pack the House" Against No. 8 Georgia
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/26/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Nov. 26, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (1-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) will take on eighth-ranked Georgia at home on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 4 p.m. in the McKale Center. The Cats have a special "Pack the House" promotion planned for the contest and have given several hundred tickets away to local childrens' charities. All tickets are just $3 each, which is half the normal price, and children two and under are free.

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.)
#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 1-1 overall after rebounding from a close loss to No. 3 LSU with a solid 80-68 victory at Pepperdine on Monday night. Although they aren't quite close to being ranked yet, the Cats received votes in both the AP Top 25 (11 votes) and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll (9 votes) this week for the first time since last January.

With 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, redshirt freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead the Cats in both categories. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in both, averaging 15.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg. Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is averaging 13.5 points per game to go with a team-best 5.5 assists per game. Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is fourth in scoring, with 12.0 ppg.

The Wildcats returned seven letterwinners, including four starters, from last season's 14-14 squad. Two redshirt freshmen, two transfers and four true freshmen comprise this year's class of eight newcomers. Such an infusion of "new blood" should bode well for the Cats, who remain in the hunt for a return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

CATS PULL ROBERSON OUT OF REDSHIRT: In an effort to stoke the team's perimeter production, head coach Joan Bonvicini has decided to pull sophomore Robin Roberson out of her redshirt status. Roberson has also improved her academic standing, which was to be another area of focus for her. As a freshman last year, Roberson played in 26 games, starting one, and averaged 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

SCOUTING GEORGIA: Ranked No. 8 in this week's AP Top 25 and No. 9 in the Coaches' Poll, the Lady Bulldogs will take a 1-0 record into a contest at Georgia State on Wednesday night. UGA opened the 2002-03 season with a resounding 79-58 win at Chattanooga on Nov. 22.

In that game, junior center Christi Thomas led all scorers with 23 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the floor. She also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Senior forward Mary Beth Lycett had 17 points and five rebounds, while sophomore forward Kara Braxton contributed 11 points and sophomore post Ebony Felder had 10 points.

Georgia returned 10 letterwinners, including three starters, from a 2002 team that went 19-11 overall and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Lady Bulldogs received votes for ranking in both of last season's final polls.

Lady Bulldogs head coach Andy Landers (Tennessee Tech, 1974) holds a 565-169 record in his 24th season at the helm of the UGA program. He is 647-190 in 28 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. GEORGIA: UGA won the only previous meeting with Arizona, 80-74, on Mar. 16, 1997, in Athens during the second round of the NCAA tournament. That was also Arizona's first appearance ever in an NCAA tourney. The Cats were down big midway through the second half of that game and made a massive surge to get back to within three but just couldn't pull out the win. Arizona had to defeat Western Kentucky in the first round to advance and face host team Georgia in the second.

ARIZONA'S RECENT HISTORY vs. RANKED TEAMS: The Wildcats beat three of the last seven nationally ranked teams they played. Their last win over a ranked team came on Nov. 24, 2001, when the Cats slipped past then-No. 15 Notre Dame at home, 72-70. The highest-ranked team the Wildcats have ever beaten was then-No. 7 Washington on Jan. 10, 1998. Themselves ranked No. 10 at the time, the Cats drilled the Huskies, 93-62, in that game.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Arizona garnered a perfect 6-0 record in televised games last season. During those contests, the Cats averaged 84.5 points per game, out-scored their opponents by an average of 16.3 ppg and shot 46.5 percent from the floor, 38.1 percent from three-point range and 82.8 percent from the free throw line.

That should bode well for the Cats this year, as they have at least six contests already scheduled for broadcast and have the potential for two more to be picked up by television before the season is over.

RECAPPING THE PEPPERDINE GAME: In their first road game of the 2002-03 season, the Wildcats overcame some sloppy play and early foul trouble to take down Pepperdine, 80-68, in Malibu on Nov. 25.

The Cats jumped out to an early six-point (10-4) lead and stretched it to eight (18-10) midway through the first half. Then Dee-Dee Wheeler and Shawntinice Polk each picked up two quick fouls, hampering their play for the remainder of the period.

The Waves scored 10 unanswered points to tie the game at 18-all with 8:08 left in the half. Arizona scraped back out to a seven-point advantage (29-22) with 3:55 to go in the first, right about the time Polk picked up foul number three. With Polk on the bench, the Cats struggled to hang on to their lead and had only a three-point (37-34) edge at halftime.

Pepperdine opened the second half with an 8-4 spurt that gave it a narrow one-point (42-41) lead at 17:34. Over the next eight minutes, the Wildcats exploded for a 29-12 run that gave them a 16-point (70-54) lead, their biggest of the game, with 9:03 to play. That run was fueled by 19 points from Polk and Krista Warren combined.

The Cats went into a lull, scoring only 10 points down the stretch and allowing Pepperdine to get back to within eight points twice, but they hung on for their first road win of the year.

Polk ended the game with 16 points, 13 of which she scored in the second half, and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, her second double-double in as many games. Warren had a team-high 20 points, just one off her career high, on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor, and she grabbed seven rebounds.

Aimee Grzyb added 17 points, and Julie Brase had 15 points. Each player shot a solid 3-for-4 from three-point range. Wheeler came off the bench for 10 points and seven rebounds.

CATS HAVE BEST OPENER ATTENDANCE IN THREE SEASONS: The 2,651 fans that attended the Nov. 22 game against No. 3 LSU marks the largest attendance figure for a home opener since the Cats drew 2,901 against New Mexico on Nov. 27, 1999.

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 194-132 (.595) mark at Arizona and is 519-203 (.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.

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.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats will remain at home to play host to Illinois, North Texas and UC Riverside for the 12th annual Fiesta Bowl Women's Basketball Classic on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8. The Fighting Illini will face the North Texas in the first game on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m., followed by the Wildcats and the Highlanders at 3:30 p.m. On Dec. 8, the consolation game will be played at 1 p.m., with the championship at 3:30 p.m.

The Cats hit the road again on Sunday, Dec. 15, for a game at Ohio State at 2 p.m. EST.

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

CATS GET FIRST VOTES IN POLLS THIS WEEK: Arizona received votes for ranking in both the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll this week. The Wildcats got several votes after taking No. 3 LSU into overtime before falling by only seven points in the season opener on Nov. 22 and then defeating Pepperdine, another team receiving votes, on the road Nov. 30.

This is the first time since Jan. 7, 2002, that the Cats have received any votes for ranking in either poll. Arizona received nine votes in this week's Coaches' Poll. The last time the Cats earned votes in the Coaches' Poll was last January, when they received just one vote. This week's nine votes is the most Arizona has received in the Coaches' Poll since getting 48 in the Nov. 26, 2001, poll.

This also marks the first time since Dec. 3, 2001, that the Wildcats have received any votes in the AP Top 25. During that December poll, Arizona got just six votes. The 11 votes Arizona earned this week is the most the Wildcats have received since getting 93 votes in the Nov. 26, 2001, poll, after they knocked off then-No. 15 Notre Dame.

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 141-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 101-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

POLKEY GETS MOST POINTS FOR A ROOKIE SINCE 1995: Shawntinice Polk's 29 points against LSU on Nov. 22 was the most scored by any Wildcat freshman since former UA star Adia Barnes scored 31 points against Arizona State on Jan. 7, 1995. It was also the highest point total for any UA player since Elizabeth Pickney's 29 points at Washington on Feb. 8, 2001.

CATS HITTING CAREER HIGHS ALREADY: Just two games into this young 2002-03 season, and a couple of Wildcat returnees have hit career highs already. Against LSU on Nov. 22, Aimee Grzyb played a career high of 41 minutes, and senior Krista Warren saw a career-high 40 minutes of action. The previous career high for both players was 38 minutes each. Warren also tied her career high with five assists in the game.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Arizona has a pretty tough slate on tap for this season. According to the preseason WBCA/Summerville RPI, Arizona's non-conference schedule alone ranks 13th out of the 324 women's basketball teams nationwide. The Cats' overall schedule strength, including Pac-10 games, ranks 49th.

GOING POLLING: Ten of the 19 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 was ranked No. 3, Stanford was No. 7 and Georgia was No. 8. USC, Oregon, Ohio State, New Mexico and Pepperdine were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU was No. 3, Stanford was No. 7 and Georgia was No. 9. USC, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Ohio State, Arizona State and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is third in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.374), sixth in career three-pointers made (86) and is seventh in three-pointers attempted (230).

Senior forward Krista Warren is tied for sixth in career rebounding average (5.2 rpg) and is tied for 10th with seven career double-doubles.

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth in career three-point percentage (.368), fourth in three-pointers made (105), fourth in three-pointers attempted (285) and fourth in career minutes-played average (30.4 mpg).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is sixth in career minutes-played average (28.6 mpg) and needs to make just 11 more three-pointers to break into the career top 10 for three-point field goals made.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 29 of their last 39 home games and are 51-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 116-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 182-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 353-420 (.457) all-time record, however it is 157-84 (.651) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 194-107 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 0-1 in home games, 1-0 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests. 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.

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won nine of their 12 season openers. They just had a streak of seven straight season-opening wins snapped with a close 78-71 loss to No. 3 LSU in overtime to begin this season.

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