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Wildcat Women Face Challenge on the Road in Washington This Week
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/07/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 7, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 18th-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (9-3 overall; 3-1 Pac-10) begins a stretch this week that will see it play six of its next eight games on the road. This weekend, the Wildcats will play at Washington State on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. PST, then the Cats will take on Washington on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. PST in a contest that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Northwest.

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE 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)
#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.) - eligibility pending
#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: Coming off a weekend that saw them obliterate both Oregon schools, the Wildcats are 9-3 overall and 3-1 in Pac-10 play, holding down third place in the league standings. They have won five of their last six games, including a 96-65 victory over Oregon on Jan. 2 and a 72-44 win over Oregon State at home on Jan. 4.

Six of Arizona's nine wins this season have been by 21 points or more, and in their last four wins, the Cats have had an average margin of victory of 29.3 points per game.

The Wildcats moved up two spots to come in at No. 18 in this week's Associated Press Top 25, marking their highest ranking of the season to date and their highest ranking in that poll since coming in at No. 15 on Feb. 14, 2000. Arizona is also No. 18 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and is No. 19 in the WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50.

With averages of 18.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. She has 10 double-doubles in just 12 career games. Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 15.4 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.3 rpg.

Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 6.9 boards per game, and is third in scoring (13.5 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart (11.8 ppg), while senior guard Julie Brase leads the team with an average of 4.8 assists per game.

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In the current NCAA statistics, Krista Warren is second in the nation in field goal percentage (.658), while Shawntinice Polk (.613) is tied for 14th in the same category. Polk is also fourth in the nation in rebounding average (12.2 rpg), tied for 21st in blocked shots (2.3 bpg) and is 40th in scoring (18.8 ppg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is tied for sixth in the nation in assists per game (20.0 apg), is seventh in field goal percentage (.509), 12th in scoring (79.3 ppg), 15th in three-point field goal percentage (.403) and 30th in rebounding margin (+6.3 rpg).

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and assists. Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding and is second in scoring and blocked shots. Krista Warren is tops in field goal percentage, while Julie Brase is the league leader in assists (4.83 apg) and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.64).

SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: On a 35-game losing skid that dates back to last season, the Cougars are 0-11 overall and 0-3 in conference action this season. They were swept at USC (92-44) and at UCLA (93-51) last weekend and are being out-scored by an average of 26.1 points per game for the season. The Cougars haven't won a game since Nov. 29, 2001, when they defeated Gonzaga, 80-72, in Pullman.

Averaging 11.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, junior forward Bianca McCall leads Washington State in both categories. She is the only Cougar averaging in double digits in scoring, although five of her teammates are logging more than five points a game. Junior center Candace Fields is second in both categories, averaging 8.3 ppg and 6.1 rpg.

Head coach Sherri Murrell (Pepperdine, 1991) has an 0-11 record in her first season with the Cougars. Coming to Washington State from a stint at Pacific, Murrell has a 68-57 mark in five seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON STATE: Washington State has a narrow 17-15 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats swept the Cougars handily last season. Arizona has won nine of the last 12 meetings with WSU, last losing to the Cougars, 93-86, in Pullman on Feb. 10, 2001. Arizona has a 7-8 record all-time when playing in Pullman.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON STATE: Despite having only eight active players for the game, Arizona pounded Washington State for the second time last season, 106-60, in Pullman on Feb. 9, 2002.

The Wildcats opened the contest with seven straight points, which were answered by Washington State with its own 7-0 spurt, tying the game at 14-14 at the 12:40 mark. Less than two minutes later, the Cats were back up by seven (21-14), but the Cougars scrapped back to within four (21-17) with 10:32 left in the half.

Arizona then put on a monster 30-3 run to gain a 31-point (51-20) lead with 2:04 remaining in the period. WSU managed to put a dent in that lead by scoring eight straight points to end the half, but the Cougars still trailed, 51-28, at the break.

The teams traded buckets through the first five minutes of the second half, then Arizona used a 10-2 run to go up by 33 points (72-39) at 13:29. The Cougars got back to within 30 points four times after that, but that was the closest they would come for the remainder of the game. With 2:02 left in the contest, Aimee Grzyb nailed a jumper to give the Cats their largest lead of the contest at 47 points (102-55).

Six Wildcats reached double-digits in scoring, led by Julie Brase's game-high 22 points. Elizabeth Pickney collected 21 points and seven rebounds, while Robin Roberson and Dee-Dee Wheeler had 19 apiece. Danielle Adefeso tallied new career highs of 12 points and eight rebounds, and Aimee Grzyb contributed 10 points and eight assists.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON: Standing at 10-2 overall and 2-1 in Pac-10 play, the Huskies split games in Los Angeles last weekend. On Jan. 3, UW saw its eight-game win streak snapped when UCLA buried the Huskies, 72-46, but Washington recovered to edge USC, 83-81 in overtime, on Sunday. UW, which has a perfect 5-0 record in home games this season, will play host to Arizona State this Thursday before taking on the Wildcats on Saturday. The Huskies are not currently ranked but did receive votes in both polls this week.

Four Washington players are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by senior guard Loree Payne with 15.6 points per game. Junior guard Giuliana Mendiola is a close second, averaging 15.1 ppg, and is the team's top rebounder at 5.8 boards per game. Junior forward Andrea Lalum is third in scoring, with 11.3 ppg, followed by senior forward Emily Autrey's 10.8 ppg.

Seventh-year head coach June Daugherty (Ohio State, 1978) has a 110-80 record with the Huskies. She is 233-154 in 14 seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON: The Huskies has a commanding 24-9 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Cats have taken five of the last seven meetings. The Wildcats have a paltry 1-15 record all-time when playing at UW. Their first and only win in Seattle was a 96-85 victory over the Huskies on Jan. 15, 2000.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON: A late second-half surge wasn't enough to get Arizona over the hump as it lost at Washington, 77-73, in Seattle on Feb. 7, 2002.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 7-2 lead in by 17:10, but the Huskies quickly tied up the game 30 seconds later with back-to-back buckets. The game was still tied, standing at 15-15, at the 10:11 mark, then UW scored seven unanswered points to gain a 22-15 edge with just over seven minutes to play in the half. From there on, the Huskies out-scored the Cats, 17-11, holding onto a 39-28 lead at halftime.

Washington maintained its double-digit lead through the first five minutes of the second half, then the Cats scored seven points in succession to cut the lead to six (47-41) at 14:52. They fought to within five (57-52) at 11:45, but the Huskies used a 12-4 spurt to push their lead back out to 13 (69-56) with just over six minutes remaining in the game.

The Wildcats were still down by 10 (73-63) with 3:29 left, and the game appeared to be over. That was when Arizona put on a 14-4 surge to pull to within three points (73-70) with just 54 seconds left. After an Arizona timeout, UW ran some time off the clock, then Emily Autrey drove the lane for a layup that gave her team a five-point (75-70) lead with 39 seconds to go.

Wildcat Dee-Dee Wheeler drained a huge three-pointer from the left side with only 30 seconds left, pulling the Cats back to within two, so the Wildcats fouled UW players to stop the clock. The Huskies hit only two of their four free throw attempts down the stretch, but it was enough, as the Cats missed two late three-point attempts and UW hung on for the win.

After a poor 2-for-7 shooting performance in the first half, Elizabeth Pickney recovered to go 8-for-17 for the contest and score a game-high-tying 22 points while grabbing eight rebounds. LaKeisha Taylor pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds to go with 16 points, and Wheeler finished the game a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range as she tallied 17 points and four steals.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND'S WILDCAT ACTION: With an average winning margin of nearly 30 points a game, Arizona drilled both Oregon (96-65) on Jan. 2 and Oregon State (72-44) on Jan. 4 to extend its home win streak to six games.

Head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 200th win at Arizona as the Wildcats trounced Oregon, 96-65, at home on Jan. 2. A 21-2 run midway through the first half and a 22-6 run early in the second solidified the Cats' position, as they raced to a 31-point win, their biggest margin of victory ever over the Ducks.

Krista Warren led the Wildcats with 18 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Shawntinice Polk got double-double number nine on the season with her 16-point, 11-rebound performance, and Julie Brase earned her first career double-double by tallying 15 points and 10 assists. Dee-Dee Wheeler added 13 points as four of the five Wildcat starters reached double digits in scoring.

On Jan. 4, Arizona held Oregon State to its lowest offensive output of the season as the Cats logged a 72-44 victory over the Beavers. The 44 points was also Arizona's lowest point allowance in Pac-10 play since 1998.

The first half was a brutally slow one for both teams, with the score standing at 31-8 with 2:28 to play in the period. OSU rattled off seven straight points at the end of the half but was still down 31-15 at the break.

The Wildcats out-scored the Beavers, 38-16, over the first 13 minutes of the second half, for a 38-point lead. Joan Bonvicini put her bench into the game with about five minutes left, when the Cats were up 72-34. Arizona didn't score another point after the 4:26 mark, and that was when Oregon State was able to register 10 unanswered points to cut the deficit to only 28 points.

Polk got her 10th double-double with game highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Wheeler followed in scoring with 15 points and four steals, while Aimee Grzyb had 11 points and Krista Warren had 10.

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 201-133 (.602) mark at Arizona and is 526-204 (.721) 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 106-95 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 72-40 league mark over the last six seasons combined.

BONVICINI GETS WIN No. 200 AT ARIZONA: With a 96-65 victory over Oregon on Jan. 2, 2003, Joan Bonvicini earned her 200th win as Arizona's head coach. It was her 525th career victory as well.

CALL HER POLKEY: At her request, Shawntinice Polk would appreciate being called "Polkey" (single-name reference only) as much as possible. No, she is not on a power trip -- she simply has an intense dislike for her first name.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, the Cats will gain a short respite from the road when they return to McKale Center to take on the L.A. schools. Arizona will face USC on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., then the Cats will take on UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m.

After those two home games, the Wildcats will be faced with a four-game road swing that begins with a contest at Arizona State on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m.

POLKEY RACKING UP THE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Shawntinice Polk has tallied 10 double-doubles on the season, becoming the first player since Adia Barnes in 1996-97 to reach that total.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 7-0 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 1-3 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 9-0 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in all three of the season's losses... Arizona is 6-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 9-1 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-2 when shooting worse.

SOLID DEFENSE: In the first half of the Oregon State game on Jan. 4, Arizona allowed the Beavers to score just 15 points. That's the lowest point total in one half for any Wildcat opponent since Weber State registered just 15 points in the first half of a 92-46 loss to the Cats on Dec. 10, 1995.

Even more amazing, though, is the fact that the 15 points is the lowest point total the Cats have allowed a Pac-10 opponent in one half since the 1984-85 season. That season, Stanford scored just 15 points in the first half of a 57-49 loss at Arizona on Feb. 16, 1985. Of course, that was technically "pre-Pac-10," when both schoools were part of the Western Collegiate Conference.

A MATCH MADE ON THE COURT: On Dec. 30, senior forward Krista Warren became engaged to Nathan Luckow, who is in his third season as a manager for the UA women's basketball team. The two plan to marry some time this summer.

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 145-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 105-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 58.2 percent (103-177) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only three games so far.

This is unusual for a Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona. No UA team has ever shot below 65 percent since Bonvicini's arrival in 1991-92, and the Cats hit 70 percent or better from the line in three of the last four seasons. Last year's team drained a sizzling 74.0 percent of its charity shots.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 14 double-doubles already this season. That's the highest team double-doubles total since the 2000-01 team had 21 for the year.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In the Jan. 6 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 9, and its strength of schedule rank was No. 15. Six of the Cats' opponents this season were in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- Illinois (No. 4), Stanford (No. 6), Ohio State (No. 17), LSU (No. 24), Georgia (No. 32) and Washington (No. 50).

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

In this week's Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 2, Stanford is No. 6 and Ohio State is No. 23. Illinois, Washington, New Mexico, Georgia and UCLA were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 3 and Stanford is No. 5. Ohio State, Georgia, Washington and Illinois all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won eight of its last 10 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season and are 2-2 on TV this year. Over the last four seasons, the Cats have an 11-9 record in games that are broadcast on TV.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is third in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.383), fifth in career three-pointers made (102) and is sixth in three-pointers attempted (266).

Senior forward Krista Warren is fourth in career rebounding average (5.4 rpg), is tied for seventh in field goal percentage (.504) and is tied for ninth in double-doubles (8). With 499 career boards, she needs just two more rebounds to break into the career top 10 list for total rebounds.

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (322), third in three-pointers made (117), fourth in minutes-played average (30.5 mpg) and fifth in career three-point percentage (.363).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.410) and is sixth in career minutes-played average (29.5 mpg). She recently broke into the career top 10 in three-point field goals made, now standing in a tie for No. 9 with 59.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 35 of their last 45 home games and are 57-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 122-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 188-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents by 20 boards or more in three games this season... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 361-422 (.461) all-time record, however it is 165-86 (.657) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 196-107 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 6-1 in home games, 3-2 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.

BONVICINI MISSES FIRST GAMES OF HER CAREER: Poised to gain win number 200 at Arizona, head coach Joan Bonvicini missed both games in the Bay Area at the end of December. Her brother passed away on Dec. 25, and she remained in Connecticut with her family until Dec. 31. Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello ran the team in Bonvicini's absence.

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