COMING UP: The No. 25 Arizona women’s basketball team (5-1) faces Weber State (4-1) in the championship game of the Mission Management & Trust 2004 Fiesta Classic at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 5. UNC Greensboro (1-3) plays Delaware (2-2) at 1 p.m. in the consolation game. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona extended its home winning streak to 31 in exciting fashion, defeating UNC Greensboro by 50 points, 98-48, in the first round, and setting a new tournament record for points in a game along the way. The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the field, while UNCG made just 29 percent of its shots from the field. Arizona out-rebounded UNCG 46 to 34 and forced 26 Spartan turnovers. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led a group of five Wildcats in double-digit scoring, finishing with a game-high 19 points, including two three-pointers. She also added six assists, five rebounds and four steals. Freshman Ashley Whisonant finished with a career-high 16 points, while junior Natalie Jones chipped in 15 points and seven boards. Junior Shawntinice Polk was just shy of a triple-double, tallying 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks in just 18 minutes. It was her third double-double of the season. Rounding out the group was senior Katrina Lindner, who totaled a career-high 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-4 from downtown.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Wheeler, who averages 14.8 points, 4.8 assists and 3.0 steals per game. Polk adds 14.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while Jones averages 10.2 points and 5.0 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is shooting 48 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 40.3 to 35.5.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Weber State knocked off Delaware 67-60 in the first game of the 2004 Fiesta Classic. The Hens had the lead most of the first half until Weber State tied it up at 26 at halftime. Early in the second half, the Wildcats went on a 9-2 run and never looked back. Julie Gjertsen led WSU in scoring for the fifth straight game, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds. The Wildcats also had a season-high 15 points from Sheila Robertson, who came off the bench and made three three-point field goals and had four assists. Laura Porter added 11 points for Weber State, which shot 46 percent from the field for the game.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by back-to-back Big Sky Player of the Week Gjertsen, who averages 18.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Becky O’Neil adds 11.2 points and 5.8 boards per game. As a team, Weber State is shooting 45 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 37.0 to 33.4.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with Weber State 3-4. The last time the two teams met, on Dec. 10, 1995, Arizona won 92-46 in Tucson. Arizona is 1-2 at home and 2-2 away vs. Weber State.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: In the 13-year history of the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Arizona has won the tournament nine times. Three times the Wildcats lost in the championship game, while in the 2001 tournament, Arizona failed to play in the championship game and actually lost the third-place game. Arizona has had 32 all-tournament team players, including nine MVPs. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler has been named to the all-tournament team in each of her three previous appearances, while junior Shawntinice Polk is the reigning two-time MVP.
BONVICINI TO RUN HALF MARATHON SUNDAY: Head Coach Joan Bonvicini will run in the Bobbi Olson Half-Marathon at 7 a.m. tomorrow, Sunday, Dec. 5. The Bobbi Olson Half-Marathon supports the Bobbi Olson Ovarian Cancer Fund at the University of Arizona. After a short rest, she will come to McKale for the Wildcats’ 3:30 p.m. game.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 31: The Cats have won 31 games in a row at home, the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (39). The last time the Wildcats were defeated at home was Nov. 22, 2002, when they lost the 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71. Arizona went on to win its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 22nd nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 2,106. Texas Tech is the leader with an 11,876 average, while Pac-10 opponents Washington and Oregon rank 18th and 19th, respectively, at 3,023 and 2,927.
DEE-DEE DRAINS PAIR OF THREES TO END STREAK: At the 2:38 mark in the first half of Arizona’s win over UNC Greensboro, senior Dee-Dee Wheeler drained her first three-pointer of the season. The second-best three-point shooter on last year’s squad and the fourth most prolific downtown shooter in Arizona history, Wheeler went the first 217 minutes and 32 seconds of the season without a trey.
JONES STEPPING IT UP: Over the last two games, junior Natalie Jones is averaging 16.0 points per game on 13-of-22 (59 percent) shooting, nearly six points above her average of 10.2 and 10 percent above her season average of 49.
GET THAT JUNK OUT OF HERE: Junior Shawntinice Polk, Arizona’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 178, is currently averaging 3.0 blocks per game. In Saturday’s win over UNCG, Polkey blocked a season-high eight shots, one below her career high of nine.
HEAVY BURDEN: Arizona’s All-America candidates senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler and junior center Shawntinice Polk, the team’s top two scorers, are carrying much of the load for the team this season. In the first five games this season, the duo has accounted for 39 percent of the team’s points (176 of 453) and 28 percent of the minutes (336 of 1200).
WILDCAT FRESHMEN SEEING LOTS OF PLAYING TIME: Arizona’s four freshmen - Jessica Arnold, Ch?© Oh, Chari Smith and Ashley Whisonant - are making their presence felt. In Arizona’s six games this season, the foursome have accounted for 36 percent (428 of 1200) of the team’s minutes and 29 percent (130 of 453) of the team’s points.
POLKEY MOVES INTO TOP 10 IN SCORING: With her sixth point at the 6:35 mark in the first half in Arizona’s win over BYU last Saturday, junior center Shawntinice Polk moved into the Top 10 all-time scorers at the UA. The center now has 1,174 career points, 25 away from ninth place.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 39 consecutive games. The last time the Chicago native failed to reach double digits in the scoring column was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 86 of her 98 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 40 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and three as a junior). The longest streak came at the start of her career, when she opened the 2002-03 season with eight consecutive double-doubles. During her three seasons, the Wildcats are 30-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in field goals made (583), field goals attempted (1,268) and minutes played average (32.0), third in scoring (1,491) and steals (232), fourth in scoring average (15.2), three-point field goals made (136) and three-point field goals attempted (391), tied for sixth in games started (93), seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.348), eighth in assists (361), and ninth in total minutes played (3,139) and free throw percentage (.733).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (40), blocks (178), rebounding average (10.5) and field goal percentage (.590), third in scoring average (16.8) and total rebounds (732), sixth in field goals made (484) and free throws attempted (371), seventh in minutes played average (29.2) and 10th in scoring (1,174).
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season will be broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson returning for his 10th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have three games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Sunday, Jan. 9 - 2:30 p.m. vs. Stanford
Saturday, Jan. 29 - 4 p.m. vs. Maryland (FSN)
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon (FSN)
In addition, the Wildcats’ home games against Southern California (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 26) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package with FSN.
UP NEXT: Arizona travels to Athens, Ga., where it will face No. 6 Georgia at 2 p.m. (EDT) next Sunday, Dec. 12.