Feb. 1, 2002
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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (10-10 overall, 6-5 Pac-10) will be looking to prevent a sweep by the Oregon schools in the McKale Center this weekend, when it takes on Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: Without the services of injured junior Krista Warren, the Wildcats slipped to 10-11 overall and 6-6 in Pac-10 play after a heartbreaking 88-85 loss in overtime to Oregon State on Thursday night. That was the Cats' first overtime game of the season
Arizona has won five of its last eight games overall. Although the McKale Center has historically been kind to the Cats, they already have five losses at home this season, their most losses in McKale since the 1994-95 team dropped seven home games.
Averaging 16.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney is leading Arizona in both categories. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring with 11.6 ppg, followed by sophomore guards Candice Allen (10.4 ppg) and Aimee Grzyb (10.2 ppg).
Junior wing Krista Warren is the team's second-leading rebounder, grabbing an average of 8.1 per game. Senior center LaKeisha Taylor is third with 5.4 rpg.
As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.750), is second in three-point field goal percentage (.357), third in scoring (73.4 ppg), third in overall field goal percentage (.431) and third in three-pointers made per game (5.86 pg).
Individually, Krista Warren is fifth in rebounding (8.1 rpg), and Aimee Grzyb is tied for fifth in three-pointers made per game (1.76 pg). Elizabeth Pickney is fourth in free throw percentage (.844), third in blocks (1.24 bpg), fourth in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and fifth in scoring (16.6 ppg). The Cats have three players among the conference top 10 in overall field goal percentage -- Elizabeth Pickney (.484) is sixth, LaKeisha Taylor (.480) is eighth, and Krista Warren (.468) is 10th.
RETURN OF THE TWIN TOWERS: After a couple of weeks of less-than-stellar performances from the senior post players, the Wildcats' "Twin Towers" -- Elizabeth Pickney and LaKeisha Taylor -- have been putting up some big numbers over the last few games.
During the last three contests, Pickney has averaged 21.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. She has hit 59.5 percent (22-37) of her shots from the floor, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, and has shot 81 percent (17-21) from the free throw line.
In the Cats' last two games, Taylor shot 63 percent (17-27) from the floor and 80 percent (4-5) from the line while averaging 19.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. She pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds against Oregon State on Thursday night.
INJURY REPORT: Junior wing Krista Warren did not play against Oregon State and will miss the Oregon game with a severe ankle sprain suffered during practice on Tuesday night. She is questionable for next week's games in Washington.
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks dropped to 12-9 overall and 7-5 in conference action with a 69-58 loss at Arizona State on Thursday night.
Junior guard Shaquala Williams leads Oregon in scoring, with 17.0 points per game, followed by senior guard Edniesha Curry with 11.7 ppg. Sophomore forward Cathrine Kraayeveld is the team's top rebounder, at 7.5 per game, although she has been posting averages of 10.9 ppg and 9.8 rpg in conference play.
First-year head coach Bev Smith (Oregon, 1982) has a 12-9 record with the Ducks.
THE SERIES vs. OREGON: Oregon has a solid 22-11 advantage in the series with Arizona and has won two in a row over the Wildcats. The series has been fairly even over the last 13 meetings, with Arizona winning six of those matchups and Oregon taking seven. Arizona is 6-10 all-time against Oregon in Tucson. The Cats beat the Ducks, 88-76, on Feb. 1 last season at home.
LAST MEETING WITH OREGON: Held to its lowest offensive output in nearly three years, Arizona fell to Oregon, 72-53, in Eugene on Jan. 4.
The Wildcats opened the game with a slender 5-2 lead, which the Ducks quickly parried with nine unanswered points to go ahead by six (11-5). Arizona got back to within two (12-10) at 13:23, only to be out-scored, 22-10, for the remainder of the half. Oregon held a solid 34-20 lead at halftime.
The Ducks began the second half with a 16-9 spurt that blew the lead open to 21 points (50-29) at 12:34. The Cats countered with a 13-3 run that sliced Oregon's lead to only 11 (53-42), but they came no closer as the Ducks dominated the remainder of the game, 19-9.
Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney led the Cats with 12 points and seven rebounds, while freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other Wildcat in double digits in scoring, with 11.
Junior wing Krista Warren added eight points and seven rebounds, and senior center LaKeisha Taylor had eight points and five rebounds, despite early foul trouble. Junior guard Julie Brase contributed eight points and four rebounds.
Arizona's 53 points was its lowest offensive output since scoring only 47 points at Rutgers in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Mar. 14, 1999.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Oregon State hit back-to-back three-pointers early in the overtime, gaining the momentum it needed to pull off an 88-85 win over Arizona in the McKale Center on Thursday. It was the Beavers' first win in Tucson since 1995.
The game was tight through the early part of the first half, until Arizona went on a 10-0 run to go ahead by 10 points (26-16) at the 8:33 mark. Oregon State answered with an 8-1 spurt to pull back to within three (27-24) just three minutes later. The Wildcats stretched their lead to as much as seven through the remainder of the period and held a 39-34 edge at halftime.
OSU jumped on the Cats right away in the second half, opening with an 8-2 run to gain a one-point (42-41) edge just over two minutes into the period. Arizona used a 16-6 spurt to go back up by nine (57-48) with 11 minutes left in regulation. Using a run that included draining four 3-pointers, the Beavers out-scored Arizona, 16-4, over the next three-and-a-half minutes and went up by three (64-61) at the 7:25 mark.
Arizona scrapped back once again to gain a six-point advantage (75-69) off an Aimee Grzyb trey with 1:08 remaining, but things seemed to fall apart from there for the Wildcats. They committed three fouls and missed the front ends of two one-and-one opportunities down the stretch, while Oregon State shot 4-for-5 from the line and collected seven rebounds. A layup by OSU with two seconds left tied the game, and the teams took a 77-77 score into overtime.
Oregon State hit the back end of a two-shot attempt at the line at the 4:04 mark to begin the scoring in the overtime period. Arizona answered with a LaKeisha Taylor field goal, taking the only lead it would have for the overtime, 79-78, at 3:42. The Beavers then hit back-to-back threes and a short jumper to go up by five (86-81) with 2:07 left. Elizabeth Pickney went 4-for-4 from the line for the Cats to bring them to within one (86-85) at 1:02, but OSU connected on a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left to ice the win.
Oregon State out-rebounded Arizona, 52-36, for the game, and the Wildcats, who were the top free throw shooting team in the Pac-10, hit only 65.4 percent (17-26) of their shots from the stripe.
Elizabeth Pickney shot 8-for-14 from the floor on her way to a team-high 24 points and six rebounds. LaKeisha Taylor finished the game with 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler, who had been unable to practice all week due to a knee injury, put up 14 points and four rebounds. Sophomore guard Candice Allen came off the bench for 10 points and a trio of boards. The Wildcats were without the services of junior wing Krista Warren, who is out for an indefinite period with a severe ankle sprain.
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 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to six straight postseason appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.
In her 11th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 189-128 (.596) mark at Arizona and is 514-199 (.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 99-91 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 65-36 league mark over the last six seasons combined.
LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona heads to Washington next weekend for its final regular-season road games. The Wildcats will play at Washington on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. PST, then Arizona takes on Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. PST in Pullman. That contest will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
The Cats wrap up conference play with three straight home games against UCLA (Feb. 14), USC (Feb. 16) and Arizona State (Feb. 23). After that, Arizona will compete in the inaugural Pac-10 Women's Basketball Conference Tournament on Mar. 1-4 in Eugene, Ore.
THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW: Over the first 13 games of the season, the Wildcats averaged only 69.2 points per game and shot only 40.2 percent from the floor, including 32.9 percent from three-point range, while garnering a paltry 5-8 record. However, over their last eight games, the Cats have averaged 80.2 ppg and have been shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc while collecting a 5-3 mark.
STEPPING UP: Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb has averaged 13.0 points per game over the last six contests, including a career-high 19 points at UCLA on Jan. 19. She has hit 46.6 percent (27-58) from the floor over the last six games, including 50 percent (17-34) from three-point range. She has also averaged 2.8 three-pointers made per game during that stretch.
PUT UP SOME POINTS: The Cats are 5-2 this season when Elizabeth Pickney scores 20 points or more.
WELCOME BACK: After missing seven straight games because of a grade-three concussion suffered against Holy Cross on Nov. 30, sophomore guard Candice Allen returned to action at Oregon State on Jan. 6. Her return has been quite a welcome one, as she has averaged 11.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game in the nine contests since coming back. She has been shooting 45.3 percent (34-75) from the floor, 42.9 percent (9-21) from three-point range and 70.6 percent (24-34) from the line.
Before her injury, Allen was averaging only 9.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game over the first five contests of the season. During that stretch, she shot just 37 percent (17-46) from the floor, 31.3 percent (5-16) from beyond the arc and 66.7 percent (6-9) at the stripe.
The Wildcats have had a 5-4 mark with Allen back in action, versus the 2-5 record they compiled with her out.
NOTING THE PAC-10: Stanford (21-1 overall) continues to dominate the league and has a perfect 11-0 mark in conference action. After Thursday night's action, Arizona State and Oregon State are tied for second place, each with an 8-4 conference mark. USC stands alone in fourth place with a 7-4 Pac-10 record, followed closely by Washington at 6-4. Oregon is in sixth with a 7-5 mark, and Arizona remains in seventh at 6-6. UCLA (2-9 Pac-10), California (1-10) and Washington State (0-10) round out the conference standings.
SEEING PLENTY OF ACTION: Seven different Wildcats are averaging 23 or more minutes played per game. Elizabeth Pickney has the team's top average, playing 32.1 mpg, followed by Aimee Grzyb's 30.5 mpg and Krista Warren's 30.2 mpg.
CLEANING THE GLASS: Junior wing Krista Warren has had seven double-digit rebounding performances already this year, with five coming in her last 11 contests. In Pac-10 play, she is averaging 8.5 rpg.
Teammate Elizabeth Pickney has been hitting the boards lately too. She is averaging a team-best 8.9 boards per game in conference play, including a career-high 14 rebounds at California on Jan. 26.
CLOSE BUT...: Eleven of Arizona's 21 games this season have been decided by nine points or less, with seven of those being decided by five points or less.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Six of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2001-02 schedule were either ranked or receiving votes for ranking in the most recent polls.
In this week's Associated Press Poll, Stanford remains at No. 3. Arizona State, Notre Dame, USC, Pepperdine and New Mexico all received votes for ranking.
In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is the only opponent ranked, still standing at No. 3. Arizona State, Notre Dame, Pepperdine and USC were among the teams receiving votes for ranking.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 16 different statistical categories. She recently became Arizona's career leader in blocked shots, now with 139. Pickney is second in career scoring (1517), second in free throws made (429), second in free throws attempted (561), third in total rebounds (687), third in field goals made (540), third in career rebounding average (6.0 rpg), third in games started (105), fourth in scoring average (13.3 ppg), fourth in double-doubles (11), fifth in free throw percentage (.765) and fifth in field goals attempted (1082).
Junior guard Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.368), seventh in career three-pointers made (74) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (201). Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth in three-point percentage (.365), fifth in three-pointers made (88) and fifth in three-pointers attempted (241).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 26 of their last 34 home games and are 48-13 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 113-48 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 179-156 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
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 30-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 138-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 98-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 14 of this season's 21 games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in 12 games... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in eight games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in nine contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in six games.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 5-0 when shooting 80% or better from the line... 4-3 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 7-2 when leading at halftime... 9-4 when scoring 70 points or more... 8-3 when shooting better than its opponent from the free throw line... 10-5 when holding its opponent to 77 points or less.
BUT ON THE LOSING END...: The Cats are... 0-6 when giving up 80 points or more... 2-8 when shooting worse from the free throw line than the opponent... 2-8 when trailing at halftime... 3-8 when making fewer three-pointers than the opponent... 5-11 when shooting less than 80% from the line... 1-7 when scoring 69 points or less... 4-7 when three or fewer players reach double digits in scoring... 2-7 when shooting under 40% from the floor.
PICKNEY BECOMES UA CAREER BLOCKS LEADER: With a career-high-tying five blocks at New Mexico on Nov. 27, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney has taken over as Arizona's career blocked shots leader. She has 139 career blocks, placing her ahead of former career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 348-416 (.455) all-time record, however it is 152-80 (.655) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 190-104 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: This year, Arizona is 6-5 at home, 4-6 on the road and 0-0 in neutral games. Last season, the Wildcats were 15-2 at home, 4-9 in road games and 1-1 in neutral contests.