Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Women's Basketball Notes
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: November 11, 2004
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team opens the 2004-05 season with a 7 p.m. game against Saint Mary’s this Friday, Nov. 12, in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at

Friday’s "Wildcat in the Spotlight" is Ch?© Oh and fans can get post-game autographs from the freshman.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona closed out its exhibition season with a 77-45 win over Baden Sports in a foul-filled game Monday night. The Wildcats were called for 27 personal fouls, which accounted for nearly half (22) of Baden’s points. Arizona shot 48 percent from the field and 29 percent from downtown on the game, while holding Baden to just 24 percent from the field and 23 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats also out-rebounded Baden 38-34 and forced 29 Baden turnovers, while committing 15. Junior center Shawntinice Polk finished with a team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Jessica Arnold had 12 points. Freshman Ashley Whisonant and senior Dee-Dee Wheeler rounded out the group of Wildcats in double-figure scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Whisonant dished out a game-high six assists, while sophomore Linda Pace nabbed a game-high three steals.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Saint Mary’s returns All-West Coast Conference honorable mention selections in Triola Jackson and Evynn Van Burger. The senior Jackson led the team with 11.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last year. Van Burger, a junior, averaged 9.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 2003-04. The Gaels also return sophomores Monica Mertle and Lauren Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy started every game as a freshman last season and Mertle started all but one. Mertle was also named to the All-WCC Freshman team.

Monday night, Saint Mary’s defeated Strakonice, a team from the Czech Republic, 85-62. Jackson led the team with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Maija Lahde added 12 and Van Burger finished with 10 points. Shaughnessy had 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

SERIES SHORTS: Arizona is 1-0 all-time against Saint Mary’s. The two teams met on Dec. 9, 1993 in Tucson, with the Wildcats winning 75-63.

2004-05 Associated Press Preseason Poll

Rank   School                   Total    03-04    03-04 
(first-place votes) Points Record Rank
1.     Tennessee (20)           1,085    31-4     2
2.     Texas (7)                1,056    30-5     4
3.     LSU (12)                 1,053    27-8     19
4.     Connecticut (6)          1,017    31-4     6
5.     Georgia                  887      25-10    16
6.     Duke                     838      30-4     1
7.     Stanford                 827      27-7     10
8.     Baylor                   794      26-9     15
9.     North Carolina           696      24-7     12
T-10.  Notre Dame               635      21-11    NR
T-10.  Ohio State               635      21-10    21
12.    Texas Tech               633      25-8     14
13.    Vanderbilt               525      26-8     13
14.    Minnesota                489      25-9     24
15.    Michigan State           428      22-9     23
16.    Purdue                   423      29-4     3
17.    Rutgers                  407      21-12    NR
18.    Boston College           376      27-7     18
19.    Kansas State             358      25-6     8
20.    DePaul                   248      23-7     NR
21.    Penn State               217      28-6     5
22.    Oklahoma                 182      24-9     11
23.    Maryland                 166      18-13    NR
24.    Arizona                  156      24-9     NR
25.    Louisiana Tech           137      29-3     7
Others receiving votes: UCLA 96, Villanova 55, Chattanooga 38, Utah 38, Southwest Missouri State 29, UNLV 14, Auburn 13, Old Dominion 11,
TCU 11, Virginia Tech 9, UC Santa Barbara 8, Middle Tennessee 7, Arizona State 4, New Mexico 4, Florida 3, Richmond 3, Creighton 2, 
Miami 2, Virginia 2, Wisconsin-Green Bay 2, George Washington 1, Houston 1, Louisville 1, Mississippi 1, Mississippi State 1, Montana 1.
* 2004-05 Arizona opponents in italics

USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches Poll

Rank   School                Total    03-04    03-04
(first-place votes) Points Record Rank
1.     Tennessee (15)        944      31-4     2
2.     LSU (10)              934      27-8     3
3.     Texas (9)             908      30-5     10
4.     Connecticut (6)       883      31-4     1
5.     Georgia               782      25-10    8
6.     Duke                  747      30-4     5
7.     Stanford              724      27-7     7
8.     Baylor                688      26-9     11
T-9.   Ohio State            555      21-10    NR
T-9.   Texas Tech            555      25-8     17
11.    Notre Dame            483      21-11    20
12.    North Carolina        472      24-7     21
13.    Vanderbilt            468      26-8     13
14.    Minnesota             425      25-9     4
15.    Purdue                420      29-4     9
16.    Michigan State        397      22-9     NR
17.    Rutgers               324      21-12    NR
T-18.  Boston College        259      27-7     14
T-18.  Kansas State          259      25-6     15
20.    DePaul                232      23-7     25
21.    Penn State            226      28-6     6
22.    Louisiana Tech        165      29-3     12
23.    Maryland              153      18-13    NR
24.    Arizona               147      24-9     NR
25.    Oklahoma              139      24-9     18
Others receiving votes: UCLA 89, Utah 83, TCU 69, Villanova 52, Houston 45, Chattanooga 43, Southwest Missouri State 38, Old Dominion 34,
Florida 32, UC Santa Barbara 32, Middle Tennessee 25, UNLV 23, Louisville 16, Colorado 15, Marquette 15, Virginia Tech 15, Montana 14, 
Temple 12, New Mexico 8, Auburn 7, Richmond 5, Liberty 4, Miami (Fla.) 4, Oregon 4, Virginia 4, Arizona State 3, Marshall 3, South 
Alabama 3, Wisconsin-Green Bay 3, Eastern Michigan 2, George Washington 2, Maine 2, Arkansas 1, Creighton 1, Idaho State 1, North 
Carolina State 1, Western Kentucky 1.
* 2004-05 Arizona opponents in italics

Preseason Pac-10 Coaches’ Poll

(first-place votes in parentheses) 
1.   Stanford (8)      79
2.   Arizona (1)       72
3.   UCLA (1)          68
4.   Arizona State     50
5.   Oregon            46
6.   Washington        42
7.   USC               38
8.   California        24
9.   Oregon State      22
10.  Washington State  9

Preseason Pac-10 Media Poll

(first-place votes in parentheses)
1.   Stanford (8)      140
     Arizona (7)       140
3.   UCLA              122
4.   Arizona State     100
5.   Washington        83
6.   Oregon            78
7.   USC               61
8.   Oregon State      45
9.   California        34
10.  Washington State  22


¨ This year’s Preseason WNIT includes four teams (Duke, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Arizona) that are ranked in the preseason AP or USA Today/ESPN polls.

¨ The event features nine teams that played in the 2003-2004 postseason: Duke, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Arizona, Middle Tennessee State, Saint Joseph’s, South Florida, Rice and Nebraska.

¨ In last year’s Preseason WNIT, Texas Tech defeated Rutgers 73-45 to win the title.

¨ The event involves 16 teams in a single-elimination format. All games, including the semifinals and championship, are hosted by participating schools at their home facility.

¨ A team may participate in the WNIT no more than once in a four-year period. In addition, only one institution per conference may play in the tournament in the same year.

ARIZONA AND THE PRESEASON WNIT: This is Arizona’s second appearance and the Preseason WNIT, now in its 11th year. In 1996, the Wildcats defeated San Francisco 85-79 in overtime on the road in the first round. In the second round, Arizona fell at No. 11 and eventual champion Louisiana Tech, 73-60.

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program’s helm, the Wildcats have won 10 of their 13 season openers. Last year, Arizona defeated Northern Arizona 89-67 at home in its first game of the season.

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 27: The Cats have won 27 games in a row at home, tied with Western Illinois for the third longest streak in the nation behind Texas (36) and Louisiana Tech (28). 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.

ARIZONA TABBED NO. 24 IN PRESEASON POLLS: The Arizona women’s basketball team is ranked No. 24 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) preseason polls. This marks the second year in a row that the Wildcats have been preseason ranked in each of the polls.

GOING POLLING: Three of Arizona’s 2004-05 opponents (Georgia, Stanford and Maryland) are nationally ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches Poll. In addition, Duke, Ohio State and Notre Dame, all potential opponents in the Preseason WNIT, are ranked in the Top 25. UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and Oregon are all receiving votes in the polls.

WHEELER, POLK NAISMITH PRESEASON CANDIDATES: Dee-Dee Wheeler and Shawntinice Polk are among 50 of the country’s top collegiate women’s basketball players who were named as preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless. The Top 50 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season. In January, the board will narrow its preseason list to the Top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March.

CATS PICKED TO FINISH FIRST, SECOND IN PAC-10: The Wildcats were selected to finish tied for first in the Pac-10 with Stanford in the preseason poll of the media, while the coaches tabbed Arizona to place second.

The media poll marks the first time ever that the Wildcats have been picked to finish first. The Cardinal garnered eight first-place votes in the poll, while Arizona received the remaining seven. Both teams totaled 140 points. It marks the first time there has been a tie for the first-place spot since the poll’s inception in 1997-98. The Wildcats’ highest previous projection was second in 1997-98. The Pac-10 media poll has correctly predicted the Conference champion in six of the last seven seasons.

In the coaches poll, Arizona received 72 points and one first-place vote. Stanford was tabbed to win the title with eight first-place votes and 79 points. This is the fifth year in a row that Stanford has been favored by the coaches to win the conference title since the poll’s inception in 1998-99.

WHEELER, POLK NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PAC-10: Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler and junior center Shawntinice Polk were two of five players named to the preseason All-Pacific-10 team, as selected by the media. The other three named to the team were UCLA junior guard Nikki Blue (two-time All-Pac-10), UCLA sophomore guard Noelle Quinn (2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, All-Pac-10) and Stanford senior guard Kelley Suminski.

POLK NAMED TO WOODEN AWARD WATCH LIST: Junior center Shawntinice Polk was one of 30 players named to the 2004-05 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team, composed of 30 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for the trophy. In mid-January, the committee will release a mid-season Top 20 list, followed in March by the official ballot, consisting of the top 10-15 players. The 2005 award ceremony will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 9, 2005 and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast.

WHEELER, POLK ON WADE TROPHY WATCH LIST: Shawntinice Polk and Dee-Dee Wheeler are two of 31 preseason candidates for the 2004-05 State Farm Wade Trophy, given to the Division I Player of the Year. Arizona was one of seven schools with two or more players on the prestigious list. The candidates were selected by a vote of the national awards committee, which is comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball administrators. Players are selected based on statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.

CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in minutes played average (32.2), third in scoring (1,402), field goals made (546) and field goals attempted (1,185), fourth in scoring average (15.2), steals (214), three-point field goals made (134), three-point field goals attempted (373) and three-point field goal percentage (.359), seventh in games started (87), eighth in free throw percentage (.739) and 10th in total minutes played (2,960) and assists (332).

Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (37), blocks (160), rebounding average (10.5) and field goal percentage (.590), fourth in total rebounds (674), sixth in field goals made (448), eighth in free throws attempted (340) and 11th in scoring (1,087).

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: Should the Wildcats win on Friday, they will face the winner of the McNeese State-Rice game on Sunday, Nov. 14, in the second round of the Preseason WNIT.

WB Welcome Coach Barnes