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UA Women's Basketball Faces Arizona State in Regular-Season Finale
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/19/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 19, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (13-13 overall, 9-8 Pac-10) wraps up regular-season play on Saturday, Feb. 23, against rival Arizona State at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center. The contest will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net, which is a plus for the Cats, who are 5-0 when playing on TV this season.

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) - 8.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.6 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 16.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) - 12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.4 apg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) - 10.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.0 apg
20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) - 5.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.6 apg

OFF THE BENCH:
4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) - 9.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.2 spg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 9.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg
31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) - 4.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.8 apg
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) - 1.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.1 bpg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) - 0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg

SCOUTING ARIZONA: After splitting with the L.A. schools at home last weekend, the Wildcats are 13-13 overall and 9-8 in Pac-10 action, currently holding down seventh place in the conference standings. The Cats logged a 77-62 win over UCLA at home last Thursday, but lost to USC, 71-64, last Saturday.

Arizona has already equalled last season's conference win total, despite a worse overall record. The Cats' 13 losses this year are the most since the 1994-95 team lost 19 games.

With a 16.8 ppg average, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney leads the Wildcats in scoring. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 12.8 ppg, followed by sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb (10.4 ppg) and senior center LaKeisha Taylor (9.7 ppg).

Pickney is also the team's top rebounder, averaging 8.1 boards per game. Krista Warren is a close second with an average of 8.0 rpg, while Taylor is third, grabbing 5.7 rpg.

As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.742), is second in scoring (74.8 ppg), second in three-point field goal percentage (.369), third in overall field goal percentage (.434), third in three-pointers made per game (6.00 pg) and third in assists (15.19 apg).

Individually, the Cats have three players among the conference top-20 in scoring -- Elizabeth Pickney is fifth (16.8 ppg), Dee-Dee Wheeler is 11th (12.8 ppg) and Aimee Grzyb is 18th (10.4 ppg). Candice Allen is fourth in steals (2.16 spg), and Krista Warren is fifth in rebounding (8.0 rpg). Pickney is also fourth in blocked shots (1.23 bpg), fourth in rebounding (8.1 rpg) and fifth in free throw percentage (.840).

HONORING THE SENIORS: Arizona's two seniors -- Elizabeth Pickney and LaKeisha Taylor -- will be honored in a brief ceremony following Saturday's contest.

FREE-WHEELIN': Freshman Dee-Dee Wheeler has been an exceptional rookie all season, but over the last six games, she has been phenomenal. She has averaged 17.2 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game over that stretch. She has also been shooting 61.7 percent (37-60) from the floor, 60.9 percent (14-23) from three-point range and 78.9 percent (15-19) from the line. Wheeler is among the current Pac-10 leaders in seven different statistical categories.

Wheeler has reached double digits in scoring in 19 games this season. That's the highest number of double-digit scoring performances for any Wildcat freshman since Elizabeth Pickney tallied 19 during the 1998-99 season.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: With five wins in their last six games, the Sun Devils are 21-7 overall and 12-5 in the Pac-10, currently standing alone in second place. ASU swept USC (67-60) and UCLA (64-42) at home last weekend. The Sun Devils are not currently ranked, but they did receive votes for ranking in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Senior guard Amanda Levens leads ASU in scoring, with a 17.1 ppg average. Senior center Melody Johnson follows at 12.1 ppg and is the team's top rebounder, at 6.5 rpg. Sophomore forward Betsy Boardman is third on the team in scoring, with an average of 9.3 ppg, and senior forward Cian Carvalho is second in rebounding, grabbing 5.8 rpg.

As a team, Arizona State is leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.1 ppg), three-point field goal percentage defense (.298) and rebounding defense (32.7 rpg). Amanda Levens is the conference's third-leading scorer (17.1 ppg), and Melody Johnson is second in field goal percentage (.552).

In her sixth year with the Sun Devils, head coach Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford, 1988) holds an 86-84 record at ASU. She has a career record of 126-124 in nine years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils have a 34-26 edge in the series with Arizona, including wins in each of the last three meetings. Arizona had 14-game win streak against ASU broken last season when the Sun Devils swept the Cats. Earlier this season, Arizona State handed the Wildcats an 87-64 thumping in Tempe on Dec. 30. Arizona is 13-15 all-time against the Sun Devils in Tucson.

LAST MEETING WITH ARIZONA STATE: Arizona's road woes continued on Dec. 30, as the Wildcats fell to rival Arizona State, 87-64, in Tempe. It was the Cats' worst loss to the Sun Devils since 1981.

With eight turnovers and nine missed shots in their first 20 possessions of the game, the Wildcats found themselves down by seven (14-7) midway through the first half. Arizona cut the lead down to one three times, then ASU scored nine unanswered points to take a 10-point (28-18) lead at 6:19. The two teams traded buckets through the remainder of the half, and the Sun Devils held an 11-point (41-30) lead at the break.

ASU pushed its lead to 19 (60-41) with 11:17 left in the game, but the Wildcats made an 11-2 surge to chop the deficit to only 10 (62-52) at 9:04. The Sun Devils stopped the Wildcat run with a three-pointer just seconds later, and Arizona never recovered as ASU out-scored the Cats, 22-12, down the stretch to claim its third straight win over the UA.

Freshman Dee-Dee Wheeler led Arizona with 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and a trio of steals. Junior wing Krista Warren added 14 points and five rebounds, while senior forward Elizabeth Pickney had 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb contributed nine points, as did senior center LaKeisha Taylor.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: After digging themselves a 21-point hole at halftime, Arizona dropped a 71-64 decision to USC at home on Feb. 16.

The Women of Troy jumped on the Cats right away, going up by an 11-2 spread in the first four minutes of the game. Arizona scrapped back to within five several times over the next four minutes, but USC went on a 12-1 run to gain a 16-point (29-13) lead at 7:39.

The Wildcats scored a pair of buckets to get to within 12 with just under six minutes remaining in the half, only to see USC out-score them, 15-6, for the remainder of the period. The Women of Troy held a massive 44-23 lead at the break, marking Arizona's largest halftime deficit of the season.

The Wildcats came out with intensity in the second half and opened the period with nine unanswered points to chop the deficit to 12 (44-32) in the first five minutes. Arizona couldn't seem to get any closer, and eventually USC fought back out to a 19-point (63-44) lead with 5:02 left in the game.

That was when the Cats went on a 20-3 run of their own over the next four-and-a-half minutes. That spurt was highlighted by three 3-pointers from freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler. Down only 66-64 with 36 seconds left in the game, Arizona was unable to get any other shots to drop after that. The Cats' strategy to foul and stop the clock was unsuccessful, as USC went 5-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win.

Wheeler finished the contest with a career- and game-high 21 points, three assists and three steals for the Cats. Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb had 11 points, as the only other Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring. Junior wing Krista Warren contributed eight points and a team-high seven rebounds, while senior forward Elizabeth Pickney was held to just eight points and six rebounds.

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 192-130 (.596) mark at Arizona and is 517-201 (.720) 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 102-93 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 68-38 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 10th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. In his third 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. New assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) was just added to the Wildcat staff on Feb. 11. She will assist primarily with recruiting, scouting and floor work with the players.

LOOKING AHEAD: All 10 Pac-10 women's teams will head up to Eugene, Ore., for the inaugural Pac-10 Conference Tournament on Mar. 1-4.

On Friday, Mar. 1, the No. 7 and No. 10 seeds will play at 6:30 p.m. PST, followed by the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds at 8:45 p.m. PST. Saturday, Mar. 2, will feature the No. 2 seed versus the winner of the No. 7/No. 10 game (12 p.m. PST), the No. 3 seed versus the No. 6 seed (2:15 p.m. PST), the No. 1 seed against the winner of the No. 8/No. 9 game (6 p.m. PST) and the No. 4 seed versus the No. 5 seed (8:15 p.m. PST). On Sunday, Mar. 3, the first semifinal game will be at 12:30 p.m. PST, with the second semifinal game at 3 p.m. PST.

The championship game will be played on Monday, Mar. 4, at 7:30 p.m. PST. The winner of the conference tournament receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. First- and second-round NCAA games will be played Mar. 15-18.

NEWS FROM BEYOND THE ARC: With one game left in league competition, the Wildcats have already set a new school record for the most three-point field goals made in Pac-10 play. This year's squad has amassed 98 three-pointers in conference action, breaking the previous mark of 95 made by the 1995-96 team.

RECORD WATCH: Elizabeth Pickney has tied former Wildcats Adia Barnes and Lisa Griffith as Arizona's all-time leaders in games started, with 110. A start against ASU on Saturday will make Pickney Arizona's new career leader in games started (111).

Pickney also needs to make only five more free throws to become Arizona's career leader in free throws made. The current record is 472, set by Adia Barnes (1995-98), and Pickney has 468.

MUSICAL LINEUPS: Although she has had only 10 active players available all season, Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini has used eight different starting lineups this year. The lineup most frequently used has been Krista Warren, Elizabeth Pickney, Dee-Dee Wheeler, Aimee Grzyb and Julie Brase, used in 10 games with a 6-4 mark. The most successful lineup, with a 3-1 record, was Warren, Pickney, Grzyb, Brase and LaKeisha Taylor.

NOTING THE PAC-10: With its win over Washington last Thursday, Stanford has clinched the 2002 Pac-10 title, now holding a perfect 16-0 conference mark. Arizona State remains alone in second place with a 12-5 Pac-10 record, followed closely by Washington with an 11-5 mark. USC is in fourth (10-6), with Oregon and Oregon State tied for fifth at 9-7 each. Arizona is still in seventh place, with a 9-8 conference record. UCLA (3-13 Pac-10), California (2-14) and Washington State (0-16) round out the conference standings.

STRONG DOWN THE STRETCH: Over the last eight contests, Elizabeth Pickney has averaged 19.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. She has hit 46.1 percent (47-102) of her shots from the floor and 82.4 percent (56-68) from the free throw line.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW: During 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 13 games, the Cats have averaged 80.5 ppg and have been shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc while collecting an 8-5 mark.

PUT UP SOME POINTS: The Cats are 6-3 this season when Elizabeth Pickney scores 20 points or more.

GOING POLLING: Seven 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 in the No. 2 spot, and Notre Dame moves up to No. 22. New Mexico and Washington both received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is the only opponent ranked, also at No. 2. Notre Dame, Arizona State, Pepperdine, Holy Cross and New Mexico were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.

CLOSE BUT...: Thirteen of Arizona's 26 games this season have been decided by nine points or less, with eight of those being decided by five points or less.

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 145. Pickney is tied for first in career games started (110), is second in scoring (1606), second in free throws made (468), second in free throws attempted (608), second in field goals made (565), second in total rebounds (724), third in career rebounding average (6.1 rpg), tied for third in scoring average (13.5 ppg), fourth in double-doubles (11), fourth in field goals attempted (1147), fourth in free throw percentage (.770) and fifth in total minutes played (3273).

Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.369), seventh in career three-pointers made (82) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (222). Aimee Grzyb is fourth in three-point percentage (.363), fourth in three-pointers made (97) and fifth in three-pointers attempted (267).

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Although the McKale Center has historically been kind to the Cats, they already have six losses at home this season, their most losses in McKale since the 1994-95 team dropped seven home games.

The Wildcats have won 28 of their last 37 home games and are 50-14 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 115-49 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 181-157 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 140-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 100-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 19 of this season's 26 games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in 15 games... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 10 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 11 contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in eight games.

KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 6-0 when shooting 80% or better from the line... 6-4 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 10-2 when leading at halftime... 12-5 when scoring 70 points or more... 10-4 when shooting better than its opponent from the free throw line... 10-1 when holding its opponent to 69 points or less.

BUT ON THE LOSING END...: The Cats are... 0-6 when giving up 80 points or more... 3-9 when shooting worse from the free throw line than the opponent... 2-10 when trailing at halftime... 3-8 when making fewer three-pointers than the opponent... 7-13 when shooting less than 80% from the line... 1-8 when scoring 69 points or less... 4-9 when three or fewer players reach double digits in scoring... 3-8 when shooting under 40% from the floor.

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