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Wildcat Women Take on Arizona State This Week
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/19/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 19, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: With all of its regular season road trips out of the way, the 25th-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (17-7 overall; 10-5 Pac-10) can look forward to a long three-game homestand to wrap up 2002-03. This week, the Wildcats will take on rival Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. in the McKale Center. The Cats bring regular season action to a close next week against the Bay Area schools at home.

TICKETS: Tickets are always available for Arizona women's basketball games. The cost is $6 for general admission, $4 for senior citizens, $4 for youth (high school & under) and $4 for UA faculty and staff. UA students can get into the games for free with their CatCards.

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.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#31 - Robin Roberson (F/G, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The struggle in road games continued for the Wildcats last weekend, as they slipped to 17-7 overall and 10-5 in Pac-10 play with a split at the L.A. schools. Arizona lost at UCLA, 48-47, on Feb. 14, but recovered to hand USC a solid 78-64 defeat on Feb. 16.

The Wildcats remain in third place in the conference standings, behind Stanford (12-2) and Washington (11-4). Four of Arizona's five conference losses this season have been by eight points or less.

Despite the loss at UCLA, the Wildcats slipped just one spot in the polls this week. Arizona is No. 25 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and is No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

With averages of 17.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With a school-record 17 double-doubles on the season, Polk has the second-highest rebounding total (263) and the second-best point total (421) for any freshman in UA history.

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.5 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.7 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, and is fourth in scoring (11.5 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third on the scoring chart, at 11.7 ppg.

ON-LINE CHAT FOR POLKEY & DEE-DEE: Dee-Dee Wheeler and Polkey will be participating in an on-line chat on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 1:15 p.m. on the official University of Arizona web site, www.arizonaathletics.com.

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT TEN: The Cats have won 10 games in a row at home, the second-longest home win streak in the program's history. The last time the Wildcats won that many consecutive home games was when they set the school record at 15 straight from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.485) and rebounding (39.8 rpg) and is second in scoring (74.8 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.385), rebounding margin (+4.8 rpg), blocked shots (3.71 bpg), assists (18.38 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.98).

Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (11.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (.621) and is second in scoring (17.5 ppg) and blocked shots (2.38 bpg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.12) and is third in assists (4.42 apg). Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.589), while Aimee Grzyb is third in the league in three-pointers per game (1.83 pg).

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Feb. 17, Shawntinice Polk is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (.621), while Krista Warren (.589) is 13th in the same category. Polk is also 11th in the nation in rebounding average (11.0 rpg) and 18th in blocked shots (2.4 bpg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.485), 10th in assists per game (18.4 apg) and 24th in scoring (74.8 ppg).

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils are 14-10 overall and 6-9 in conference action after being swept at USC (64-56) and at UCLA (71-62) last weekend. ASU has lost four straight conference road games and is just 1-7 in Pac-10 action away from Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils' lone conference road win was a 66-58 victory at Washington State on Jan. 11.

With 13.2 points per game, freshman guard Jill Noe leads three ASU players averaging in double digits in scoring. Freshman forward Amy Denson is second in scoring, at 10.6 ppg, and is the team's top rebounder, averaging 6.3 boards per game. Another freshman forward, Kristen Kovesdy is third in scoring (10.1 ppg) and second in rebounding (6.3 rpg).

Head coach Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford, 1988) holds a 104-96 record in her seventh season at Arizona State. She is 144-136 in nine years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils hold a 36-27 lead in the series with Arizona and have won five of the last six meetings with the Wildcats. Earlier this season, ASU handed Arizona a 73-58 loss in Tempe. The Wildcats last defeated Arizona State, 72-66, on Feb. 23, 2002, in McKale during last season's home finale. Arizona has a 13-16 all-time record when facing the Sun Devils in Tucson.

LAST MEETING WITH ARIZONA STATE: Arizona State used a game-opening 21-6 run to give it the momentum needed to roll to a 73-58 win over then-No. 19 Arizona in Tempe on Jan. 23.

The Wildcats scored the first bucket of the game at 18:33, which ASU promptly answered 20 seconds later. The Cats gained a 4-2 edge at 17:58, and that was the last time they led in the game as ASU out-scored Arizona, 19-2, over the next five minutes to gain a 15-point lead. The Wildcats fought back to within four points (23-19) with 5:18 to go in the half, but the Sun Devils held a solid eight-point (32-24) lead at halftime.

Arizona State expanded its lead to 11 points (37-26) early in the second half, then Arizona used a 20-10 run to cut the spread to just one point (47-46) with 8:50 left in the game. ASU responded with six unanswered points to go back up by seven (53-46), and Wildcat leading scorer Shawntinice Polk fouled out with just over seven minutes to play. Arizona never came any closer than four points after that as the Sun Devils handed the Cats their third straight loss in Tempe.

Despite being saddled with foul trouble most of the game, Polk finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season. Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring, tallying a team-high 14 points. Natalie Jones and Robin Roberson came off the bench for nine points apiece, and Krista Warren added seven points and four rebounds.

RECAPPING THE LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The struggles on the road continued for the Wildcats last weekend as they split a pair of games in Los Angeles.

Held to its lowest offensive output in four years, Arizona was edged at UCLA, 48-47, on Feb. 14 . The game started off slow for both teams, but Arizona managed an 11-4 edge in the first seven minutes. Over the next 13 minutes, however, the Wildcats shot just 1-for-10 from the field, scored only seven points and committed eight turnovers. UCLA took advantage of the Cats' miscues and used a 19-7 spurt to gain a 23-18 lead at halftime.

The start of the second half seemed good for the Cats, as they began the period with a 15-4 run that put them up by six (33-27) with 14:13 to play. Arizona still held on to a five-point (43-38) edge with 9:10 to go, then the Cats fell into the same kind of slump they suffered in the first half. Over the final nine minutes of the game, Arizona shot just 2-for-10 from the floor.

The Cats did have a two-point (47-45) with 3:07 to play, but they gave up a bucket at 1:58, allowing UCLA to tie the game. Then Dee-Dee Wheeler fouled Bruin Gennifer Arranaga at 1:07, and Arranaga hit the second of her two free throw attempts and scored what proved to be the game-winning point. Arizona had the ball with 11 seconds remaining, but a trey by Wheeler clanged off the rim, as the Cats shot a miserable 3-for-20 from three-point range in the game.

Wheeler finished with a game-high 16 points, including 14 in the second half alone, and logged four rebounds and a trio of steals. Shawntinice Polk was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures in scoring, registering her 17th double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

On Feb. 16, the Wildcats rallied from an 11-point deficit to defeat USC, 78-64, in Los Angeles. The win gave Arizona its first sweep of USC since the 1998-99 season.

As always, the Wildcats began the game with a strong start, gaining a 24-8 advantage over the first nine minutes of the contest. Things went downhill from there, however, as Arizona committed eight turnovers and shot just 3-for-10 over the next 11 minutes. The Cats didn't hit a field goal in the final 3:53 of the half but were still up, 34-29, at the break.

Forced to begin the second half without star Shawntinice Polk, who went down with a sprained ankle with 23 seconds left in the first stanza, the Wildcats were completely out of sync at the start of the second. USC dominated the Cats and opened the period with a 20-4 run that gave the Women of Troy an 11-point (49-38) lead at 12:28.

That's when Polk came out of the Wildcat locker room and joined her teammates. She was back on the floor at 12:06, and from that point, the Cats went on an 11-1 run that got them back to within one point (50-49) with 10:36 to play.

USC pushed the lead to five (54-49) a minute later, but that was the last time they would have control of the contest, as Arizona out-scored the Women of Troy, 29-10, over the final nine minutes to pull out the victory.

Scoring 19 of her points in the second half, Dee-Dee Wheeler led Arizona with 23 points, five rebounds and four steals. Julie Brase shot a blazing 7-for-10 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from three-point range, on her way to a season-high 20 points. Polk added 14 points, five rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

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 209-137 (.604) mark at Arizona and is 534-208 (.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.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, the Wildcats will end regular season play at home against the Bay Area schools. The Cats will take on conference leader Stanford on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., then Arizona will wrap up regular season action against California on Saturday, Mar. 1, at 1 p.m.

The week after that, the Wildcats head for San Jose, Calif., to participate in the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament on Mar. 7-10 at HP Pavilion. All 10 conference women's teams will participate in the tournament, with the bottom four seeds competing in "play-in" games on Friday, Mar. 7. First-round action officially begins on Saturday, Mar. 8.

INJURY REPORT: Shawntinice Polk suffered a high right ankle sprain at USC on Feb. 16 and is currently listed as day-to-day. She is probable for this weekend's game against Arizona State.

Freshman guard Katrina Lindner tore her left knee ACL during practice on Feb. 7, and will be out for the remainder of the season. Lindner had to redshirt last year after tearing her right knee ACL during the team's annual Red & Blue Game in Oct. 2001.

POLKEY SETS NEW BLOCKS RECORD: With 57 blocked shots on the year, Shawntinice Polk has set a new school record for single-season blocks. The old record was 53, set by Tonee Buntin in 1981-82 and tied by Marte Alexander in 1997-98.

THREE-POINT DROUGHT: After shooting a solid 38.4 percent (86-224) from three-point range over the first 16 contests of the season, the Wildcats have hit just 27.4 percent (34-124) from beyond the arc in the last eight games.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 39 of their last 49 home games and are 81-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 126-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 192-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona's numbers at home have simply been outstanding this season. Not only are the Cats 10-1 in home contests this season, they have out-scored opponents by an average of 16.2 points per game and have out-rebounded opponents by an average of 7.7 boards per game. Arizona is hitting a whopping 50.0 percent (353-706) of its shots from the field in home games. The Cats are averaging 78.8 points, 41.4 rebounds and 20.5 assists per game in McKale this season.

TIRED OF LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE: The Wildcats have had a rough time in road games this season, especially since the start of Pac-10 play. Arizona went just 4-5 in Pac-10 road games and lost four of its last six road contests in conference action. To make matters worse, Arizona has played just six games at home since Dec. 22. The Wildcats have played 13 road games this year, and USC is the only Pac-10 team that has been on the road more than Arizona, with 14 away games.

Struggling on the road has become a disturbing trend for Arizona over the last few seasons. Since the 2000-01 season, the Wildcats are just 16-22 when playing on the road, including a paltry 10-17 mark in Pac-10 road games. The last time the Cats had a winning road record was in 1999-2000, when they were 9-4 overall and 7-2 in Pac-10 away games.

AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, and that's definitely the way it's been for the last several weeks. Over the Cats' last eight wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 19.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 52.9 percent (63-119) from the field, including 42.4 percent (14-33) from three-point range.

In the last four losses, Wheeler averaged only 13.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg. She shot just 36.6 percent (23-63) from the field and a mere 19.2 percent (5-26) from beyond the arc.

On the season, Arizona is 8-0 when Dee-Dee Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 13-2 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 3-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 16-4 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their seven losses... Arizona is 12-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 17-3 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 12-2 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 5-5 when three or fewer players get to double figures... The Wildcats are 10-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

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 148-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 108-14 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 61.6 percent (233-378) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only 11 games.

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.

BUT WE'RE GETTING BETTER...: The positive is that, after shooting just 57.3 percent (130-227) from the line over the first 15 games of the season, the Wildcats have hit 68.2 percent (103-151) of their free throws over the last nine contests. The Cats shot a season-high 85.0 percent (17-20) from the line when they played at USC on Feb. 16.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 21 double-doubles 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 Feb. 17 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 33, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 74. Eight of the Cats' opponents this season are currently in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- LSU (No. 4), Stanford (No. 15), Georgia (No. 18), Illinois (No. 22), Ohio State (No. 28), Washington (No. 34), Pepperdine (No. 39) and New Mexico (No. 44).

GOING POLLING: Seven 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. 4, Stanford is No. 9, Georgia is No. 13 and Washington is No. 23. Ohio State was among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 4, Stanford is No. 8, Georgia is No. 16 and Washington is No. 25. Ohio State, Pepperdine and UCLA all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 10 of its last 14 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 4-4 on TV this year.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is fourth on the UA career list in three-pointers made (116), fourth in three-pointers attempted (317), tied for fourth in three-point percentage (.366) and is 10th in total minutes played (2752).

Senior forward Krista Warren is fifth in career rebounding average (5.6 rpg), fifth in total rebounds (594), tied for sixth in field goal percentage (.507) and is tied for ninth in double-doubles (8).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (388), third in three-pointers made (142), fourth in minutes-played average (30.8 mpg) and tied for fourth in career three-point percentage (.366).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in career three-point percentage (.383), fifth in minutes-played average (30.6 mpg), eighth in three-point field goals made (79) and eighth in three-pointers attempted (206).

CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona is giving up an average of 9.5 more points per game in the second half than in the first... 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 369-426 (.464) all-time record, however it is 173-90 (.658) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 203-111 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 10-1 in home games, 7-6 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.

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