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Wildcat Women Face Latvian Team in Exhibition
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/31/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 31, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team will face its first outside competition of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 4, with an exhibition game against the Latvian Select team at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center. Admission is $6 for adults, $6 for UA faculty and staff, $4 for senior citizens, and $4 for youth high school age and younger. Tickets for UA students are $4, or students with a Zona Zoo pass can get in for free.

POSSIBLE STARTERS:
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Sr., San Jose, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, So., Hanford, Calif.)
#50 - Shannon Hobson (F/C, 6-2, Fr., Perris, Calif.)
OR
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, So., Inglewood, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, So., Anchorage, Alaska)
OR
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Sr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)

BLUE TEAM:
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, So., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, So., Glengowrie, Australia)
#10 - Linda Pace (G, 5-9, Fr., San Diego, Calif.)
#25 - Rachael Schein (G/F, 5-11, Fr., Las Vegas, Nev.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: With mentions in several preseason polls already, the outlook is quite promising for the Cats this year. Arizona returns 10 letterwinners from a 2003 squad that went 22-9 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-10. The Wildcats were the runners-up in last year's Pac-10 Tournament after finishing in a tie for second with Washington during regular-season conference play.

Three starters return this year, led by All-America candidate center Shawntinice Polk (17.4 ppg), a redshirt sophomore center. Also returning are senior guard Aimee Grzyb (10.5 ppg) and junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler (16.2 ppg). Sophomore guard Natalie Jones could be the heir-apparent for the opening in the lineup left by the graduation of Julie Brase, but senior guard Jessica Duger may figure into that mix as well.

The biggest question for the Cats this year will be replacing starter Krista Warren at the four. At the present, the likely candidate is freshman Shannon Hobson, a 6-2 forward from Perris, Calif., although sophomore forward CoCoa Sanford has been mentioned as a possibility as well.

Junior center Danielle Adefeso and sophomore Anna Chappell will see time off the bench in the forward spots, while sophomore guard Katrina Lindner and freshmen Linda Pace and Rachael Schein add to the depth at the guard spots.

Sophomore guard Phakisha Peterson will redshirt this year, following the discovery of stress fractures in both her lower legs during the summer.

SCOUTING LATVIAN SELECT: The Latvian Select team is a squad of 10 players from Riga, Latvia. The club ranges widely in age, with players as young as 15 and as old as 31. The team will play an eight-game tour, primarily in the western U.S., between Nov. 3-14. Latvian Select will begin its tour on Monday, Nov. 3, playing at UC Santa Barbara, before heading to Tucson for Tuesday's contest with the Wildcats.

LAST MEETING WITH A FOREIGN CLUB: With a team-high 22 points, Dee-Dee Wheeler led five Wildcats who reached double digits in scoring as Arizona trounced BK CZ MUS Strakonice, 90-69, in a home exhibition game on Nov. 11, 2002.

The Wildcats struggled early in the contest and seemed unable to pull away from Strakonice, a club team from the Czech Republic. Strakonice held a three-point (12-9) lead at 12:10 in the first half, then the Cats scored eight unanswered points to go up by five (17-12) two minutes later.

The Czech club scraped back to within one point (17-16) at 9:44, which Arizona answered with a 15-6 run that gave the Cats a 10-point (32-22) advantage with 4:38 left in the half. Strakonice never came any closer than four points for the remainder of the period, and Arizona held a 43-32 lead at halftime.

Arizona extended its lead to 14 points (51-37) by opening the second half with a 9-5 spurt and maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. A 19-8 run late in the contest stretched the UA's lead to 24 points (88-64), its largest of the game, with 1:10 to play. The Wildcats played the final 1:30 of the contest with five freshmen on the floor.

In addition to Wheeler's 22 points, Shawntinice Polk logged 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while shooting 6-for-8 from the floor. Natalie Jones had 16 points off the bench, and Aimee Grzyb contributed 14 points. Krista Warren tallied 12 points and seven rebounds.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: In the Wildcats' annual Red & Blue Game, the Arizona Blue Team dominated the Red (White) Team, 76-60, in McKale Center on Thursday night.

Two of the Wildcats' male practice players led the Blue Team to its win. Kyle Hopkins, a freshman from Santa Barbara, Calif., shot 8-for-10 from the floor on his way to a game-high-tying 20 points. Junior Leo Thornton, a native of Arcadia, Calif., racked up 18 points.

In a contest that saw most of the Wildcat women switching teams at halftime, eight current Cats helped the Blue Team in its victory. Sophomore guard Katrina Lindner, who is recovering from her second ACL injury, was the top-scoring Wildcat on the Blue Team, with seven points. She also had three steals. Freshman forward Shannon Hobson, a starter in the first half for the Red Team, had six points and six rebounds in the second half while playing for the Blue squad.

Senior guard Aimee Grzyb drained six of her eight field goal attempts en route to 20 points for the Red Team. Sophomore center Shawntinice Polk had 14 points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler added seven points. Senior guard Jessica Duger contributed seven points and four assists for the Red squad.

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 13 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to seven post-season appearances, including five NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Entering her 13th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 214-139 (.606) mark at Arizona and is 539-210 (.720) in 23 years as a head coach. She has a career record of 23-15 in NCAA tournament play and has lost in the first round only once 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 118-100 against Pac-10 teams, although they have an 84-45 mark against conference teams over the last six seasons combined.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: Assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) enters her third season with the Wildcats, having gained the additional duties of recruiting coordinator during the off-season. Barney's responsibilities also include scouting, floor work with the players and assisting with the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp.

In his fifth year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting, instructing the post players and assists with recruiting.

The newest member of the staff is first-year assistant Shimmy Gray (Michigan, 1994), who helps with recruiting, scouting and on-floor coaching of both guards and post players for the Wildcats. She also assists in the operations of the Joan Bonvicini Basketball Camp.

LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona will play an Athletes in Action team on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the final preseason tune-up before opening the season officially on Saturday, Nov. 22, against Northern Arizona at 2 p.m.

The Wildcats hit the road for the first time this season during Thanksgiving week. Arizona plays at powerhouse UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. PST. The Cats leave directly from Santa Barbara to fly to Honolulu, Hawai'i, where they will play in the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic on Nov. 28-30.

ARIZONA PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN PAC-10: Both the Pac-10 women's basketball coaches and the conference women's basketball media picked Arizona to finish second in the Pac-10 standings this year, behind Stanford.

POLKEY EARNS A SLEW OF PRESEASON HONORS: The preseason honors just keep rolling in for sophomore center Shawntinice Polk. She has been named a preseason All-American by Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports and Women's Basketball News Service. She has also been named to the list of top 30 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Women's Award, and she is a preseason candidate for the Wade Trophy. Polkey was also named to the five-member Preseason All-Pac-10 Team.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Two Wildcats should reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring this season. Senior guard Aimee Grzyb has amassed 867 career points, just 133 away from 1,000. Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 844 points in her career, needing 156 points to reach 1,000. Whenever one of these players reaches that 1,000-point mark, she will be the first new addition to the UA "1,000-Point Club" since both Elizabeth Pickney and Reshea Bristol joined that list during the 2000-01 season. The "1,000-Point Club" at Arizona is currently comprised of 10 former Wildcats.

ARIZONA'S NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE RANKS AMONG BEST: In the preseason WBCA-Summerville RPI ratings, Arizona's non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 13 out of more than 300 women's basketball teams across the nation. The Cats are scheduled to face such traditional powers as UC Santa Barbara, Virginia, New Mexico and LSU during non-conference action this year. Arizona could also potentially face Final Four participant Texas at the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic in late November.

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT THIRTEEN: The Cats have won 13 games in a row at home, tying 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 logged 13 straight home victories from Nov. 18, 2000, to Feb. 18, 2001. The school record for longest home win streak is 15 games from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

CATS IN THE RANKINGS THIS YEAR: Arizona is nationally ranked in three of the five preseason polls released so far. Lindy's has the Cats at No. 17, Women's Basketball News Service ranks the UA No. 20, and Athlon Sports places the Wildcats at No. 23.

GOING POLLING: Six of Arizona's 2003-04 opponents are nationally ranked in the various preseason polls. Texas, a potential opponent at the Hawai'i tournament, is ranked among the top five teams in all five preseason polls. Its highest ranking is No. 1 in SLAM Magazine, and its lowest ranking is No. 5 in the Athlon Sports poll.

Stanford is also ranked in all five polls, but its standing ranges wildly, depending on the poll. The highest ranking is No. 4 in the Athlon Sports poll, with the lowest being No. 13 in the Women's Basketball News Service rankings.

LSU is ranked in four of the five polls, coming in highest at No. 6 in Lindy's and lowest at No. 21 in Street & Smith's. UC Santa Barbara is also in four of the polls, with a high ranking of No. 10 in the Women's Basketball News Service poll and a low ranking of No. 22 in Street & Smith's.

Virginia is ranked No. 15 in Athlon Sports and No. 20 in Lindy's, while Washington is ranked No. 25 in Lindy's.

HIGH-POWERED OFFENSE: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, Wildcat teams have won 68 games by margins of 20 points or more. Ten of those blowouts happened last season alone.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 42 of their last 52 home games and are 84-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's previous 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 129-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 195-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to the 2001-02 season, Arizona has won 12 of its last 18 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games that season but were just 6-6 on TV last year.

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.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers made (148), third in three-pointers attempted (415), fifth in three-point percentage (.357) and fifth in minutes-played average (30.8 mpg). She needs just seven more points to join Arizona's top 20 all-time leading scorers' list.

Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in career three-point percentage (.366), third in career scoring average (14.4 ppg), tied for third in minutes-played average (31.0 mpg), is seventh in three-point field goals made (89) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (243).

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won nine of their 12 season openers. They had a streak of seven straight season-opening wins snapped with a close 78-71 loss to No. 3 LSU in overtime to begin last season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 374-428 (.466) all-time record, however it is 178-92 (.659) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 208-112 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: Last year, Arizona was 13-1 at home, 7-6 on the road and 2-2 in neutral games.

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