COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team hosts Rice for a 1 p.m. game this Sunday, Nov. 14, in the second round of the Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona won its 28th consecutive home game Friday night, defeating Saint Mary’s 87-72 in the first round of the Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT to open the 2004-05 season. The Wildcats shot 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range on the game, compared to the 41 percent and 52 percent, respectively, of the Gaels. Arizona edged Saint Mary’s in rebounds, 39-35 and forced 23 Gael turnovers. However, 42 of Saint Mary’s 72 points came off their 14 three-pointers. Junior Shannon Hobson led the Wildcats in scoring with a career-high 21 points. She also added seven rebounds. Freshman Jessica Arnold, starting her first collegiate game, finished with 17 points, all of which came in the first half, on 5-of-6 from three-point range. She also added two steals, two rebounds, an assist and a block. Junior All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk picked up her 38th career double-double, finishing with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while senior Dee-Dee Wheeler added 10 points and game highs of seven assists and three steals.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Rice senior Michelle Woods recorded a double-double to lead the Lady Owls to a 62-43 Preseason WNIT first-round victory over McNeese State Friday night. Woods finished the night with 16 points and 18 rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting. Sophomores Lauren Neaves and Krystal Frazier each scored 13 points, while Neaves added eight rebounds. As a team, Rice shot 34 percent (25-of-65) from the field and out-rebounded the Cowgirls 56-34.
The Owls were picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference behind Louisiana Tech. Meanwhile, Neaves and Woods were named to the Preseason All-WAC first team. Neaves, a first team All-WAC, All-Defensive and All-Newcomer selection last season, is Rice’s top returning shooter, shot blocker and rebounder. Woods is the Owls’ top returning three-point shooter.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona is 2-0 all-time against Rice. The two teams last met on Dec. 8, 2001, in Houston, Texas, with the Wildcats winning 74-65.
PRESEASON WNIT TIDBITS:
¨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.
¨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: The Wildcats are 2-1 all-time in the Preseason WNIT, now in its 11th year. This is Arizona’s second appearance and the Preseason WNIT. 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.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 28: The Cats have won 28 games in a row at home, tied with Louisiana Tech for the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (36). 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.
ARNOLD FIRST FRESHMAN TO START SINCE ’98: Freshman Jessica Arnold’s start on Friday night was the first time in six years (since the 1998-99 season) that a true freshman started her first career game. The last Wildcat to accomplish the feat was Elizabeth Pickney, who started in Arizona’s season-opening win over Wisconsin-Green Bay at the Nebraska tournament. Pickney finished with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Arizona junior Shawntinice Polk started her first game as a Wildcat, but she had redshirted the previous season.
WILDCAT FRESHMEN MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Arizona’s four freshmen - Jessica Arnold, Ch?© Oh, Chari Smith and Ashley Whisonant - are making their presence felt. In Friday’s win over Saint Mary’s, the foursome accounted for 39 percent of the Wildcats’ points (34 of 87) and 34 percent of the minutes (68 of 200).
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Friday night was a close call, but point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler finished with 10 points to move her streak of double-figure scoring games to 34 and counting. The last time the Chicago native failed to reach double digits in the scoring column was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 81 of her 93 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 38 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and one as a junior). The longest streak came at the start of her career, when she opened the 2002-03 season with eight consecutive double-doubles. During her three seasons, the Wildcats are 28-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
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.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in minutes played average (32.2), third in scoring (1,412), field goals made (551) and field goals attempted (1,198), fourth in scoring average (15.2), steals (217), three-point field goals made (134) and three-point field goals attempted (377), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.355), seventh in games started (88), eighth in free throw percentage (.739), and ninth in total minutes played (2,992) and assists (339).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (38), blocks (163), rebounding average (10.7) and field goal percentage (.593), fourth in total rebounds (686), sixth in field goals made (456), eighth in free throws attempted (343) and 11th in scoring (1,104).
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 Sunday, they will face the winner of the Saint Joseph’s-Ohio State game on Wednesday, Nov. 17, in the semifinals of the Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT.