Nov. 4, 2003
Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 4) - Nearly every player scored for the University of Arizona women's basketball team as the Wildcats steam-rolled the Latvian Select team, 87-52, in an exhibition game at home on Tuesday.
The Cats opened the contest with a 13-5 spurt that was countered with a 9-2 run by the Latvians, cutting Arizona's lead to just one (15-14) midway through the first half. Arizona answered with a 13-3 run that gave the Cats an 11-point lead (28-17) with six minutes left in the period. The Wildcats closed the half with a 21-7 run that gave them a monster 49-24 lead at the break.
Barely six minutes into the second half, Arizona pushed its lead to 38 points (70-32). The Cats hovered around that spread for about five minutes on the clock, then stretched it to 40 points (80-40) with 8:06 to play. That would be the Wildcats' largest lead of the night, as head coach Joan Bonvicini took advantage of the spread to give her bench plenty of playing time. The Latvians out-scored the Cats, 12-7, over the final eight minutes, but the cushion proved to be enough as Arizona logged a win over its first outside competition of the 2003-04 season.
"At times we played really well tonight. We were able to get a good lead, which allowed us to play everyone," said Bonvicini, who is beginning her 13th season at the helm of the Wildcat program. "We will definitely learn from this, and we will be able to get better because of this game. This was a good way to start this season and a good way to give everyone a chance to play."
Eleven of the 12 Wildcats who played made it onto the scoreboard during the game. Sophomore center Shawntinice Polk racked up 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks while playing just 17 minutes in the contest. Senior guard Aimee Grzyb came off the bench for 14 points, hitting four of her five 3-point attempts.
Sophomore guard Natalie Jones added 12 points and nine rebounds, and freshman forward Shannon Hobson just missed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds and nine points. Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler contributed 11 points and a game-high six assists.
The Wildcats, who are ranked No. 22 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, will play one more tune-up against an Athletes in Action team on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in McKale Center. Arizona officially tips-off the season against Northern Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 2 p.m.