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UA Women's Basketball Opens Three-Game Road Swing at Arizona State
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/28/2001
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 28, 2001

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (5-5 overall, 1-1 Pac-10) plays its first conference road game of the season this weekend, taking on Arizona State on Sunday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. in Tempe. The contest begins a stretch that will see Arizona play seven of the next 10 games on the road.

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) - 7.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.7 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 18.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 spg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) - 12.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) - 8.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.6 apg

OFF THE BENCH:
20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) - 4.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.8 apg
31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) - 5.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.0 apg
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) - 0.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) - 0.7 ppg, 0.7 rpg
4 - Candice Allen (INJ) (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) - 9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.4 spg

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats climbed back up to .500 with a 66-61 win over California at home on Dec. 21. Arizona now stands at 5-5 overall and 1-1 in Pac-10 play. The 5-5 record is the program's worst start since the 1998-99 team began that season 5-5.

Three Wildcats are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by senior forward Elizabeth Pickney with 18.1 points per game. Pickney is also second in rebounding, at 8.2 per game.

Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is the second-leading scorer with 12.9 ppg, followed by senior center LaKeisha Taylor's 10.8 ppg. Taylor is third in rebounding, averaging 5.4 rpg. Junior wing Krista Warren is the team's top rebounder, with an average of 8.5 rpg.

As a team, Arizona is leading the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.761) and is third in field goal percentage defense (.411), three-point field goal percentage (.345) and three-pointers made per game (5.8 pg). Individually, Elizabeth Pickney is second in the conference in blocked shots (1.60 bpg), Krista Warren is third in rebounding (8.5 rpg), and Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in steals (2.60 spg).

FACT OF THE WEEK: The Cats are 4-0 this season when Elizabeth Pickney scores 20 points or more.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: With eight wins in their last nine games, the Sun Devils are 10-3 overall and 1-1 in Pac-10 play after splitting with the Bay Area schools at home last weekend. ASU fell to No. 6 Stanford, 75-66, on Dec. 21, then defeated Cal, 63-49, on Dec. 23.

Senior guard Amanda Levens leads Arizona State and is second in the Pac-10 in scoring with an average of 20.2 ppg. Fellow senior Melody Johnson is second with 11.0 ppg and is leading the team in rebounding with 5.8 rpg. Eight different Sun Devils are averaging three points or more per game.

Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford, 1988) has a 75-80 record in her sixth season with the Sun Devils. She holds a 115-120 record in nine years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. ARIZONA STATE: Arizona State leads the series with Arizona, 33-26. The Sun Devils swept the Wildcats last year, 67-57 in Tempe and 70-67 in overtime in Tucson. Last year's wins over Arizona were the first for ASU since 1993 and ended a 14-game Wildcat win streak in the series. Arizona has a 12-17 record all-time when playing the Sun Devils in Tempe.

LAST MEETING WITH ARIZONA STATE: Twenty-two turnovers and abysmal shooting from three-point range led to Arizona's 70-67 overtime defeat at home by rival Arizona State on Feb. 24, 2001. The loss gave the then-23rd-ranked Sun Devils their first season sweep of the Wildcats since 1993.

The first half was close the entire way, with eight ties and neither team leading by more than four points at any time. The Sun Devils held a two-point (35-33) advantage at halftime.

Arizona State opened the second half with a 9-2 spurt that pushed its lead to nine (44-35) at 16:03. With its own 22-11 run, the UA fought back to a two-point (57-55) lead at 5:34. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the contest. With the game tied at 61-all, the Cats missed a free throw and a put-back with only seconds remaining to see the contest go into overtime.

Arizona State dominated the overtime period, allowing the UA only a one-point (67-66) lead once. The Sun Devils converted four free throws and forced a UA turnover during the final 58 seconds to take the victory.

Elizabeth Pickney hit 8-for-12 from the field en route to 19 points, five rebounds and a trio of blocks. Krista Warren added eight points and four rebounds, while Candice Allen had six points and three rebounds.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Senior center Elizabeth Pickney collected her third double-double of the season, and second in as many games, while leading Arizona to a 66-61 win over California at home on Dec. 21.

Arizona opened the game with a 10-5 run, which California answered with an 11-4 run to gain a two-point (14-12) edge at 13:14. The two squads traded buckets, and neither team led by more than four points, over the next six minutes. The Wildcats closed the half with a 14-4 run that gave them the 36-27 lead at halftime.

Cal began the second half with 13-5 run over the first five minutes that cut Arizona's lead to only one (41-40). Through the next 12 minutes, there were four ties but only two lead changes as the Wildcats barely retained control of the game.

The score was tied at 59-59 with 2:52 left. Arizona connected on back-to-back layups and a free throw to go up by five (64-59) with 1:45 remaining. Cal's Ami Forney registered a layup and brought the Bears to within three (64-61) at 1:32.

The Cats committed back-to-back turnovers, but Cal was unable to capitalize on the miscues. Junior wing Krista Warren drained a pair of free throws with only nine seconds remaining to give the Cats their final spread of five.

Pickney shot 9-for-14 from the floor on her way to a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds, recording the ninth double-double of her career. Warren grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and added nine points, while freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler had 12 points and four assists. Fellow freshman Robin Roberson, who hails from Berkeley, came off the bench for 11 points and six rebounds.

INJURY REPORT: Sophomore guard Candice Allen suffered a grade-three concussion against Holy Cross on Nov. 30 and just returned to workouts on Dec. 28. She is doubtful for Sunday's game and is questionable for next weekend's contests in Oregon.

Freshman guard Katrina Lindner tore her right ACL during the Cats' annual Red & Blue Game on Oct. 30, and sophomore guard Jenn Chesney also tore her right ACL during preseason workouts in September. Both players will be redshirting this year.

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 184-122 (.601) mark at Arizona and is 509-193 (.725) 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 95-86 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 61-31 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. The Cats are currently in the process of searching for a new assistant coach to replace Karen Caires, who resigned on Dec. 21.

NEW WILDCAT ON THE WAY: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, are expecting their first child in April 2002.

ROUGH START: The Cats' 4-5 start was the worst start ever for a Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona and is the program's worst record through the first nine games since the 1988-89 season.

HOME GAME TIME CHANGED: The game time for the Wildcats' home contest against Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 2, has been moved to 4 p.m. to accomodate television broadcast. The game, which had originally been slated for a 2 p.m. tip, will be aired live in Tucson on KWBA channel 58 and in Prescott and Phoenix on KUSK at 4 p.m. MST.

FREE THROWS AND TURNOVERS TELL THE TALE: The Cats have been getting to the free throw line often enough during this season's games, but it's only when they shoot well, really well, from the stripe that they win. Arizona has shot 83.2 percent (94-113) from the line in the season's five victories. In the Cats' five losses, they hit only 67.7 percent (65-96) from the stripe. Arizona is also averaging 5.8 more free throws made per game in its wins than its losses.

Arizona needs to take care of the ball to win too. In their wins, the Cats have averaged only 19.6 turnovers per game, but in their losses, they committed 24.6 turnovers per game.

BOMBS AWAY: Arizona is averaging 5.8 three-pointers made per game so far this year, having nailed 58 treys over the first 10 games of this season. They were 13 games into the 2001 season before they collected that many three-pointers made last year.

CLOSE BUT...: Five of Arizona's 10 games this season have been decided by five points or less. Two of the Wildcats' five losses were by a combined three points.

CLEANING THE GLASS: Junior wing Krista Warren has had three double-digit rebounding performances already this year. Over the last three games, she has averaged 13.0 rebounds per contest, including performances of 18 boards on Dec. 16 and 15 rebounds on Dec. 21.

PERIMETER DEFENSE?: After allowing opponents to hit only 26 three-pointers over the first five games of the season, the Cats have struggled with their perimeter defense lately, giving up 39 treys in over the last five games.

LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona begins the new year with a pair of games in Oregon next weekend. The Cats play at Oregon on Friday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. PST, then they take on Oregon State on Sunday, Jan. 6, in Corvallis at 2 p.m. PST.

The Wildcats return home for a trio of games in the second weekend of January. Arizona plays Washington State on Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m., then faces Washington on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 12 p.m. The Cats wrap up that homestand against UC Santa Barbara on Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m.

MOVIN' ON UP: Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney recently moved up into the No. 2 spot on Arizona's all-time scoring list, now with 1350 career points. She will finish her career as the second-leading scorer in Arizona history. It would be impossible for her to catch Arizona's all-time leading scorer, Adia Barnes (1995-98), who racked up 2237 career points.

STRONG SCHEDULE: Five 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 is the only opponent ranked, standing at No. 6. Arizona State, Notre Dame and New Mexico all received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is ranked at No. 6. Arizona State, Washington and Notre Dame were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.

CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 15 different statistical categories. She recently became Arizona's career leader in blocked shots, now with 129. Pickney is second in career scoring (1350), second in free throws made (378), second in free throws attempted (502), tied for third in career rebounding average (5.8 rpg), fourth in scoring average (13.1 ppg), fourth in field goals made (483), fourth in total rebounds (595) and fourth in games started (94).

Junior guard Julie Brase is fourth in career three-point percentage (.358), is tied for eighth in career three-pointers made (59) and is 10th in three-pointers attempted (165). Only a sophomore, guard Aimee Grzyb is already third in three-point percentage (.367), seventh in three-pointers made (66) and eighth in three-pointers attempted (180).

GOTTA REBOUND: After being out-rebounded by an average of 7.7 boards per game over the first six contests of the year, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their last four opponents by an average of 9.0 per game.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 24 of their last 30 home games and are 46-11 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 111-46 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 177-154 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 136-19 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 96-12 when topping that 80-point plateau.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Cats have hit four or more 3-pointers in eight of this season's 10 games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in five games... The Cats have had 12 or more steals in four games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in four contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in two games.

KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 3-0 when shooting 80% or better from the line... 3-0 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 4-2 when scoring 70 points or more... 4-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the free throw line... 5-2 when holding its opponent to 77 points or less.

BUT ON THE LOSING END...: The Cats are... 1-4 when shooting worse from the free throw line than the opponent... 2-4 when committing more turnovers than the opponent... 1-3 when making fewer three-pointers than the opponent... 2-5 when shooting less than 80% from the line... 3-4 when scoring 74 points or less... 2-3 when three or fewer players reach double digits in scoring.

PICKNEY BECOMES UA CAREER BLOCKS LEADER: With a career-high-tying five blocks at New Mexico on Nov. 27, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney has taken over as Arizona's career blocked shots leader. She has 129 career blocks, placing her ahead of former career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 343-410 (.456) all-time record, however it is 147-74 (.665) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 185-99 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: This year, Arizona is 4-3 at home, 1-2 on the road and 0-0 in neutral games. Last season, the Wildcats were 15-2 at home, 4-9 in road games and 1-1 in neutral contests.

THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-4 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last nine years.

CRASHING THE BOARDS: Junior wing Krista Warren pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds at Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 16. That's the highest individual rebound total for any Wildcat since Adia Barnes grabbed her career high of 18 against Arizona State on Jan. 7, 1995.

JOAN BONVICINI COACHES HER 700th GAME: The Dec. 16 contest at Stephen F. Austin was the 700th game of Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini's career.

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