One week is gone in this 2002-03 women's college basketball season, and the Arizona Wildcats are turning heads. Even though Arizona is 1-1 coming out of the gate, it's very interesting to look back on those two games and understand the changes that are taking place.
The first test was against #3 LSU, who invaded McKale Center on Nov. 22 with a highly touted freshman named Seimone Augustus. Augustus was the High School Player of the Year last season, and she was impressive. However, even more impressive was Arizona's own freshman star, Shawntinice Polk. Polkey scored 29 points in her debut and pulled down 11 rebounds. The Wildcats didn't win, but they took the favored Tigers to overtime.
Now we fast-forward to Malibu, Calif., where the Pepperdine Waves reside. This premier team in the West Coast Conference was ranked #22 in the Street and Smith's preseason poll and is again favored to win its conference. After a shaky start on Monday night, the young Wildcats settled down and pulled away for a very nice road victory. As for Polk, this time she was only able to score 16 points and grab 14 rebounds. The thought struck me -- man, this girl is going to average a double-double in her freshman year!
The numbers already say much about this latest edition of Joan Bonvicini's team. Her highly touted freshman Polk is averaging 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Senior Krista Warren is averaging 15.5 ppg, and Aimee Grzyb and Dee-Dee Wheeler are both well into double figures. But the biggest change in this year's team is off the court. This team is having fun again. They are laughing, joking and working together. Joan Bonvicini is coaching again, doing what she loves to do -- develop young talent. And she has plenty to work with.
So, as #8 Georgia arrives on Saturday night (4 p.m. tip) at McKale, they had better be ready. Yes, the Cats will again be underdogs. Yes, the Bulldogs are huge in the post, which could neutralize Polkey. No, the Wildcats will not be humbled. You see, the season is young, but changes are taking place. Come to the game on Saturday night, and you will notice new talent, a new attitude, and maybe even a big upset! Happy Thanksgiving!
See you on the radio!
Please join us all season long on AM 1330 KJLL with each game broadcast beginning one half-hour before tip-off. November's schedule includes:
- Saturday, November 30 - Arizona vs. Georgia = 3:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up