While the state of California was enduring numerous rolling blackouts in 2001, the energy in McKale Center was waning too. Last season, the Arizona women's basketball team waded through a sub-par season and a second straight miss at the NCAA Tournament.
Well, things have a way of working out. Grey Davis has stunningly survived a gubernatorial race in the Golden State, and the Wildcats have found the energy that Davis never could. This 2002-2003 edition of the Arizona women is all about high voltage energy that will be entertaining for all!
There is nothing like new blood to create new energy. This season the Wildcats add eight new bodies who are intent on changing the mood at McKale. During the Cats' first exhibition match-up, a 90-69 win over a Czech Republic club team, Arizona was flying! Freshman Natalie Jones scoots up the court in record time, and track star CoCoa Sanford is an instigator inside. Krista Warren looks sleek and effective, and point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler may be the best in the conference at her position. Junior Aimee Grzyb is benefiting from an off-season conditioning program, and redshirt freshman Katrina Lindner is as quick as a cat.
That brings us to the largest energy producer on the court -- Shawntinice Polk (Polkey). Polkey is a 6-5 freshman center. In my experience, 6-5 centers in women's basketball are supposed to be slow and plodding. Believe me, Polkey is NOT slow and plodding! She runs the floor like a guard, blocks shots all over the place and is in on every rebound. She scored a double-double against the Czech team and would have easily scored over 20 points with a better showing at the free throw line.
When one watches this edition of Joan Bonvicini's team, you wonder if it might be wise to wire them up and loan some of their electricity to Grey Davis. There is never a dull moment with this team. They hustle, bang inside, and generally run and run and run. There is lightning in a bottle in this group, and they may strike early.
Third-ranked LSU is their first "real" opponent. The Tigers invade McKale Center on Friday, Nov. 22, and win or lose, the McKale floor will be tired after the game. There is one thing we can count on -- the Cats will be running, pressuring the ball, and providing a never-before-seen excitement for women's basketball in Tucson. Maybe there won't be enough to go around for the state of California, but the Arizona Wildcat women will generate enough energy to land themselves back in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Come see them on the 22nd against LSU, just don't blink because you may miss a lightning strike!
See you on the radio! Paul Johnson
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:
- Sunday, November 17 - Arizona vs. Team Concept = 1:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Friday, November 22 - Arizona vs. LSU = 6:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Monday, November 25 - Arizona at Pepperdine = 7:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Saturday, November 30 - Arizona vs. Georgia = 3:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up