Women's Basketball Heads to Rice for Only Action of the Week

Dec. 4, 2001

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (3-3 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) opens a two-game road swing this weekend with a trip to Houston, Texas. The Wildcats play at Rice on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. CST and will be seeking to end a nine-game road losing streak that dates back to last season.

35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) - 8.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 18.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.8 spg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) - 13.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 apg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) - 8.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.3 apg

4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) - 9.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.4 spg
20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) - 5.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.7 apg
31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) - 5.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.5 spg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) - 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) - 1.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg

SCOUTING ARIZONA: After a narrow 81-80 loss to Pittsburgh during the consolation game of the Arizona Basketball Classic on Sunday, the Wildcats sit at 3-3 overall and are on a three-game losing skid. This is the Cats' worst start since the 1998-99 team began the season 3-3.

With 18.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney is leading Arizona in both categories. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is the only other Wildcat averaging in double figures, with 13.8 ppg. Senior center LaKeisha Taylor is third on the scoring chart, averaging 9.5 ppg, and is third in rebounding, at 4.8 rpg.

Sophomore guard Candice Allen, who is currently sidelined with a concussion suffered last Friday, is fourth on the team in scoring, with 9.0 ppg. Fellow sophomore Aimee Grzyb follows at 8.3 ppg, while junior wing Krista Warren is averaging 8.0 ppg and is the second-leading rebounder, with 6.7 per game.

As a team, Arizona is leading the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.791) and steals (12.0 spg) and is second in scoring offense (77.3 ppg). Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler leads the league in free throw percentage (.938), while Candice Allen is second in steals (3.40 spg) and Elizabeth Pickney is second in blocks (1.83 bpg).

INJURY REPORT: Junior guard Julie Brase suffered a lower back sprain during the Pittsburgh game on Dec. 2 and is currently listed as day-to-day. Sophomore guard Candice Allen suffered a grade-three concussion against Holy Cross on Nov. 30 and is also day-to-day.

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.

SCOUTING RICE: The Owls are a perfect 5-0 on the season after sweeping UNC Greensboro (61-47) and George Washington (67-54) at home in the Gene Hackerman Rice Invitational last weekend. Rice will play at Texas Tech on Wednesday, Dec. 5, before entertaining the Wildcats on Saturday.

Junior guard Kara Liggett is the Owls' top scorer, with 12.0 points per game. Sophomore forward Elisa Inman, a transfer from Purdue, is leading Rice in rebounding, averaging 7.8 per game, and is second in scoring, with 10.0 ppg. Sophomore center Johnetta Hayes, a transfer from Oklahoma, ranks third on the team in scoring (8.0 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.8 rpg).

Head coach Cristy McKinney (North Carolina State, 1979) has a 139-98 record in nine seasons at the helm of the Rice program. She has a 166-126 mark in 11 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. RICE: Arizona won the only previous meeting with Rice, 84-71, last year in Tucson.

LAST MEETING WITH RICE: Arizona kicked off a five-game homestand on Nov. 28, 2000, with an 84-71 win over Rice. The Cats raced out to a 13-4 advantage, only to see it disappear behind a 27-11 Rice run that gave the Owls a seven-point (31-24) lead with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half. A trio of Wildcat buckets and an 11-for-13 performance from the free throw line through the remainder of the period gave the UA a one-point (41-40) edge at the break.

Arizona couldn't seem to push beyond a six-point lead through the early goings of the second half, then the Wildcats put on a 22-7 spurt to gain a 21-point (80-59) lead at 3:47. Rice outscored the UA, 12-4, over the remainder of the game but was unable to recover from the Wildcat run.

Elizabeth Pickney shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the line en route to 18 points and seven rebounds, while Krista Warren added eight rebounds and six points. LaKeisha Taylor came off the bench for seven points and three rebounds in only six minutes of play, and Aimee Grzyb contributed four points and four assists.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Two rookies nailed 20 points each for Arizona in a losing effort against Pittsburgh during the consolation game of the Arizona Basketball Classic on Sunday. The Panthers used a 10-0 run at the end of the game to defeat the Wildcats, 81-80.

Pittsburgh jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, to which Arizona responded with a 19-5 run that gave the Cats a nine-point (21-12) lead at 9:46. The Panthers then scored 10 unanswered points, gaining a one-point (22-21) edge at 7:31. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the half and were tied, 38-38, at the break.

The Panthers began the second half with an 18-4 run, opening up a 14-point (56-42) lead at 13:51. When Wildcat junior guard Julie Brase was taken off the court on a stretcher at that point in the game, the Cats became inspired and went on a 38-15 run that gave them a nine-point (80-71) advantage with 2:22 left.

Arizona never scored again in the game. Pittsburgh finished the contest with 10 unanswered points, including six from senior forward Bettina Love.

Wildcat freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler went 7-for-9 from the floor on her way to a season highs of 20 points, six rebounds and a game-high six steals. Wheeler was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 15.5 ppg and 4.0 rpg for the Cats during the weekend's action.

Fellow freshman Robin Roberson came off the bench to knock down her season high of 20 points to go with four steals and three rebounds. Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney registered her first double-double of the season with 15 points, all scored in the second half, and a game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb added 10 points and two rebounds off the bench.

In the championship game, 20th-ranked Wisconsin took the tournament title with an 80-71 victory over Holy Cross. This marked the first time in the 11-year history of the tournament that Arizona did not play in the title game of its own tourney.

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 182-120 (.603) mark at Arizona and is 507-191 (.726) 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 94-85 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 60-29 league mark over the last five 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. Fourth-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players and assists with scouting and recruiting. 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.

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.

MOVIN' ON UP: Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney just moved up into the No. 4 spot on Arizona's all-time scoring list, with 1278 career points. She surpassed Kirsten Smith (1983-86), who had 1264 career points. Pickney is only 21 points away from moving into the No. 3 spot, which is currently occupied by Dana Patterson (1985-88), with 1299 points.

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 shot 87.9 percent (58-66) from the line in the first three games of the season and won all three. In the Cats' last three games, all losses, they hit only 70.6 percent (48-68) from the stripe.

Arizona needs to take care of the ball to win too. In their wins, they averaged only 17.7 turnovers per game, but in their losses, they committed 23.3 turnovers per game.

WILDCAT PICKPOCKETS: The Wildcats racked up an astounding 19 steals in their 81-80 loss to Pittsburgh at home on Dec. 2. That's the highest single-game steals total since the team collected 22 steals in a losing effort at Oregon (68-66) on Jan. 24, 1998.

BOMBS AWAY: Arizona is averaging 6.7 three-pointers made per game so far this year, having nailed 40 treys already. They were nine games into the 2001 season before they collected that many three-pointers made last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats will have an eight-day break in action before they play at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1:30 p.m. CST.

Arizona begins Pac-10 play at home against the Bay Area schools during the third week of December. The Cats face Stanford on Wednesday, Dec. 19, then take on California on Friday, Dec. 21. Both contests will tip at 7 p.m.

STRONG SCHEDULE: Eight 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. 5. Notre Dame, New Mexico, Rice, Arizona State, Washington, California and USC all received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is ranked No. 5. Notre Dame, Arizona State, Washington, USC, Rice, UC Santa Barbara and New Mexico were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.

CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 12 different statistical categories. She recently became Arizona's career leader in blocked shots, now with 124. Pickney is second in free throws made (361), third in free throws attempted (480), fourth in career rebounding average (5.6 rpg), fourth in scoring average (12.9 ppg), fifth in games started (90) and fifth in field goals made (457).

Pickney is fourth on Arizona's career scoring chart, with 1278 points. She needs only 21 more points to move into the third-place spot, which is currently held by Dana Patterson (1985-88), who had 1278 career points.

Junior guard Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.369), is tied for eighth in career three-pointers made (59) and is 10th in three-pointers attempted (160). Only a sophomore, guard Aimee Grzyb is already fourth in three-point percentage (.366), seventh in three-pointers made (60) and ninth in three-pointers attempted (164).

GOTTA REBOUND: Arizona has been out-rebounded in five of the season's six games so far. They are being out-rebounded by an average of 7.6 boards per game. The biggest rebounding disparity was 17 boards, which came on Nov. 27 when the Cats were out-rebounded by New Mexico, 52-35.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 23 of their last 28 home games and are 45-10 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 110-45 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 176-153 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 each of this season's six games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in four games... The Cats have had 12 or more steals in four games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in three 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... 3-2 when scoring 70 points or more.

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 124 career blocks, placing her ahead of former career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121.

CAT SCRATCHES: On a nine-game road losing skid, the Cats haven't won a road game since a 68-65 victory at Stanford on Jan. 6, 2001... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 341-408 (.455) all-time record, however it is 145-72 (.668) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 184-98 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: This year, Arizona is 3-2 at home, 0-1 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 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.

CHALLENGING START: Over these first 15 days of the 2002 season, the Wildcats played six games, including five opponents that saw postseason action in 2001. That slate included last year's WNIT champion Ohio State, the NCAA champion Notre Dame and the WNIT runner-up New Mexico.

PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 26): Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 18-25.

Pickney averaged 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in leading Arizona to a 3-0 start, including an upset win of defending national champion and 15th-ranked Notre Dame. On the week, Pickney shot 95.8 percent (23-of-24) from the line and hit 57.1 percent (20-of-35) from the floor.

In an 81-77 season-opening win over Pepperdine on Nov. 18, Pickney notched 12 points and six rebounds. On Nov. 21, she shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line en route to a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds as Arizona downed defending WNIT champion Ohio State, 90-76. Pickney was 8-for-13 from the floor against the Buckeyes.

In the 72-70 win over the Fighting Irish on Nov. 24, she scored a game-high 27 points and posted a team-high eight rebounds. She shot 8-for-13 from the floor and was a perfect 11-for-11 from the line, contributing to the Cats' 20-for-20 school-record performance at the stripe. Pickney scored 21 of UA's 43 second-half points, nailing a lay-up at the buzzer to lift the Cats to a two-point win.

The Player of the Week honor was the fourth of Pickney's career and the 24th all-time selection for Arizona.

CATS INK THREE DURING FALL SIGNING PERIOD: The Wildcats signed three players during the fall signing period this year. Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, Calif./Hanford HS), Svjetlana Papcevic (Sarajevo, Bosnia/Pratt Kans. CC) and Natalie Jones (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage HS) all signed National Letters of Intent.

Polk originally signed with Arizona last year, but her NLI was rendered void when she failed to meet academic requirements for this school year. She signed a new letter during the early signing period this fall.

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won seven straight season openers and nine in the 11 years she has been at the UA.

CLARK WITHDRAWS FROM SCHOOL: Guard Mandakova Clark, who would have sat out this year after transferring from Rutgers, withdrew from the University of Arizona at the end of October and will not be returning to the school.

INAUGURAL PAC-10 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The first-ever Pac-10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament will be held on Mar. 1-4, 2002, at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. The winner of the tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.

ITALY TOUR 2001: On May 18 through June 2, the Wildcats went to Italy for the program's third foreign tour. The tour began in Venice then advanced to Verona, Como, Milan, Lucca, Pisa, Florence and concluded in Rome. The Cats went 5-1 against club teams in many of these cities and visited a multitude of historical sites along the way.

Elizabeth Pickney was the team's second-leading scorer (21.7 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg). LaKeisha Taylor was the second-leading rebounder (7.5 rpg), and Candice Allen finished the tour as the third-leading scorer, with 11.7 ppg.

Seeing her first action since March 2000, Julie Brase averaged 10.5 ppg and 5.5 apg. Aimee Grzyb posted 9.2 ppg and 4.0 apg, while Jenn Chesney averaged 4.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Krista Warren went with the team on the trip, but was unable to play because she was still rehabilitating from an ACL injury suffered last March.

DOUBLING UP: The Wildcats collected a total of 21 double-doubles last season, the program's highest double-double total since the 1995-96 team tallied 21. Of Arizona's 21 double-doubles during the year, eight belonged to guard Reshea Bristol, and all of hers were points-assists double-doubles. Six different Wildcats logged double-doubles during the season.

2000-01 IN REVIEW: Arizona certainly saw its share of ups and downs during the 2000-01 season. The Cats started the year with a short squad of 12 players, only two of whom were starters at the end of the 2000 season. Through a variety of injuries, player departures and academic issues, the Wildcat roster was decimated, and the team was down to only eight active players by season's end.

Despite all the distractions and the prevailing inexperience of last year's squad, the Wildcats finished the year with a 20-12 overall record, their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. They were 9-9 in Pac-10 play and finished in fifth place, their lowest finish since 1995.

For the first time since 1996, Arizona failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth, but it did receive a Women's National Invitation Tournament slot. The Wildcats downed Pepperdine, 85-65, in the first round of the WNIT but fell, 75-62, at New Mexico in the second round to end their season. The WNIT berth gave the Wildcats their sixth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10.

The team set or tied 39 school records last year, including most home victories (15), most points scored in a season (2,521) and highest single season scoring average (78.8 ppg).

Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring offense (78.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.59 apg). The Cats were second in both free throw percentage (.700) and rebounding (39.8 rpg) and were third in field goal percentage defense (.400) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).

2000-01 ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney ended the season as the Cats' leading scorer, with 16.4 ppg, and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). Senior guard Reshea Bristol was second in scoring, with 15.6 ppg, and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.56 apg).

Junior center LaKeisha Taylor (9.5 ppg) and sophomore wing Krista Warren (9.3 ppg) were fourth and fifth, respectively, in scoring. Warren was the team's third-leading rebounder, averaging 5.4 rpg.

In addition to leading the Pac-10 in assists, Bristol was second in steals (3.0 spg), fifth in scoring and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.34). Pickney was third in the league in scoring, fourth in blocked shots (1.47 bpg), sixth in field goal percentage (.505) and ninth in rebounding. Taylor was second in field goal percentage (.587).

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