Wildcat Women Give Fans a Sneak Peak at 2003 Squad

Nov. 1, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 2002-03 University of Arizona women's basketball team will play its annual Red & Blue Game on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center. Admission is free.

THIS YEAR: The Wildcats return seven letterwinners, including four starters, from last season's 14-14 squad. Two redshirt freshmen, two transfers and four true freshmen comprise this year's class of eight newcomers. Such an infusion of 'new blood' should bode well for the Cats, who remain in the hunt for a return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

BREAKDOWN FOR RED & BLUE GAME: (in alphabetical order by squad)

Red (White) Team
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Jr., San Jose, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#32 - Svjetlana Papcevic (F, 6-2, Jr., Sarajevo, Bosnia)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, Fr., Hanford, Calif.)
#31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)will redshirt for 2002-03 season
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
Coached by Kellee Barney and Curtis Loyd

Blue Team
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)
#4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, Jr., Ontario, Calif.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Sr., Cloverdale, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, So., Chicago, Ill.)
Coached by Denise Dove Ianello

WHO'S BACK: Sophomore center Danielle Adefeso (Los Angeles, Calif./St. Monica HS) provides added depth to the Wildcat frontcourt. A 6-2 center, Adefeso was one of the Cats' top substitute posts while playing in 23 contests last year. She really started coming on strong late in the season, averaging 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds over the final six games of the year.

Despite missing seven games due to a concussion, junior guard Candice Allen (Ontario, Calif./Ayala HS) still finished the 2001-02 season with averages of 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. She was Arizona's fourth-leading scorer, and her steals average was fifth-best in the Pac-10 for the season.

Senior guard Julie Brase (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills HS) returned to action last year after missing the 2000-01 season due to wrist surgery. In 2001-02, she recorded 5.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while playing in all but one of the season's contests.

Always a threat from three-point range, junior guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty HS) saw action in every game last year, receiving the starting nod in all but three. She upped her scoring average to 10.8 points per game and was the third-leading scorer for the Cats last season.

A sophomore guard, Robin Roberson (Berkeley, Calif. HS) will be redshirting this year. She played in all but two games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

A 6-2 forward, Krista Warren (Cloverdale, Calif. HS) led Arizona and was fifth in the Pac-10 in rebounding last season, averaging 8.1 boards per game. She also registered 8.2 points per game while starting 22 contests.

The 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler (Chicago, Ill./Dunbar Vocational Career Aca.) is the anticipated starter at point for the Cats this season. She played in every contest last year, starting all but four, and posted averages of 12.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. An outstanding shooter from beyond the arc, she was fifth in the Pac-10 in three-point percentage (.404), and she reached double digits in scoring in 19 games.

ABOUT THE REDSHIRTS: A 5-10 wing, Jessica Duger (Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Arcadia HS) transferred to the UA from Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz., midway through last season and earned a redshirt year after making the team as a walk-on.

Redshirt freshman guard Katrina Lindner is the only 'newcomer' who already has a full year at the UA under her belt. One of the prime candidates for a starting job at the point last season, Lindner suffered an ACL tear during the team's annual Red & Blue intra-squad game on Oct. 30, 2001, and was forced to redshirt for the year. A native of Glengowrie, South Australia, Lindner is a quick, tough player who can shoot from virtually anywhere on the floor.

One of the highest-profile recruits ever to sign at Arizona, redshirt freshman center Shawntinice 'Polkey' Polk will finally see action this season after joining the program midway through last year. A 2001 first team All-American, Polk originally signed with the Cats in the fall of 2000 but did not qualify academically to play during the 2001-02 season. She arrived on-campus in January of 2002 and earned a redshirt year, so the Wildcats will have her for four full seasons.

ABOUT THE NEWCOMERS: Only the second Canadian ever signed by Bonvicini at Arizona, 6-1 forward Anna Chappell was three-time Most Valuable Player for Kwalicum Senior Secondary in Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.

A 5-10 guard from Anchorage, Alaska, Natalie Jones was a Parade All-American and was the 2002 USA Today Alaska Player of the Year after leading East Anchorage High School to its third straight state championship.

A 6-2 forward from Sarajevo, Bosnia, Svjetlana Papcevic averaged 14.4 ppg and 8.9 rpg playing at Pratt (Kan.) Community College over the last two seasons. In 2002, she racked up 484 points and was named second team All-Region IV and third team All-KJCCC Western Division.

A 5-11 perimeter player from El Paso, Texas, Phakisha Peterson was a two-time honorable mention All-Texas selection and four-time All-District I-5A honoree at Andress High School.

With the reputation of being a tough defender, 6-0 forward CoCoa Sanford is from Morningside High School in Inglewood, Calif. She is the career rebounding record-holder at Morningside, with 1,517 boards, and put up averages of 17.3 ppg, 13.7 rpg and 5.0 spg as a senior while leading the Monarchs to a CIF Div-3A semifinals berth.

WHO'S GONE: Four players on last year's roster will not be back this season. Posts Elizabeth Pickney and LaKeisha Taylor exhausted their eligibility, and both were drafted by WNBA teams in the spring, although neither was successful in making her squad. Guard Jenn Chesney left the program last spring, and wing Michelle Tibbetts did not return to the team this fall.

A four-year starter at forward, Pickney was one of the most decorated players ever to come through the Arizona program. She had 86 double-digit scoring performances in her career, including 45 over her final 51 games. She tallied 11 career double-doubles, with five last season alone. Pickney was never held scoreless in any game during her career, and she collected 23 scoring performances of 20 points or better.

Pickney played in 121 consecutive games for the Wildcats and finished her career as Arizona's all-time leader in games started, with 112. During the 2001-02 season, Pickney also became Arizona's all-time leader in blocked shots, with 147, which also places her eighth on the Pac-10 career list in that category. Pickney is second all-time at the UA in scoring, with 1620 points, and in rebounding, with 736 boards. She is among the Arizona career leaders in 16 different statistical categories.

Center LaKeisha Taylor had six double-doubles in her career at Arizona and had 28 career double-digit scoring performances, including four of 20 points or better. She is fourth on the UA's career field goal percentage list and played in 116 games during her four years.

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 post-season appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Just beginning her 12th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 193-131 (.596) mark at Arizona and is 518-202 (.719) 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 103-94 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 69-39 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 11th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. In his fourth 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. Assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) was just added to the Wildcat staff last February, and her duties include recruiting, scouting and floor work with the players.

THE LITTLEST WILDCAT: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello was certainly busy during the off-season! On April 9, 2002, she gave birth to Zachary Robert Ianello, the first child for Denise and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats will see their first action against outside competition on Monday, Nov. 11, when they face TJ MUS CZ Strakonice, from the Czech Republic, in an exhibition at 7 p.m. The Cats will have another preseason tuneup on Sunday, Nov. 17, with an exhibition against Team Concept at 7 p.m.

CALL HER POLKEY: At her request, Shawntinice Polk would appreciate being called 'Polkey' (single-name reference only) as much as possible.

GOING POLLING: Nine of the 19 opponents on the Cats' 2002-03 schedule have been ranked or received votes for ranking in several preseason polls that have already been released.

Louisiana State, Stanford and Georgia were ranked in each of the 10 polls released so far. LSU has been placed as high as third (Women's Basketball News Service, Street & Smith's and ESPN.com), while Stanford has been ranked as high as third (Lindy's Magazine) also. Georgia has been placed as high as fourth (All-Star Girls' Report).

Oregon has appeared among the top 25 in five different polls, receiving ranking as high as 18th (All-Star Girls' Report). Washington has been ranked in four polls, with a high of No. 16 (WomensCollegeHoops.com), and received votes in one other (GballMag.com).

New Mexico was ranked in three polls, with a high of No. 21 (Athlon and WomensCollegeHoops.com). USC (24th - Athlon), Ohio State (20th - All-Star Girls' Report) and Pepperdine (22nd - Street & Smith's) made appearances in one top 25 apiece.

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.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Arizona garnered a perfect 6-0 record in televised games last season. During those contests, the Cats averaged 84.5 points per game, out-scored their opponents by an average of 16.3 ppg and shot 46.5 percent from the floor, 38.1 percent from three-point range and 82.8 percent from the free throw line.

That should bode well for the Cats this year, as they have at least five contests already scheduled for broadcast and have the potential for two more to be picked up by television before the season is over.

CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is third in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.369), tied for sixth in career three-pointers made (83) and is seventh in three-pointers attempted (225).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth in career three-point percentage (.362), fourth in three-pointers made (100) and fourth in three-pointers attempted (276).

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Although the McKale Center has historically been kind to the Cats, they logged six losses at home last season, their most losses in McKale since the 1994-95 team dropped seven home games.

The Wildcats have won 29 of their last 38 home games and are 51-14 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 116-49 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 182-157 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 140-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 100-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 352-419 (.457) all-time record, however it is 156-83 (.653) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 194-107 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: Last year, Arizona was 9-6 at home, 5-7 on the road and 0-1 in neutral games.

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.

2003 PAC-10 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The 2003 State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament will be on March 7-10 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

2001-02 IN BRIEF: There are no two ways about it -- the 2001-02 season was a rough one for the University of Arizona women's basketball team. The difficulties actually started last August, when anticipated starter Veranda James left the program for personal reasons. Then the Wildcats found out that their star recruit Shawntinice Polk, a high school All-American, didn't meet academic requirements, wouldn't be on campus until January and even then wouldn't be eligible to play until the 2002-03 season. To compound the problem, sophomore guard Jenn Chesney went down with an ACL tear in September, and freshman guard Katrina Lindner, another potential starter, tore an ACL in October.

So, the Wildcats entered yet another season short-handed. Most of the year, they had 10 active players, but more than once during the season, they found themselves down to only eight. Of those 10 active players, only four had played more than one season of collegiate basketball prior to last year.

The youth and general inexperience of last year's squad shown through, as Arizona played to a 14-14 overall mark, the team's worst record since the 1994-95 team went 11-19. A positive was that the Cats were 10-8 in Pac-10 play, a one-game improvement over the 2001 team's 9-9 finish, but last year's 10-8 mark was good enough only for a tie with Oregon for sixth place in the final conference standings.

By virtue of tie-breakers, Arizona earned the No. 6 seed in the inaugural State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament. However, the UA was pitted against No. 3 seed and eventual tournament champion Arizona State in the first round, and the Cats found their season over much earlier than they'd hoped it would be. It also ended Arizona's six-year string of consecutive post-season appearances.

INDIVIDUALLY IN 2001-02: Averaging 16.1 points per game, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney led the Wildcats in scoring. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler was second in scoring, averaging 12.3 ppg, followed closely by sophomore guards Aimee Grzyb (10.8 ppg) and Candice Allen (10.0 ppg).

Senior center LaKeisha Taylor was fifth on the scoring chart, with 9.6 ppg, trailed by junior wing Krista Warren's 8.2 ppg. Fellow junior Julie Brase averaged 5.6 ppg, and freshman guard Robin Roberson registered 4.8 points per game.

Krista Warren was Arizona's top rebounder, with a career-best season average of 8.1 rpg. Pickney was a close second, averaging 8.0 rpg, followed by LaKeisha Taylor's 5.7 rpg and Dee-Dee Wheeler's 3.4 rpg.

FREE-WHEELIN': Guard Dee-Dee Wheeler was a phenomenal rookie for the Wildcats last season. She became the first UA rookie to be named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year since former Wildcat Adia Barnes earned that honor in 1995. Wheeler finished the season as the top-scoring freshman in the Pac-10 and was among the conference leaders in five different statistical categories.

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