Wildcat Women Play Team Concept in Final Preseason Tuneup

Nov. 14, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 2002-03 University of Arizona women's basketball team will take on Team Concept in an exhibition game at home on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center. This is the Cats' last 'tuneup' before the season officially begins on Nov. 22 against LSU.

#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Sr., Cloverdale, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, Fr., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, So., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Jr., San Jose, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)

OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
#4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, Jr., Ontario, Calif.)
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.) - not eligible until January
#32 - Svjetlana Papcevic (F, 6-2, Jr., Sarajevo, Bosnia)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)

ABOUT ARIZONA: 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.

Among the returnees is the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, guard Dee-Dee Wheeler, who is also the Cats' top returning scorer after averaging 12.3 points per game last season. Senior forward Krista Warren was Arizona's top rebounder last year, with an average of 8.2 per game.

Rounding out the list of returnees are junior guard Candice Allen (10.0 ppg), junior guard Aimee Grzyb (10.8 ppg), senior guard Julie Brase (5.6 ppg) and sophomore center Danielle Adefeso (1.6 ppg). Another returnee, sophomore guard Robin Roberson (4.8 ppg) will be redshirting this season.

The Cats are expecting immediate contributions from many of their eight newcomers this year. Redshirt freshman center Shawntinice Polk was a consensus first team All-American at Hanford (Calif.) High School, and freshman guard Natalie Jones was also a Parade All-American at East Anchorage (Alaska) HS.

Junior forward Svjetlana Papcevic has two years of junior college ball under her belt, valuable experience for this young Wildcat team. After sitting out last season with an ACL tear, redshirt freshman guard Katrina Lindner is expected to have an immediate impact, while fellow freshmen CoCoa Sanford, Anna Chappell and Phakisha Peterson will give the Cats depth they haven't had in many seasons. Another transfer, junior guard Jessica Duger will not be eligible to play until the fall semester grades have been posted, so the Cats are hoping to have her for the beginning of Pac-10 action.

ABOUT TEAM CONCEPT: Team Concept is an AAU team based out of Portland, Ore., and has logged a 1-9 record so far in its 12-game tour of the Midwest and West. Most recently, the club lost at Oregon State, 82-54, on Wednesday. Team Concept will play again at Stanford on Thursday before taking on the Wildcats on Sunday.

Team Concept has a rotating roster that features 12 former collegiate players and resembles a list of Pac-10 all-stars. Included on the roster are Jamie Redd (Washington), Tiffany Elmore (USC), Syesha Thomas (Oregon State), Cori Enghusen (Stanford), Enjoli Izidor (Stanford) and Brittney Hawks Ceaser (Washington State). Enghusen and Izidor are questionable for playing in Sunday's game with Arizona.

Guard Jamie Redd, who has played for the WNBA Seattle Storm since 2000, is one of only five Team Concept players who have appeared in all ten contests so far. Redd leads the team with an average of 17.9 points per game and is averaging 5.6 rebounds per game.

Forward Beatrice Bullock (Iowa) is averaging 6.9 ppg and leads the club with 6.8 boards per contest. Forward Tiffany Elmore has registered averages of 6.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg in eight games, while guard Syesha Thomas has 6.6 ppg while playing in every game. Guard Jackie Winfield (Southern U.) joined the squad four games ago and has averaged 9.8 ppg since.

Guard Reyna Fortenberry (Boise State) is the only player on this year's squad who faced the Wildcats in last year's exhibition.

LAST TIME VERSUS TEAM CONCEPT: Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney nailed a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left in the game to lift Arizona to an 83-81 win over Team Concept in an exhibition game on Nov. 5, 2001.

It's not surprising that a game that featured 19 ties and 19 lead changes went down to the wire. The largest lead either team had was just six points, with the Cats holding that edge at 2:04 in the first half and Team Concept gaining that advantage at 9:00 in the second half.

Pickney finished the contest with a game-high 28 points, fueled by 10-of-12 shooting from the charity stripe. She also grabbed a game-high-tying 11 rebounds as the Cats out-rebounded Team Concept, 48-27, for the contest.

Senior center LaKeisha Taylor had an outstanding night at the free throw line as well, shooting 9-of-10 en route to 15 points. She tied Pickney for the game high with 11 boards.

Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler came off the bench to collect 12 points, five assists and three steals. Sophomore guard Candice Allen contributed 10 points, four rebounds and three steals off the bench, while junior wing Krista Warren tallied nine points and eight rebounds.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: With a team-high 22 points, sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led five Wildcats who reached double digits in scoring as Arizona trounced BK CZ MUS Strakonice in a home exhibition on Nov. 11, 90-69.

The Wildcats struggled early in the contest and seemed unable to pull away from Strakonice, a club team from the Czech Republic. Strakonice held a three-point (12-9) lead at 12:10 in the first half, then the Cats scored eight unanswered points to go up by five (17-12) two minutes later.

The Czech club scraped back to within one point (17-16) at 9:44, which Arizona answered with a 15-6 run that gave the Cats a 10-point (32-22) advantage with 4:38 left in the half. Strakonice never came any closer than four points for the remainder of the period, and Arizona had a 43-32 lead at halftime.

Arizona extended its lead to 14 points (51-37) by opening the second half with a 9-5 spurt and maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. A 19-8 run late in the game stretched the UA's lead to 24 points (88-64), its largest of the game, with 1:10 to play. The Wildcats played the final 1:30 of the contest with five freshmen on the floor.

In addition to Wheeler's 22 points, freshman center Shawntinice Polk logged 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while shooting 6-for-8 from the floor. Fellow freshman Natalie Jones had 16 points off the bench, and sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb contributed 14 points. Senior forward Krista Warren tallied 12 points and seven rebounds.

COACH BONVICINI TO MISS SUNDAY'S GAME: Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini will not be in attendance at Sunday's contest with Team Concept. In response to her brother's illness, she is returning home to Connecticut for the weekend to spend time with her family. She is scheduled to rejoin the Cats on Monday, Nov. 18.

Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello, with the aid of assistant coaches Kellee Barney and Curtis Loyd, will coach the Wildcats during Sunday's game.

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: Arizona officially tips off the 2002-03 season on Friday, Nov. 22, against No. 3 Louisiana State at 7 p.m. Just three days later, the Wildcats will hit the road the first time this season when they travel to Malibu, Calif., to take on Pepperdine on Monday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. PST. After Thanksgiving, the Cats will face No. 9 Georgia at home on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 4 p.m. in a contest that will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.

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

INJURY REPORT: Senior guard Julie Brase is day-to-day with a deep thigh bruise suffered during a collision with a teammate in the Red & Blue Game on Nov. 5.

CATS SIGN TWO DURING EARLY PERIOD: On the first two days of the early signing period this week, the Wildcats signed a pair of post players to National Letters-of-Intent. Forwards Rachael Schein (Las Vegas, Nev./Centennial HS) and Shannon Hobson (Perris, Calif./Perris HS) will join the Wildcats for the 2003-04 season.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Arizona has a pretty tough slate on tap for this season. According to the preseason WBCA/Summerville RPI, Arizona's non-conference schedule alone ranks 13th out of the 324 women's basketball teams nationwide. The Cats' overall schedule strength, including Pac-10 games, ranks 49th.

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

Louisiana State, Stanford and Georgia were ranked in each of the 12 polls released so far. LSU has been placed as high as third (Associated Press, 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 three others.

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. UNLV and Arizona State both received votes for ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.

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.

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