On the Road Again - No. 23 Arizona Heads to UNLV This Weekend

Dec. 20, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: After a brief respite from its travels, the 23rd-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (5-2 overall; 0-0 Pac-10) takes off again this weekend to begin a three-game road swing. The Wildcats will play at UNLV on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m. PST at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.

#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.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)

OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
#4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, Jr., Ontario, Calif.) - currently on indefinite hiatus from the team due to personal reasons
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.) - not eligible until Dec. 27
#31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#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.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: A return to their home floor was just what the Cats needed to improve to 5-2 on the season. They logged a 70-61 win over New Mexico at home on Wednesday night, ending a two-game losing skid to the Lobos. Ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25, Arizona is also No. 23 in the WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50 and is No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

With averages of 19.9 points and 13.0 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 13.4 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.1 rpg.

Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 6.9 boards per game, and is third in scoring (13.1 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart (12.4 ppg), while senior guard Julie Brase leads the team with an average of 4.4 assists per game.

COUNTDOWN TO 200: Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini needs just two more victories to reach 200 wins at Arizona. She currently has 198 wins in 12 seasons with the Cats.

SCOUTING UNLV: The Lady Rebels are 5-2 on the season after splitting a pair of games at the Hawai'i Invitational last weekend. UNLV edged Kentucky, 60-56, in the first round on Dec. 14 but lost to host Hawai'i, 71-66, on Dec. 15. UNLV will face Iona at home on Friday before playing host to the Wildcats on Sunday.

Averaging 20.7 points per game, senior guard Constance Jinks is the only Lady Rebel in double digits in scoring, however five of her teammates are averaging five or more points per game. Sophomore forward Sherry McCracklin is second in scoring, with 8.9 points per game, and is the team's top rebounder, at 8.6 per contest. Freshman guard Sheena Moore is third on the scoring chart, averaging 8.4 ppg.

A former assistant coach at Arizona (1986-87), UNLV head coach Regina Miller (Old Dominion, 1984) holds an 81-43 record in five seasons with the Lady Rebels. She is 141-143 in 11 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. UNLV: The Lady Rebels have a narrow 3-2 lead in the series with Arizona. The Cats won the first-ever meeting between the two teams, 96-63, on Feb. 8, 1975 in Tucson. UNLV then won three in a row in 1976, 1978 and 1982. After an 18-year hiatus, the series was renewed during the 2000-01 season, a game which Arizona won, 91-74, in Tucson.

LAST TIME AGAINST UNLV: Arizona continued a five-game home stand with a solid 91-74 victory over UNLV on Dec. 6, 2000.

The Wildcats scored the first bucket of the game and never trailed at any point, although UNLV did come within two points multiple times in the first half. The Cats used a 28-16 run over the final nine minutes of the first period to gain a 48-34 lead at the break.

The UA opened the second half with a 24-17 spurt that gave it a 21-point (72-51) edge at the 9:22 mark. UNLV made its own 13-2 run to get back to within 10 points (74-64) two minutes later, but the Lady Rebels never came any closer.

Veranda James hit 9-for-11 from the floor on her way to 21 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats. Elizabeth Pickney shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the field en route to 20 points and seven rebounds of her own. Tysell Bozeman contributed 14 points and seven rebounds, and Krista Warren added 10 points and five rebounds. Reshea Bristol racked up game-highs of 14 assists and five steals, while tallying nine points and six rebounds.

RECAPPING THE CATS' LAST ACTION: Shawntinice Polk snagged her seventh consecutive double-double while leading Arizona to a 70-61 win at home over New Mexico on Dec. 18. The Cats moved to 5-2 on the year, while the Lobos saw their win streak end at eight and slipped to 8-1.

Arizona opened the game with a 13-5 spurt over the first five minutes, but UNM responded with eight unanswered points to tie the score at 13-13 with 10:59 left in the first. The Cats used a 13-3 run to gain a 10-point (26-16) advantage at 5:04 and led by a score of 35-27 at halftime.

New Mexico began the second half with its own 13-5 spurt to tie the game at 40-40 just six minutes into the period, but the Wildcats never trailed. At 11:21, they began a 25-10 run that gave them a 15-point (69-54) lead, their largest of the game, with 1:09 to play. Polk got eight of her 14 second-half points during that Wildcat run.

The Lobos out-scored the Cats, 7-1, down the stretch but were unable to get any closer than the final spread of nine.

Polk finished with game highs of 26 points and 11 rebounds, to go with a trio of assists. Aimee Grzyb had 13 points and four rebounds, while Krista Warren added 12 points, six rebounds and three steals. Natalie Jones had seven points and three rebounds.

ARIZONA 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 her previous 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini guided the Wildcats to six post-season appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Now in her 12th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 198-133 (.598) mark at Arizona and is 523-204 (.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.

LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona will begin Pac-10 play in the Bay Area next weekend. The Wildcats will play at California on Friday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. PST, then the Cats take on fifth-ranked Stanford on Sunday, Dec. 29, at 2 p.m. PST in Palo Alto.

The UA plays its first home Pac-10 games on Jan 2 against Oregon and Jan. 4 against Oregon State.

ALLEN OUT INDEFINITELY: Junior guard Candice Allen is taking some time away from the team to deal with some personal issues. Her return has yet to be determined.

EARLY TRENDS: The Wildcats are 5-0 this season when rebounding equal to or more than their opponents... They are 0-2 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 5-0 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in both of the season's losses... Arizona is 5-1 when scoring 70 or more points.

POLKEY CONTINUES RECORD DOUBLE-DOUBLES STREAK: Shawntinice Polk has registered a double-double in each of the season's seven games so far, becoming the first player in UA history to have seven double-doubles in a row. The previous high was four in a row by Adia Barnes midway through the 1996-97 season.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 58.8 percent (60-102) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only one game so far.

This is unusual for a Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona. No UA team has ever shot below 65 percent since Bonvicini's arrival in 1991-92, and the Cats hit 70 percent or better from the line in three of the last four seasons. Last year's team drained a sizzling 74.0 percent of its charity shots.

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 31-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 142-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 102-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In the Dec. 19 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank is No. 10, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 18. Seven of the Cats' opponents this season are currently in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- USC (No. 12), Stanford (No. 15), Illinois (No. 21), Georgia (No. 23), Ohio State (No. 26), Washington (No. 46) and Oregon (No. 50).

GOING POLLING: Eleven of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2002-03 schedule were either ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

In the Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 2, Stanford is No. 5 and Georgia is No. 20. New Mexico, Washington, Arizona State, Illinois, Ohio State and Oregon were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 3, Stanford is No. 5, Georgia is No. 20, and New Mexico is No. 25. Washington, Ohio State, Arizona State and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won seven of its last eight televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season alone. Over the last four seasons, the Cats have a 10-8 record in games that are broadcast on TV.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is fourth in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.371), fifth in career three-pointers made (93) and is sixth in three-pointers attempted (251).

Senior forward Krista Warren is tied for fifth in career rebounding average (5.3 rpg), is ninth in field goal percentage (.488) and is tied for 10th in double-doubles (7).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (307), third in three-pointers made (112), fourth in minutes-played average (30.4 mpg) and fifth in career three-point percentage (.365).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.409) and is sixth in career minutes-played average (29.2 mpg). She recently broke into the career top 10 in three-point field goals made, standing at No. 10 with 54.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 33 of their last 43 home games and are 55-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 120-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 186-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 357-421 (.459) all-time record, however it is 161-85 (.654) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 194-107 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 4-1 in home games, 1-1 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests this season. 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.

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