Arizona Women Head for Oregon This Weekend

Jan. 28, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: A four-game road swing continues for the 24th-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (13-5 overall; 6-3 Pac-10), as it heads for Oregon this week. The Wildcats will be looking for their first win in Corvallis since 2000 when they play at Oregon State on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. PST. After the OSU game, Arizona heads to Eugene to take on Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 1. The contest will tip off at 12 p.m. PST and will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net, with Jim Watson and Mary Murphy calling all the action.

#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)
#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.)
#31 - Robin Roberson (F/G, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: In the midst of a stretch that has the Wildcats playing six of eight games on the road, Arizona is 13-5 overall and 6-3 in Pac-10 play. The Cats are currently in a tie with UCLA for third place in the Pac-10 standings, following Stanford (7-1) and Washington (7-2). Arizona is coming off a weekend that saw it fall to rival Arizona State (73-58) in Tempe on Jan. 23 then defeat Wisconsin (62-55) on Jan. 26 in Madison.

The loss at Arizona State really cost the Cats in the rankings, as they plummeted five spots down to No. 24 in this week's Associated Press Top 25. The didn't drop as far in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, coming in at No. 22 this week. Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for nine consecutive weeks, their longest run in the rankings since staying among the top 25 during the entire 1999-2000 season (19 straight weeks).

With averages of 17.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With 13 double-doubles on the season, Polk already has the third-highest rebounding total (201) and the eighth-best point total (311) for any freshman in UA history.

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.8 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 5.1 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, and is fourth in scoring (11.6 ppg).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third on the scoring chart (12.4 ppg). She missed last Sunday's game at Wisconsin due to illness, but she is likely to play this weekend. That contest was the first game Grzyb has missed in her three-year career at Arizona. She had played in 77 consecutive games for the Cats.

Senior guard Julie Brase leads the team with an average of 4.3 assists per game. Brase has already amassed a career single-season high of 78 assists in 18 games--her previous high was 70 assists in 27 games last year.

HOME WIN STREAK GOES TO EIGHT: The Cats have won eight games in a row at home. That's their longest home win streak since winning nine in a row at McKale from Nov. 18, 2000, to Jan. 13, 2001.

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring (76.4 ppg), field goal percentage (.495), three-point field goal percentage (.373) and assists (19.00 apg). Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (11.2 rpg) and field goal percentage (.615) and is second in scoring (17.3 ppg) and blocked shots (2.17 bpg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.11), and Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.614). Dee-Dee Wheeler is tied for second in three-point field goal percentage (.421) and is third in the league in scoring (16.8 ppg).

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Jan. 27, Shawntinice Polk is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.615), while Krista Warren (.614) is eighth in the same category. Polk is also 11th in the nation in rebounding average (11.2 rpg) and 27th in blocked shots (2.2 bpg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.495), 10th in assists per game (19.0 apg), 18th in scoring (76.4 ppg) and 27th in three-point field goal percentage (.373).

SCOUTING OREGON STATE: Winners of three of their last four games, the Beavers are 10-8 overall and 4-5 in Pac-10 play after splitting with the Washington schools on the road last weekend. OSU edged Washington State, 65-62, in Pullman on Jan. 23 then lost at Washington, 82-56, on Jan. 25. That loss to the Huskies ended a three-game win streak for Oregon State.

Only two OSU players are averging in double digits in scoring, led by junior forward Hollye Chapman's 11.2 points per game. Junior guard Leilani Estavan is a close second with a 11.1 ppg scoring average, and three other Beavers are averaging five points or more per game. Junior center Brina Chaney is the team's top rebounder, at 6.8 per game.

Oregon State head coach Judy Spoelstra (Oregon State, 1983) holds a 105-113 mark in eight seasons with her alma mater. She is 203-181 in 14 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. OREGON STATE: Oregon State has a narrow 18-17 lead in the series with Arizona, but the Wildcats beat the OSU earlier this season to stop a three-game losing streak to the Beavers. Arizona has a 5-12 all-time record when playing in Corvallis, and the Cats haven't won up there since a 65-49 victory on Feb. 6, 2000.

LAST MEETING WITH OREGON STATE: On Jan. 4, then-No. 20 Arizona held Oregon State to its lowest offensive output of the season, as the Cats logged a 72-44 victory over the Beavers at home. The 44 points was also Arizona's lowest point allowance in Pac-10 play since 1998.

The first half was a brutally slow one for both teams, with the score standing at 31-8 with 2:28 to play in the period. OSU rattled off seven straight points at the end of the half but was still down 31-15 at the break.

The Wildcats out-scored the Beavers, 38-16, over the first 13 minutes of the second half, for a 38-point lead. Joan Bonvicini put her bench into the game with about five minutes left, and Arizona didn't score another point after the 4:26 mark. That was when Oregon State was able to register 10 unanswered points to cut the deficit to only 28 points.

Arizona never trailed in the game and had a a double-digit lead from 10:17 in the first half through the rest of the game. For the fifth straight game, the Cats hit better than 50 percent from the floor, making 54.5 percent (30-55) of their field goal attempts, including a 6-for-7 performance from three-point range in the second half.

Shawntinice Polk got her 10th double-double of the season with game highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Dee-Dee Wheeler followed with 15 points, four rebounds and a game-high-tying four steals.

Aimee Grzyb hit three of her four three-point attempts on her way to 11 points, and Krista Warren had 10 points and four assists as the Cats extended their home win streak to six.

SCOUTING OREGON: Oregon is 7-11 overall and 3-6 in Pac-10 action after splitting two games last weekend, falling at Washington (79-60) and beating Washington State (73-69). The win at WSU ended a three-game losing skid for the Ducks, who have just two victories in their last seven games. Oregon will play host to Arizona State on Thursday before taking on the Wildcats on Saturday.

Freshman center Carolyn Ganes has taken over as Oregon's leading scorer, averaging 11.6 points per game. Sophomore guard Brandi Davis is close behind, at 11.0 ppg, followed by sophomore center Andrea Bills' 9.6 ppg. Bills is the team's top rebounder, grabbing 6.4 per game. Junior forward Cathrine Kraayeveld has the team's best scoring (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (11.7 rpg) averages, but she has missed the last nine games with a staph infection in her knee and is not expected to play again for another three weeks.

In her second season at the helm of her alma mater's program, head coach Bev Smith (Oregon, 1982) has a 29-24 record with the Ducks.

THE SERIES vs. OREGON: The Ducks have a solid 22-13 lead in the series with the Wildcats, although the Cats have a narrow 6-5 lead over the last 11 meetings. Arizona downed the Ducks in Tucson earlier this season, but the Cats have only a 5-11 all-time record when playing at Mac Court. Arizona hasn't won in Eugene since Feb. 4, 2000, when the Cats slipped away with a 73-66 win.

LAST MEETING WITH OREGON: Head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 200th win at the University of Arizona as the then-20th-ranked Wildcats trounced Oregon, 96-65, at home on Jan. 2.

Arizona ran out to a quick 10-2 lead to open the game and had an eight-point lead at 14:27 when Oregon began a 9-2 spurt that cut the spread to just one (20-19) midway through the first half. The Cats responded with 10 unanswered points to go up by 11 (30-19) with 6:07 left in the period, then they stretched their lead to 20 (41-21) at 2:48. The Ducks out-scored Arizona, 8-2, over the remainder of the period, but the Wildcats still had a 43-29 lead at the break.

The Wildcats opened the second half with a 22-6 run that put them up by 30 points (65-35) at 11:57 in the second half. The Ducks never got any closer than 23 points for the remainder of the game, and Arizona got its largest lead of the night at 33 points (96-63) off a free throw by junior forward Svjetlana Papcevic with nine seconds left. Oregon's Carolyn Ganes scored the last bucket of the game with three seconds left for the final spread of 96-65, a 31-point margin that was Arizona's biggest win ever over the Ducks.

Krista Warren led the Wildcats with 18 points and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Shawntinice Polk got double-double number nine on the season with her 16-point, 11-rebound performance, and Julie Brase earned a double-double as well by tallying 15 points and 10 assists. Dee-Dee Wheeler added 13 points as four of the five Wildcat starters reached double digits in scoring.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Cats ended the first round of Pac-10 play last week with a horrendous performance at Arizona State, but they recovered to win their final non-conference game of the season at Wisconsin on Sunday.

Arizona State used a game-opening 21-6 run to give it the momentum needed to roll to a 73-58 win over Arizona in Tempe last Thursday. The Wildcats scored the first bucket of the game at 18:33, which ASU promptly answered 20 seconds later. The Cats gained a 4-2 edge at 17:58, and that was the last time they led the in the game as ASU out-scored Arizona, 19-2, over the next five minutes to gain a 15-point lead.

Down eight at halftime, the Wildcats did manage to scrap back to within one (47-46) with 8:50 left in the game. ASU responded with six unanswered points to go back up by seven (53-46), and Arizona never came any closer than four points after that.

Despite being saddled with foul trouble most of the game, Shawntinice Polk finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season. Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring, tallying a team-high 14 points.

Despite having two starters struck down by illness, the Wildcats persevered for a 62-55 win at Wisconsin on Jan. 26. Arizona opened the game with a 10-2 run over the first three-and-a-half minutes of the contest, then went cold from the floor. Wisconsin capitalized on UA mistakes and reeled off 10 straight points to go up by two (12-10) at 12:49.

Dee-Dee Wheeler drained her only three-pointer of the game at 11:23 in the first to give the Cats a one-point (13-12) lead, but that was the last time they led in the period. Arizona tied the score twice before the half was over but found itself down by four points (27-23) at the break.

The Badgers led by seven (36-29) five minutes into the second half, and the Cats trailed until Wheeler knocked down a layup at 8:39 to tie the game at 40-all. Neither squad gained more than a four-point advantage over the next five minutes. With the score tied a 53-53 with 2:40 left in the game, Julie Brase drained her third 3-pointer of the game to send Arizona up by three. That was Arizona's final field goal in the game, but the Cats shot 6-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to claim their seventh non-conference victory of the season.

Wheeler drained five of those game-ending free throws and led all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds. Brase had 13 points and four assists, while freshman Natalie Jones shot 5-for-7 from the floor on her way to a season high 12 points and five rebounds. Jones started the game in place of Aimee Grzyb, who missed the trip due to illness.

Also hampered by illness, Shawntinice Polk was held to just nine points and six rebounds, her first non-double-digit scoring performance of the season. Krista Warren grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and added five points.

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 205-135 (.603) mark at Arizona and is 530-206 (.720) 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.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next week, the Wildcats return home briefly for two games against the Washington schools. Arizona will face Washington on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m., then the Cats will take on Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m.

After that, the Wildcats head for L.A. for their final Pac-10 road trip of the season. Arizona will play at UCLA on Friday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. PST, then they are at USC on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. PST.

AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, or at least that's the way it's been for the last three weeks. Over the Cats' last four wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 23.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and shot 57.8 percent (37-64) from the field, including 56.3 percent (9-16) from three-point range. In the last three weeks, the only games where Wheeler was 'off' (just 12.5 ppg and 34.5 percent shooting from the floor) were the contests at Washington and at Arizona State, which the Cats lost. On the season, Arizona is 6-0 when Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark, and she has hit better than 50 percent of her shots from the field in eight of the last 11 games.

POLKEY RACKING UP THE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Shawntinice Polk has tallied 13 double-doubles on the season, becoming the first player since Adia Barnes in 1996-97 to reach that total. Polkey is just two double-doubles away from tying the school record for most double-doubles in one season, which was 15 set by then-freshman Tonee Buntin in the 1981-82 season.

SHOTS ARE DROPPING FOR NAT: After enduring a cold streak of four games where she shot a combined 1-of-16 from the floor, freshman guard Natalie Jones has been really knocking them down over the last couple of games. During last weekend's contests at Arizona State and Wisconsin, Jones shot 9-for-12 from the floor, including 4-for-5 against ASU's suffocating defense on Jan. 23. At Wisconsin on Jan. 26, Jones' 5-for-7 performance included draining both her three-point attempts and racking up a season-high 12 points.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 11-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 1-4 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 12-2 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their five losses... Arizona is 9-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 13-2 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-3 when shooting worse... Arizona is 10-1 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 3-4 when three or fewer players get to double figures.

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 147-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 107-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

ARIZONA GOVERNOR TO MAKE GUEST APPEARANCE: Governor Janet Napolitano will be a 'guest coach' at the home game against Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 8. Selected Wildcat women's basketball boosters have been given the privilege of joining the team on the bench at every home game for the last 12 years. Guest coaches are given a special guided tour of the basketball facilities before the game, sit on the team bench during the game and are in the locker room during the pre-game chalk talk, at halftime and post-game, gaining an insider's view of what goes on behind the scenes on game day.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 37 of their last 47 home games and are 59-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 124-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 190-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

FEELIN' YOUNGER EVERY GAME: At Wisconsin on Jan. 26, the Cats had 12 players available, but it was a very young contingent of six freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and two seniors. With the departure of junior guard Candice Allen, the ineligibility of junior forward Svjetlana Papcevic and the illness of junior guard Aimee Grzyb, the Cats were left with just three upperclass players. Even with Grzyb back this weekend, the Cats will still have only four experienced players to counterbalance the youth of the nine freshmen and sophomores.

CATS WRAP UP FIRST ROUND OF PAC-10 PLAY: The Wildcats finished the first round of Pac-10 play with a 6-3 mark, their best record through the first nine conference games since going 6-3 in 2001. Last year's team was just 5-4 through the first round of conference action.

POLKEY GETS SOME 'LOVE' FROM S.I.: In the Jan. 20 issue of Sports Illustrated, Shawntinice Polk was listed as one of five collegiate women's basketball players who are 'Elevating the Game,' raising the level of play in the sport. The list included Polkey, UConn's Diana Taurasi, Alana Beard from Duke, Laurie Koehn at Kansas State and Stanford's Nicole Powell. Polkey was the only freshman on this very elite list.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 59.4 percent (164-276) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only six games 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.

A MATCH MADE ON THE COURT: On Dec. 30, senior forward Krista Warren became engaged to Nathan Luckow, who is in his third season as a manager for the UA women's basketball team. The two plan to marry on May 31 of this year.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 17 double-doubles already this season. That's the highest team double-doubles total since the 2000-01 team had 21 for the year.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In the Jan. 27 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 23, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 43. Eight of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- LSU (No. 7), Stanford (No. 9), Illinois (No. 17), Georgia (No. 22), Ohio State (No. 27), Washington (No. 38), Pepperdine (No. 47) and USC (No. 48).

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

In this week's Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 5, Stanford is No. 6, Georgia is No. 18, Ohio State is No. 23 and Washington is No. 25. Illinois was among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 5, Stanford is No. 7 and Georgia is No. 20. Ohio State, Washington, Illinois and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won nine of its last 13 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 3-4 on TV this year.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is fourth on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.374), fourth in career three-pointers made (110) and fourth in three-pointers attempted (294).

Senior forward Krista Warren is fifth in career rebounding average (5.5 rpg), sixth in total rebounds (550), seventh in field goal percentage (.506) and is tied for ninth in double-doubles (8).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (356), third in three-pointers made (130), fourth in minutes-played average (30.7 mpg) and fifth in career three-point percentage (.365).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.411), is fifth in career minutes-played average (30.1 mpg), eighth in three-point field goals made (72) and is tied for 10th in three-pointers attempted (175).

CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona is giving up an average of 9.7 more points per game in the second half than in the first... The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents by 20 boards or more in three games this season... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 365-424 (.463) all-time record, however it is 169-88 (.658) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 199-109 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 8-1 in home games, 5-4 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.

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