Wildcat Women Face Washington Schools at Home This Week

Feb. 4, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: Playing on its home court for the first time in nearly three weeks, the University of Arizona women's basketball team (14-6 overall; 7-4 Pac-10) will face the Washington schools in the McKale Center this weekend. The Wildcats will be seeking revenge for last month's loss in Seattle when they take on 20th-ranked Washington on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. Arizona will also be looking for its fourth straight win over Washington State when the Cats face the Cougars on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m.

#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: After ending a four-game road swing, Arizona stands at 14-6 overall and 7-4 in Pac-10 play. The Wildcats have equaled last season's win total, but they also have lost two of their last three conference games. The Cats are once again tied with UCLA (7-4) for third in the league standings, following Stanford (9-1) and Washington (9-2).

Arizona is coming off a split at the Oregon schools last week, where the Cats lost at Oregon State (71-65) in overtime then recovered to edge Oregon, 71-66. Three of Arizona's conference losses this season have been by eight points or less.

The Cats slipped to No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll this week, but they dropped out of the AP Top 25, after spending nine straight weeks ranked in that poll. Arizona did get 56 votes in the AP poll this week.

With averages of 17.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With 15 double-doubles on the season, Polk already has the third-highest rebounding total (227) and the fourth-best point total (352) for any freshman in UA history. Her 15 double-doubles has tied a school record that was set during the 1981-82 season.

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.1 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.9 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.0 boards per game, and is fourth in scoring (11.6 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third on the scoring chart, at 12.5 ppg.

GOVERNOR TO MAKE GUEST APPEARANCE AT SATURDAY'S GAME: 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.

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 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 field goal percentage (.489) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (.366), rebounding (39.8 rpg), rebounding margin (+5.1 rpg), assists (18.75 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.99).

Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (11.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.615) and is second in scoring (17.6 ppg) and blocked shots (2.20 bpg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.15) and is third in assists (4.30 apg). Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.601), while Aimee Grzyb is third in the league in three-pointers per game (1.95 pg).

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Feb. 2, Shawntinice Polk is seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.615), while Krista Warren (.601) is eighth in the same category. Polk is also ninth in the nation in rebounding average (11.4 rpg) and 25th in blocked shots (2.2 bpg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.489), 10th in assists per game (18.8 apg) and 23rd in scoring (75.6 ppg).

SCOUTING WASHINGTON: Winners of four straight and eight of their last nine, the Huskies improved to 17-3 overall and 9-2 in Pac-10 play with a sweep of the L.A. schools at home last weekend. Washington easily handled USC, 94-76, on Jan. 30 then gave UCLA a 111-77 thumping on Feb. 1. The Huskies are ranked No. 20 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and are No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Coming off a record-setting 43-point performance against UCLA on Saturday, junior guard Giuliana Mendiola leads Washington in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg). Senior guard Loree Payne is second with 14.6 ppg, and senior forward Emily Autrey is registering 11.4 ppg and 5.2 rpg. Junior forward Andrea Lalum is a close fourth with an 11.3 ppg scoring average.

In her seventh year at Washington, head coach June Daugherty (Ohio State, 1978) holds a 117-81 mark. She is 240-155 in 14 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON: The Huskies have a solid 25-9 lead in the series with Arizona and have won three of the last four meetings with the Cats, including a 60-59 victory over the UA earlier this season in Seattle. Arizona has an 8-9 all-time record when playing the Huskies in McKale and has won seven in a row over UW at home. The Cats haven't lost a home game to Washington since a 77-67 defeat on Feb. 1, 1996.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON: The Wildcats' inability to hit free throws this season finally caught up with them as they were edged at Washington, 60-59, on Jan. 11. The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Cats and was Arizona's third straight defeat in Seattle.

The Wildcats zipped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game, then extended their advantage to nine (19-10) at 12:57. Washington went on a 13-2 run to take a one-point (24-23) edge at 6:23, but the Cats responded with a 15-3 spurt that gave them a 38-27 lead at halftime.

The Huskies came out gunning in the second half and used a 17-8 burst to slice Arizona's lead to just two points (46-44) midway through the period. The Wildcats hung on to their tenuous lead and regained a five-point (54-49) foothold with 3:26 to play.

UW drained a pair of free throws and then a three-pointer to tie the game at 54-all with 2:46 left. The teams traded a couple of buckets, and Arizona got a three-point (59-56) lead off an Aimee Grzyb trey with 45 seconds left in the game.

With just 23 seconds remaining, Shawntinice Polk was whistled for her fifth foul of the game, and Washington's Giuliana Mendiola nailed two free throw attempts to get her team back to within one point. After being intentionally fouled by the Huskies, Dee-Dee Wheeler missed the front end of a one-and-one with 18 seconds left, then Aimee Grzyb did the same with only 13 seconds remaining.

Washington grabbed the rebound from Grzyb's missed free throw and had enough time to go the length of the court for a shot attempt then the game-winning put-back at the buzzer.

The Wildcat starters accounted for all 59 of Arizona's points in the game. Polk logged a game-high 20 points and six rebounds, while Grzyb finished close behind with 19 points and four assists. Wheeler had 11 points and just missed a double-double with a career-high nine rebounds. Krista Warren pulled down a season- and game-high 11 rebounds.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: On a 43-game losing skid that dates back to last season, the Cougars are 0-19 overall and 0-11 in conference play. They were swept at home by UCLA (86-70) on Jan. 30 and by USC (89-36) on Feb. 1. WSU will play at Arizona State on Thursday before heading to Tucson for Saturday's game.

Junior forward Bianca McCall has scored 20 points or more in four of the Cougars' last five games, and she leads them in both scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). Sophomore guard Jessica Perry is second in scoring, at 9.2 ppg, followed by junior center Candace Fields with 8.3 ppg. Fields is the team's second-leading rebounder, averaging 6.1 boards per game. In her first year with the Cougars, head coach Sherri Murrell (Pepperdine, 1991) has an 0-19 record. She is 68-65 in five seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars have a very narrow 17-16 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats have won three in a row and seven of the last eight against WSU. The Cats are 8-8 all-time when playing Washington State at home and have won four in a row over WSU in McKale. Arizona's last home loss to Washington State was a 64-61 defeat off a buzzer-beater trey in 1998.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON STATE: With four starters in double figures, the Wildcats ran by Washington State, 86-65, in Pullman on Jan. 9.

Despite committing five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game, Arizona gained a 22-12 lead midway through the first half. WSU responded with seven unanswered points to cut the lead to just three (22-19) at 7:40, then Arizona used a 14-0 run to go up by 17 points (36-19) with 2:51 left in the period. The Wildcats led, 39-25, at the break.

Sloppy play continued in the second half for the Cats, as they coughed up the ball on each of their first three possessions and ended up with five miscues in the first three minutes of the period. In spite of the turnovers, the Wildcats extended their lead to 24 points (53-29) at 14:56.

Washington State fought back to within 19 points twice over the next nine minutes, but Arizona always had an answer and finally gained its biggest lead of the game at 31 points (84-53) with 4:16 left. Head coach Joan Bonvicini dipped into her bench extensively during the game and had at least four freshmen on the floor at any time during the final five minutes on the clock. WSU out-scored the Wildcats, 12-2, down the stretch, but the spread was just too much for the Cougars to overcome.

Dee-Dee Wheeler led all scorers with 20 points while contributing five rebounds and four assists. Aimee Grzyb registered 18 points and six assists, and Krista Warren shot 6-for-7 from the floor on her way to 12 points and nine rebounds.

Shawntinice Polk was limited to just 16 points and six rebounds, but she did earn five assists in the game. Fellow freshman CoCoa Sanford came off the bench for an outstanding effort of nine points and eight rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. Julie Brase had a game-high seven assists to go with six rebounds.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION: The Wildcats wrapped up a four-game road swing with a split at the Oregon schools last week.

Oregon State Game -- On Jan. 30, the Cats lost their second overtime game of the season with a 71-65 defeat at Oregon State, their third loss in a row in Corvallis. The first half was a close one, featuring five ties and four lead changes. Neither team could gain more than a four-point advantage until the Cats ended the half on an 8-2 spurt that gave them a six-point (29-23) lead at the break.

Oregon State opened the second stanza by scoring seven unanswered points and went up by one (30-29) less than two minutes into the period. The second half was just as close as the first, with 11 ties and seven lead changes.

The Wildcats held a narrow three-point (61-58) advantage with 2:19 remaining but missed four shots and had one turnover to remain scoreless down the stretch. With OSU down just one point, an Arizona foul sent Beaver guard Leilani Estavan to the line, where she needed to hit just one of her two attempts to tie the game with 24 seconds left and send the contest into overtime.

Arizona scored right away in the overtime period then had another bucket with 3:02 left, but the Cats were done offensively, as they missed six shots in the extra time. OSU also hit just two field goals in the overtime but shot 6-for-8 from the free throw line to seal the win.

Polk led the Cats with 18 points and 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. Aimee Grzyb came off the bench for 15 points, including three 3-pointers in the first half alone, while Krista Warren and Dee-Dee Wheeler contributed 12 points each.

Oregon Game -- Playing its fourth straight game on the road, Arizona withstood two strong runs by Oregon to defeat the Ducks, 71-66, in Eugene on Feb. 1.

It looked good for the Cats early on, as they raced out to an 11-2 lead over the first two minutes of the contest. But over the next five minutes, Oregon went on a 19-3 run, while Arizona missed nine shots and committed three turnovers and three fouls.

With the Cats down by seven points (21-14), a layup by Shawntinice Polk stopped the bleeding at 12:02. Arizona used its own 18-10 spurt to regain a one-point (32-31) lead with just under six minutes left in the half. The teams traded buckets for the next few minutes, and the Cats still had a tenuous one-point lead at the break, 37-36.

The second half was a virtual repeat of the first. Arizona opened the stanza with an 11-2 burst to gain a 10-point (48-38) lead, its largest of the game, at 16:40. The Ducks out-scored the Cats, 14-3, over the next four minutes to reach a one-point (52-51) advantage with 10:20 to play.

Arizona's Krista Warren hit one of her two free throw attempts, and Aimee Grzyb drained a three-pointer to put the Cats back up by three (58-55) two minutes later. Over the next eight minutes, Oregon tied the score twice. Arizona never relinquished the lead, but it needed four free throws from Dee-Dee Wheeler and Natalie Jones in the waning seconds to secure the win.

Shawntinice Polk shot 10-for-15 from the floor on her way to game highs of 23 points and 15 rebounds. That was her 15th double-double of the year, allowing her to tie the school record for most double-doubles in a season. Warren, Grzyb and Jones added 12 points each as the Cats got their first-ever season sweep of Oregon.

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 206-136 (.602) mark at Arizona and is 531-207 (.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 weekend, 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.

The Cats will end regular season play with three straight home games. They play host to rival Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m., then Stanford (Feb. 27) and California (Mar. 1) come for a visit.

ON-LINE CHAT FOR POLKEY & DEE-DEE: Dee-Dee Wheeler and Polkey will be participating in an on-line chat on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 1:15 p.m. on the official University of Arizona web site, www. arizonaathletics.com.

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.

THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona's numbers at home have simply been outstanding this season. Not only are the Cats 8-1 in home contests this season, they have out-scored opponents by an average of 15 points per game and have out-rebounded opponents by an average of 7.5 boards per game. Arizona is hitting a whopping 50.0 percent (288-576) of its shots from the field in home games, including 37.7 percent (57-151) of its three-point shots. The Cats are averaging 78.7 points, 41.6 rebounds and 20.3 assists per game in McKale this season.

MORE 'LOVE' FOR POLKEY: During a 'Midseason Report' that was released on Jan. 30, WomensCollegeHoops.com named Polkey as one of its five Freshman All-Americans.

POLKEY RACKING UP THE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Shawntinice Polk has tallied 15 double-doubles on the year and has tied the school record for most double-doubles in a season, a mark which was 15 set by then-freshman Tonee Buntin in the 1981-82 season.

STEPPING UP: With her team in desperate need of more contribution from its bench players, freshman guard Natalie Jones has responded with some solid performances over the last couple of weeks. In Arizona's last four games, Jones averaged 8.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. She shot an outstanding 50.0 percent (12-24) from the field, including 40.0 percent (4-10) from three-point range, and drained 83.3 percent (5-6) of her free throws. Jones reached double figures in scoring in two of the last three games.

TIRED OF LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE: The Wildcats have had a rough time in road games this season, especially since the start of Pac-10 play. Arizona is just 3-4 in Pac-10 road games so far and has lost three of its last four away contests in conference action. To make matters worse, Arizona has played just four games at home since Dec. 22, meaning the Cats were on the road for nine of their last 13 contests. The Wildcats have played 11 road games already this year, and USC is the only Pac-10 team that has been on the road more than Arizona, with 14 away games.

Struggling on the road has become a disturbing trend for Arizona over the last few seasons. Since the 2000-01 season, the Wildcats are just 15-21 when playing on the road, including a paltry 9-16 mark in Pac-10 road games. The last time the Cats had a winning road record was in 1999-2000, when they were 9-4 overall and 7-2 in Pac-10 away games.

AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, or at least that's the way it's been for the last several weeks. Over the Cats' last five wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 20.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and shot 53.4 percent (39-73) from the field, including 50.0 percent (10-20) from three-point range.

In the last three losses, Wheeler averaged just 12.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg. She shot just 35.6 percent (16-45) from the field and a mere 18.8 percent (3-16) from beyond the arc. Wheeler didn't hit a single three-pointer in either of the Cats' last two losses.

On the season, Arizona is 6-0 when Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 12-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 1-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 13-3 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their six losses... Arizona is 9-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 14-2 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 11-2 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.

WE'RE YOUNGER THAN YOU THINK: 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 healthy again, the Cats still have only four experienced players to counterbalance the youth of the nine freshmen and sophomores.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 60.1 percent (187-311) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only eight games. This is the first time all season that their cumulative shooting percentage has topped the 60-percent mark.

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.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 19 double-doubles 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 Feb. 3 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 35, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 55. Seven of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- LSU (No. 7), Stanford (No. 13), Illinois (No. 19), Georgia (No. 28), Ohio State (No. 29), Washington (No. 34) and New Mexico (No. 46).

GOING POLLING: Eight 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. 4, Stanford is No. 6, Georgia is No. 17, Washington is No. 20 and Ohio State is No. 25. Illinois and New Mexico were among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 4, Stanford is No. 7, Georgia is No. 18 and Washington is No. 24. Ohio State, Illinois and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 10 of its last 14 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 4-4 on TV this year.

CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona is giving up an average of 11.4 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 366-425 (.463) all-time record, however it is 170-89 (.656) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 200-110 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 8-1 in home games, 6-5 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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