Women's Basketball Heads to L.A. for Final Regular Season Road Trip

Feb. 11, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: Hitting the road again for the third time in the last four weeks, the 24th-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (16-6 overall; 9-4 Pac-10) heads to Los Angeles this weekend for its final road trip of regular season play. The Wildcats will play at UCLA on Friday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. PST in Pauley Pavilion, then they take on USC on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. PST in L.A. Sports Arena.

#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.)
#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: Winners of four of their last five games, the Wildcats are 16-6 overall and 9-4 in Pac-10 play. Their 16 wins surpasses last year's total of 14 and is the most since the 2001 team got 20 victories. The Cats swept the Washington schools at home last weekend, earning a 79-66 revenge victory over then-No. 20 Washington on Feb. 6, then pounding Washington State, 80-50, on Feb. 8.

Arizona's sweep plus Arizona State's defeat of the Huskies on Saturday have moved the Wildcats into a tie with Washington for second place in the conference standings, following Stanford, which has a substantial hold on first place with an 11-1 league record. Three of Arizona's four conference losses this season have been by eight points or less.

After a one-week hiatus from the Associated Press Top 25, the Wildcats are back in the rankings this week, coming in at No. 24. Their sweep last weekend also moved them up two spots in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, now standing at No. 23. The Cats came in at No. 17 in this week's WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50 as well.

With averages of 17.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With a school-record 16 double-doubles on the season, Polk has the second-highest rebounding total (243) and the third-best point total (394) for any freshman in UA history.

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.3 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.7 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.0 boards per game, and is fourth in scoring (11.9 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third on the scoring chart, at 12.2 ppg.

POLKEY GETS THIRD PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR (Feb. 10): Shawntinice Polk was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Feb. 3-9, becoming the first Wildcat since Adia Barnes in 1997-98 to receive the honor three times in one season. Polk averaged 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals in just 21.5 minutes per game while leading Arizona to a sweep of the Washington schools. She shot a blazing 73.1 percent (19-of-26) from the floor on the weekend.

In the Wildcats' 79-66 defeat of No. 20 Washington Feb. 6, Polk scored 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting, scoring 10 points in the first half alone. She played just 17 minutes in that contest, due to foul trouble, and also tallied 2 assists and a blocked shot.

In the 80-50 win over Washington State Feb. 8, Polk went off for game highs of 28 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks and three steals in just 26 minutes of action. It was her 16th double-double in 22 collegiate games, setting the new UA single-season record. Polk was 12-of-16 from the floor for the game (.750), including a perfect 4-of-4 in the second half. Her five blocked shots in the contest was just one off the school single-game record. With 50 blocked shots on the season, Polk has the second-highest single-season blocks total in school history and is just three away from tying the school record of 53.

INJURY REPORT: Freshman guard Katrina Lindner tore her left knee ACL during practice on Friday, Feb. 7, and will be out for the remainder of the season. Lindner had to redshirt last year after tearing her right knee ACL during the team's annual Red & Blue Game in Oct. 2001.

HOME WIN STREAK GOES TO TEN: The Cats have won 10 games in a row at home, the second-longest home win streak in the program's history. The last time the Wildcats won that many consecutive home games was when they set the school record at 15 straight from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: Arizona leads the Pac-10 field goal percentage (.490) and assists (18.95 apg) and is second in scoring (76.0 ppg), scoring margin (+10.5 ppg), rebounding (39.9 rpg), rebounding margin (+5.5 rpg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.02).

Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (11.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (.626) and is second in scoring (17.9 ppg) and blocked shots (2.27 bpg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25) and is third in assists (4.50 apg). Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.598), while Aimee Grzyb is third in the league in three-pointers per game (1.86 pg).

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Feb. 10, Shawntinice Polk is fourth in the nation in field goal percentage (.626), while Krista Warren (.598) is eighth in the same category. Polk is also 12th in the nation in rebounding average (11.0 rpg), 22nd in blocked shots (2.3 bpg) and 46th in scoring (17.9 ppg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is fifth in the nation in assists per game (19.0 apg), sixth in field goal percentage (.490) and 20th in scoring (76.0 ppg).

SCOUTING UCLA: After starting Pac-10 play with a 6-0 mark, the Bruins have struggled lately, dropping five of their last six games. They are 12-9 overall and 7-5 in conference action after losing a close game at USC on Saturday, 72-68.

Guards Michelle Greco and Nikki Blue carry most of the offensive burden for the Bruins. The two are averaging a combined 36.6 points per game for a squad that is posting 75.8 ppg as a team. A senior, Greco is leading UCLA and the Pac-10 with 20.0 ppg and is her team's second-leading rebounder at 5.0 per game. Blue, a freshman, is logging 16.6 ppg and is the top rebounder at 5.3 rpg. Another freshman guard, Lisa Willis is third on the scoring chart, averaging 7.7 ppg.

In her 10th year at UCLA, head coach Kathy Olivier (UNLV, 1983) holds a 142-137 record.

THE SERIES vs. UCLA: The Bruins have a solid 34-15 lead in the series with Arizona, but the Wildcats have won four in a row and 13 of the last 18 meetings with UCLA. Earlier this season, the Cats handed the Bruins an 80-61 loss in Tucson, UCLA's first conference defeat of the year. Arizona has a 6-18 record all-time when playing at Pauley Pavilion.

LAST MEETING WITH UCLA: A 19-point halftime lead gave then-No. 22 Arizona the cushion it needed to hand UCLA its first conference loss of the season, 80-61, at home on Jan. 18.

Arizona opened the game with a 13-2 run over the first six minutes, then expanded that lead to 14 points (20-6) by 11:55. UCLA scored back-to-back baskets to cut the lead to 10 (20-10) just two minutes later, but the Cats used a 15-8 spurt to gain a 17-point (35-18) advantage with 5:01 left in the period.

The Bruins came no closer than 14 points the rest of the half, and a 7-2 spurt at the end of the period gave the Wildcats a 42-23 lead at the break, their largest halftime advantage of the season to date.

UCLA came at the Cats hard to start the second half, opening the period with a 21-6 run that cut Arizona's lead to just five points (48-43) at 12:47. The Wildcats countered with a layup and a trey to go back up by 10 (53-43), but the Bruins sliced the lead to six (53-47) again with 11:26 to go.

Arizona's Dee-Dee Wheeler drained a three-pointer, then made a layup right after that to send the Cats back up by 11 points (58-47) just one minute later. The Bruins were still within striking distance, down only eight points (65-57) with 4:11 to go, but the Wildcats finished the game on a 15-4 run that gave them their 19-point win. Down the stretch, Arizona held UCLA to just 1-for-13 shooting from the field.

Wheeler finished with a game-high 27 points, including a 10-for-15 performance from the floor. She also tied her career high with nine rebounds. Polk got her 12th double-double of the season, with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

Aimee Grzyb added 16 points and six assists off the bench, missing her first start in 37 games because she was late to shoot-around that morning. Krista Warren contributed 12 points and eight rebounds as Arizona's home win streak went to eight in a row.

SCOUTING USC: With five wins in their last six games, the Women of Troy are 11-12 overall and 6-6 in Pac-10 action. USC is the only Pac-10 team to defeat Stanford this season, 75-72, in L.A. Sports Arena on Jan. 26. Coming off a 72-68 win over rival UCLA at home on Feb. 8, the Women of Troy will play host to Arizona State on Friday before facing the Wildcats on Sunday.

Averaging 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, junior forward Ebony Hoffman is leading USC in both categories. She is second in the conference in rebounding, just behind Wildcat Shawntinice Polk. Junior guard Rometra Craig is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.0 ppg, while fellow guard Aisha Hollans is third with 12.7 ppg. Sophomore forward Rachel Woodward is averaging 10.0 points per game.

USC head coach Chris Gobrecht (USC, 1977) has a 75-90 mark in six seasons at her alma mater. She has a career record of 407-293 in 24 seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. USC: The Women of Troy have a 36-13 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Cats have won three of the last four and 11 of the last 15 meetings with USC. The Wildcats slipped away with a 75-72 win at home over the Women of Troy earlier this season. Arizona is 5-19 all-time when playing at USC, including a 78-74 win at the Sports Arena last year.

LAST MEETING WITH USC: Then-No. 22 Arizona survived a late surge by USC to slip past the Women of Troy, 79-76, at home on Jan. 16.

Through the first nine minutes of the game, the score was tied four times, and Arizona led only twice. Down by three (16-13) at 10:53, the Wildcats went on an 18-3 run over the next seven minutes to gain a 12-point (31-19) advantage with 3:48 left in the period. The Trojans managed to cut the lead to eight twice, but Arizona still led by 10 points, 37-27, at halftime.

The Cats held onto a double-digit lead through the first three minutes of the second half, then USC scored seven unanswered points to get back to within four (43-39) with 16:33 to play. The Wildcats responded with six straight points to push their lead back out to 10 just two minutes later.

The Women of Troy made another run at the Cats, using a 12-4 spurt midway through the period to slice the lead to four (60-56) once again. Arizona recovered for a 15-5 streak to gain a 14-point (75-61) advantage with 4:18 to play, the Cats' biggest lead of the game. Still leading by 13 with 2:36 left in the game, the Wildcat defense went to sleep, allowing USC to score 10 unanswered points and cut the spread to just three (79-76).

The Trojans intentionally fouled Aimee Grzyb twice in the final 25 seconds of the game to stop the clock. In shades of the first Washington game, Grzyb missed all four of her free throw attempts. Fortunately for the Cats, USC missed a three-point attempt in the waning seconds, and Arizona hung on for the win.

Dee-Dee Wheeler led all scorers with 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field. Shawntinice Polk, who didn't start the game because of violation of team policy, finished the contest with 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season. Getting her first start of the season, Robin Roberson went off for 13 points and eight rebounds, while Grzyb finished with 11 points and five assists.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION: Glad to be playing at home for the first time in nearly three weeks, the Wildcats reeled off a sweep of the Washington schools and moved up into a tie for second place in the conference standings.

With revenge on their minds for a one-point loss earlier this season in Seattle, the Wildcats handed then-No. 20 Washington a solid 79-66 defeat at home on Feb. 6.

Arizona scored the first bucket of the game, then Washington notched five straight points, taking a narrow three-point (5-2) lead just over one minute into the game. Then the Wildcats put on a massive 22-5 run to gain a 14-point (24-10) advantage at 13:52. The Huskies used their own 14-4 spurt over the next six minutes to chop Arizona's lead to just four points (28-24), but the Cats responded by out-scoring UW, 17-6, over the remainder of the half to take a 45-30 spread into halftime.

Early in the second half, Washington used a 15-4 surge to slice the deficit to just six points (51-45) with 13:01 left in the game. Arizona scored seven unanswered points over the next minute on the clock to put the spread back at 13 points (58-45). UW got back to within nine twice after that, but a 16-4 surge by Arizona late in the game gave the Cats a 19-point (76-57) advantage with only 4:12 left. Washington out-scored the Wildcats, 9-3, down the stretch, but the spread was just too much to overcome.

Dee-Dee Wheeler shot 10-for-18 from the floor on her way to a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Hampered by foul trouble most of the game, Shawntinice Polk still got 14 points and 4 rebounds in just 17 minutes of play.

On Feb. 8, Polk racked up game highs of 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano was on the bench as a 'guest coach,' as the Wildcats handed Washington State an 80-50 loss. Polk's double-double was her 16th on the year, setting a new school record for most double-doubles in a season.

WSU scored the first bucket of the game, but that would be the Cougars' only lead of the contest. The Wildcats had an 11-point (25-14) spread midway through the period. The Cougars managed to get back to within seven points (28-21) with 8:15 to go in the half, then Arizona finished the period on a 12-3 run that gave the Cats a 40-24 edge at the break.

Arizona wasn't going to let WSU hang around for long and began the second half on a 13-2 spurt that sent the spread to 27 points (53-26) just four minutes into the half. The Cougars were able to get back to within 17 points (57-40) with 10:51 to go, but that was the closest they came for the rest of the contest. Five minutes after that, the Wildcats had opened up a 30-point (72-42) spread, and they cruised to their 10th straight win at home.

Polk led all scorers with her 28 points, while Krista Warren added 16 points and eight rebounds. Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other Wildcat in double digits, with 11 points, as the UA backcourt shot a miserable 1-17 from three-point range for the game. The Arizona bench did pitch in a combined 17 points and 12 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 208-136 (.605) mark at Arizona and is 533-207 (.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: The Wildcats return to McKale Center next weekend to end regular season play with three straight home games. Arizona will face rival Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m., then the Cats will take on conference leader Stanford on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. Arizona will wrap up regular season play against California on Saturday, Mar. 1, at 1 p.m.

The week after that, the Wildcats head for San Jose, Calif., to participate in the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament on Mar. 7-10 at HP Pavilion. All 10 conference women's teams will participate in the tournament, with the bottom four seeds competing in 'play-in' games on Friday, Mar. 7. First-round action officially begins on Saturday, Mar. 8.

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.

POLKEY SNEAKING UP ON BLOCKS RECORD: With 50 blocked shots on the season, Shawntinice Polk is just three swats away from tying the school single-season mark of 53. That record was originally set by Tonee Buntin in 1981-82 and tied by Marte Alexander in 1997-98. Polk's 50 blocks is the highest single-season blocked shots total for any Wildcat in five years.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 39 of their last 49 home games and are 81-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 126-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 192-158 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 10-1 in home contests this season, they have out-scored opponents by an average of 16.2 points per game and have out-rebounded opponents by an average of 7.7 boards per game. Arizona is hitting a whopping 50.0 percent (353-706) of its shots from the field in home games. The Cats are averaging 78.8 points, 41.4 rebounds and 20.5 assists per game in McKale this season.

POLKEY SETS NEW DOUBLE-DOUBLES RECORD: Against Washington State on Feb. 8, freshman Shawntinice Polk racked up her 16th double-double of the year, setting a new school record for most double-doubles in a season. The previous record was 15, set by then-freshman Tonee Buntin during the 1981-82 season.

STEPPING UP: After averaging just 12.6 points per game over the first 10 contests, the Wildcat bench has registered 14.9 ppg over the last 12 games. It's not a great increase, but every little bit helps when your starters are having to play 30+ minutes a game. Even better, the bench scoring average actually went up to 15.5 ppg over the last four contests.

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 six games at home since Dec. 22. 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 seven wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 19.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 52.9 percent (54-102) from the field, including 43.3 percent (13-30) 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 7-0 when Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 13-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 2-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 15-3 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their six losses... Arizona is 11-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 16-2 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 12-2 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 4-4 when three or fewer players get to double figures... The Wildcats are 9-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

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 148-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 108-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 61.4 percent (210-342) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only 10 games.

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.

BUT WE'RE GETTING BETTER...: The positive is that, after shooting just 57.3 percent (130-227) from the line over the first 15 games of the season, the Wildcats have hit 69.6 percent (80-115) of their free throws over the last seven contests. Hitting over the 80 percent mark for the first time this season, the Cats shot 81.3 percent (13-16) from the line when they played Washington State on Feb. 8.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 20 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. 10 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 32, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 78. Eight of the Cats' opponents this season are currently in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- LSU (No. 6), Stanford (No. 10), Georgia (No. 18), Ohio State (No. 20), Illinois (No. 22), Washington (No. 39), New Mexico (No. 46) and Pepperdine (No. 50).

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. 4, Stanford is No. 6, Georgia is No. 14 and Ohio State is No. 22. Washington and Illinois were among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 4, Stanford is No. 6, Georgia is No. 16 and Ohio State is No. 25. Washington, 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.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is fourth on the UA career list in three-pointers made (112), fourth in three-pointers attempted (307) and fifth in three-point percentage (.365).

Senior forward Krista Warren is fifth in career rebounding average (5.5 rpg), fifth in total rebounds (575), sixth in field goal percentage (.508) and is tied for ninth in double-doubles (8).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (378), third in three-pointers made (139), fourth in minutes-played average (30.8 mpg) and fourth in career three-point percentage (.368).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.394), is fifth in career minutes-played average (30.5 mpg), eighth in three-point field goals made (76) and ninth in three-pointers attempted (193).

CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona is giving up an average of 10.3 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 368-425 (.464) all-time record, however it is 172-89 (.659) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 202-110 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 10-1 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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