Busy Thanksgiving Week Ahead for Women's Basketball

Nov. 23, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 22 AP/No. 21 USA Today) will hit the road for the first time this season, playing four games in six days this week. On Tuesday, Nov. 25, the Cats will play at No. 18 UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. PST. The Wildcats will then fly directly from Santa Barbara to Honolulu, where they will compete in the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic on Nov. 28-30.

In the first round on Friday, Nov. 28, the Wildcats will face Virginia at 2:40 p.m. HST (5:40 p.m. Tucson time). The second round on Saturday, Nov. 29, will see Arizona take on either Navy or No. 2 Texas at 1:10 p.m. HST (4:10 p.m. MST) or 5:30 p.m. HST (8:30 p.m. MST). The championship game will be on Sunday, Nov. 30, at 5:30 p.m. HST (8:30 p.m. MST), although the Cats could play at a different time, depending on the outcomes of their first two games.

REMEMBER -- ALL ARIZONA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL GAMES, HOME AND AWAY, CAN BE HEARD ON-LINE HERE AT ARIZONAATHLETICS.COM!!! Go to the women's basketball schedule and results page, and click on the 'listen' link for your chosen game.

#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, So., Inglewood, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, So., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Sr., San Jose, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, So., Anchorage, Alaska)

OFF THE BENCH: (alphabetical order)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, So., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Sr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#50 - Shannon Hobson (F/C, 6-2, Fr., Perris, Calif.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, So., Glengowrie, Australia)
#10 - Linda Pace (G, 5-9, Fr., San Diego, Calif.)
#25 - Rachael Schein (G/F, 5-11, Fr., Las Vegas, Nev.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: Opening the 2003-04 season with a big 89-67 win over in-state foe Northern Arizona on Nov. 22, the Wildcats are 1-0 on the season. Arizona has won eight of its last nine season openers, the only exception in that stretch being a close 78-71 overtime loss to then-No. 3 LSU at the start of last season.

Without ever playing a game, the Wildcats moved up one spot in both of last week's polls, going to No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 (from No. 23) and advancing to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll (from No. 22).

Although the Cats received only seven points of bench production in the NAU game, the rest of the scoring was pretty evenly balanced among the UA starters. Playing only 21 minutes because of early foul trouble, All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk went off for a team-high 25 points and pulled down five rebounds. Sophomore forward CoCoa Sanford had a breakout game, shooting 8-for-10 from the floor on her way to a career-high 19 points, while guards Dee-Dee Wheeler and Aimee Grzyb also contributed 19 points apiece. Grzyb tied her own career high with 19.

The Cats shot 54.2 percent (32-59) from the floor against the Lumberjacks, including a hot 53.3 percent (8-15) from beyond the arc. That's Arizona's best three-point shooting since hitting 53.8 percent (7-13) from long range in a blowout of Oregon State at home on Jan. 4 last season.

SCOUTING UC SANTA BARBARA: Ranked No. 18 in both the AP and USA Today polls, UCSB is 2-1 on the season after a run deep into the Preseason WNIT. The Gauchos defeated San Diego (82-44) and Utah (52-44) in the first two rounds of the tournament, then fell to seventh-ranked Texas Tech, 68-41, in the semifinals on Nov. 20. UC Santa Barbara boasts the nation's second-longest active home win streak at 25 games, second only to Connecticut's 63-game home win streak.

The Gauchos feature a balanced scoring attack, with six players averaging five points or more per game. Junior guard Kristen Mann is registering 10.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, leading UCSB in both categories. Seniors Lisa Willett and Lindsay Taylor are tied for second in scoring, each averaging 8.7 ppg. Freshman forward Jenna Green is the team's second-leading rebounder, at 6.0 per game.

In his 17th season at the helm of his alma mater's program, UCSB head coach Mark French (UC Santa Barbara, 1973) holds a 334-149 record with the Gauchos. He has a career mark of 432-263 in 25 seasons.

THE SERIES vs. UC SANTA BARBARA: Arizona has a narrow 6-4 lead in the series with UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos won the last meeting with the Cats, 94-80, in Tucson on Jan. 14, 2002, ending a four-game win streak for Arizona in the series.

LAST MEETING WITH UC SANTA BARBARA: Head coach Joan Bonvicini's 19-game career-spanning win streak over UC Santa Barbara came to an end on Jan. 14, 2002, as the Wildcats fell to the Gauchos, 94-80, at home.

Arizona jumped out to a 19-8 lead in the first eight minutes of the game, then couldn't generate much offense as UCSB went on a 12-3 run to cut the lead to two (22-20) at 9:43. The Wildcats responded with 10 unanswered points to regain a 12-point (32-20) advantage at 6:58. The Gauchos finished the half by out-scoring Arizona, 13-9, and took a 43-41 edge into the break.

UC Santa Barbara kept a tenuous hold on its lead through the early part of the second half. The UA had a 6-1 spurt midway through the period that gave it a one-point (57-56) edge, and the two teams traded buckets for eight minutes after that.

Holding only a two-point (75-73) advantage with just under five minutes to go, the Gauchos turned up the heat and scored 10 unanswered points to go ahead by 12 (86-74) at 1:13. They shot 8-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch, and Arizona came no closer than 12 points for the remainder of the game.

Julie Brase led the Cats with 17 points, including a 5-for-9 performance from three-point range. Elizabeth Pickney had 16 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while then-sophomore Aimee Grzyb contributed 16 points and five boards.

UCSB senior forward Kayte Christensen lit the Cats up for 34 points, including a McKale Center record-setting performance of 16-for-17 from the floor. She also had a game-high 11 rebounds and four steals. Then-freshman Kristen Mann came off the bench for 17 points and seven rebounds.

SCOUTING THE HAWAI'I RAINBOW WAHINE CLASSIC TEAMS: Virginia -- The Cavaliers are 1-1 on the year following a home win over UNC Greensboro (71-44) on Nov. 21 and a close loss to Virginia Tech (63-62) on Nov. 23. Virginia was ranked No. 24 in last week's USA Today Coaches Poll but only received votes for ranking in the Associated Press poll. Seeing her first action of the season on Nov. 23, junior guard LaTonya Blue technically has the team's top scoring average, at 15.0 ppg. Senior guard Anna Prillaman is posting 13.5 ppg, and junior forward Brandi Teamer is UVa's top rebounder, averaging 9.0 per game.

Texas -- Ranked No. 2 in both of last week's polls, the Longhorns will take a 2-0 mark into a Nov. 25 matchup at home with UCLA, before heading to Hawai'i for the tournament. Texas opened the season with an 85-77 upset of then-No. 2 Duke on Nov. 16, and followed that up with a 69-56 win over North Carolina State on Nov. 23. Four Longhorns are averaging double digits in scoring, led by junior guard Jamie Carey, a former Stanford starter, with 18.5 ppg. Freshman forward Tiffany Jackson is posting a team-best 9.5 rebounds per game.

Navy -- The Mids are 1-1 on the season following a 68-58 win at Robert Morris (Nov. 21) and a 77-55 loss at Albany (Nov. 23). Navy will face Morgan State at home on Nov. 25 before traveling to Honolulu. Senior forward Adrienne Roseti is Navy's top scorer, averaging 13.5 ppg, while junior guard Abi Campbell is the squad's top rebounder at 6.5 rpg.

The Other Half of the Bracket -- The other side of the tournament bracket features host team Hawai'i (1-0), Hartford (1-0), Montana (1-0) and Syracuse (1-0). All of the teams, except for Montana, have contests again before the tournament begins. The Wildcats could end up facing any one of the four teams on the third day of tournament action.

LAST TRIP TO HAWAI'I: The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21, 1999, to take the title of the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic. Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark. Then only a sophomore, former Cat Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for Arizona and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Senior guard Felecity Willis and senior forward Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.

Arizona has a fairly lengthy history of competing in tournaments at Hawai'i. In addition to the appearance in 1999-2000, the Cats were also there for tourney action during the 1986-87, 1990-91 and 1994-95 seasons.

RECAPPING THE NAU GAME (Nov. 22): Fueled by a 21-7 run midway through the second half, the Wildcats rolled to an 89-67 victory over in-state foe Northern Arizona at home on Nov. 22 to open the 2003-04 season.

The Cats began the contest with a massive 22-5 run over the first seven minutes of action, pushing their lead to 21 points (34-13) with 9:15 left in the first half. Then NAU responded with a 24-9 run of its own, draining five 3-pointers in the process and cutting the Cats' edge to just six points (43-37) with 58 seconds left in the period. Arizona finally woke up and answered with a CoCoa Sanford layup, two Dee-Dee Wheeler free throws and a Wheeler trey at the buzzer to regain a 13-point (50-37) lead at halftime.

The two squads traded buckets early in the second half, then Arizona put on its 21-7 spurt, gaining a 27-point (77-50) lead, its largest of the game, with 9:46 to play. Sanford scored the last 11 points for the Cats during that run. NAU never came closer than 18 points after that, as the Wildcats earned their eighth season-opening win in the last nine years.

Sophomore center Shawntinice Polk scored a team-high 25 points in just 21 minutes of action, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots. Sanford finished with a career-high 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, while senior guard Aimee Grzyb drained five of her six 3-point attempts on her way to 19 points, tying her career high. Wheeler added 19 points and five assists, and junior center Danielle Adefeso pulled down a game-high-tying seven 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 13 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to seven post-season appearances, including five NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Entering her 13th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 215-139 (.607) mark at Arizona and is 540-210 (.720) in 23 years as a head coach. She has a career record of 23-15 in NCAA tournament play and has lost in the first round only once 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: After their long road trip, the Wildcats return to Tucson for a four-game homestand. They will play host to Massachusetts, Utah State and American for the 13th annual Fiesta Bowl Women's Classic on Saturday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 7. UMass and Utah State will face-off in the first game on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m., followed by Arizona versus American at 3:30 p.m. On Dec. 7, the consolation game will be played at 1 p.m., with the championship game at 3:30 p.m.

The following weekend, Arizona will face Brigham Young on Friday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m., then the Wildcats will take on Texas State (formerly Southwest Texas State) on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 1 p.m.

INJURY REPORT: Freshman wing Rachael Schein missed the Northern Arizona contest with a minor concussion suffered in practice early last week. She is expected to return to action this week.

Sophomore guard Phakisha Peterson is redshirting this year after the discovery of stress fractures in both her lower legs during the summer.

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT FOURTEEN: The Cats have won 14 games in a row at home, the second-longest home win streak in the program's history and just one off the school record. The record for longest home win streak is 15 games from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 23 of their last 30 home games and are 99-22 on their home court over the last seven seasons combined. Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have posted a 130-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 196-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won 10 of their 13 season openers. They had a streak of seven straight season-opening wins snapped with a close 78-71 overtime loss to then-No. 3 LSU at the start of last season.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Two Wildcats should reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring this season. Senior guard Aimee Grzyb has amassed 886 career points, just 114 away from 1,000. Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 863 points in her career, needing 137 points to reach 1,000. Whenever one of these players reaches that 1,000-point mark, she will be the first new addition to the UA '1,000-Point Club' since both Elizabeth Pickney and Reshea Bristol joined that list during the 2000-01 season. The '1,000-Point Club' at Arizona is currently comprised of 10 former Wildcats.

GOING POLLING: Twelve of Arizona's 2003-04 opponents are either nationally ranked or received votes for ranking in the latest polls.

According to the Nov. 17 Associated Press poll, Texas is No. 2, Stanford is No. 6, LSU is No. 12, UC Santa Barbara is No. 18, and Oregon is No. 24. Virginia, Washington, Brigham Young, Arizona State, New Mexico and Montana were all among the teams that received votes for ranking.

In the Nov. 19 USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll, Texas was No. 2, Stanford was No. 7, LSU was No. 14, UC Santa Barbara was No. 18 and Virginia was No. 24. Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, Montana and UCLA were among a multitude of teams that received votes for ranking.

HIGH-POWERED OFFENSE: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, Wildcat teams have won 69 games by margins of 20 points or more. Ten of those blowouts happened last season alone, and the Cats have logged another 20-plus win already this year.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to the 2001-02 season, Arizona has won 12 of its last 18 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games during 2001-02, but were just 6-6 on TV last year.

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 32-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 149-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 109-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers made (153), third in three-pointers attempted (421), fourth in three-point percentage (.363), fifth in minutes-played average (30.9 mpg) and 10th in total minutes played (2811). On Nov. 22, she broke into the Cats' Top 20 All-Time Leading Scorers list, now standing at No. 20 with 886 career points.

Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in career three-point percentage (.367), third in career scoring average (14.4 ppg), tied for third in minutes-played average (31.0 mpg), tied for sixth in three-point field goals made (91) and is seventh in three-pointers attempted (248).

Although only a sophomore, Shawntinice Polk has already broken into Arizona's career lists in several categories. She is second in career double-doubles (21), fifth in blocked shots (83) and seventh in minutes-played average (29.5 mpg).

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 375-428 (.467) all-time record, however it is 179-92 (.661) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 208-112 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: This season, the Wildcats have a 1-0 record at home, are 0-0 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests. Last year, Arizona was 13-1 at home, 7-6 on the road and 2-2 in neutral games.

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