Women's Basketball Plays Host to 13th Annual Fiesta Bowl Classic

Dec. 2, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: With an active home win streak of 14 games, the University of Arizona women's basketball team will look to tie the school record of 15 in a row while playing host to the 13th annual Fiesta Bowl Women's Classic this weekend. Massachusetts and Utah State will face off in the first game on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m., followed by Arizona and American at 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, Dec. 7, the consolation game will be played at 1 p.m., with the championship game at 3:30 p.m. All games will be played at McKale Center.

There are special ticket prices for seniors and 'snowbirds' this weekend -- seniors (55+) and anyone presenting an out-of-state driver's license can gain admission for $2 each day. General admission, covering both games each day, is $6. Tickets for UA faculty and staff are $6, while youth (high school and under) and UA students are $4. UA students with a Zona Zoo Pass can enter the contest for free.

TOURNAMENT CONNECTIONS: Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini and Massachusetts head coach Marnie Dacko played basketball together during the mid-1970s at Southern Connecticut State.

Junior guards Dee-Dee Wheeler from Arizona and Monique Govan from UMass also played together at Chicago's Dunbar Vocational Career Academy. Wheeler says the two are best friends and are the 'best 1-2 combo in the world.'

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT FOURTEEN: The Cats have won 14 games in a row at home, dating back to Nov. 30, 2002. This is the second-longest home win streak in the program's history and is just one off the school record. The record for longest home win streak is 15 games from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: After a rough week-long road trip, the Cats bring a 3-2 record back home to Tucson. Playing four games in six days last week, the Wildcats dropped a 75-65 decision at then-16th-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 25. Arizona then finished fifth at the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic with a loss to Virginia (70-65) on Nov. 28 and wins over Navy (67-61) on Nov. 29 and over host team Hawai'i (66-57) on Nov. 30.

The Cats have slipped from No. 18 to No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and for the first time since Nov. 25, 2002, Arizona is not ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 this week. The Wildcats did receive 47 votes in this week's AP poll.

Sophomore All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg). Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is a very close second on the scoring chart, averaging 16.2 points per game, followed by senior guard Aimee Grzyb with 11.4 ppg.

Junior center Danielle Adefeso is the team's second-leading rebounder, averaging 6.2 per game, while sophomore forward CoCoa Sanford is third at 5.6 rpg. Wheeler is fourth in rebounding, with a 5.0 rpg average.

#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)

#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.)

ARIZONA IN THE PAC-10 STATS: Through games of Nov. 30, Arizona is second in the Pac-10 in rebounding defense (29.6 rpg), third in scoring (70.4 ppg), third in rebounding margin (+8.6 rpg), fourth in three-point percentage defense (.280) and fourth in rebounding (38.2 rpg).

Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in the conference in assists (5.6 apg), seventh in scoring (16.2 ppg), tied for ninth in steals (2.0 spg) and tied for 20th in rebounding (5.0 rpg). Polkey is fourth in blocked shots (2.00 bpg), fifth in scoring (16.4 ppg), fifth in field goal percentage (.615) and tied for fifth in rebounding (7.6 rpg). CoCoa Sanford is fifth in free throw percentage (.846), Aimee Grzyb is third in three-point field goals made (9), and Natalie Jones is tied for fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.00).

SCOUTING AMERICAN: The Eagles are 2-1 on the season after opening the year with home wins over UNC Asheville (52-48) on Nov. 21 and Howard (81-56) on Nov. 23 and a loss at Loyola (64-59) on Nov. 30. American will play at Mount St. Mary's on Wednesday before heading to Tucson for this weekend's tournament.

The scoring is evenly distributed for American, with six players averaging six points or more per game. Senior guard Chanel Spriggs is the only Eagle averaging in double digits in scoring, with 14.3 points per game. Junior post player Kim Salem is second in scoring, at 9.3 ppg, and junior forward Chanel Hunt is American's top rebounder, pulling down 7.3 per game.

Head coach Shan Hart (Norfolk State, 1988) has a 36-50 record in four seasons with the Eagles. She is 113-82 in eight years as a collegiate head coach.

THE SERIES vs. AMERICAN: Saturday's contest will mark a first-ever meeting between the Arizona and American women's basketball teams.

SCOUTING MASSACHUSETTS: After opening the season with four straight losses, UMass is 1-4 on the year following a 55-52 win over Brown on Nov. 30 at the Coca-Cola Classic in Fairfield, Conn. The Minutewomen will play host to Vermont on Wednesday before their trip to Tucson.

Two UMass players are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by freshman forward Tamara Tatham with 11.0 points per game. Junior Brooke Campbell is a close second, at 10.4 ppg, and is the team's top rebounder, at 9.0 rpg. Tatham is the squad's second-leading rebounder, grabbing 4.6 per contest.

UMass head coach Marnie Dacko (Southern Connecticut State, 1978) has a 15-18 mark in her second year with the Minutewomen. She has a career record of 95-122 in nine seasons.

THE SERIES vs. MASSACHUSETTS: The Arizona and UMass women's basketball teams have never before played one another.

SCOUTING UTAH STATE: After a 15-year break, Utah State is fielding a women's basketball team for the first time since the 1986-87 season. The Aggies are 0-2 on the year after opening their season with a 79-60 loss at home to Southern Utah on Nov. 21 and a 65-41 defeat at Montana State on Nov. 24.

Posting an average of 10.5 points per game, freshman forward Anne-Marie Torp leads Utah State in scoring. Freshman guard Christina Zdenek and sophomore center Ali Aird are tied for second, each averaging 8.0 ppg. Freshman forward Brittany Hagen is the team-leading rebounder, with an average of 7.0 rpg.

Head coach Raegan Pebley (Colorado, 1997) is 0-2 in her first season as a collegiate head coach.

THE SERIES vs. UTAH STATE: The Aggies have a 7-4 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats won the last meeting between the two teams, 75-41, on Dec. 4, 1986, in Ogden, Utah. The two clubs met with some regularity during the 1970s, including a matchup during Arizona's first varsity season in 1972-73. Arizona has an active three-game win streak against Utah State and hasn't lost a game to the club since suffering a 105-63 pounding by the Aggies on Feb. 2, 1979, in Ogden.

FIESTA BOWL CLASSIC HISTORY: Upon her arrival at Arizona, head coach Joan Bonvicini established the tradition of playing host to a tournament each year during late November or early December. The Wildcats have won eight titles in the 12 years of the tournament's existence, including three of the last four. Arizona edged Illinois, 75-73, in the championship of last year's tournament to recapture the title after not even making the championship game of the 2001 tourney.

Shawntinice Polk was the Most Valuable Player of last year's tournament, while teammate Dee-Dee Wheeler was selected to the All-Tournament Team.

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.

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 217-141 (.606) mark at Arizona and is 542-212 (.719) 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: Next weekend, Arizona remains at home to 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.

The Cats hit the road again a week later, playing at New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. Arizona opens Pac-10 play on Dec. 27 and 29 against Washington and Washington State, respectively.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION -- At #16 UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 25): Despite a 16-point second half from Shawntinice Polk, the Wildcats suffered a 75-65 loss at No. 16 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 25. Down as much as 21 points late in the game, Arizona fought valiantly to come as close as eight points with just seconds to play, but by then it was too late.

After being held to just four points in the first half, Polk went off for 16 points in the second, finishing with team highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds, her first double-double of the season. Natalie Jones drained a trio of 3-pointers on her way to a career-high 13 points.

Vs. Virginia (Nov. 28 at Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic): The shooting woes continued for the Cats on Nov. 28 in their first game of the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, as Arizona fell to an unranked Virginia squad, 70-65. Polkey played just five minutes in the first half after picking up three quick fouls early in the game.

Virginia was up by 12 points early in the second half, when the Cats put on a 17-8 run to cut the lead to three points (57-54) with 8:19 to play. Just over three minutes later, the Wildcats found themselves back down by eight. With only 1:55 left to play, Arizona was within two points (67-65), but two turnovers and four fouls down the stretch put the game out of their reach for good.

Polkey led the Cats again with 14 points, while Dee-Dee Wheeler came reasonably close to a triple-double with 12 points and game highs of 10 rebounds and six assists.

Vs. Navy (Nov. 29 at Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic): Arizona struggled again to maintain offensive consistency during its second game of the tournament on Nov. 29, but fortunately, the Cats came out on the winning side, slipping past Navy, 67-61. Despite losing Aimee Grzyb early in the contest to an eye injury, the Cats still held a 10-point (32-22) lead at halftime.

The Wildcats opened the second half with a 7-2 spurt that stretched their lead to 15 (39-24). Navy responded with a monster 24-9 run that tied the game at 48-48 with just eight minutes remaining. Three straight buckets from Polkey and a layup by the newly returned Grzyb gave the Cats an eight-point (56-48) cushion which was eventually stretched to 10 points (62-52) with 2:08 to play. The Mids kept scrapping but came no closer than the final spread of six.

Shooting 8-for-11 from the floor, Polkey put up 19 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds as the Cats out-rebounded Navy by a massive 48-22 margin. Dee-Dee Wheeler added 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

At Hawai'i (Nov. 30 at Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic): On Nov. 30, the Cats fended off the pesky host team Hawai'i and earned a 66-57 win to finish fifth at the Rainbow Wahine Classic. With three ties and five lead changes in the first half, neither team could gain much of a foothold, and the score was tied, 30-30, at the break.

When Polkey picked up her fourth foul of the contest just 30 seconds into the second half and had to be benched, the Cats scrambled to keep Hawai'i from gaining control of the game. Holding a tenuous two-point (55-53) lead with just over seven minutes to play, the Cats used a 10-2 run to gain a 65-55 advantage with two minutes remaining. Hawai'i's only points down the stretch were two free throws.

Dee-Dee Wheeler shot 8-for-14 to lead the Cats with a game-high-tying 21 points, while contributing six assists and four rebounds in the contest. Danielle Adefeso came off the bench for 12 points and eight rebounds, while Aimee Grzyb added 11 points.

Wheeler averaged 17.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game during the tournament and was rewarded for her efforts with a selection to the eight-member All-Tournament Team.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Two Wildcats should reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring this season. Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 925 points in her career, needing 75 points to reach 1,000. Senior guard Aimee Grzyb has amassed 924 career points, just 76 away from 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.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The season may be young, but the Wildcats are already developing some trends in their wins and losses. This season, Arizona is... 3-0 when tied or leading at the half, but 0-2 when trailing at halftime... 3-0 when shooting better than its opponent, but 0-2 when shooting worse... 3-0 when giving up 67 points or less, but 0-2 when giving up 70 points or more.

STRUGGLING OFFENSE: Through the first five games of this season, the Cats have averaged just 70.4 points per game. That's the lowest scoring average through the first five contests of any season since the 1998-99 team opened with a 70.2 ppg scoring average.

GOING POLLING: Nine of Arizona's 2003-04 opponents were either nationally ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

According to the Associated Press poll, Stanford is No. 6, UC Santa Barbara is No. 15, LSU is No. 18, and Oregon is No. 20. Virginia, Washington, California and UCLA were all among the teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll, Stanford is No. 6, UC Santa Barbara is No. 16, Oregon is No. 20, and Louisiana State is No. 21. Washington, Virginia, Arizona State and California were among teams that received votes for ranking.

WE LIKE TO SCORE: 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 (157), third in three-pointers attempted (442), third in three-point percentage (.355), fifth in minutes-played average (30.9 mpg), 10th in total minutes played (2932) and 19th in total points (924).

Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in career scoring average (14.5 ppg), third in minutes-played average (31.3 mpg), fourth in career three-point percentage (.354), sixth in three-point field goals made (95), seventh in three-pointers attempted (268) and is tied for 17th in total points (925).

Although only a sophomore, Shawntinice Polk has already broken into Arizona's career lists in several categories. She is first in career field goal percentage (.610), second in double-doubles (22), fourth in blocked shots (90) and seventh in minutes-played average (28.9 mpg).

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 377-433 (.465) all-time record, however it is 167-76 (.687) from the 1996 season 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 1-1 on the road and 1-1 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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