By Lindsey Manroel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 27, 2002
For the third time this season and for the second straight game, the Wildcats will play the Sun Devils.
UA, which grabbed the No. 6 seed to enter the Pacific 10 Women's Basketball Tournament, will face ASU in the first round of the conference tournament in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday.
"A lot more is on the line. Emotion will be running and everyone will want it more, so it will be a lot more aggressive," sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb said.
Arizona and ASU split the season series.
The Sun Devils defeated UA on their home court, 87-64 on Dec. 30, but the Wildcats earned revenge to close the regular season.
Both games had one thing in common - pride - which can be expected from game three between the two teams.
"The pride factor is still a huge thing," UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We're a better team than our record shows, but all records go out the window and you start new."
The pressure is off
Playing the role of the underdog can only work in Arizona's favor.
That's because the Sun Devils are coming into the tournament in third place and were most recently upset by the Wildcats.
"We're the spoiler that other teams don't like to play," Bonvicini said. "I feel the pressure is all on ASU not us."
While all eyes will be on Stanford, who finished the regular season with a near-flawless 28-1 overall record and a perfect 18-0 Pac-10 record, freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler said she doesn't feel the pressure.
Even though UA is the underdog, Wheeler said the Wildcats have a strong chance to defeat the Sun Devils.
"If anything, other teams are afraid of our quickness," Wheeler said. "We've started wanting it more, and now is better than never. If we play together, we have a chance."
Back to the basics
The Arizona "twin towers" - senior forward Elizabeth Pickney and senior center LaKeisha Taylor - represent a dangerous scoring threat for the Sun Devils and must be aggressive if Arizona wants a victory, Bonvicini said.
Pickney - UA's leading scorer - was held to just four points against ASU, leaving Taylor and the guards to pick up the slack.
"The guards will step it up, but we definitely need Liz," Grzyb said. "She's our top scorer, and we really need her to go out there and do her thing."
Although Arizona out rebounded the Sun Devils in their last meeting, the Wildcats will have to be more aggressive on the glass.
"We did a nice job against ASU, but we can still be better," Bonvicini said. "We need to out rebound them and get Liz and LaKeisha both involved."
UA will concentrate on running and moving the ball on offense and attacking on defense - nothing new for the Wildcats.
Slim shot at NCAA Tournament
The Wildcats' chances of earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament are looking slim because in order to go, they must come home to Tucson with the Pac-10 Tournament trophy.
With Stanford and No. 3 Washington sporting the two best records, the Wildcats are a long shot to make the field of 64.
"(The players) know that unless we win the Pac-10, there's no bid to the NCAA Tournament," Bonvicini said.