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Section Header
Hoops to go tree choppin' tonight

Photo
KEVIN KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sophomore Robin Roberson scrambles for the ball with two Arizona State players during the Wildcats' 72-52 win. Arizona hosts Stanford tonight at 7.p.m. in McKale Center.
By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday February 27, 2003

Arizona goes to court against No. 9 Stanford in long awaited matchup of Pac 10's top teams

Big games have littered the Arizona women's basketball schedule this season, but none have carried more weight than tonight's matchup with Pacific-10 conference rival No. 9 Stanford.

Arizona knows about the "big game" and they know tonight's contest with Stanford is crucial to their post-season future.

"It's definitely a must-win game for us," said senior Krista Warren. "We need to win this game for the Pac-10 (tournament seeding), our overall record and the team's confidence."

The No. 24 Wildcats take on the Cardinal tonight at 7 p.m. in McKale Center in their final home stand of the season, and will be looking to avenge a previous road loss for the third time this year.

"We play really well in front of our home fans," said freshman center Shawntinice Polk. "We know that Stanford is a great team, but we also know how we can come together as a team at home and play really hard. It should be a great game."

UA lost to both Washington and Arizona State in road contests earlier this year, despite beating both teams when they played in McKale Center. The Wildcats would like to do the same tonight against the Cardinal.

That will be no easy task, though.

The last time these two teams met was over two months ago, in Palo Alto, and the Cardinal won 82-74. The Wildcats held a double-digit lead early in the second, but were unable to hold on. Stanford outscored UA 31-11 in the last 10 minutes and extended its home win streak at Maples Pavilion.

"We need to play 40 minutes of hard basketball," said Polk. "(Last time against Stanford), our play kind of dropped off and our defensive intensity needs to pick up."

In the previous match-up, the Wildcats were able to dominate the inside. Warren led all scorers with a career-high 25 points and Polk added a near double-double with 18 points and picking up 9 boards.

This time around could be an entirely different story.

The Cardinal (22-3, 14-2) will have back last year's Pac-10 Player of the Year, forward Nicole Powell. Powell missed the first game against the Wildcats due to a back injury. Since rejoining the Cardinal 16 games ago, Powell has led the team in both scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg).

"She's is their go-to player," said Warren. "We have to focus on her and get her out of her game."

This will be Polk's first meeting with Powell and one that Polk won't shy away from.

"I'm not thinking, ╬Oh my God, I get to play against Nicole Powell,' but I know she's a good player," said Polk. "I just have to go out and play my game and as a team we just have to play our game."


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