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Section Header
Polk earns conference kudos again

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Freshman Natalie Jones expects to be back in the Arizona lineup soon after injuring her knee last weekend against Washington. Jones twisted the knee while diving for a loose ball.
By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday February 11, 2003

For the third time this season, freshman center Shawntinice Polk was named the Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Week.

This was the first time since the 1997-98 season that a Wildcat player has won the award three times in one year. The last person to do this was Adia Barnes.

The Pac-10 Conference made this decision yesterday after the Wildcats swept the weekend series from both Washington schools. During the two games, Polk averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals. Polk also set a new double-double record over the weekend with her 16th of the season when she had 28 points and 12 rebounds against the Cougars Saturday.

"She has had a very good freshman year," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "To say you want her best game all the time is unrealistic, but what you want someone to do is be consistent and she has done that."

Polk leads the conference with three Player of the Week awards this season. She also won for her play the week of Dec. 2 and Dec. 22.

This was the Wildcats' fourth Player of the Week award this year and the school's 28th all-time.

With the Wildcats' 80-50 win over Washington State Saturday at McKale Center, Arizona (16-6, 8-4) stretched its home winning streak to 10 games. This is the second-longest home winning streak in the program's history. The Wildcats won 15 straight home games between Jan. 4, 1999, and Jan. 6, 2000.

"We feel very confident (at home) and we need to carry that confidence on the road with us," Bonvicini said.

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler said it's the tale of two teams when the Wildcats play at home as opposed to on the road. "We feel very confident (at home) and we need to carry that confidence on the road with us," Bonvicini said.

"We are a different team at home," said sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler. "There is just something about being on your home court, we look totally different."

The current UA win streak has included wins over then No. 8 Georgia, No. 25 New Mexico, and No. 20 Washington.

As the Wildcats go into their final five games of the regular season, fatigue starts to play a role in the season's outcome. Arizona will take today off and rest for its match up Friday with the number three team in the Pac-10 UCLA.

"As we get down to the last 30 percent of the season, we need to be smart," Bonvicini said. "I don't know if we are starting to peak yet but I think our confidence is there."

The UA starters also went through a light practice yesterday, but are expected to return to their regular routine on Wednesday.

With fatigue also comes injuries.

The Wildcats suffered two different injuries over the weekend.

On Saturday, freshman guard Natalie Jones went out of bounds for a loose ball and twisted her knee. She did not return to the game, but Bonvicini said she expects her to be ready for Friday's game at UCLA.

Jones didn't practice yesterday, but was dressed out.

An even more severe injury happened during Friday's practice. Freshman guard Katrina Lindner hurt her knee and had an MRI taken yesterday. The team did not get the result of the MRI by the end of practice, but did say they expected them shortly.

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