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Bonvicini hoping win streak will continue

CHRIS CODUTO/Aizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona sophomore center Shawntinice Polk needs to get the ball more often, according to UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. Polk leads the 5-2 Wildcats in points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage this season.
By Shane Dale
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
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With four wins in a row, the Wildcat women's basketball team is on a roll - but pollsters have failed to take notice.

After sweeping last weekend's Fiesta Bowl Classic in McKale Center, capped with a 74-42 drubbing of Massachusetts, Arizona (5-2) actually fell out of the top 25 in the coaches' poll, and wasn't anywhere close to being ranked in the AP poll.

UA head coach Joan Bonvicini was surprised when she was told of the news yesterday, but said the team shouldn't be too concerned with such things.

"We've just got to win and everything else will take care of itself," Bonvicini said.

Regardless of the snub, Arizona has rebounded from a 1-2 opening to its 2003-2004 season by notching a pair of victories against Navy and Hawaii in the Rainbow Wahine Classic, followed by another pair against American and UMass.

"I think that we've definitely gotten better over the past week," Bonvicini said.

But the 13th-year UA head coach says there remains room for improvement, especially in free throw shooting and 3-point percentage.

"We've definitely improved, but we're yet to play a 40-minute game," Bonvicini said. "I'm pleased that we're getting to the line, but we definitely need to increase our (free throw) shooting percentage."

Bonvicini is also concerned that the Wildcats' scoring leader, sophomore center Shawntinice Polk, is not getting enough opportunities to score points in the paint.

Polk, who Bonvicini described as "a very unselfish player," leads Arizona with 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. In addition, Polk boasts a 63.5 percent shooting percentage from the floor - also tops on the team.

"I think considering her (field goal) percentage, we need to get her the ball more," Bonvicini said.

The coach has also been impressed with the play of junior center Danielle Adefeso, who is now starting alongside Polk at the power forward position.

In just 15.1 minutes per game, Adefeso is averaging 7.9 points and 6.3 rebounds a contest. She leads the team in offensive boards, grabbing 2.9 per game.

Bonvicini said Adefeso has been a nice complement to Polk in the paint and expects her minutes to increase.

"I've been very impressed in how hard she's worked," Bonvicini said of Adefeso. "She's done a good job."

The Wildcats will have a chance to continue their winning ways Friday night at 7 against Brigham Young in McKale.

The Cougars (5-2) present a challenge to the Wildcats from the perimeter, said Bonvicini. Of the Mountain West Conference's leaders in 3-point percentage, three of its top 10 - freshman forward Melinda Johnson (7th), freshman guard Tiari Goold (8th) and sophomore guard/forward Nancy Seljaas (10th) - play for BYU.

"They're a very good shooting team," she said. "We've got to do a good job closing in on their shooters."

With BYU, Texas State (0-5) and New Mexico (5-2) upcoming for Arizona, the Wildcats could open Pacific 10 Conference play with a seven-game winning streak.

"It'd be a big thing," Bonvicini said of the prospect of opening the season 8-2. "Obviously, for me, the big thing is to go one game at a time, but it'd be big."

The Wildcats tip off their Pac-10 season at home against Washington on Saturday, Dec. 27.

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