By Kyle Kensing
KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA senior guard Dee Dee Wheeler prepares to drive the baseline during the UA women's hoops Red-Blue scrimmage last night in Mckale Center.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 29, 2004
A season removed from the program's first Pac-10 conference championship, the UA women's basketball team took to McKale Center last night for its annual Red-Blue intrasquad game.
If the 76-75 final score is any indicator, the Wildcats could have a team deep and balanced enough to make 2004-'05 another banner year.
Head coach Joan Bonvicini said the returning players' chemistry should blend well with the team's newcomers.
"The returning players for the most part have improved," she said. "And I think our young kids are going to be good. Our freshmen are going to give us a lot of depth."
Leading the way for the winning Blue team were preseason All-America selections junior center Shawntinice Polk and senior guard Dee Dee Wheeler.
Polk answered any questions about her injured knee, scoring 16 points and pulling down 15 rebounds in 31 minutes.
Wheeler showed why she was a first team All-Pac-10 selection last season, finishing with four assists, four steals, and a game-high 26 points on 10 of 15 shooting.
"We worked hard the whole time," Polk said. "We were playing up and down, but we worked hard the whole time."
She said this game is important for the team's development.
"The things we did wrong, we'll look at that and work on it tomorrow and fix it by our next game," Polk said.
Wheeler added that the team can learn a lot from the scrimmage.
"We need to learn play a complete 40-minute game. We know we've got a lot to work on in practice."
Individually, she said she used the opportunity to work on her on-court leadership.
"I'm going to try to be more vocal in every aspect of the game, whether it's crunch time or not," she said. "I've always been a leader by example, but now (the coaches) are looking to me to be more vocal."
Fellow returners Danielle Adefeso, Shannon Hobson, and Natalie Jones complemented Polk and Wheeler nicely. Adefeso and Hobson scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds each, and Jones had seven points and four assists.
The newcomers didn't let the veterans hog the spotlight. Freshman Ashley Whisonant finished with two points, two rebounds, and two assists for the Blue team.
Redshirt junior transfer Joy Hollingsworth ignited the Red team with 21 points.
Tucson High School alum Jessica Arnold provided an intangible spark for the Red in the first half, and the blue in the second.
Bonvicini said she wanted everyone who would play this season to have a chance to play together, thus Arnold, freshmen Che Oh and Chari Smith, sophomore Linda Pace, and junior Anna Chappell played for both squads.
Next on tap for UA is an exhibition game against pro-am team Play Mode Sports Tuesday night in McKale Center.
Wheeler and Polk said they look forward to facing competition outside the program.