By Lindsey Frazer
KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler drives the baseline during the Wildcats' victory over Rice last week in McKale Center.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
It's no secret that the No. 25 Arizona's women's basketball team (2-1) just isn't the same on the road.
Last season, the Wildcats were 24-9 overall but managed to record only seven wins against six losses when playing outside of McKale Center.
Although the 2004-05 season is still young, history may be repeating itself as the team recorded its first road loss last Wednesday in which then-No. 10 Ohio State dominated Arizona, 78-45, in the semifinals of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
The Wildcats will have an opportunity to correct their road errors as they travel to Provo, Utah to face off against Brigham Young (1-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in their first non-tournament game of the year.
"Away games were horrible for us last year," said junior center Shawntice Polk, who was named to the WNIT all-tournament team. "We're just trying to turn it around. Whatever mentality we have at home, we need to take that on the road. We need to make wherever we play like it's our home court, and that's what we've been lacking."
"Part of it is mental because it's different," said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. "The other part is being a little bit tougher on the road physically and mentally. So that goes into preparation. We have to do a better job."
BYU began its season in decisive fashion as it defeated Southern Utah University 76-56 Friday on its home court, Marriott Center. Twelve Cougars combined to shoot 52 percent from the floor while SUU was held to a 36 percent shooting success rate. Brigham Young was consistent across the board, connecting on 54 percent of its shots from 3-point range and 48 percent from the free-throw line. The turnover battle was also balanced as the Cougars committed 19 turnovers and SUU had 20.
The Cougars take on Nevada-Reno tonight at 7 at Marriott Center before hosting Arizona.
"(Brigham Young) should be unseeded when we play them," Bonvicini said. "We played them last year here and we won. They have good balance, good shooters and they have a pretty good inside game. But I think it's more of us playing well. I think this week off is good. It's unusual to have this much time off. We needed to be much more physical, execute in our offense better, be better defensively and from the 3-point line. We're going to be tested and we're going to have to play very well."
After defeating St. Mary's and Rice to begin the season, Arizona scuffled against Ohio State, shooting a season-low 34 percent from the floor and failing to connect on all seven attempts from 3-point range. The Buckeyes boasted 52 percent from the field, 55 percent from beyond the arc and 90 percent from the free throw line. Arizona was also out-rebounded, 34 to 29.
"If (the Cougars) get game tape from Ohio State, then they'll know to pressure us and try to get us out of our offense," Polk said, who recorded 16 points and eight rebounds against the Buckeyes. "(We need to) execute our offense. We did pretty good defense. Rebounding can be a little bit better. Mainly (we need to) execute our offense. Turnovers are always a concern. All our turnovers are on our offense and when we don't execute, we're rushing things. We want to cut down - you never want to have turnovers in the game because it causes extra fast break points and we never want that. (There's) just little things we need to work on. It really wasn't anything major, it was just little things."
In the last meeting between the two schools Dec. 12 of last season, the Wildcats defeated the Cougars in McKale Center, 83-69.