Women's Hoops: Ducks no match for Wheeler, Wildcats

By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 21, 2005

Women's hoops set to face Beavers tomorrow

A new streak has begun for the Arizona women's basketball team as it defeated Oregon last night at McKale Center 69-60 to win its first home game since its 34-game consecutive winning streak was snapped by Stanford on Jan. 9.

Despite being out-shot by the Ducks 48 percent to 41 percent, the Wildcats (13-5, 6-3 Pacific 10 Conference) brought down 35 rebounds compared to 26 by Oregon.

"They're a good team, and they're a tough matchup for us because of their size. They've got (Catherine) Kraayeveld, who I think is an incredible player," said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini of the Oregon forward who posted seven points, three assists and one steal against Arizona. "But they probably think the same thing about us because what we lack in size, we have in quickness."

Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led Arizona with 23 points, five boards, six assists, three steals and one blocked shot.

Pac-10 Women's Hoops

Arizona Wildcats


Oregon State Beavers

Tomorrow, 2 p.m.
Radio: KJLL 1330 AM

McKale Center

"Oregon's a great team," Wheeler said. "They're ahead of us in the conference. They have a lot of weapons. They have great players in Kraayeveld, and they have a great point guard that leads the conference in assists. They really competed."

Freshman guard Jessica Arnold played 19 minutes despite a left shoulder injury, recording 10 points and one assist in her first start since Dec. 27 at Washington.

"I just got to get used to (playing with a shoulder brace)," Arnold said. "It restricts some of the things I can do. It's hard for me to shoot with my left hand, but I need it to protect my shoulder. I'll get used to it. After the season, I'm going to have surgery. I tore my labrum. It's the same (injury I sustained) the last two times (in high school)."

Junior guard Natalie Jones brought down a team-high 11 boards, while putting up six points and swiping two steals. Junior center Shawntinice Polk, who is coming off a left knee injury, was held to 19 minutes and tallied nine points, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

"I thought the game really started changing when we started a little bit of our transition," Bonvicini said. "Our guards did a great job rebounding the basketball. We forced them into a lot of turnovers, particularly in the first half, and it just kept them on their heels."

The Wildcats scored 21 points off 20 Oregon turnovers while only committing 14 of their own.

After getting off to a slow start in the first half, Wheeler drained a trey at 13:30 to even the score at 12-12. Moments later, she followed with another 3-point shot to give Arizona a 15-14 lead.

"In the beginning, we didn't look really good in that 2-3 zone and we made some adjustments at halftime," Wheeler said. "And our two guards up front were really aggressive and really slowed them down a lot."

With just under five minutes left in the half, Polk grabbed an offensive rebound on a failed 3-point attempt by Arnold with a jumper to pull Arizona within one at 27-28. Minutes later, Wheeler swiped a steal off of Oregon's Kristen Forristall and fed Arnold with an easy layup to give Arizona a five-point lead, 35-30. The Wildcats would head into the locker room up 39-32.

Freshman guard Ashley Whisonant gave Arizona a 10-point cushion, 46-36, on a layup five minutes into the second half. Later in the half, senior center Danielle Adefeso snagged an offensive rebound and put up a jumper at 6:26 at 60-49. Jones made two shots from the charity stripe to maintain a nine-point Arizona lead, 64-55, with just over two minutes to play. The Ducks would not get any closer than that as the Wildcats closed out the victory, 69-60.

"This was a good win for our program," said Bonvicini. "I think we had moments (when we were) great tonight and (we had) moments when we can do a better job, but this was a great win for us. We just want to go a game at a time and start off a win (streak) at McKale."

Arizona continues its homestand as it hosts Oregon State (5-12, 1-6) Saturday at 2 p.m. The Beavers fell to ASU last night at Wells Fargo Arena, 50-38.