Feb. 8, 2004
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -
By JOHN MOREDICH
Arizona's Shawntinice Polk recorded her 10th double-double of the season in a 77-59 victory over California, with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano serving as a "guest" coach on the Wildcats' bench on Saturday.
The win was Arizona's 25th straight at home, the second-longest streak in the country, and was the 18th consecutive triumph over California. The Golden Bears have not defeated the Wildcats since a 94-66 victory on Feb. 11, 1995.
Polk had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead Arizona (18-5,10-2) and just missed a quadruple-double with a eight blocked shots and a career-high eight assists. Aimee Grzyb and Dee-Dee Wheeler had 16 and 15 points, respectively.
California's Nihan Anaz had 17 points to lead the Bears (9-13, 2-11).
Arizona had a pair of 12-2 spurts to pull comfortably ahead. The Wildcats led 42-29 before erupting in the opening minutes of the second half.
Natalie Jones started the surge with a three-pointer. Grzyb followed with a jumper for a 47-29 lead with 16:09 left. California's LaTasha O'Keith countered with a field goal before Arizona's Shannon Hobson, Danielle Adefeso and Grzyb combined to score six straight to take a 23-point lead with 12:35 left.
California scored 13 straight points to close to within 59-49 with 8:26 remaining, but Arizona pulled away with a Grzyb three-pointer with 6:25 on the clock.
Arizona led 19-18 in the first half before Polk and Wheeler connected on jumpers and Grzyb made a three-pointer to prompt a 12-2 spurt for a 31-20 lead.
Watching on Arizona's bench was Napolitano, who was also in the Wildcats' locker room before and after the game. She was the honorary Master of Ceremonies for a halftime celebration of National Girls & Women in Sports Day.
The Wildcats are 2-0 with Napolitano as an Arizona guest coach. They defeated Washington State, 80-50, last season.
The Bears held their last lead of the game at 17-16 with 12:37 to play.
Cal's bench performed well, tallying 23 of the Bears' 59 points. The Wildcats' bench scored only 14 points.
Olga Volkova led Cal in rebounding with seven and added four points and two steals.
Head coach Caren Horstmeyer on the team's second-half comeback
"We started to attack in transition, and we didn't let them get offensive boards. Second thing, we're attacking, and we knew we were in the bonus. We were saying, 'go to the hole.' Now, we get free throws. All of the sudden, we get pumped up.
Horstmeyer on the team mixing up its defenses
"The good thing for us is that we're starting to play a few more defenses, and down the road that's going to be a good thing for us."
Horstmeyer on Anaz
"The player that ultimately decided she needed to take over tonight was Nihan. She did, and this was the best she has played in five or six games. The bottom line is that we needed Nihan to score. She did that and rallied us from a scoring perspective and the team rallied behind her."