Arizona Women's Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Play at McKale Center as Ranked Team First Time in Almost 15 Years

Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report.

It took almost 15 years or 180 months or 1,550 days for the day to arrive — the Arizona Wildcats playing at McKale Center as a ranked team.

The last time that happened was on Dec. 5, 2004, and a crowd of only 1,682 showed up at McKale to watch Dee Dee Wheeler and the late Shawntinice Polk lead the No. 24 Wildcats to an 80-53 win over Weber State in the championship of the Fiesta Classic. The win was Arizona’s 32nd straight at McKale. That streak would last 34 games.

Arizona (6-0) is ranked No. 24 this week in the AP Top 25 poll heading into Friday’s game against UC Riverside at McKale Center. Tip off is at 4 p.m. The Wildcats will try to build on a nine-game home winning streak and 12-game streak overall dating to last season’s six-game run to a WNIT title.

Dee Dee Wheeler dribbles against Weber State on Dec. 4, 2004 — the last time Arizona played at home as a ranked team (Tucson Citizen photo

Notes from the last time Arizona played at home as a ranked team:

— Leading scorer Aari McDonald (22.5 points a game) was only 6 years old attending first grade.

Adia Barnes was 27 and coming off a WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm.

George W. Bush was president.

— The top movies out were The Incredibles, Polar Express, Christmas with the Kranks and National Treasure.

— The No. 1 song in the USA was “My Boo” by Usher.

— The top TV show was “In Good Company”


— UC Riverside is 2-5 coming off a 17-16 record last season, including 10-6 in the Big West.

— The Wildcats have won their first six games of the season for the first time since the 1999-00 season. They opened that season 9-0.

The last time Arizona played at home ranked, Adia Barnes was coming off a WNBA title with the Seattle Storm (Arizona Athletics photo)

— Arizona’s scoring margin of 28.7 is the second-highest through six games in school history.

— The Wildcats are one of six teams in the nation in the top 20 in field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense.

— Arizona leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense (48.7) and is the only team in the conference to allow fewer than 50 points per game.

— For the first time since December of 2000, Arizona won three-straight games while scoring at least 80 points in each of those games.

— Junior forward Sam Thomas became the 11th player in school history to make 100 threes in their career at Montana.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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