Women's Basketball Downs La Salle 73-56 in First Game of ASU Holiday Classic

Dec. 1, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. - Junior Amanda Levens led three Sun Devils in double figures as the Arizona State women's basketball team downed La Salle 73-56 Friday night in the first round of the ASU Holiday Classic being held Dec. 1 and 3 at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils will take on UC Santa Barbara at 3 p.m. in Sunday's championship game, while Kent State will face La Salle for the consolation title at 1 p.m. Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena. UCSB earned a 68-53 victory over Kent State in the second game of the ASU Holiday Classic Friday night.

Arizona State started out slowly, trailing for the first 12 minutes of the game and falling behind by as much as five points. La Salle took a 15-10 lead with 9:30 left in the first half, but the Sun Devils went on a 7-0 run which was capped off by a three-pointer by Levens to take a 17-15 lead with 8:06 to play in the half. The Explorers would get within one point two different times, but the Sun Devils would never relinquish their lead and took a 31-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

'I think we got outworked a little in the first half,' Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 'We still worked hard, but we are used to playing harder than any other team on the court. At halftime I just challenged my team's effort. We are still working at going hard consistently on everything we do.'

In the second half, the Sun Devils stepped up their offense, hitting 60 percent of their shots (18-30) including 4-of-7 from the three-point line. The Sun Devils finished the game with their highest overall field-goal percentage of the season at 50 percent (29-58) and at 50 percent from the three-point line (6-12).

For Arizona State, Levens had 15 points, hitting 6-of-8 attempts from the field including 3-of-5 treys. Junior Melody Johnson had 12 points and seven rebounds, while junior Leah Combs turned in 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds including 10 points and four rebounds in the second half. Senior Natalie Tucker led the game with five assists.

La Salle junior Suzanne Keilty paced the Explorers with 15 points, while senior Shannon McDade had 12 points and eight rebounds.

'Our physical effort in the second half was better,' Turner Thorne said. 'We obviously shot better. We have good depth, and the ability to shoot well in the second half is going to be critical down the stretch. I thought we did a better job of taking them out of what they wanted to do, containing them and making them go one on one. We're going to have to play better and rebound better in our second game.'

In the second game of the night, four UCSB Gauchos scored in double figures to lead the team to its 68-53 victory over Kent State. The Gauchos opened the game on a 14-0 run in the first 6:04 and never looked back. Freshman Lisa Willett led the team in scoring with 13 points, while junior Kayte Christensen turned in a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

For Kent State, three players scored in double figures led by senior Julie Studer with 12 points. Statiscally, Kent State, which played just eight players in game, was outmatched, being outshot 24.3 percent (17-70) to 37.1 percent (23-62) and outrebounded 66-40.

Arizona State's game with UC Santa Barbara Sunday can be heard live on XTRA 910 AM or on the Internet at www.thesundevils.com.

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