Women's Hoops Travels to Stanford and Cal

Jan. 2, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Fresh off a 69-54 win over Wake Forest last Saturday to close out the non-conference slate, the Arizona State Sun Devils (8-4) hit the road to open Pac-10 Conference play with a trip to the Bay Area. ASU travels to Palo Alto, Calif., to take on No. 21/22 Stanford (6-4) Thursday, Jan. 4 and to Berkeley, Calif., for a game with California (4-6) Saturday, Jan. 6. The Sun Devils will be looking to open the Pac-10 schedule with a win for the second consecutive season and just the third time in school history after upsetting Stanford in their first league game last year. ASU also aims to stay on the winning track and notch consecutive wins, something the team has not accomplished since opening the season with four straight victories, while a win in either game would mark the third road victory of the season for the team and match the Sun Devils' road win total from last season.

Probable Starters	'00-01		Pos.	Ht.	Cl.	PPG	RPG	NOTES#23	Betsy Boardman	G/F	6-1	Fr.	10.7	2.9	7 steals, 4 assists vs. CSUN#13	Leah Combs	F	6-2	Jr.	4.7	5.1	12 points, 8 rebounds vs. La Salle#35	Melody Johnson	C	6-2	Jr.	13.1	6.6	15 points, 9 rebounds at NAU#4	Amanda Levens	G	5-9	Jr.	15.4	2.8	21 points vs. No. 2 Tennessee#33	Natalie Tucker	G	5-9	Sr.	5.2	3.4*	Has started 68 straight games

Off the Bench '00-01 Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG NOTES#3 Liz Paulson G 5-11 Sr. 0.7 0.9* Coming off major back surgery#11 Aubrey McFadyen G/F 6-1 Sr. 2.1 0.8 Nine points vs. South Florida#12 Brett Leonard G 5-5 So. 3.2 2.2* 7-of-11 from three-pt land this year#31 Jen Albert F 6-2 Fr. 0.8 0.5 4 points vs. Cal State Northridge#32 Rainy Crisp G 5-6 Jr. 2.0 1.8 4 points, 3 assists, 3 steals vs. UT#34 Li'i Liu G/F 5-10 Fr. 0.3 0.7 Has team's highest vertical jump#52 Cian Carvalho F 5-11 Jr. 5.4 5.0 7.3 pts., 5.5 rbs. in last four games* assists per game

ExposureASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast both games to the Valley of the Sun and a national audience via the ASU official athletics web site (www.thesundevils.com) with Vince Marotta calling the action. Fox Sports Net will broadcast the California game to a national cable audience as part of the Pac-10 television package with Paul Sunderland and Ann Meyers calling the action. ASU is 1-1 when playing on television this year, falling to No. 2 Tennessee 67-63 on Fox Sports Net and closing out the non-conference slate with a 69-54 win over Wake Forest last weekend on Cox Communications (Channel 9).

ASU in Pac-10 OpenersASU is 2-12 all time in Pac-10 Conference season openers but has never earned a victory in its first conference game of the season when opening on the road. Last year, Arizona State opened the Pac-10 Conference slate with two wins for the first time in school history, defeating Stanford 74-68 on Jan. 6 followed by a 69-59 win over Cal Jan. 8 at Wells Fargo Arena. Prior to their victory over Stanford last season, Arizona State had only earned a victory in its conference opener once before, downing Washington State 82-73 in Tempe on Jan. 3, 1991. The Sun Devils' trip to the Bay Area will mark the first time the team has opened the Pac-10 schedule on the road since 1997-98.

Attendance RecordsWith 16,782 fans in attendance at the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic Dec. 27 at Bank One Ballpark, the Sun Devils shattered their own single-game attendance record of 5,271 set vs. Arizona on Feb. 26, 2000 at Wells Fargo Arena. The game is the highest attended college women's basketball game so far this season, surpassing the 16,294 fans who turned out for a double-header at UConn on Nov. 12 featuring Georgia at Connecticut and Penn State vs. Old Dominion and last weekend's Tennessee-UConn matchup. ASU also set the Pac-10 women's basketball single-game record which was previously held by the University of Oregon with 9,738 fans at McArthur Court in a game vs. Oregon State (March 8, 1996).

The event, which was the first outdoor women's college basketball game and raised $10,000 for breast cancer research, treatment and education in the Valley of the Sun, also became the largest attended women's college basketball contest in the state of Arizona since the University of Arizona's single-game record is 5,272 (March 4, 2000 vs. Oregon).

Last Time OutJuniors Melody Johnson and Amanda Levens each scored 14 points to lead Arizona State to a 69-54 win over Wake Forest Dec. 30 at Wells Fargo Arena. The game stayed close in the first half with the Sun Devils leading by just six points on two occasions, but Wake Forest quickly got back into the game each time. ASU took a 34-28 lead with 2:19 to play in the first half when freshman Betsy Boardman hit a pair of free throws, but the Demon Deacons scored the last four points of the first stanza and ASU hung onto a 34-32 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Sun Devils came out strong, forcing 12 turnovers in the first 11 minutes of the period. Arizona State took a 19-point lead with 6:53 to play (57-38) after holding the Demon Deacons scoreless for over six minutes. Wake Forest made a run when freshman guard Tonia Harris hit a three-pointer with 6:27 left in the game to start a 16-4 run over the next five minutes, narrowing ASU's lead to seven (61-54) with 1:30 to play. The rally fell short, however, as Arizona State held Wake Forest scoreless in the final 1:28 to earn the 69-54 victory.

Johnson and Levens led the Sun Devils with 14 points apiece, while Boardman had nine. Freshman Brett Leonard turned in a career-best eight points and three steals, while junior Cian Carvalho had seven points and a career-best nine rebounds.

In the PollsStanford is ranked 21st in the Jan. 1 Associated Press poll and 22nd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Arizona State made an appearance in the Nov. 27 Associated Press poll, earning nine votes to tie for 39th but dropped out of the ranks of vote getters after falling to UCSB on Dec. 3.

The Sun Devils have faced two ranked opponents so far this season, falling to both teams by a combined seven points (a 54-51 loss to then No. 22 North Carolina State on Nov. 25 and a 67-63 loss to No. 2 Tennessee last week in the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic). ASU is looking for its first win over a ranked opponent since the 1997-98 season when the Sun Devils upset then No. 7 Washington 77-76 at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 8, 1998.

Notes From the RoadWith wins at Northern Arizona and at Hawaii in the second round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic, the Sun Devils are 2-1 on the road this season. ASU's 67-61 over Hawaii marked the team's first road victory since defeating Washington State in Pullman, Wash., on Jan. 15 of last year, a span of eight consecutive road losses. With their next road win, the Sun Devils will match the total of three road victories from last season. Last year, the Sun Devils earned two non-conference road victories (at Wake Forest and at Texas-San Antonio) but managed just one during the Pac-10 slate, ending the season with a 3-12 road record.

About Stanford & CaliforniaAfter dropping three consecutive games including a 63-58 loss at No. 2 Tennessee, Stanford returned to the friendly confines of Maples Pavilion on Dec. 30 for a 72-58 win over Utah to improve to 6-4 on the year. Freshman forward Nicole Powell, a graduate of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, is leading Stanford in scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg) so far this season while junior forward Lindsey Yamasaki has paced the team in scoring in each of the last two games with 30 points at Oklahoma and 16 vs. Utah.

Cal ended the non-conference season on a winning note as well in a 66-64 victory at San Jose State on Dec. 28. Cal brings a 4-6 record into the first weekend of Pac-10 play and will take on Arizona on Thursday night before playing host to the Sun Devils. Senior guard Courtney Johnson is the team's leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, while senior center Lauren Ashbaugh is second in scoring (11.1 ppg) including a 18-point, 7-rebound effort vs. San Jose State.

In the SeriesStanford holds a 29-8 advantage in the series with Arizona State. Last year, the teams split two meetings. The Sun Devils snapped a dubious 14-game losing streak to the Cardinal with a 74-68 victory in Tempe on Jan. 8, while Stanford earned a 97-61 win in Palo Alto in the regular-season finale on March 11. The Sun Devils will attempt to squelch an even more daunting streak when they head to Palo Alto this weekend as the team has not earned a victory at Maples Pavilion since the 1983-84 squad defeated the Cardinal 84-72 on March 3, 1984, a streak of 16 road games.

California leads the all-time series with the Sun Devils 20-13. ASU also split the series with the Golden Bears last year with a 69-59 win at home on Jan. 8 and a 60-55 overtime loss at Haas Pavilion on March 8. Arizona State will also be looking to break an eight-game road losing streak against the Golden Bears this week, attempting to win their first game in Berkeley since the 1991-92 squad notched a 92-88 victory on Jan. 30, 1992.

Stanford & Cal ConnectionsArizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne is no stranger to the Stanford program, lettering four years under Tara VanDerveer. The Sun Devil mentor co-captained the 1987-88 Cardinal squad which advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. An Academic All-Pac-10 selection, Turner Thorne was twice voted Most Inspirational Player by her teammates and won Stanford's H-Block award in 1988, an honor given to the senior female student-athlete with the highest grade-point average.

Turner Thorne and assistant coach Laura Hughes also have a connection to first-year Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. Turner Thorne was an assistant under Horstmeyer at Santa Clara for three seasons from 1990-1993. The Broncos won three West Coast Conference titles in those three seasons including a 28-3 mark and WNIT championship in 1990-91 and a run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1991-92. Hughes was a big part of the Broncos' success on the court, starting at power forward in 1990-92. She averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game and shot a school-record 53.9 percent in her two seasons there.

Super JuniorsAfter sitting out last season as Division I transfers, juniors Amanda Levens and Melody Johnson have made themselves right at home this season. The pair is 1-2 in scoring this season and has also been named all-tournament in both of ASU's tournaments this season (Asahi Rainbow Wahine Classic and ASU Holiday Classic)Levens, a 5-9 guard who transferred from Old Dominion University, is pacing the ASU squad at 15.3 points per game and has notched double figures in all but one of ASU's games this season. Johnson, a 6-2 guard from the University of Colorado, is second in scoring at 13.1 ppg and has scored in double figures in nine games and had nine points in each of the other two. Levens has hit a team-best 20 three-pointers, while Johnson, who earned the first Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors this season, leads the Sun Devils in rebounding at 6.6 boards per game.

Welcome AdditionsArizona State's top four scorers are making their debuts for the Sun Devils this season, led by junior Amanda Levens, a transfer from Old Dominion University who is averaging 15.3 points per game. Junior Melody Johnson, who transferred from the University of Colorado, is averaging 13.1 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds, honorable-mention high school All-American Betsy Boardman is averaging 10.6 points and junior Cian Carvalho, a junior college transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community is fourth on the team with 5.4 points per game and third with 5.0 rebounds per contest.

ASU's newcomers have been the leading scorers in each of ASU's 12 games this season with Boardman leading the team vs. Texas-San Antonio (15 points), North Carolina State (16) and Denver (15 points), Levens vs. South Florida (14), Stephen F. Austin (28), La Salle (15), UC Santa Barbara (20), Cal State Northridge (16) and Tennessee (21) and Johnson vs. Hawaii (23) and Northern Arizona (15). Levens and Johnson each had 14 points in ASU's victory over Wake Forest.

Soft TouchArizona State's roster features six players shooting 40 percent or better from the field this season led by junior center Melody Johnson who is tops on the team at 53.3 percent (56-105). But it is not just ASU's post players who are shooting well, all three players with 100 or more field-goal attempts are shooting 40 percent or better. Freshman guard/forward Betsy Boardman is hitting 45.6 percent from the field (47-103), while junior guard Amanda Levens is shooting 41.9 percent (52-124).

Taking Care of the BallArizona State is averaging just 16.7 turnovers per game in 2000-01 which may not sound so good until you consider that the team had 20.5 turnovers per game last season. The Sun Devils turned in a season-low nine turnovers vs. La Salle and has had 16 or less giveaways in six of the team's 12 games this year. The Sun Devils have also won the turnover battle (having fewer turnovers than their opponents) in 11 of 12 games including a 24-21 advantage over No. 2 Tennessee. Last year, the lowest turnover total for the team was 13 in their final game of the season in the WNIT vs. Colorado State.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are also averaging 9.0 steals per game and have turned in double figures in that category in each of the last three games and four of the past five. ASU had a season-best 16 steals vs. Cal State Northridge including seven by freshman Betsy Boardman. Both totals surpassed last year's highs of 14 takeaways (at Texas-San Antonio, 12/18/00) and five by two players last season. The Sun Devils have averaged 13.3 steals in the past three games (16 vs. CSUN, 14 vs. No. 2 Tennessee and 10 vs. Wake Forest).

Notes From Beyond the ArcArizona State has knocked down 34.5 percent of its three-pointers (51-148), led by sophomore Brett Leonard who has hit 7-of-13 attempts. Junior Amanda Levens has a team-best 20 three-pointers on the season, including three of ASU's season-high eight treys vs. Hawaii which was one shy of the school single-game record of nine three-pointers made in a contest.

On the other hand, ASU's defense has been just as successful beyond the arc, allowing its opponents to shoot just 30.5 percent (29-95) this season. Only four opponents have hit more than two three-pointers in a game, while three teams have had no three-pointers (Texas-San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin, Hawaii). That trend is not completely out of the ordinary for the Sun Devils who have led the Pac-10 Conference in three-point field goal defense in each of the last two seasons including a 27.3 percent mark last season.

Head Coach Charli Turner ThorneSince Charli Turner Thorne took over the reigns of the program in 1996-97, the Sun Devils have begun a steady climb back to the national prominence that the team enjoyed in the early 1990s. She has improved the team's wins total in her four seasons and guided ASU to three consecutive double-digit win seasons in as many years. In 1999-2000, Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to a 14-14 regular-season record and a 7-11 mark in the Pac-10 Conference, both of which marked the school's most victories since 1992-93. Turner Thorne's Sun Devils also earned the team's first postseason appearance in eight seasons, falling to Colorado State 66-54 in Fort Collins, Colo., in the first round of the 2000 Women's National Invitation Tournament.

The Sun Devils' 73-56 win over La Salle in the first game of the ASU Holiday Classic on Dec. 1 marked the 90th win of head coach Charli Turner Thorne's coaching career and her 50th while at ASU. She has notched a 53-70 record in four-plus seasons at Arizona State and was 40-40 in her three seasons at Northern Arizona.

Home-Court AdvantageWith a 5-2 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in an 16-5 mark at home in the last two seasons including an 11-3 mark last year which ranks second on the ASU list for home victories in a season with the 11-1 mark of the 1981-82 team. Last year, the Sun Devils won their first eight home games of the season.

Notes From the Charity StripeSince shooting just 40.9 percent from the free throw line (9-22) in its season opener vs. Texas-San Antonio, ASU has shot 67.9 percent from the charity stripe since (178-262) ... Junior Amanda Levens is shooting a team-best 85.5 percent from the free throw line (59-69) and has hit her last 15 free throws (nine straight in the second half vs. Tennessee and 6-of-6 vs. Wake Forest) ... In the last two games, ASU has been to the free throw line 69 times and drained 73.9 percent of those attempts (51-69), 8.1 percent better than the team's season average from the line.

Three-Dot DataWith its trip to the Bay Area, ASU will play four of its next six games on the road ... ASU is ranked among the best in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 55.4 points per game so far this season ... four opponents have managed 45 points or less (UTSA with 40, South Florida with 39, Stephen F. Austin with 45, Cal State Northridge with 44), while the team held No. 2 Tennessee to just 67 points, 16.4 points short of the Lady Vols' season average of 83.4 ... The Sun Devils' 67-63 loss to UT was also the Lady Vols' closest game of the season so far this year ... ASU's victory at Northern Arizona marked the first win of the season for the Sun Devils when trailing at halftime and the first since overcoming a 36-32 halftime deficit to notch a 78-74 overtime win vs. USC last year (Jan. 20, 2000) ... This season, ASU will face nine opponents ranked or receiving votes in one of the polls ... Arizona State is outscoring its opponents by an average of 9.6 points per game this year with the team's biggest win being a 36-point victory over Cal State Northridge (80-44) on Dec. 21 ... ... ASU is averaging 14.3 assists per game in 2000-01 with 12 of 13 players getting into the action ... Senior Natalie Tucker leads the team in assists for the third straight season at 3.4 assists per game.

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