Women's Basketball To Host Oregon State, Oregon

Jan. 29, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Standing atop the Pac-10 standings at 5-2 in conference play after winning their last four games, the Arizona State Sun Devils look to continue their homestand with games against Oregon State Thursday night and No. 22/21 Oregon Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena. Winners of their last four games and five of their last six, the Sun Devils knocked off intrastate rival and 23rd-ranked Arizona last weekend to end a 14-game losing streak to the Wildcats. The Sun Devils are 13-6 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-10 which puts them in a first-place tie with the Oregon Ducks. The team's next victory will tie the wins total from last season (14-15) and be the most victories for ASU since the 1992-93 Sun Devils went 17-10. ASU's Pac-10 leading four-game winning streak marks the most consecutive victories since the team opened the season 4-0, while the Sun Devils have not won four consecutive Pac-10 games since the 1992-93 season.

Probable Starters	'00-01		Pos.	Ht.	Cl.	PPG	RPG	NOTES#23	Betsy Boardman	G/F	6-1	Fr.	10.6	3.9	5th in Pac-10 at 2.1 steals per game#52	Cian Carvalho	F	5-11	Jr.	7.1	4.9	First career start vs. Arizona#35	Melody Johnson	C	6-2	Jr.	13.9	6.8	14 pts, career-best 12 rbs vs. Arizona#4	Amanda Levens	G	5-9	Jr.	14.4	3.2	2nd in Pac-10 in FT percentage (83.2)#33	Natalie Tucker	G	5-9	Sr.	5.6	3.4*	Team-high 6 assists at UCLA

Off the Bench '00-01 Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG NOTES#3 Liz Paulson G 5-11 Sr. 0.7 0.7* Coming off major back surgery#11 Aubrey McFadyen G/F 6-1 Sr. 1.5 0.6 Nine points vs. South Florida#12 Brett Leonard G 5-5 So. 3.6 1.8* Career-best 12 pts, 6 rbs at UCLA#13 Leah Combs F 6-2 Jr. 4.4 4.2 8 pts on 3-of-5 shooting at UCLA#31 Jen Albert F 6-2 Fr. 0.7 0.4 4 points vs. Cal State Northridge#32 Rainy Crisp G 5-6 Jr. 2.8 1.8 Career-high 9 points vs. Arizona#34 Li'i Liu G/F 5-10 Fr. 0.3 0.7 Has team's highest vertical jump* assists per game

ExposureASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast both games to the Valley of the Sun with Vince Marotta calling the action. The broadcasts are also available via the ASU official athletics web site (www.thesundevils.com). Cox Communications (Channel 9) will broadcast both games to a local cable audience with George Allen and Fat Lever calling the action. ASU is 3-1 when playing on television this year. Over the last two seasons, the Sun Devils are a perfect 8-0 when appearing on Cox Communications.

In the RankingsArizona State continues to garner attention in the national polls, receiving 22 votes to rank 30th in the Jan. 29 Associated Press poll. Oregon State is not ranked, and Oregon is ranked 22nd by AP and 22nd by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Previously this season, the Sun Devils made an appearance in the Nov. 27 Associated Press poll, earning nine votes to tie for 39th but dropped from the ranks of vote getters after falling to UCSB Dec. 3.

Arizona State has faced four ranked opponents this season and earned its first victory with Saturday's 67-57 victory over the No. 23/25 Arizona Wildcats. Prior to that, the team's last upset over a ranked opponent was a 77-76 win over then undefeated and No. 7 Washington at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 8, 1998. Before its win over the Wildcats, ASU had come up short in three contests with ranked teams this year, including a pair of losses under five points, falling to then No. 22 North Carolina State 54-51 Nov. 26 in the Rainbow Wahine Classic and to then No. 2 Tennessee 67-63 Dec. 27 in the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic.

As a team, Arizona State has been ranked a total of 34 weeks in the team's history. ASU's last ranking came on March 1, 1992 when the Sun Devils were ranked 25th by the Associated Press, but the team fell out of the polls the following week. The Sun Devils spent most of the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons ranked in the national polls, climbing as high as ninth in the middle of the 1982-83 campaign.

Last Time OutArizona State junior Melody Johnson turned in her third double-double of the season with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to lead Arizona State to a 67-57 upset of No. 23/25 Arizona Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena. For the Sun Devils, the victory snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Wildcats and marked the team's first win over a ranked opponent since knocking off then No. 7 Washington at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 8, 1998.

ASU jumped ahead early, taking a 16-14 lead with 11:30 to play in the first half on a three-pointer by freshman Brett Leonard and never looked back. The team built up a 40-30 lead at halftime on the strength of 12 points and nine rebounds from Johnson in the first half. In the second half, the Sun Devils increased their lead to as many 16 points en route to the 67-57 victory. Junior Amanda Levens turned in 11 of her team-high 15 points in the second half.

For Arizona State, Levens and Johnson led the scoring with efforts of 15 and 14 points, respectively, while junior Rainy Crisp scored a career-best nine points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. Crisp also added three assists and three steals, while freshman Betsy Boardman added eight points, four steals and a career-best 10 rebounds. For Arizona, senior Reshea Bristol had 16 points and seven rebounds, while junior Elizabeth Pickney added 11 points and seven rebounds and freshman Aimee Grzyb chipped in with 10 points.

As a team, the Wildcats outshot the Sun Devils 47.3 to 45.0 percent, but ASU won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Arizona 42-25. The team also grabbed 12 steals and won the turnover battle 21-18.

More Attendance Records FallingWith 5,379 fans in attendance Saturday night vs. Arizona, the Sun Devils broke their single-game attendance record for Wells Fargo Arena. The team's overall single-game record is 16,782 set earlier this season vs. Tennessee at Bank One Ballpark, while the crowd for the Arizona game surpassed the 5,271 who attended last year's Arizona game on Feb. 26, 2000. ASU ranks 28th in the country this season, averaging 2,861 fans per game.

First and Facts About This SeasonSo far this season, the Sun Devils have accomplished a number of things that the team has not done in at least seven years:

* The team's current four-game Pac-10 winning streak is the first for the team since 1992-93.

* ASU earned its first victory over Arizona in seven years, snapping a 14-game losing streak.

* With wins at UCLA and USC, Arizona State completed its first Pac-10 Conference road sweep since 1992-93 and notched its first sweep over the Los Angeles schools since the 1981-82 season and the first ever on the road.

* ASU's win at UCLA snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Bruins and marked the team's first victory at Pauley Pavilion since 1991-92, while the Sun Devils' victory at Cal also marked the first for the team since that same season.

* ASU has won games at Cal, USC and UCLA in a single season for the first time in school history.

Bench ProductionArizona State's bench has averaged 22.8 points over the last four games (23 vs. WSU. 32 at UCLA, 18 at USC, 18 vs. Arizona), led by junior forward Cian Carvalho who cracked the starting lineup Saturday night vs. Arizona to make her first career start. Carvalho has averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds over the last five games including a career-high 16 points to lead the team at UCLA on Jan. 18, the third consecutive game that she notched a career scoring best. Also providing sparks off the bench are sophomore guard Brett Leonard and junior guard Rainy Crisp. Leonard has averaged 7.3 points per game over the last four games (up from her season average of 3.6 ppg) with a career-high 12 on 4-of-7 shooting at UCLA, while Crisp has scored 5.0 points per game over the last four with seven points at USC on Jan. 20 and a career-best nine vs. the Wildcats on Saturday night.

Levens Named Pac-10 Player of the WeekJunior guard Amanda Levens earned Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 15-21 after averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in ASU's first road sweep over the Los Angeles schools and its first Pac-10 road sweep since 1992-93. On the weekend, the Belvidere, Ill., native shot 40 percent from three-point range (4-10) and was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Against USC, Levens notched a team-high 15 points and recorded a game-high four assists. She matched her scoring effort with 15 points at UCLA, adding seven rebounds in a career-best 34 minutes of play. The honor is the first of Levens' career. It is also the second for ASU this season and the 19th all-time selection for the Sun Devils.

Earlier this season, junior Melody Johnson earned the first league player-of-the-week honor of the year after averaging 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead ASU to a 2-1 record and its runner-up finish in the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

About Oregon State and #22/21 OregonOregon State heads to Tempe following a pattern that has been familiar to the Sun Devils, alternating a win with a loss in each of their last eight games. Last weekend, OSU, which is 11-6 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10 (tied for sixth), downed UCLA 71-58 on Jan. 25 and fell in overtime to USC 69-67 on Jan. 27. Junior guard Felicia Ragland is leading the Beavers in scoring (18.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) and ranks in the top five in the Pac-10 in each of those categories as well (second in scoring and fourth in rebounding). Sophomore guard Nicole Funn (13.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and junior center Ericka Cook (12.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg) also rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 on scoring and rebounding as well.

After opening Pac-10 play with four straight wins, the Ducks stumbled slightly (with a couple of key players out with injuries), falling at Washington State 67-64 on Jan. 20 and at home to USC 55-53 on Jan. 25. UO snapped the brief losing spell with a 54-43 victory over UCLA on Jan. 27 to stay tied for first in the league at 5-2 in conference play and 12-5 overall. Oregon will take on Arizona on Thursday night before heading to Tempe for Saturday night's contest. Senior forward Angelina Wolvert leads the team in scoring at 12.5 points per game, while junior guard Jamie Craighead is averaging 10.5 points per game and leads the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 45.3 percentage of her attempts from beyond the arc (43-95). As a team, the Ducks lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.1), field goal percentage (46.7), field goal percentage defense (37.0) and three-point defense (27.8).

In the SeriesOregon State holds a slim 16-14 advantage over Arizona State in a series which dates back to the 1983-84 season. Last year, Oregon State took a 64-51 victory in Corvallis on Feb. 4 (after the Sun Devils arrived in Oregon at 3 a.m. on game day following a long flight delay in Phoenix), while the Sun Devils rebounded with a 75-58 decision in Tempe on March 4. Before that loss in Corvallis last year, the Sun Devils had won five straight in the series including sweeps in each of the two previous seasons. Arizona State has won four straight games over the Beavers in the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena.

Oregon also leads the series with the Sun Devils with a 24-8 advantage dating back to the 1980-81 season. The only Pac-10 school that head coach Charli Turner Thorne has not yet led her team to a victory over in her four-plus seasons at ASU, the Ducks have won the last 11 games in the series including a 66-55 win in Eugene on Feb. 6 and a 67-56 victory in Tempe on March 2. Arizona State's last victory over Oregon came on Jan. 28, 1995 in a 79-77 decision in Tempe.

Oregon ConnectionsOregon State assistant coach Stephanie (Osburn) Norman lettered for Arizona State from 1985-88. Currently in her first year as a Beaver assistant coach, Norman led the Sun Devils in free throw percentage in her senior year, knocking down 77.1 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe in 1988. Prior to becoming an assistant coach at OSU, she also spent time at Oregon in the same capacity and was the assistant athletics director at Marist High School in Eugene.

The Sun Devils also have two players who hail from the state of Oregon in senior Liz Paulson (Lake Oswego) and freshman Betsy Boardman (Portland). A 1996 graduate of Lakeridge High School, Paulson led the Beaver State in scoring as a junior at 21.6 points per game. She arrived at ASU last year after spending two years at Pepperdine University (redshirting one) and one at Central Florida Community College. Boardman came to ASU from Beaverton High School where she was an honorable-mention high school All-American in each of the last three seasons and runner-up for Oregon Player of the Year following her senior season. In 2000, Boardman led her Beavers to the school's first Metro League championship and was selected as the league's MVP.

Keeping 'Em Off the ScoreboardArizona State ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference and among the best in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 59.2 points per game so far this season. ASU has held six opponents to 50 points or less this season including 47 by Cal on Jan. 6, while four of those teams have managed 45 points or less (with a season-low 39 by South Florida). ASU held then No. 2 Tennessee to just 67 points, 16.4 points short of the Lady Vols' season average of 83.4, while Arizona scored just 57 points, 23.8 points lower than their conference-leading 80.8 points per contest.

Prior to ASU's 58-47 win at Cal, the last time ASU held a Pac-10 opponent under 50 points was in 1997-98 with a 69-49 win over Oregon State in Tempe, while 47 is the fewest points for a league opponent since defeating Oregon 79-42 in Tempe on Jan. 30, 1992. Prior to that, ASU had never held a Pac-10 opponent to less than 50 points on the road in the previous 14 years of conference play.

Taking Care of the BallArizona State is averaging a Pac-10 low 16.4 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 nine of the team's 19 games this year (including 13 each vs. Washington and Washington State). The Sun Devils have also won the turnover battle (having fewer turnovers than their opponents) in 17 of 19 games including a 24-21 advantage over then No. 2 Tennessee and a 20-11 edge at then No. 21/22 Stanford. Last year, the lowest turnover total for the team was 13 in their final game of the season in the WNIT vs. Colorado State.

The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in turnover margin, forcing 4.53 more turnovers than they commit per game. ASU is also tied for first in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 0.86 (267 assists to 312 turnovers). Senior Natalie Tucker, who leads the team with an average of 3.4 assists per game (seventh in the Pac-10), is third in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.44).

Home-Court AdvantageWith a 7-3 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in an 18-6 mark at home in the last two seasons including an 11-3 mark last year which ranked 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 Beyond the ArcArizona State has knocked down 34.0 percent of its three-pointers (80-235), led by junior Amanda Levens who has met success on 39.2 percent of her attempts. Levens has a team-best 31 three-pointers on the season which is already 10th on ASU's single-season charts. The 5-9 junior ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage and seventh in three-pointers made (1.63 treys per game). Levens drained three treys of the team's eight treys in the team's wins at Hawaii and UCLA, which was one shy of the school single-game record of nine three-pointers made in a contest. Levens also knocked down a career-high 4-of-4 three-pointers in ASU's win over Washington State on Jan. 13.

Levens has drained at least one three-pointer in 15 games and more than one in 10 of those contests, while freshman Betsy Boardman has at least one trey in 13 games. Boardman also ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage, draining 33.9 percent of her attempts (19-56).

Head Coach Charli Turner ThorneSince Charli Turner Thorne took over the reins 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 four 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 58-72 record in four-plus seasons at Arizona State and was 40-40 in her three seasons at Northern Arizona.

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 65.4 percent from the charity stripe since (293-448) ... The team turned in a season-high 80 percent (16-20) from the charity stripe at USC on Jan. 20 ... Junior Amanda Levens is shooting a team-best 83.2 percent from the free throw line (84-101) which is good for second in the Pac-10 ... UCLA's Michelle Greco leads the Pac-10 in that category at 88.7 percent but has attempted almost half as many free throws as Levens (47-53)... Levens' miss in the second half vs. Arizona ended a streak of 17 consecutive free throws (last three attempts vs. WSU, 4-4 at UCLA, 8-8 at USC, 2-3 vs. Arizona), while earlier this season, she had a streak of 16 consecutive free throws that ended in the Stanford game ... In the last 10 games, ASU has been to the free throw line 284 times (an average of 28.4 free throw attempts per game) and drained 64.8 percent of those attempts (184-284).

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 14.4 points per game and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in that category. Levens has notched double figures in all but three of ASU's games this season. Johnson, a 6-2 guard from the University of Colorado, is second on the squad and sixth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 13.9 ppg and has scored in double figures in 19 of 19 games and had nine points in each of the other two. Levens, who was last week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, has hit a team-best 31 three-pointers, while Johnson, who earned the first conference player-of-the-week award this year, leads the Sun Devils in rebounding at 6.8 boards per game which is good for fifth in the Pac-10.

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 14.4 points per game. Junior Melody Johnson, who transferred from the University of Colorado, is averaging 13.9 points and a team-best 6.5 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 7.1 points per game and second with 4.9 rebounds per contest (which ranks tied for 19th in the Pac-10). ASU's newcomers have been the leading scorers in each of ASU's 19 games this season, most recently with Carvalho scoring a career-high 16 points at UCLA (her first game as the team's leading scorer) and Levens turning in 15 points at USC and again vs. Arizona.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are averaging 8.7 steals per game and have turned in double figures in that category in seven of the past 12 games with nine in two other games in that stretch. 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.

Individually, Boardman jumped into the Pac-10 rankings in that category this week and is fifth in the conference with 2.1 steals per game.

Road WarriorsArizona State's trip to Los Angeles marked the end of a stretch that saw the Sun Devils play four of six games on the road. ASU picked up its third road win of the year and first Pac-10 road victory with a 58-47 decision at Cal on Jan. 6, the team's first win in Berkeley since the 1991-92 season, while the Sun Devils are 5-2 on the road this season (including three Pac-10 victories). The last ASU team to turn in more than five road wins was the 1992-93 squad which was 7-5. ASU's win at UCLA snapped a streak of eight losses in Pauley Pavilion, while ASU has won games at Cal, USC and UCLA in a single season for the first time in school history.

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 victory at Cal Jan. 6, the Sun Devils matched their total of three road victories from last season. Last year, the Sun Devils earned two non-conference road victories but managed just one during the Pac-10 slate, ending the season with a 3-12 road record.

Three-Dot DataThree Sun Devils rank in the top 16 in the Pac-10 Conference in scoring (Amanda Levens-fifth, Melody Johnson-sixth, Betsy Boardman-16th), while Johnson and Cian Carvalho are among the top 10 rebounders in the conference (Johnson-fifth, Carvalho-19th) ... ASU's win at UCLA marked the 25th Pac-10 victory for Charli Turner Thorne, while her first conference win at ASU also came against UCLA, in Tempe in 1996-97 ... With a 98-112 career record, Turner Thorne is just two victories shy of hitting the century mark for career wins ... With a 13-6 record so far this season, the Sun Devils have notched double figures in wins in each of the last four seasons, something the program had not accomplished since 1989-1993 ... Last year, the Sun Devils turned in an 11-8 mark through 19 games but lost seven of their last 10 to end the year at 14-15 ... Senior Natalie Tucker has started 75 consecutive games, every game of her three-year career at ASU ... Tucker leads the team in assists for the third straight season at 3.4 assists per game, while the senior guard has 305 career assists (an average of 4.1 per game) which ranks eighth on the ASU career list ... she also ranks in ASU's top 10 charts for career three-pointers and free throw percentage ... ASU has overcome two half-time deficits for victories this season, both on the road (at Northern Arizona and at California) ... ASU is averaging 14.1 assists per game in 2000-01 with 12 of 13 players getting into the action ... ASU has held 12 teams to four three-pointers or less this season including three opponents with no treys.

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