Women's Basketball Inks Six Student-Athletes

Nov. 14, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State has signed six student-athletes, including two from the Phoenix metro area, to study and play basketball for the Sun Devils next fall, ASU women's basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne announced Wednesday.

ASU's signees include Amy Denson of Central Point, Ore., Kristen Kovesdy of Phoenix's St. Mary's High School, Jill Noe of Wilsonville, Ore., YoVanna Rosenthal of Phoenix's Thunderbird High School, Jenny Thigpin of Hanford, Calif., and Iman Young of San Pablo, Calif.

Denson, a 6-1 forward out of Crater High School in Central Point, Ore., earned first-team all-conference and second-team all-state honors last year, leading her team to a 25-2 overall record, a 14-0 conference mark and a second-place finish at the Oregon State tournament. A preseason Street and Smith's All-American this season, she averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year in addition to shooting 51 percent from the field and setting Crater's junior record for three-point shooting at 44 percent. Denson is currently fourth on Crater's all-time scoring list with 737 points in two seasons and needs just 263 points in her senior year to set the school's all-time mark.

'Amy is the hardest working player I have ever coached,' Crater High School coach David Heard said. 'She combines her physical talents with a great feel for the game and the mental toughness that allows her to be extremely successful in the classroom, on the basketball court and in life.'

'From the moment I saw Amy play, I knew I had to have her,' Turner Thorne said. 'A strong, athletic 6-1 forward, she grabbed every rebound in sight, scored one-on-one in the post, stepped out and drilled three-pointers and beat her player off the dribble. I guess you could say 'versatility' is her middle name. On top of all of that, she is a leader who knows how to win. She will be one of those players who never plays like a freshman. Her maturity on and off the court are exceptional.'

Kovesdy, a 6-3 center from Scottsdale, comes to ASU from St. Mary's High School in Phoenix where she averaged 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds last year. In her three-year career, she already holds St. Mary's school records for single-game, season and career points, rebounds and blocked shots. Kovesdy is ranked 46th in the nation by School Sports and 87th by the All-Star Girls Report and is a preseason Street and Smith's High School All-America selection.

'Arizona State will be getting one of the best players to come out of our St. Mary's Lady Knight basketball program,' coach Frank Denogean said. 'Kristen possesses tremendous athletic qualities. Her ability to run the court will be a major plus for her continued success. Kristen will leave St. Mary's as the career leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots, but more importantly, the Sun Devils are getting a loyal person with great character. Kristen's leadership abilities and respect from her peers and coaches set her apart from most athletes. It will be truly exciting to see Kristen wearing a Sun Devil uniform in the near future. The entire St. Mary's community is extremely proud for Kristen Kovedsy, her parents and family.'

'Kristen is the center of the New Millennium. She is not just big and strong and able to dominate the paint, she can also run with the guards and be an effective shooter and passer on the perimeter,' Turner Thorne said. 'While Kristen comes out of a very strong high school program, she has barely scratched the surface in regards to her potential to take over a game with her offense and defense. I am absolutely giddy about the opportunity to coach Kristen, not simply due to her athletic talent but also because of who she is as a person.'

The Oregon 3A and Tri-Valley League Player of the Year last season, Noe is a 5-10 guard out of Wilsonville (Ore.) High School. She has averaged 20 points and eight rebounds in each of the last two seasons and has also paced her team in assists and steals both years. Noe led her team to the Oregon 3A state title and a 24-4 record last season. A two-time first-team all-state and all-state tournament selection, she led the Oregon state tournament in scoring, field goals, free throws and assists and was second in three-pointers and defensive rebounds last season.

'Jill is one of the most athletically gifted kids I've seen in a long time,' Wilsonville High School coach Cindy Anderson said. 'She's fast and quick and is going to get so much better when she concentrates on basketball. She's one of the best guards in the state (at any level).'

'You look at Jill when she walks in the gym and you might think she is with the cheer squad, but as soon as she takes the floor, you will quickly see she is undoubtedly the best and most aggressive athlete in the gym,' Turner Thorne said. 'She is an explosive and dynamic scorer who excels, especially in the open court. As someone who has consistently proven she can hit the three, slip by for a jumper or take it all the way to the basketball and elevate to the rim, Jill is fun to watch, and I am ecstatic to coach her.'

A 5-7 guard out of Thunderbird High School in Phoenix, Rosenthal is a three-time Player of the Year selection in the Skyline Region. A preseason Street and Smith's High School All-America selection, she earned first-team all-state honors as a junior after averaging 11.2 points, 3.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game and guiding her team to a 28-2 record, its second straight Skyline Region championship and its second straight trip to the semifinals of the state tournament. Rosenthal earned second-team all-state accolades as a sophomore and was an honorable-mention selection as a freshman.

'YoVanna's contribution to Thunderbird High School has not been just as a great basketball player, but as a great person,' Thunderbird coach Steve Burke said. 'For her entire career, YoVanna has been an inspiration to all Thunderbird girls' basketball players, coaches and fans. Her work ethic, warmth, leadership and dedication have been outstanding. She has earned the respect of her teammates, coaches and opponents. I know she will continue to excel at the next level.'

'I have watched YoVanna play since the eighth grade, and while she has always been the quickest player on the court, it has been fun to watch her develop into a sensational basketball player on the court as well,' Turner Thorne said. 'A phenomenal defensive player, YoVanna also passes the ball in transition as well as any guard in the country. Every year, YoVanna has improved her arsenal of offensive weapons. This year is no exception, and I have no doubt it will be her best year ever for Thunderbird High School and coach Steve Burke.'

Thigpin, a 6-3 forward out of Hanford (Calif.) High School, averaged 12.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game last year, leading her team to a 31-2 record and the CIF Division II title. A 2001 Fresno Bee all-star selection and a three-time all-league honoree, Thigpin is ranked 35th in the nation by School Sports and 36th by the All-Star Girls Report. A preseason Street and Smith's High School All-America selection, Thigpin earned first-team All-Central Valley region honors last year and was invited to the Adidas Top 10 Camp.

'Jenny will be a great addition to Arizona State University,' Hanford Heat AAU coach Dennis Thigpin said. 'She will score if you get the ball into her. Jenny has a left-handed hook shot, a fade-away jumper, up and under and a reverse layup. She plays tough defense, can help on defense and has great peripheral vision. She has a great concept of the game and is a total team player. Jenny knows when to shoot and when to pass it off. Assist or point, it does not matter to her. It all counts on the scoreboard for her and goes toward the win.'

'The first time I saw Jenny play was the fall of her freshman year, and I knew right then and there that she was special,' Turner Thorne said. 'She had moves that some of my college post players had not perfected. Since that time, she has expanded her repertoire. She has excellent three-point range and court vision and can take it coast to coast with ease. Her versatility is a perfect fit, and she will definitely have an impact in her first year.'

Rounding out ASU's fall signees is Young, a 5-9 point guard out of Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. Last year, she earned Kodak All-America honors, one of only 10 two-year players in the country to receive the accolade, and was a first-team all-league and second-team all-state honoree. Young averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game in her freshman year, leading her team to the most wins in school history with a 33-6 record, a divisional championship and a berth in the state tournament where her team lost by four points in the championship game.

'Iman is exciting and explosive. While her game can improve, it is dramatically complete already,' Contre Costa coach Paul DeBolt said. 'As a point guard in the Allen Iverson mold, she can score or dish, but in the Kobe Bryant mold, she can dominate a game defensively by locking down great players. ASU has quietly recruited a gem.'

'I think it's common to see a number of high-profile prolific scorers like Iman come out of junior college every year. What's uncommon is to find someone who is equally as brilliant on the defensive end,' Turner Thorne said. 'Iman is a smart, driven young woman who can do it all on the basketball court. On top of all of her talent, she is going to bring a level of hunger and added experience that will allow us to continue our championship runs.'

ASU WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SIGNEESName			Ht.	Pos.	Hometown/SchoolAmy Denson		6-1	F	Central Point, Ore./Crater HSKristen Kovesdy		6-3	F	Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Mary's HSJill Noe		5-10	G	Tualatin, Ore./Wilsonville HSYoVanna Rosenthal	5-7	G	Phoenix, Ariz./Thunderbird HSJenny Thigpin		6-3	F	Hanford, Calif./Hanford HSIman Young		5-9	G	San Pablo, Calif./Contra Costa College
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