Women's Hoops Downs Rutgers 59-56 to Win ASU Holiday Classic

Dec. 2, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - Senior Amanda Levens scored 14 points to lead the Arizona State Sun Devils to a 59-56 come-from-behind victory over Rutgers in the championship game of the ASU Holiday Classic Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. Fordham (2-4) defeated Northwestern State (1-3) 62-51 in the consolation game of the tournament, held earlier Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils, now 6-2 on the year, won their own tournament for the 11th time and regained the title in the ASU Holiday Classic after coming up short in last year's championship game. Levens earned tournament MVP honors, while Arizona State senior Melody Johnson was named to the all-tournament team. Rounding out the all-tournament selections were Angela Davidson of Northwestern State, Lauren Fleischer of Fordham, Mauri Horton of Rutgers and Dawn McCullouch of Rutgers.

Arizona State took the early lead in the first half, going up by as many as seven points midway through the period, but Rutgers (3-2) came back to tie the game twice, first at 19 with 7:36 to play and then again at 27 with 2:18 to play in the first half. Sophomore Betsy Boardman put the Sun Devils up 29-27 with a pair of free throws with 2:11 to play, but the Scarlet Knights then cut the lead to one with a free throw by Nikki Jett at 2:08 and then took the lead with a three-pointer by Horton, going into the locker room with a 31-29 advantage.

Boardman and Johnson each had seven points at the half for the Sun Devils, while Horton led all scorers with 11 points, including a 3-of-3 effort from beyond the arc. ASU freshman Carrie Buckner pulled down seven of her career-best eight rebounds in the first half.

In the second half, Rutgers took control of the game. Horton scored the first eight points of the half for Rutgers on a pair of three-pointers and a layup, and the Scarlet Knights went up by seven points, 39-32, with 15:29 to play. ASU got within three with 14:24 to play, but Rutgers scored the next four points of the game to go up 43-36 with 13:14 to play.

The Sun Devils then went on a 12-6 run that began with a three-pointer by Levens and ended with a three-pointer by freshman Jen Albert, her second trey of the year, to regain a 50-48 lead with 7:40 to play in the game. The two teams traded baskets on the next four possessions, but ASU took over for good when senior Cian Carvalho knocked down a layup to put ASU up 54-52 with 4:58 to play. Including that layup, Carvalho scored the final seven points of the ball game for the Sun Devils who earned the 59-56 victory.

Levens led the team with 14 points, while Johnson had 13. Carvalho finished with 11 points, nine of which came in the second half, and freshman Kylan Loney dished out a career-best seven assists. Rutgers' Horton led all scorers with 21 points.

In the consolation game, Fordham earned a 62-51 victory over Northwestern State. Three Fordham players reached double figures for scoring, led by Lauren Fleischer who had 18. For Northwestern State, Angela Davidson led the team with 14 points.

Arizona State returns to action Wednesday night, playing host to the Kansas Jayhawks at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

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