Women's Basketball Travels to Oregon State, Oregon This Weekend
Dec. 31, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Winners of their last two games and nine of their last 10, the Arizona State Sun Devils make their first conference road trip of the season, heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on Oregon State on Friday and Oregon on Sunday. In their last action, the Sun Devils, now 11-3 on the year and 2-1 in the Pac-10, downed Arizona 87-64 to win their third straight game over the Wildcats and string together their longest streak in the series since winning four straight over the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. Oregon State is 6-7 overall and 2-2 in conference after splitting home games with Washington State (W) and Washington (L) last weekend, while Oregon is 8-5 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-10, downing both Washington and Washington State last weekend.
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).
Road WarriorsCounting this weekend's trip to the state of Oregon, Arizona State will play six of its next eight games on the road. The Sun Devils are 2-0 in road games this season, winning at Chicago State and Northern Illinois in December. Last year, ASU finished the season with a 7-5 road record, including a 5-4 mark in Pac-10 play, which marked the most road wins since the 1992-93 squad turned in the same record. This weekend, the Sun Devils will be looking to snap a two-game road losing streak at Oregon State, while ASU has lost its last eight games at Oregon's McArthur Court with the team's last victory in Eugene coming during the 1992-93 season.
Turner Thorne Moves into Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 76-79 record at ASU, head coach Charli Turner Thorne has moved into sole possession of second place in all-time wins by a Sun Devil women's basketball coach. With ASU's victory over Arizona on Dec. 30, the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year passed Maura McHugh who turned in a 75-65 record in her six seasons at the helm (1987-93). Juliene Simpson is the all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history, notching a 134-92 record in eight seasons (1979-87).
Last Time OutSenior Amanda Levens scored 23 points and dished out a season-high seven assists to lead the Sun Devils to an 87-64 win over Arizona Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.
The victory was the biggest for ASU in the series with Arizona since turning in a 29-point victory in 1980-81. It also marks the third straight victory in the series for ASU, something the Sun Devils had not done since winning four consecutive games during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons.
After Arizona jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, Arizona State pulled ahead with a 9-0 run, which included five points from Levens, to take a 14-7 lead with 10:25 to play and never trailed again in the game. The Wildcats cut ASU's lead to one point on three occasions, but ASU went on another 9-0 run midway through the first half to go ahead 28-18 with 6:19 to play. Levens had 12 points in the first half to lead ASU to a 41-30 halftime advantage.
In the second half, ASU scored the first two buckets to go up by 15 points (45-30). Arizona got within 10 points, using an 11-2 run to cut ASU's lead to 62-52 with 9:04 to play, but ASU sophomore Betsy Boardman drained a three-pointer on the Sun Devils' next possession to quell the Wildcat rally. ASU led by as many as 26 points in the game en route to the 87-64 victory.
Four Sun Devils scored in double figures for the second time this year, led by Levens who had 23 points in her eighth 20-point performance of the year. Senior Cian Carvalho and Boardman each turned in season highs in scoring with 15 points and 14 points, respectively, while senior Melody Johnson registered her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
ASU's 87 points were a season high for the team, while the Sun Devils also turned in their best efforts of the year from three-point land and from the free-throw line, knocking down 54.5 percent of their three-point attempts (6-11) and 79.3 percent of their free throws (23-29).
For Arizona, freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led the team with 17 points and five assists, while junior Krista Warren chipped in with 14 points. Senior Elizabeth Pickney just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Levens Lighting Up the ScoreboardSenior guard Amanda Levens, winner of two Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors this season, leads the team and is ranked second in the Pac-10 at 20.4 points per game. She has scored 20 points or more on eight occasions this season, including a game-high 23 points vs. Arizona last weekend. She has led the team in scoring in 12 of 14 games this year and has topped the 20-point mark in five of the last six games, averaging 23.7 points per contest over the last six.
The transfer from Old Dominion University scored a career-high 30 points in ASU's season-opening win over St. Peter's, while at the Paradise Jam, Levens just missed tying her career high with 29 points in ASU's win over Kansas State. Leven's 30-point effort vs. St. Peter's marked the most points for a Sun Devil since Molly Tuter scored 32 in a 70-66 victory over Southern Utah on Nov. 8, 1997.
In her short ASU career, Levens has led ASU in scoring in 27 games and has had 15 efforts with 20 points or more.
Winning the Battle of the BoardsASU has outrebounded all but one of its opponents this season and holds a 11-2 record in those games. Stanford was the only team to outrebound the Sun Devils so far, edging ASU 32-27 in the battle of the boards. The Sun Devils are averaging 38.5 rebounds per game compared to a Pac-10 low 31.9 for their opponents, including a season-low 23 by Rutgers. ASU also led the Pac-10 in rebounding defense last year, holding its opponents to just 33.5 boards per contest.
About Oregon State & OregonOregon State is 6-7 on the season and 2-2 in the Pac-10 with a win over Washington State and loss to Washington last weekend in Corvallis. Senior guard Felicia Ragland leads the Pac-10 in scoring this season at 21.2 points per game and is 11th in rebounding at 5.9 boards per contest. Last year's Pac-10 Player of the Year, Ragland turned in 13 points and 12 rebounds vs. Washington State and followed that up with a game-high 26 points in the Beavers' loss to Washington.
Oregon improved to 8-5 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-10 with its sweep of the Washington schools last weekend and will take on the Arizona Wildcats on Friday night. Junior guard Shaquala Williams is leading the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game after missing all of last season with an ACL tear, while senior Edniesha Curry, a transfer from Cal State Northridge, is averaging 12.1 points per game. Senior Alyssa Fredrick and sophomore Cathrine Kraayeveld are tied for the team lead in rebounding at 5.2 boards per game apiece.
In the SeriesOregon State holds a slim 17-15 advantage over Arizona State in a series which dates back to the 1983-84 season. The two teams split last season's meetings with ASU winning 58-51 Feb. 1 in Tempe and Oregon State earning a 72-64 win in Corvallis on March 3. The Sun Devils have won seven of the last nine games in the series but have dropped the last two road games to OSU. The Beavers hold an 11-5 advantage in Corvallis. ASU's last win in Corvallis came in 1998-99 when the Sun Devils earned a 77-65 win on Feb. 21, 1999 to complete their second straight season sweep of the Beavers.
Oregon leads the series with the Sun Devils with a 25-9 advantage dating back to the 1980-81 season. Last year, Arizona State snapped an 11-game losing streak to Oregon with a 73-63 win over then No. 22/21 Oregon on Feb. 3 and then fell to the Ducks 63-56 in Eugene on March 1. The Sun Devils have lost their last seven games at McArthur Court. Oregon holds a 2-14 advantage in games played in Eugene, while ASU last defeated the U of O in Eugene on Feb. 25, 1993 with a 77-63 victory.
Oregon ConnectionsThe Sun Devils have two players who hail from the state of Oregon in sophomore Betsy Boardman (Portland) and freshman Carrie Buckner (Corvallis). A 2001 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection, Boardman came to ASU from Beaverton High School where she was an honorable-mention high school All-American in each of her 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. A three-time all-league selection and the 2001 Valley League Player of the Year, Buckner helped her Crescent Valley High School to its eighth straight Valley League title as a senior and earned all-tournament honors at the Oregon 4A state tournament.
Oregon State assistant coach Stephanie (Osburn) Norman lettered for Arizona State from 1985-88. Currently in her second 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.
Joining the 1,000-Point ClubSeniors Amanda Levens and Melody Johnson have each surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their careers this season. Levens, who came to ASU after two seasons at Old Dominion, has scored 1,056 points in her career (302 points at ODU, 754 at ASU), while Johnson has now scored 1,057 points in her career. Johnson had 440 points in her two seasons at the University of Colorado and has 617 so far at ASU, while the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has also topped the 500-board mark and has 505 career rebounds (199 at Colorado, 306 so far at ASU).
The pair also has a shot at becoming the 13th and 14th Sun Devils to join ASU's 1000-point club and the first players since Olivia Jones (1980-83) to do it in just two seasons. Levens needs 246 more points at ASU, while Johnson needs 383 to accomplish the feat.
Amanda's Hot HandSenior guard Amanda Levens has shot 46.1 percent from three-point land (24-52) over the past 10 games, including a career-best 6-of-9 performance in ASU's win over Kansas on Dec. 5. She has knocked down a team-best 29 treys and is shooting 42.6 percent from beyond the arc (29-68). Levens has knocked down at least one three-pointer in all but two games this year and all but six games in her Sun Devil career. She has also had more than one three-pointer in eight games this year, including three vs. Stanford and three more vs. Arizona.
ASU's single-season leader with 60 three-pointers made last year, Levens already stands in fifth place on ASU's career list with 89 three-pointers in her career and needs just one more trey to move into a tie with Ryneldi Becenti (90 in 1991-93) for fourth place. Crystal Cobb (1989-94) holds the ASU school record with 134 three-pointers in her career.
Kicking It Up a NotchPortland, Ore., native Betsy Boardman has kicked it up a notch in Pac-10 play, shooting 60 percent from the field, including a 66.7 clip from beyond the arc, and averaging 12.3 points per game. A Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year, she has turned in season highs in scoring in each of the last three games, including 14 points vs. Arizona. After shooting just 24 percent from three-point land in the first 11 games of the year, Boardman has shot 66.7 percent in the last three games (5-8), going 2-of-3 from beyond the arc vs. Stanford and Cal and hitting a key three-pointer vs. Arizona to hold off a second-half Wildcat rally.
Scoring DefenseAfter leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense last year (61.5 ppg), ASU has continued its stingy ways in 2001-02, ranking first in the league at just 57.1 points per game. Prior to giving up 75 points against Stanford, ASU's defense had allowed just 48.2 points per game in the previous five games. ASU set a school record by holding Chicago State to just nine points in the first half of its 83-43 victory on Dec. 13. ASU has held four teams under 50 points, including 49 by Cal on Dec. 23 and 40 points by Fordham on Dec. 1, which was the fewest points given up this year and the fewest since downing South Florida 74-39 on Nov. 19 of last year.
Dishing It OutASU's starting backcourt of senior Amanda Levens and true freshman Kylan Loney is averaging 8.0 assists per game so far this season, the most since Natalie Tucker and Kitch Kitchen averaged 8.4 assists as the second-best tandem in the Pac-10 in 1998-99. At 4.5 assists per game, Levens ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in the category and has led the team in the category in five of the last six games, including a season-high seven vs. Arizona, while Loney is 10th in the league at 3.5 per game. Levens is also ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5, while Loney is seventh in that category at 1.4.
In the PollsArizona State is unranked for the sixth week after dropping out of the poll on Nov. 26 but continues to receive votes in each poll (28th in AP, 33rd USA Today). Following back-to-back losses on Nov. 21 and Nov. 24, Arizona State dropped out of the polls on Nov. 26 after being ranked 21st and 25th in the Nov. 19 Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, respectively. Oregon State and Oregon are unranked.
Levens Repeats as Pac-10 Player of the WeekSenior guard Amanda Levens was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week on two consecutive weeks (Dec. 10 and 17) after leading ASU to four straight victories. She became the first Sun Devil to ever earn back-to-back selections and the first to earn two conference player-of-the-week honors in a season since Ryneldi Becenti in 1992-93. The Player-of-the-Week honors were the second and third of Levens' career and the 19th and 20th all-time selections for ASU.
StreakingASU's seven-game winning streak, which was snapped with a Dec. 23 loss to the sixth-ranked Stanford Cardinal, was the longest for the Sun Devils since the team won seven consecutive Pac-10 games last year from Jan. 13 to Feb. 8. The 1991-92 team holds the school record for consecutive victories, opening the season with nine straight victories.
Not Shying Away From AnyoneSo far this season, ASU has faced six coaches ranked among the 25 all-time winningest coaches in NCAA women's basketball history and come up with wins in five of the games: Arizona's Joan Bonvicini (18th), Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (17th), Northern Illinois' Carol Hammerle (22nd), Kansas' Marian Washington (16th), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (3rd) and Mike Granelli of St. Peter's (10th). ASU has played teams coached by 12 of the top 25 coaches over the last five seasons, while in the past three seasons alone, ASU has played all five of the NCAA's winningest women's basketball coaches.
- Senior Cian Carvalho has averaged 12.3 points per game over the last three contests, including a season-high 15 points vs. Arizona. She hit the first two three-pointers of her career vs. Stanford and has followed that performance with two treys in each of the last two games (2-of-3 vs. Cal, 2-of-2 vs. Arizona).
- The Sun Devils scored a season-high 87 points in their victory over Arizona, the most points for the Sun Devils since the team scored 96 in a 96-52 win over Gonzaga on Dec. 5, 1998, a span of 96 games.
- Senior Rainy Crisp is averaging 4.0 assists per game over the last three contests, including a career-high five assists vs. Arizona.
- ASU has held its last six opponents to just 21.3 percent shooting from three-point range (10-47), including an 0-for-6 effort by Northern Illinois and a 1-of-9 outing by Arizona. Stanford came into the Dec. 23 game as the Pac-10's best shooters from three-point land at 40.6 percent but knocked down just 33.3 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc (3-9).
- After shooting just 36.8 percent from the field in its first four games (87-236), ASU has shot 45.5 percent in the last 10 (243-534). From three-point land, ASU has improved from 24.4 percent (10-41) in its first four games to 38.8 in the last 10 (47-121). Since the first Pac-10 statistics of the year were released two weeks ago, ASU has improved from sixth to fourth in field goal percentage and from 10th to fourth in three-point shooting.
- The Sun Devils have turned in six of their best seven shooting performances in the last seven games, including a season-high 55.8 percent (29-52) vs. Chicago State on Dec. 13 and their second-best effort of 52.7 percent (29-55) vs. Arizona on Dec. 30. ASU also turned in its best efforts of the year from three-point land and the free throw line vs. the Wildcats, knocking down 54.5 percent of its three-point attempts (6-11) and 79.3 percent of its free throw attempts (23-29).
- In the last two games, ASU has shot 52.6 percent from three-point land (10-19), including a 4-of-8 effort vs. California (.500) and a season-high 6-of-11 performance vs. Arizona (.545).
- Senior Melody Johnson turned in her second double-double of the year and the seventh of her career with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds vs. Arizona. She turned in her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds vs. Richmond on Nov. 26 to earn Paradise Jam MVP honors.
- Johnson continues to lead Arizona State in career field goal percentage, converting on 55.1 percent of her attempts (234-425). This year, the Colorado Springs, Colo., native ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in the category, knocking down 51.2 percent of her attempts from the field (62-121), including a perfect 7-for-7 effort Dec. 13 at Chicago State.
- The Sun Devil rotation includes 11 players this year with nine averaging at least 10 minutes per game, while sophomore Jen Albert is just shy of the 10-minute mark at 9.7 minutes per game. Senior Amanda Levens is leading the team in minutes played at 28.7 per game, while true freshman point guard Kylan Loney is second at 26.1.
- While the Sun Devils have gotten to the free throw line 392 times in 14 games (28.0 times per game and at least 90 more times than any other Pac-10 school), the team has struggled a bit at the charity stripe, knocking down just 62.0 percent of its attempts (243-392). ASU has shot below 60 percent from the free throw line six times this year and in its first two Pac-10 games, including a season-low 53.1 percent (17-32) Dec. 23 vs. Stanford.
- Senior Amanda Levens has already been to the free throw line 111 times this year and has knocked down 77.5 percent of her attempts (86-111). Last year, Levens set school single-season marks for free throws (146) and was second in attempts (183) and is on pace to eclipse those marks in 2001-02.
- ASU's bench has averaged 19.8 points per game over the last 10 contests (198 points), including a season-high 27 points at Chicago State on Dec. 13. ASU's bench has had 20 or more points in five games this year, and the Sun Devils are 10-2 on the year when outscoring their opponents' bench.
- ASU emerged from the non-conference slate with nine victories for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
- ASU's crowd of 2,419 at the Stanford game on Dec. 23 was the largest home crowd of the year for the Sun Devils. ASU has averaged 1,854 fans per game so far in the Pac-10 season.
ASU Picked Second, Fourth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State has been picked to finish second in the Pac-10 Conference by the media (with a pair of first-place votes) and fourth by the league's coaches. Last year, ASU was tabbed fifth by the coaches and sixth by the media in their preseason polls but surpassed all outside expectations by finishing in a tie for first with Stanford and Washington for ASU's first ever Pac-10 basketball title.
Recruiting ClassArizona State's recruiting class for the 2002-03 season is ranked 24th in the nation by Blue Star. Here's a list of the six players that ASU signed in the early period:
Name 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 CC
Pac-10 Conference HonoreesThe Sun Devils return a trio of all-conference performers from one season ago, including senior center Melody Johnson and senior guard Amanda Levens who were named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team, marking the first time in school history that ASU has had two players earn first-team accolades. Arizona was the only other school to have two first-team selections last year. Freshman guard/forward Betsy Boardman was named to the five-player Freshman All-Pac-10 squad, marking the third consecutive season that the Sun Devils have had a player named to the all-rookie team. In addition, three Sun Devils earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors with junior Leah Combs becoming ASU's first first-team selection since 1990.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne was named the 2001 Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year as selected by the league's coaches, ASU's first such honor, and was one of eight finalists for the 2001 Russell Athletic/WBCA Division I National Coach of the Year Award. As a finalist, Turner Thorne earned the distinction of WBCA District 8 Coach of the Year as selected by WBCA member coaches from that geographical region.
Home-Court AdvantageWith a 7-2 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in a 29-8 mark at home in the last three seasons. Last year, the team went 12-4 at home, tying the school record for home victories at Wells Fargo Arena.
Pac-10 Postseason TournamentA new era starts as the Pac-10 begins its first annual Women's Basketball Tournament on March 1-4, 2002, at McArthur Court on the campus of the University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon. The league's Directors of Athletics and the Pac-10 Council approved the postseason tournament last fall. The Pac-10 postseason tournament will be a 10-team event which will be hosted by one of the Pac-10 members on its campus each year. A total of nine games will be played with the champion earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Tough SlateThis season, Arizona State will play at least 12 games against seven teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament or the Women's National Invitation Tournament last year. NCAA qualifiers on the 2001-02 slate include Oregon, Stanford, Rutgers and Washington, while Loyola Marymount, Arizona and Oregon State advanced to the WNIT last season.
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. That climb culminated in 2000-01 when Turner Thorne's Sun Devils captured ASU's first Pac-10 Championship, an NCAA berth, a return to the national rankings and the team's first 20-win season in nine years. The 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and District 8 Regional Coach of the Year has improved the team's wins total in each of her five seasons and guided ASU to five consecutive double-digit win seasons in as many years. In 1999-00, 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.