Women's Hoops Hosts Washington State at 7 p.m. Saturday Night
Jan. 11, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Coming off a 66-61 victory over Washington Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils complete their Pac-10 homestand, playing host to Washington State Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. Winners of their last two, four of their last five and 11 of their last 13 games, ASU is now 13-4 on the year and 4-2 in the Pac-10, which puts them into a tie for third place in the league. The Sun Devils look to extend an eight-game winning streak over the Cougars which dates back to the 1997-98 season. Washington State, 2-14 overall and 0-6 in the Pac-10, has lost its last 11 games, including a 107-57 defeat at Arizona on Thursday night.
ExposureASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast the Washington State game to the Valley of the Sun with Vince Marotta calling the action. The broadcast is also available via the ASU official athletics web site (www.thesundevils.com).
At Their Current Pace...With a 13-4 record through 17 games, the Sun Devils are two games ahead of the pace of last year's 20-11 Pac-10 Championship squad. Last year, ASU was 11-6 through their first 17 games. ASU's 13 wins are the most in the fewest games for a Sun Devil squad since the 1982-83 NCAA Sweet Sixteen team went 14-3 in their first 17 contests.
At 4-2 in the Pac-10, ASU has matched the pace of last year's team which opened the conference slate with a 1-2 record but went on to win its next seven Pac-10 contests to improve to 8-2 through its first 10 league games.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 78-81 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 a game-high 20 points as the Sun Devils downed Washington 66-61 Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena. Arizona State jumped ahead early, taking a 13-6 lead with 13:52 to play in the half. The Sun Devils quickly pushed their lead into double digits on a pair of three-pointers by Levens and led by as many as 12 points en route to a 35-24 halftime advantage.
ASU outshot the Huskies 50 to 38.5 percent and outrebounded them 20-11 in the first 20 minutes, while Levens had 14 of her 20 points and knocked down 4-of-6 looks from three-point land in the first half.
Washington stormed back in the second half, forcing three Arizona State turnovers and scoring the first eight points of the half. UW freshman Kristen O'Neill hit a pair of three-pointers and junior Cheryl Sorenson knocked down a bucket by to cut the lead to three points, 35-32, with 17:41 to play. ASU then went on a 13-5 run to restore its 11-point lead when sophomore Betsy Boardman knocked down her second three-pointer of the game to make it 48-37 with 13:21 to play,
The Huskies made one more run in the game, getting within three points twice more when junior Kellie O'Neill converted a pair of free throws to make it 61-58 with 3:02 left in the game and sophomore Giuliana Mendiola hit a three-pointer to make it 64-61 with 58 seconds remaining. ASU, however, knocked down 5-of-7 free throw attempts over the final three minutes of the game to hold onto the 66-61 victory.
Levens turned in her 10th 20-point effort of the season with 20 points. Levens also led the Sun Devils with five assists and contributed four rebounds and two steals in the effort. ASU senior Melody Johnson turned in 14 points, while senior Cian Carvalho led the game with nine rebounds.
For Washington, freshman Kayla Burt led the team with 15 points, knocking down 4-of-6 attempts from the field and all seven of her free throws, while Kristen O'Neill chipped in with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting which included a pair of treys. As a team, the Sun Devils outrebounded the Huskies 44-30 but were outshot 39.3 to 40.4 percent from the field.
Home-Court AdvantageWith an 8-2 home mark this year (including a 3-1 Pac-10 record), the Sun Devils have turned in a 30-8 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.
ASU has won its last three home games, all Pac-10 contests, including Thursday's victory over Washington.
Levens Lighting Up the ScoreboardSenior guard Amanda Levens, already the winner of two Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors this season, is ranked second in the Pac-10 and 21st in the nation at 20.2 points per game. She has scored 20 points or more on 10 occasions this season, including a game-high 20 points against Washington on Thursday night. She has led the team in scoring in 15 of 17 games this year and has topped the 20-point mark in seven of the last nine games, averaging 22.2 ppg in that stretch (200 points).
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 30 of 48 games and has had 17 efforts with 20 points or more. With 343 points this year through 17 games, she needs just 127 to match the 470 she had all of last year.
Winning the Battle of the BoardsASU has outrebounded all but two of its opponents this season and holds a 13-2 record in those games. Stanford and Oregon State have been the only teams to outrebound the Sun Devils this year. The Sun Devils are averaging 38.3 rebounds per game compared to a Pac-10 low 32.1 for their opponents, including a season-low 23 by both Rutgers and Oregon.
In each of the last two games, ASU has outrebounded its opponent by 14 boards, while its last two foes, Oregon and Washington, have averaged just 26.5 rebounds per contest. ASU also led the Pac-10 in rebounding defense last year, holding its opponents to just 33.5 boards per contest.
Balanced AttackArizona State has averaged 77.3 points per game over the last three games, up from the team's season average of 69.5. In Pac-10 play, the Sun Devils are averaging 73.0 points per contest. That increase can be attributed to the fact that four Sun Devils are scoring in double figures in Pac-10 play, led by senior Amanda Levens who is averaging 20.8 ppg in the Pac-10 and sophomore Betsy Boardman who is averaging 12.5 points per game in conference action.
Defending the ThreeThe Sun Devils are leading the league in three-point field goal defense, allowing their opponents to shoot just 30.5 percent from beyond the arc (46-151). Although they finished ninth in the category last year, ASU led the league in three-point defense in 1998-99 and 1999-00.
ASU has held its last nine opponents to just 23.3 percent shooting from three-point range (21-90), including a 1-for-7 effort by Oregon State on Jan. 4. Stanford came into the Dec. 23 game as the Pac-10's best shooters from three-point land but knocked down just 33.3 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc (3-9).
About Washington StateWashington State is 2-14 overall and 0-6 in the Pac-10. The Cougars have lost 11 consecutive games, including a 107-57 loss at Arizona on Thursday night. Senior center Brittney Hawks leads the Cougars in scoring and rebounding, averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Hawks had 14 points and just missed her 10th double-double of the year with nine rebounds vs. the Wildcats on Thursday. Freshman guard Francine McCurtain, a Chinle, Ariz., native and graduate of Winslow High School, is second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and rebounding (4.3 rpg).
In the SeriesArizona State holds a 19-11 advantage in the series with Washington State and has won the last eight meetings with the Cougars. Last year, ASU began and ended its school-record seven Pac-10-game winning streak with wins over Wazzu, earning an 83-70 victory in Tempe on Jan. 13 and eking out a 74-72 decision in Pullman on Feb. 8. WSU's last victory over the Sun Devils came during the 1996-97 season with ASU sweeping the series in each of the last four years.
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 1,115 points in her career (302 points at ODU, 813 at ASU), while Johnson has now scored 1,101 points in her career. Johnson had 440 points in her two seasons at Colorado and has 661 so far at ASU, while the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has also topped the 500-board mark and has 522 career rebounds (199 at Colorado, 323 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 since Olivia Jones (1980-83) to do it in just two seasons. Levens needs 187 more points, while Johnson needs 329 to accomplish that feat.
Amanda From Beyond the ArcSenior guard Amanda Levens has shot 43.8 percent from three-point land (32-73) over the past 13 games, including a career-best 6-of-9 performance in ASU's win over Kansas on Dec. 5 and a 4-of-9 effort Thursday night vs. Washington. She has knocked down a team-best 37 treys and is shooting 41.6 percent from beyond the arc (37-89), which ranks sixth in the league. 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 11 games this year including four vs. Washington on Thursday.
Levens has moved into third place on ASU's career list with 97 three-pointers in her career and needs just three more to become just the third Sun Devil in school history to hit 100 treys in her career. Levens needs 19 three-pointers to tie with Molly Tuter (1994-97) for second all time at116, while 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 46.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. She is averaging 12.5 points per game, up from her overall scoring average of 8.4 ppg. A Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year, she has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, including a season-high 17 points at Oregon. After shooting just 24 percent from three-point land in the first 11 games of the year, Boardman has shot 50.0 percent from beyond the arc in the last six games (12-24) and now ranks 10th in the Pac-10 in the category, shooting 35.8 percent on the year (19-53).
Scoring DefenseAfter leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense last year (61.5 ppg), ASU has continued its stingy ways in 2001-02, ranking second in the league at just 59.4 points per game. Cal leads the league in category, allowing 58.2 points per game.
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. The Sun Devils also set a school record by holding Chicago State to just nine points in the first half of its 83-43 victory Dec. 13.
Dishing It OutASU's starting backcourt of senior Amanda Levens and true freshman Kylan Loney is averaging 8.2 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. Levens and Loney rank just behind Oregon State's Leilani Estavan and Ericka Cook (8.6 assists per game) as the top duo in the conference this year. At 4.8 assists per game, Levens ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in the category. She has led the team in the category in eight of the last nine games, including a career-high nine assists at Oregon State and a game-high five vs. Washington on Thursday, while Loney is just shy of the top 10 in the league at 3.5 per game. Loney is fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.51, while Levens is sixth at 1.47.
In the PollsArizona State is unranked for the seventh week after dropping out of the poll on Nov. 26 but continues to receive votes in each poll (28th in AP, 30th USA Today). Following the team's only back-to-back losses of the year, 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. Washington State is 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.
Currently, ASU is riding a two-game winning streak and has won four of its last five and 11 of its last 13 games.
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.
- Arizona State held Washington to just 61 points in Thursday's victory, 14.4 points below their season average. The Huskies had come into the game as the second-leading scoring team in the Pac-10 at 75.4 ppg.
- ASU is 3-0 in games decided by five points or less this year, including their 66-61 win over Washington on Thursday.
- Each of ASU's last two victories have come against opponents who were bringing three-game winning streaks into their game with the Sun Devils (Oregon & Washington).
- The Sun Devils have already defeated both Oregon and Washington this season, marking the first time since 1992-93 that ASU has downed both schools in a single season. That year, ASU swept both meetings with both schools. ASU's 86-72 victory at Oregon's McArthur Court on Jan. 6 snapped an eight-game road losing streak against the Ducks and was the first for ASU since the 1992-93 season.
- The Sun Devils rank in the top three in the league in five defensive categories this year, including rebounding defense (1st), three-point defense (1st), scoring defense (2nd), scoring margin (2nd) and rebounding margin (3rd).
- ASU has shot 73.6 percent from the free throw line in the last three games (53-72), including a season-high 89.7 percent at Oregon (26-29), up from the team's 63.8 clip on the year. The 89.7 percent effort vs. the Ducks is the best since the team shot 96.3 percent at USC on Feb. 19, 2000 (26-27).
- Senior Cian Carvalho has averaged 11.5 points per game over the last six contests, including a season-high 15 points vs. Arizona. She hit the first two three-pointers of her career vs. Stanford and has had at least one three-pointer in four of the last five games.
- After shooting just 36.8 percent from the field in its first four games (87-236), ASU has shot 44.9 percent in the last 13 (318-709). From three-point land, ASU has improved from 24.4 percent (10-41) in its first four games to 38.2 in the last 13 (66-173).
- Since the first Pac-10 statistics of the year were released four weeks ago, ASU has climbed from sixth to third in field goal percentage and from 10th to second in three-point shooting.
- 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 Dec. 30. 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 55.4 percent of her attempts (251-453). This year, the Colorado Springs, Colo., native ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in the category, knocking down 53.0 percent of her attempts from the field (79-149), including a perfect 7-for-7 effort Dec. 13 at Chicago State and an 8-of-9 outing Jan. 6 at Oregon.
- The Sun Devil rotation includes 11 players this year with eight averaging at least 10 minutes per game and sophomore Jen Albert and freshman Lauren Stagg just shy of the 10-minute mark at 9.8 and 9.3 minutes per game, respectively. Senior Amanda Levens is leading the team in minutes played at 28.8 per game, while true freshman point guard Kylan Loney is second at 26.4.
- The Sun Devils have topped 80 points in two of the last four games, including a season-high 87 points vs. Arizona and 86 at Oregon. ASU's 87 points vs. the Wildcats marked the most 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.
- While the Sun Devils have gotten to the free throw line 464 times in 17 games (27.3 times per game and 93 more times than any other Pac-10 school), the team has struggled a bit at the charity stripe, knocking down just 63.8 percent of its attempts (296-464). ASU has shot below 60 percent from the free throw line six times this year, including a season-low 53.1 percent (17-32) Dec. 23 vs. Stanford.
- Senior Amanda Levens has already been to the free throw line 133 times this year and has knocked down 78.2 percent of her attempts, which ranks eighth in the Pac-10 (104-133). 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 18.8 points per game over the last 12 contests (240 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 1,653 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.
Road WarriorsCounting last weekend's trip to the state of Oregon, Arizona State is in the middle of a stretch that will see the team play six of eight games on the road. The Sun Devils are 3-1 in road games this season, winning at Chicago State and Northern Illinois in December and splitting a pair at Oregon State (loss) and Oregon (win). 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. ASU's 86-72 victory at Oregon on Jan. 6 snapped an eight-game road losing streak at McArthur Court and was the team's first victory in Eugene since the 1992-93 season.
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.
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 team also earned the team's first postseason appearance in eight seasons, falling at Colorado State in the first round of the 2000 WNIT.