Women's Hoops to Host USC Thursday and UCLA Saturday in Its Last Regular-Season Home Games
Feb. 12, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Following a split in Washington last weekend, the team's third road trip in four weeks, the Arizona State Sun Devils return home for their final home games of the year, playing host to USC at 7 p.m. on Thursday night and to UCLA at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Winners three of their last four games, the Sun Devils are now 19-7 on the year and 10-5 in the Pac-10, a half-game behind second-place Washington and one game ahead of fourth-place USC in the league standings. ASU looks to extend a six-game home winning streak this weekend as the team honors its five seniors who will be playing in their last home games of the year. With its next victory, ASU can match its wins total from last year and notch the team's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1981-82 and 1982-83. USC brings a 13-10 overall mark and a 9-5 Pac-10 record to Tempe, winning its last two games including a 71-58 victory over crosstown rival UCLA last weekend. UCLA is 7-16 overall and 3-11 in the conference and will play at Arizona on Thursday night.
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).
Senior FarewellThe Sun Devils will honor its five seniors - Rainy Crisp, Cian Carvalho, Leah Combs, Melody Johnson and Amanda Levens - who will be playing in the final home game of their Sun Devil careers Saturday afternoon vs. UCLA.
Home Cookin'With a 11-2 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in a 33-8 record 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, while the team has won its last six games at Wells Fargo Arena and has a 6-1 Pac-10 home mark this year.
In its current six-game home winning streak that began with a Dec. 23 win over Cal and was extended Feb. 2 with a win over Oregon State, ASU has averaged 70.7 points and 39.3 rebounds per game. In that stretch, the Sun Devils have shot 45.2 percent from the field (155-343) and 43.9 percent from beyond the arc (29-66). On the defensive side, ASU has allowed just 56.2 points, 32.8 rebounds and 24.2 percent shooting from three-point land (15-62) in those six victories.
Fox Sports Net to Televise Arizona GameFox Sports Net will televise Arizona State's game at Arizona on Saturday, February 23 to a national television audience as its Pac-10 Conference wild card selection. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. MST. The addition marks the fourth television game of the season for the Sun Devils.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith an 84-84 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 Melody Johnson turned in her second straight double-double, but it wasn't enough to stop the streaking Washington Huskies who earned a 68-50 win over Arizona State in Seattle on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies jumped out to a quick start en route to their fifth straight win, leading 9-2 after sophomore guard Giuliana Mendiola buried a three-pointer at the 15-minute mark. The game went back and forth until junior Kellie O'Neill closed the half with a layup and a three-pointer to put the Huskies up by 11 with under a minute to go. Sophomore Betsy Boardman hit a jumper with five seconds remaining and Washington took a 33-24 lead at the break.
Junior Loree Payne opened the second half with a three-point basket, and senior Emily Autrey added a bucket and a free throw to increase the lead to 15, 39-27, at 18:57. Boardman responded with her own three-pointer, and Johnson collected a rebound and basket to cut the margin to 10 points, 39-29, at 17:38 but that was as close as the Sun Devils would get.
A three-pointer from O'Neill followed by another from Payne gave the Huskies their largest lead of the game, 61-41, with 6:31 remaining.
Senior Cian Carvalho led ASU with 15 points, while Johnson added her fifth double-double of the season and her second in as many games with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Payne led Washington in scoring, tallying a game-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including three three-pointers. Mendiola added 15 points and seven assists.
In Pursuit of 20...ASU's next victory will give the Sun Devils 20 wins, matching the team's wins total from last year. Last season, ASU posted a 20-11 mark, which marked the team's most wins since going 23-7 in 1982-83. With another victory this year, ASU will also notch the team's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since going 25-7 in 1981-82 followed by 23-7 in 1982-83.
Double TroubleSenior Melody Johnson notched back-to-back double-doubles last week in Washington, the first back-to-back efforts of her career and her fourth and fifth double-doubles of the season. She had 13 points and 10 rebounds at Washington State on Feb. 7 and followed that up with 13 points and a career-high tying 12 rebounds at Washington on Feb. 9. In her last three games, Johnson has averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest, up from her season averages of 11.9 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native and 2001 first-team All-Pac-10 selection has nine double-doubles in her short ASU career. Her first double-double this year came with 16 points and 11 rebounds vs. Richmond Nov. 26 to earn Paradise Jam MVP honors.
Loney Sets ASU Freshman Assists RecordWith three assists at Washington State last Thursday night, true freshman point guard Kylan Loney set the ASU school record for assists by a Sun Devil freshman. With 85 assists already this year, Loney overtook Jodi Rathbun who had 80 assists in her freshman year in 1982-83. Loney ranks 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.3 assists per game and has the fifth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league at 1.52. She is the highest ranked Pac-10 freshman in the category, while Cal's Kristin Iwanaga is the only other rookie in the top 10 (seventh).
Loney has started all 26 games this season and is second on the team in playing time with 27.5 minutes per game. Her 27.5 minutes played are the fourth-most by a freshman in the Pac-10 this season. The Ames, Iowa, native scored a career-best 10 points last Thursday at Washington State and has averaged 6.8 points per game over her last nine games (61 points).
Assists by an ASU Freshman1. 85 Kylan Loney, 2001-022. 80 Jodi Rathbun, 1982-833. 71 Cassandra Lander, 1979-804. 70 Toya DeCree, 1981-825. 69 Leaf Newman, 1997-986. 68 Stephanie Freeman, 1997-987. 65 Karen O'Connor, 1987-888. 64 Lynda Englehart, 1978-799. 55 Sherry Poole, 1983-8410. 49 Patti Peppler, 1983-84
The Battle of the BoardsThe Sun Devils have outrebounded 21 of their 26 opponents this year. In the last three games, ASU has averaged 41.3 rebounds and outrebounded its last three opponents by an average of 10.7 boards per contest. ASU holds a 17-4 record when outrebounding its opponents this year. The Sun Devils are averaging 38.1 rebounds per game compared to a Pac-10 low 32.7 for their opponents and held both Rutgers and Oregon (Jan. 6) to a season-low 23 rebounds. ASU also led the Pac-10 in rebounding defense last year, holding its opponents to just 33.5 boards per contest.
Turning Up the DefenseAfter leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense last year (61.5 ppg), ASU has continued its stingy ways in 2001-02, pacing the league again at just 58.6 points allowed per game. The Pac-10's best defensive team, the Sun Devils rank in the top three in the league in six defensive categories this year, including scoring defense (1st), rebounding defense (1st), three-point defense (1st), turnover margin (2nd), scoring margin (3rd) and rebounding margin (3rd).
ASU has held six teams under 50 points, including a season-low 40 points on three occasions (Fordham-Dec. 1, Washington State-Jan. 12 and Cal-Jan. 24). The Sun Devils are 14-0 on the season when holding opponents to 59 points or less. The Sun Devils set a school record by holding Chicago State to just nine points in the first half of its 83-43 victory Dec. 13, while Washington State had just 15 points in the first half in ASU's 68-40 win on Jan. 12.
Defending the ThreeThe Sun Devils continue to lead the league in three-point field goal defense, allowing their opponents to shoot just 30.1 percent from beyond the arc (72-239). 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 16 opponents to just 26.4 percent shooting from three-point range (47-178) and has kept 10 of its last 13 opponents under 30 percent from beyond the arc, including an 18.2 percent showing by Oregon on Jan. 31 (2-11).
Levens Lighting Up the ScoreboardAfter scoring a game-high 26 points Feb. 2 vs. Oregon State, senior guard Amanda Levens is ranked third in the Pac-10 in scoring at 18.2 points per game. Already the winner of two Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors this season, Levens has scored 20 points or more on 11 occasions this season, while her 26 points vs. Oregon State marked her first 20-point game since she had a game-high 20 points before leaving the Washington game on Jan. 10 with a high ankle injury. She has led the team in scoring in 16 of 26 games this year. Levens was leading the Pac-10 in scoring at 20.2 points per game before spraining her ankle. She missed the first game of her career vs. Washington State on Jan. 12 and has been slowed by the injury ever since, averaging just 11.3 points per game in her last eight contests.
The transfer from Old Dominion University and 2001 first-team All-Pac-10 selection 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 turned in 18 20-point games, led ASU in scoring in 31 of 57 games and has had 18 efforts with 20 points or more. With 433 points this year, she needs just 37 to match the 470 she had all of last year, a total which was eighth on ASU's single-season scoring charts.
About USC & UCLAAfter opening the Pac-10 slate with a 3-0 record, USC has been up and down, going 6-4 in its last 10 games and now stands in fourth in the conference standings with a 9-5 record, one game behind the Sun Devils. The Women of Troy have won their last two games, including a 71-58 victory over UCLA last weekend. Four Trojans are averaging in double figures for scoring, led by sophomore guard Aisha Hollans at 17.5 points per game (second in the Pac-10). Sophomore forward Ebony Hoffman is ranked third in the league in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and is second on the team in scoring (14.4 ppg). As a team, USC is fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring (72.3 ppg) and second in rebounding (42.0 rpg).
UCLA is 7-16 and 3-11 in the Pac-10 after falling at USC last weekend. The Bruins have lost seven of their last nine games and two straight Pac-10 contests. Sophomore forward Whitney Jones is leading the team in scoring at 9.1 points per game, including a career-best 21 at USC, while senior center Malika Leatham is pacing the squad in rebounding at 6.0 boards per game. Earlier this year, the Bruins lost their two top scorers, Michelle Greco (repeated concussions) and Kristee Porter (professional volleyball).
In the SeriesUSC leads the series with the Sun Devils 41-7, including a 19-4 advantage in games played in Tempe. Earlier this year, USC downed ASU 68-49 Jan. 19 in Los Angeles, but the Sun Devils have won the last two games at Wells Fargo Arena. Despite USC's all-time advantage, ASU has had some success over the Women of Troy in recent years, taking two of the last three games and four of the last six in the series.
UCLA holds a commanding 35-12 advantage in the series with the Sun Devils, including a 17-7 edge in games played in Tempe. ASU has won the last three games in the series, including a 70-57 victory in Los Angeles on Jan. 17. That victory at Pauley Pavilion game gave ASU its longest winning streak over UCLA in school history at three. The Sun Devils swept the series with the Bruins last year for the first time in school history and can do so again with a victory on Saturday afternoon.
Southern California ConnectionsThree members of the Sun Devil program have ties to southern California, including senior Leah Combs and freshman Alexis Tate. Combs hails from Yorba Linda, Calif., where she graduated from Esperanza High School in Anaheim. Combs concluded her career as the all-time leading scorer (1,348 points) and rebounder (768 rebounds) at Esperanza, leading the team to a 22-6 record and a Sunset League championship in 1996-97.
Tate comes to ASU from Rancho Bernardo High School in Escondido, Calif., where she was a four-time team captain and three-year team MVP despite missing her senior year with an ACL tear. Ranked 60th in the Blue Star Index of the top 100 high school seniors heading into her senior year, Tate also earned two letters in track and field, anchoring her team's 4x400 meter relay team in the state tournament as a junior and winning a league title in the high jump as a senior.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne graduated from Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, Calif., in 1984. Turner Thorne was also a graduate assistant at Washington under Chris Gobrecht from 1988-90. During Turner Thorne's stint at Washington, the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Tournament both seasons reaching the Elite Eight in 1989-90. Gobrecht left UW following the 1995-96 season and spent a year at Florida State before returning to the Pac-10 to go to USC.
Last Time vs. USCSenior Melody Johnson turned in her third double-double of the season, but it was not enough as USC upset then No. 23 ASU 68-49 Jan. 19 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, snapping ASU's four-game winning streak.
The Sun Devils fell behind early in the first half, getting down by as many as 11 points, 28-17 with 4:57 to play in the half. ASU, however, finished the half on a 7-0 run to pull within four points and cut USC's halftime lead to 28-24. The Sun Devils shot just 29.4 percent in the first half compared to 40 percent for the Trojans, while Johnson had eight points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes to lead ASU.
In the second half, ASU cut the lead to two points with an opening score and stayed within three points through the first seven and a half minutes. USC, however, used a 9-0 run to stretch its lead to double digits and led by as many as 21 late in the half. The Trojans outrebounded the Sun Devils 25-15 in the second half and shot 42.6 percent to 33.3 in the half en route to the victory.
For ASU, Johnson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Amanda Levens was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with 11 points in her second game back from her ankle injury. Senior Cian Carvalho had eight rebounds. Four Trojans scored in double figures led by sophomore Aisha Hollans who scored all 16 of her points in the second half.
Last Time vs. UCLASenior Cian Carvalho scored 13 points to lead then No. 23 ASU to a 70-57 victory over UCLA Jan. 17 at Pauley Pavilion. Five Sun Devils scored in double figures in the victory for the first time this season, while the victory marked the third straight over the Bruins, ASU's longest winning streak in the series.
The game stayed close for the first 14 minutes with seven ties and no team enjoying more than a two-point advantage. ASU took the lead for good, going up 19-18 with 5:51 left on a pair of free throws by senior Leah Combs and outscored the Bruins 11-3 over the rest of the half to go into the locker room up 30-21.
In the second half, ASU closed out the victory by shooting 80 percent from the field, knocking down 16-of-20 attempts. The Sun Devils built a 15-point lead and UCLA never got closer than eight.
For the Sun Devils, sophomore Betsy Boardman had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, knocking down 3-of-4 three-point attempts, while senior Amanda Levens, ASU's leading scorer who played just 24 limited minutes due to an ankle injury, scored 11. Freshman Carrie Buckner and senior Melody Johnson added 10 each. Whitney Jones scored 15 points, and Malika Leatham added 10 for the Bruins who shot 35 percent (21-of-60) for the game.
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 1,204 points in her career (302 points at ODU, 902 at ASU), while Johnson has now scored 1,219 points in her career. Johnson had 440 points in her two seasons at Colorado and has 769 so far at ASU, while the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has also topped the 500-board mark and has 590 career rebounds (199 at Colorado, 391 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 98 more points, while Johnson needs 221 to accomplish that feat.
Amanda From Beyond the ArcAfter a perfect 4-of-4 night Feb. 2 vs. Oregon State, senior guard Amanda Levens has knocked down a team-best 46 treys and is shooting 37.7 percent from beyond the arc (46-122) on the year, which ranks seventh in the league. Levens has had at least one three-pointer in all but five games this year and all but nine games in her Sun Devil career. She has also had more than one three-pointer in 13 games this year, including a career-best 6-of-9 performance in ASU's win over Kansas Dec. 5 and a 4-of-4 effort Feb. 2 vs. Oregon State. Against the Beavers, Levens knocked down three treys on three consecutive possessions and four in the game, two that were at least six feet beyond the arc.
Already ASU's single-season leader with 60 treys last year, Levens has moved into third place on ASU's career list with 106 three-pointers in her career. With her three-pointer in the first half vs. Oregon on Jan. 31, Levens became just the third Sun Devil in school history to hit 100 treys in her career. Levens needs 10 three-pointers to tie with Molly Tuter (1994-97) for second all time at 116, while Crystal Cobb (1989-94) holds the ASU school record with 134 three-pointers in her career.
SINGLE-SEASON THREE-POINTERS MADE1. 60 Amanda Levens, 2000-012. 56 Crystal Cobb, 1990-913. 52 Ryneldi Becenti, 1992-934. 49 Crystal Cobb, 1991-925. 47 Molly Tuter, 1996-976. 46 Amanda Levens, 2001-027. 44 Stephanie Freeman, 1997-988. 38 Ryneldi Becenti, 1991-92 38 Molly Tuter, 1995-9610. 36 Betsy Boardman, 2000-01
In the PollsArizona State dropped out of the national polls a month ago after returning at 23rd in the Jan. 14 Associated Press poll following a seven-week hiatus. ASU was ranked in the first three polls of the year, climbing as high as 21st, but dropped out after back-to-back losses in November. The Sun Devils are receiving votes in both polls (31st-AP, 40th-USA Today/ESPN Coaches). Neither USC nor UCLA is ranked.
Kicking It Up a NotchPortland, Ore., native Betsy Boardman has kicked it up a notch in Pac-10 play, averaging 11.4 points per game, up from her overall scoring average of 9.2 ppg. She is also shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc in league action. While she does not rank in the overall Pac-10 statistics, Boardman is 15th in scoring and sixth in three-point percentage in the statistics for conference games.
A Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year, Boardman has scored in double figures in four of her last five games and 11 of 15 Pac-10 contests, including a season-high 17 points at Oregon on Jan. 6 and a game-high 15 vs. at Stanford on Jan. 26. After shooting just 24 percent from three-point land in the first 11 games of the year, Boardman has shot 40.7 percent from beyond the arc in the last 15 (22-54).
Notes from the Charity StripeAfter shooting just 52.4 percent from the free throw line (33-63) in its previous three games, including a season-low 50 percent at USC on Jan. 19, the Sun Devils have knocked down 67.9 percent of their free throws in the last six games (89-131) ... while the Sun Devils have gotten to the free throw line 658 times this year (25.3 times per game and 144 more times than any other Pac-10 school), the team has knocked down just 63.5 percent of its attempts (418-658) ...ASU has shot below 60 percent from the line 10 times this year, including a season-low 50 percent at USC on Jan. 19 (9-18) ... with a miss in the second half at Cal on Jan. 24, senior Amanda Levens snapped a streak of 16 consecutive free throws and then ended a streak of 12 straight last weekend vs. Oregon State (last 2 at Cal, 4-of-4 at Stanford, 4-of-4 vs. Oregon, first 2 vs. OSU)... Levens is shooting 82.0 percent from the charity stripe in her last 10 games (41-50) ... last year, she turned in streaks of 16 and 17 consecutive free throws made ... Levens has already been to the free throw line 170 times this year and has knocked down 78.2 percent of her attempts, which ranks ninth in the Pac-10 (133-170) ... 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 this year ...so far this year, she is already second on single-season charts with 133 free throws and fourth with 170 free throw attempts.
Soft TouchSenior Melody Johnson continues to sit atop the Arizona State career charts for field goal percentage, knocking down 56.2 percent of her career attempts (296-526). This year, she is shooting 55.4 percent (124-224), which ranks second in the Pac-10, including a perfect 7-for-7 effort Dec. 13 at Chicago State and an 8-of-9 outing Jan. 6 at Oregon. In Pac-10 play, she is also second in the league statistics at 56.2 percent (73-130).
Dishing It OutASU's starting backcourt of senior Amanda Levens and true freshman Kylan Loney is averaging 7.5 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 4.4 assists per game, Levens ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in the category. She has led the team in the category in 14 of her last 16 games, including a career-high nine assists at Oregon State on Jan. 4 and 11 in ASU's sweep over the Oregon schools two weeks ago, while Loney is averaging 3.3 per game, which ranks 10th in the Pac-10. Loney is fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ration at 1.52, while Levens is sixth at 1.34.
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.
- Four Sun Devils are scoring in double figures in Pac-10 play, led by senior Amanda Levens who is averaging 15.4 ppg in Pac-10 play and senior Melody Johnson who is averaging 11.9 points per game in conference action.
- The Sun Devils are 1-6 all time when playing on Valentine's Day with their lone win coming at Arizona with an 84-82 decision on Feb. 14, 1992.
- ASU is 13-0 on the year when outshooting its opponents.
- Seven Sun Devils have nabbed at least 20 steals so far this season, led by sophomore Betsy Boardman who has 39.
- Senior Rainy Crisp, who made her first career start vs. Washington State on Jan. 12, has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team this year, dishing out 53 assists to just 22 turnovers on the season (2.4).
- The Sun Devil rotation includes 11 players this year with nine averaging at least 10 minutes per game, and freshman Lauren Stagg just shy of the 10-minute mark at 8.7 minutes per game, respectively. Senior Amanda Levens is leading the team in minutes played at 28.6 per game, while true freshman point guard Kylan Loney is second at 27.5 minutes per game, which is fourth among Pac-10 freshmen.
- 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.
- ASU's win over Oregon on Jan. 31 marked the team's second ever season sweep of the Ducks with the other coming in the 1992-93 season.
- ASU's bench has averaged 17.0 points per game this season (443 points), including a season-high 27 points at Chicago State on Dec. 13. ASU's bench has had 20 or more points in six games this year, including 23 vs. Washington State on Jan. 12. The Sun Devils are 14-2 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 1,554 fans per home game so far in the Pac-10 season.
Road WarriorsLast weekend, ASU wrapped up a grueling stretch that saw the team play six of eight and eight of its last 12 games on the road (including its first four-game road stretch since 1994-95). The Sun Devils are 6-4 in road games this season, including a 4-4 Pac-10 mark. 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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 in a total of seven games 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 coaches.