Women's Basketball NCAA Tournament Notes
March 11, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Coming off their upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championship game of the inaugural Pac-10 Conference Tournament, the Arizona State Sun Devils head to Nashville, Tenn., and Vanderbilt University to make their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Winners of their last three games and five of their last six, the ninth-seeded Sun Devils will take on eighth-seeded Wisconsin (19-11, 8-8, T5th in Big Ten) at 6 p.m. CST (5 p.m. MST) Saturday at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium. With a victory on Saturday, Arizona State would have its first postseason victory since 1983 and tie the school record for victories in a season. If ASU should prevail, the Sun Devils would take on the winner of the No. 1 seed Vanderbilt-No. 16 seed Oakland game Monday night at 7:36 p.m. CST (6:36 p.m. MST).
The Sun Devils earned the Pac-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing the Pac-10 Tournament title and are now 24-8 on the year. Already this year, ASU has surpassed its wins total from last year, turned in the team's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1981-82 and 1982-83 and notched the most victories in a season in 19 years. With their 24-8 record, the Sun Devils have turned in the second-most victories in school history and need just one more to tie the school record of 25 victories set by the 1981-82 NCAA Sweet Sixteen squad (25-7).
ExposureASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast all of ASU's NCAA Tournament 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).
KUSK-TV (Cox Cable) will televise ASU's first-round game with Wisconsin to a live local audience (seen on Channel 13 on Cox, Channel 57 in the East Valley, Channel 55 in the West Valley). ESPN2 will televise the game between the winner of the ASU-Wisconsin/Vanderbilt-Oakland game on Monday night at 7:36 p.m. Central Time (6:36 p.m. Mountain Time). The Sun Devils are 4-2 when playing on television this year.
In the PostseasonArizona State is making its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament since the 1991-92 season and just its fifth ever showing in that tournament. It marks just the second time in school history that ASU has made back-to-back appearances in the 'Big Dance' with the only other consecutive showings coming in the 1982 and 1983 NCAA Tournaments when the Sun Devils advanced to the Sweet Sixteen both seasons before bowing out to the eventual national champion (Louisiana Tech in 1982 and USC in 1983). ASU holds a 2-4 all-time record in the 'Big Dance' but has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 1983. Last year in the team's first NCAA appearance since 1992, ASU earned a No. 11 seed, the lowest seed in school history, and an invitation to the NCAA Mideast Regional where the team lost to Louisiana State 83-66 in the first round in West Lafayette, Ind. This year's invitation marks ASU's third all-time appearance in the Midwest Region and its first since 1992 (1982 was the other).
Pac-10 Conference HonoreesA trio of Sun Devils earned All-Pac-10 Conference honors this season led by senior guard Amanda Levens who was named first-team All-Pac-10 for the second straight year. Levens became the first Sun Devil since Ryneldi Becenti (1992-93) to earn back-to-back first-team all-league honors. Senior center Melody Johnson earned her second career all-league accolade, being named an honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection one year after being a first-teamer, while freshman Kylan Loney was an honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman team pick, marking the sixth straight season that ASU has had a player mentioned on the league's all-rookie team.
Levens and Johnson were also named to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team following ASU's upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championship game.
20 and Beyond...With 24 wins this season, Arizona State has turned in the second-most victories in school history and needs just one more to tie the school record for wins in a single season. The only team to win more games than this year's squad was the 1981-82 team which went 25-7 en route to an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance. This year, ASU also has its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since going 25-7 in 1981-82 followed by 23-7 in 1982-83. Last season, ASU posted a 20-11 mark, which marked the team's most wins since 1982-83. ASU has surpassed its wins total from the previous year in each of the last six seasons:
ASU's Improvement Under Charli Turner Thorne Year Record 1996-97 9-19 1997-98 10-17 1998-99 12-15 1999-00 14-15 2000-01 20-11 2001-02 24-8
In the PollsArizona State was last ranked in the national polls 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 continue to receive votes in both polls (26th-AP, 28th-USA Today/ESPN Coaches). Wisconsin is not ranked this week but was ranked as high as fifth this year after opening the season with a 16-1 record.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith an 89-85 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).
Since Turner Thorne took over the reigns 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. In 2000-01, 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 six seasons and guided ASU to five consecutive double-digit win seasons.
Last Time OutSenior guard Amanda Levens scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half to lead Arizona State to a 70-63 upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championshp game of the inaugural Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament March 4 in Eugene, Ore. The victory was ASU's first over a team ranked in the nation's top two since downing then No. 2 USC 53-51 in 1982 and ended Stanford's 22-game win streak.
Seniors Melody Johnson, who along with Levens was named to the all-tournament team, and Cian Carvalho each added 13 points for the Sun Devils who earned the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and have their biggest win total since the 1981-82 team had a school-record 25-7 record.
The Sun Devils took an early 12-6 lead, but Stanford responded quickly. Sophomore Nicole Powell hit a short leaning jumper, then fed freshman Sebnem Kimyacioglu for a layup and free throw to cap a 13-0 run. Unlike the Cardinal's other two opponents, however, Arizona State didn't fold. Sophomore Betsy Boardman finished an 11-2 ASU run with a three-pointer, and freshman Kylan Loney's trey put the Sun Devils back in front 26-25 with 4:45 left in the first half. Stanford scored the last five points of the half and went into the locker room with a 35-31 halftime lead.
The Cardinal knocked down the first five points of the second half as well, going up 40-31 with 18:10 to play on a three-pointer by freshman T'Nae Thiel hit a 3-pointer and a layup by senior Enjoli Izidor. Arizona State stormed back with a 12-2 run and took the lead for good with 12:24 to play on a free throw by Levens. She missed the second, but freshman Carrie Buckner grabbed the rebound and fed Levens for a three-pointer that made it 46-42.
Stanford got within two points, 55-53 with 5:06 to play, but couldn't draw any closer. Loney's basket pushed the lead to 59-55, and a drive by Levens made it 63-55 with 1:36 left. ASU knocked down seven of 10 free throw attempts over the final minute of the game, including four by Carvalho, to earn the 70-63 upset.
For Levens, her 22-point performance marked her 12th 20-point effort of the year. She knocked down 7-of-14 attempts from the field, including a pair of three-pointers, while Johnson was 5-of-7 from the field en route to her 13 points. Carvalho pulled down a team-high six rebounds to go along with her 13 points.
Arizona State forced Stanford into committing 21 total turnovers and shooting just 36 percent in the second half. Izidor scored a season-high 22 points for Stanford, and Pac-10 Player of the Year and tournament MVP Powell had 19 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 4-of-17 from the field.
About WisconsinThe Wisconsin Badgers are making their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the sixth in the history of their program. Wisconsin brings a 19-11 record into its matchup with the Sun Devils, dropping 10 of its last 13 games after starting out the season with a 16-1 mark and climbing as high as fifth in the national polls. The Badgers finished in a tie for fifth in the Big Ten with an 8-8 record but advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament with wins over Northwestern and Minnesota before falling to Penn State. Senior forward Jessie Stomski, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, leads the Badgers in scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg), while senior guard/forward Tamara Moore, also a first-team all-league pick by the Big Ten coaches, is second on the team in both categories (16.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg).
Wisconsin ConnectionsArizona State freshman guard Kylan Loney (Ames, Iowa) and Wisconsin freshman guard Stephanie Rich (Crawfordsville, Iowa) are best friends from their playing days in high school. Both players were on the Iowa Maroons AAU team.
In the SeriesSaturday's game will mark the first meeting between Wisconsin and Arizona State, while the Sun Devils are 0-3 against teams from the Big Ten Conference. Both teams played at the Paradise Jam in November in the Virgin Islands but were in separate brackets and did not face each other. Arizona State has not faced a team from the Big Ten Conference since the 1984-85 season when the Sun Devils fell to then 10th-ranked Ohio State 83-75 in Tempe on Dec. 15, 1984.
ASU vs. the Midwest RegionArizona State has never faced Vanderbilt but has a 2-0 advantage in the series with Oakland (with the last meeting coming in 1989). The Sun Devils hold a 17-22 combined record against the teams who make up the Midwest Region bracket (Oakland 2-0, Minnesota 0-1, UNLV 2-6, North Carolina 0-1, Florida 0-1, Brigham Young 3-4, Iowa State 1-2, Temple 2-0, Notre Dame 1-0, New Mexico 6-6, Tennessee 0-1).
The Sun Devils played a total of five games against three teams who have earned berths in the 2002 NCAA Tournament (Kansas State 1-0, St. Peter's 1-0, Stanford 1-2) and nine games against four teams which have earned bids in the Women's NIT (Washington 1-1, USC 1-1, Oregon 3-0, Oregon State 1-1).
NCAA Midwest Region Games:No. 1 Vanderbilt vs. No. 16 OaklandNo. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Arizona StateNo. 5 Minnesota vs. No. 12 UNLVNo. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 13 HarvardNo. 6 Florida vs. No. 11 BYUNo. 3 Iowa State vs. No. 14 TempleNo. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 New MexicoNo. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 15 Georgia State
Comeback KidsArizona State had to come from behind to win each of its three games at the Pac-10 Conference Tournament. In their opening game vs. Arizona, the Sun Devils had to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit (36-26) to earn the victory. Senior Cian Carvalho scored 15 of her 17 points in the second-half effort, and ASU held the Wildcats to just 17.4 percent shooting and four field goals in the final 20 minutes.
In ASU's semifinals win over the host Oregon Ducks, the Sun Devils lost a 12-point halftime advantage and trailed by as many eight points in the second half (45-37 with 10:12 to play). Arizona State responded to that deficit with an 11-2 run, fueled by eight straight points from senior Amanda Levens, to go up for good, 48-47 with 7:53 to play. Levens scored 16 of her 19 points in the second half to lead ASU.
The Sun Devils completed the trifecta of come-from-behind wins in their upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championship game. After leading 35-31 at halftime, Stanford scored the first five points of the second half and went up 40-31 with 18:10 to play. ASU answered with an 11-2 run of their own, that included six points each from Levens and senior Melody Johnson, to take a 43-42 lead with 12:24 to play, an advantage they would not relinquish. Again, Levens had a terrific second-half effort, scoring 17 of her game-high 22 points in the final 20 minutes.
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 and ranking 21st in the nation at just 58.5 points allowed per game, including an average of 59.6 points per game by its three opponents in the Pac-10 Tournament. 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 (2nd) and rebounding margin (3rd).
ASU has held seven 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 17-0 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. In its three games vs. Stanford, ASU held the Cardinal to an average of 66.7 ppg, 14.5 points below their league-leading average of 81.4 points per game.
The Battle of the BoardsThe Sun Devils have outrebounded 25 of their 32 opponents this year and hold a 21-4 record when outrebounding their opponents this year. ASU is averaging 38.0 rebounds per game compared to a Pac-10 low 33.2 for their opponents and held both Rutgers and Oregon (Jan. 6) to a season-low 23 rebounds. ASU also paced the Pac-10 in rebounding defense last year, holding its opponents to just 33.5 boards per contest.
Defending the ThreeThe Sun Devils continue to lead the Pac-10 in three-point field goal defense, allowing their opponents to shoot just 29.3 percent from beyond the arc (87-297), including just 22.2 percent shooting by its three opponents in the Pac-10 Tournament (8-36). 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 22 opponents to just 26.2 percent shooting from three-point range (62-236) and has held 14 of its last 19 opponents under 30 percent from beyond the arc.
Levens Lighting Up the ScoreboardWith 530 points so far this season, senior guard Amanda Levens is ranked seventh on the ASU single-season scoring charts and is the first Sun Devil to top the 500-point mark since Karen O'Connor had 545 points in 1988-89. She is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 17.1 points per game. The winner of two Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors this season, Levens has scored 20 points or more on 12 occasions this year, including a game-high 22 points in ASU's upset of second-ranked Stanford last week at the Pac-10 Tournament.
Levens has led the team in scoring in 20 of 32 games this year. She 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 was been slowed by the injury, averaging just 12.4 points in her first 11 games back.
The transfer from Old Dominion University and two-time 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 on Nov. 25. Levens' 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 33 of 63 games and has had 19 efforts with 20 points or more.
Joining the 1,000-Point ClubWith her 22nd and final point in ASU's upset of second-ranked Stanford on March 4, senior Amanda Levens became just the 13th Sun Devil to reach the 1,000-point mark for her career. She is also just the third player in school history to reach 1,000 points in two seasons with only Kym Hampton (1,258) and Olivia Jones (1,038) scoring more points in their first two seasons as Sun Devils. Levens, who came to ASU after two seasons at Old Dominion, has scored 1,302 points in her career (302 points at ODU, 1,000 at ASU).
Senior center Melody Johnson has also surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career counting her two seasons at Colorado. She has now scored 1,302 points in her career (450 points at Colorado, 852 so far at ASU), while the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has also topped the 500-board mark and has 630 career rebounds (199 at Colorado, 431 so far at ASU).
ALL-TIME ASU SCORING LEADERS1. 2,361 Kym Hampton, 1981-842. 1,670 Cassandra Lander, 1980-833. 1,374 Molly Tuter, 1994-974. 1,370 Sherry Poole, 1984-875. 1,248 Robin Connolly, 1984-876. 1,224 Karen O'Connor, 1988-917. 1,194 Jodi Rathbun, 1983-868. 1,148 Lisa Salsman, 1989-939. 1,134 Jovonne Smith, 1989-9310. 1,038 Olivia Jones, 1981-8311. 1,033 Kim Griffee, 1979-8112. 1,017 Stephanie Freeman, 1995-9813. 1,000 Amanda Levens, 2000-pres.
Soft TouchSenior Melody Johnson continues to sit atop the Arizona State career charts for field goal percentage, knocking down 56.4 percent of her career attempts (335-594). This year, she is shooting 55.8 percent (163-292), which ranks second in the Pac-10, including a perfect 7-for-7 effort Dec. 13 at Chicago State, an 8-of-9 outing Jan. 6 at Oregon and a 10-of-14 showing Feb. 14 vs. USC. In Pac-10 play, she also finished second in the league statistics at 55.6 percent (94-169), while at the Pac-10 Tournament, Johnson knocked down 62.1 percent of her attempts (18-29).
Double TroubleSenior Melody Johnson has notched six double-doubles this season and just missed another with 14 points and nine rebounds in ASU's first-round Pac-10 Tournament win over Arizona on March 3. She turned in her sixth of the year at Arizona on Feb. 23 with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while she turned in the first back-to-back efforts of her career with 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 10 games, Johnson has averaged 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest (140 points, 73 rebounds), including a season-high 21 points Feb. 14 vs. USC, up from her season averages of 12.3 ppg and 6.7 rpg.
The Colorado Springs, Colo., native and 2001 first-team All-Pac-10 selection has 11 double-doubles in her 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 102 assists already this year, true freshman point guard Kylan Loney has set the ASU school record for assists by a Sun Devil freshman. Loney, who earned honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honors this year, overtook Jodi Rathbun who had 80 assists in her freshman year in 1982-83. Loney is averaging 3.2 assists per game (10th in the Pac-10) and has the fifth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Pac-10 at 1.44. She is the highest ranked Pac-10 freshman in the category, while Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Dee-Dee Wheeler of Arizona is the only other rookie in the top 10 (10th at 0.94).
Loney has started all 32 games this season and is second on the team in playing time with 27.4 minutes per game. Her minutes are the fourth-most by a rookie in the Pac-10 this season. The Ames, Iowa, native scored a career-best 10 points Feb. 7 at Washington State and had nine points in ASU's upset of No. 2 Stanford on March 4.
ASSISTS BY AN ASU FRESHMAN1. 102 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
Levens Chasing Her Own Single-Season Trey MarkSenior guard Amanda Levens has knocked down a team-best 55 treys and needs just five more to tie her own single-season school record of 60. Levens is shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc (55-153) on the year, which ranks 10th in the league. She has had at least one three-pointer in all but six games this year and all but 10 games in her Sun Devil career. She has also had more than one three-pointer in 16 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.
Levens has moved into third place on ASU's career list with 115 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 just one more three-pointer to tie Molly Tuter (1994-97) for second all time at ASU, 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. 55 Amanda Levens, 2001-023. 52 Ryneldi Becenti, 1992-935. 49 Crystal Cobb, 1991-926. 47 Molly Tuter, 1996-977. 44 Stephanie Freeman, 1997-988. 38 Ryneldi Becenti, 1991-92 38 Molly Tuter, 1995-9610. 36 Betsy Boardman, 2000-01
CAREER THREE-POINTERS MADE1. 134 Crystal Cobb, 1989-942. 116 Molly Tuter, 1994-973. 115 Amanda Levens, 2000-pres.4. 91 Kristine Sand, 1997-005. 90 Ryneldi Becenti, 1991-936. 71 Betsy Boardman, 2000-pres.7. 69 Stephanie Freeman, 1995-988. 66 Natalie Tucker, 1998-019. 56 Rosalind Senior, 1987-8910. 49 Tiffany Krahenbuhl, 1992-95
What a Difference A Year MakesThe Sun Devils have finished the 2001-02 campaign on a roll, winning their last three games, five of their last six and eight of their last 10. Last year, ASU headed to the NCAA Tournament after dropping three of its last four and six of its last 10 games in the regular season. Counting the team's first-round NCAA Tournament loss, ASU lost four of its last five games last year.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne celebrated her 36th birthday on Selection Sunday, March 10. Last year, Turner Thorne celebrated her birthday by clinching a share of ASU's first ever Pac-10 basketball title, while the following day, she celebrated the birth of her second son, Liam, at 4:29 p.m. on Selection Sunday, a little less than an hour after ASU earned its first NCAA Tournament invitation in nine years.
Kicking It Up a NotchPortland, Ore., native Betsy Boardman has kicked it up a notch in the second half of the season, averaging 10.7 points per game over the last 21 games (224 points), up from her overall scoring average of 9.1 ppg. She is also shooting 42.5 percent from the field (74-174) and 41.2 percent from beyond the arc over that same stretch (28-68). In the first 11 games of the year, she averaged just 6.2 points per game and shooting just 26.9 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point land.
A Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year, Boardman has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 21 games, including a season-high 17 points at Oregon on Jan. 6 and a game-high 15 vs. at then No. 3 Stanford on Jan. 26.
Dishing It OutASU's starting backcourt of senior Amanda Levens and true freshman Kylan Loney has become just the second tandem in school history to each dish out 100 assists in a season. The only other Sun Devil tandem to accomplish the feat was Karen O'Connor (155) and Carolyn DeHoff (109) in 1988-89.
The duo of Levens (140 assists, eighth on ASU's single-season list) and Loney (102) is averaging 7.6 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 fifth in the Pac-10 in the category. She has led the team in the category in 18 of her last 22 games, including a career-high nine assists at Oregon State on Jan. 4 and again Jan. 16 vs. UCLA, while Loney is averaging 3.2 per game, which ranks 10th in the league. Loney is fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.44, while Levens is sixth at 1.43.
Experience CountsArizona State has two assistant coaches on its staff who have been head coaches. Joseph Anders served as head coach of the Sacramento State men's team for six years, guiding the Hornets to the 1988 NCAA Division II Tournament and into the Division I ranks in 1991-92. Kim Gervasoni spent eight years as the head coach at Solano Community College in Suisun, Calif., where she led her team to five conference titles and three appearances in the California state championships.
Notes from the Charity StripeAfter shooting just 56.7 percent from the free throw line in its two previous games, the Sun Devils shot 69.6 percent (64-92) in their three games in the Pac-10 Tournament ...with 20 free throws at the Pac-10 Tournament, senior Amanda Levens has set the school record for free throws with 163 this year, surpassing her own school mark of 146 last season ... she also currently ranks second on the ASU single-season charts for free throw attempts with 210 and needs just four more to break that school mark ... Levens is shooting 81.3 percent from the free throw line over her last five games (26-32) ... she has already been to the free throw line 210 times this year (35 more attempts than any other Pac-10 player) and has knocked down 77.6 percent of her attempts (163-210), which ranks 10th in the league ... while the Sun Devils have gotten to the free throw line 796 times this year (24.9 times per game and 143 more times than any other Pac-10 school), the team has knocked down just 63.9 percent of its attempts (509-796), which ranks ninth in the Pac-10 ...ASU has shot below 60 percent from the line 12 times this year, including a season-low 50 percent at USC on Jan. 19 (9-18) and a 55.6 percent showing at Arizona on Feb. 23 (5-9) ... the team also tied season lows at Arizona with just five free throws and nine attempts, which was 15.9 attempts below its per-game average.
Combs Named Second-Team Academic All-DistrictSenior forward Leah Combs has been named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District second team for District VIII.
It marks the second consecutive year that Combs, who carries a 3.96 cumulative GPA and plans a career in sports broadcasting, has been named to the all-district team. She is also a two-time Academic All-Pac-10 honoree, becoming ASU's first first-team all-conference selection since 1990.
Combs has played in all 32 games this year, starting five. This season, she has the second-best field goal percentage on the team, knocking down 45.6 percent of her shots, and is averaging 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Home-Court AdvantageWith a 13-2 home mark this year, the Sun Devils set the school mark for home wins in a season. ASU has turned in a 35-8 record at home in the last three seasons and won 12 home games in each of the previous two seasons. The Sun Devils closed out this season by winning their last eight games at Wells Fargo Arena and turning in an 8-1 Pac-10 home mark this year.
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.
- The Sun Devils shot just 25.6 percent from three-point land en route to their Pac-10 Tournament Championship (10-39), down from their season average of 32.7 percent.
- With just two conference teams earning bids into this year's NCAA Tournament (Stanford and Arizona State), the Pac-10 Conference has its fewest number of teams invited to the 'Big Dance' since 1989 when only Stanford and Washington earned NCAA bids. At least four Pac-10 teams have been invited in each of the last five years. While just ASU and Stanford are going to this year's NCAA Tournament, four Pac-10 teams will play in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (Oregon, Oregon State, USC and Washington).
- Arizona State did not block a shot in three games at the Pac-10 Tournament, but the Sun Devils did grab 32 steals at the tournament, an average of 10.7 steals per game.
- ASU is 16-0 on the year when outshooting its opponents and 17-0 on the season when holding opponents to 59 points or less.
- Senior Amanda Levens is averaging 4.8 assists per game over the last five contests, including a career-high tying nine Feb. 16 vs. UCLA and a game-high six Feb. 23 at Arizona. She is ranked eighth on the ASU single-season chart with 140 assists this year and is ninth in career assists (235) after just two seasons. Her 140 assists are the most since Julie Gledhill had 143 in 1995-96.
- 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 65 assists to just 26 turnovers on the season (2.5).
- 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 9.4 and 8.1 minutes per game, respectively. Senior Amanda Levens is leading the team in minutes played at 29.0 per game, while true freshman point guard Kylan Loney is second at 27.4 minutes per game, which is fourth among Pac-10 freshmen.
- ASU's bench has averaged 16.1 points per game this season (516 points), including a season-high 27 points at Chicago State on Dec. 13 and 23 in a Feb. 16 win over UCLA. ASU's bench has had 20 or more points in seven games this year. The Sun Devils are 16-2 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 Picked Second, Fourth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State, which finished in a tie for second this year, was 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
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 10 games and come up with wins in seven of the games: Arizona's Joan Bonvicini (18th, 2-1), Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (17th, 1-2), Northern Illinois' Carol Hammerle (22nd, 1-0), Kansas' Marian Washington (16th, 1-0), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (3rd, 1-0) and Mike Granelli of St. Peter's (10th, 1-0). 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.