Women's Hoops to Take on No. 1 Seed Vanderbilt in NCAA Second Round
March 17, 2002
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Coming off their 73-70 win over Wisconsin in the opening game of the NCAA Midwest Regional, the Arizona State Sun Devils take on the fourth-ranked and top-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in the second round Monday night in Nashville, Tenn. ESPN2 will carry the game live at 7:36 p.m. CST (6:36 p.m. MST) from Vanderbilt's Memorial Gymnasium. Winners of their last four games and six of their last seven, the ninth-seeded Sun Devils earned their first postseason win since 1983 and tied the school record for victories in a season with Saturday night's victory over Wisconsin. The Sun Devils, who earned the Pac-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing the Pac-10 Tournament title, are now 25-8 on the year which matches the school record of 25 victories set by the 1981-82 squad which went 25-7 en route to an appearance in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Fourth-ranked Vanderbilt improved to 28-6 on the season with a 63-38 victory over Oakland in the first round on Saturday night.
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). ESPN2 will televise the game between the winner of the ASU-Vanderbilt game at 7:36 p.m. Central Time (6:36 p.m. Mountain Time) with Dave Strader and Heather Cox calling the action. The Sun Devils are 5-2 when playing on television this year.
In the Series with VanderbiltMonday's game will mark the first meeting between Vanderbilt and Arizona State, while the Sun Devils hold a 2-10 mark against teams from the Southeastern Conference. ASU's last victory over an SEC team came in the championship game of the 1999 ASU Holiday Classic when the team downed South Carolina 61-56 to win the tournament title on Dec. 4, 1999 in Tempe.
Last Time OutSenior Cian Carvalho hit four free throws in the final 27.1 seconds as ninth-seeded Arizona State rallied to beat Wisconsin 73-70 Saturday night in the first round of the Midwest Regional for the Sun Devils' first NCAA tournament victory since 1983.No. 8 seed Wisconsin, which lost in the opening round for a third straight year, led by as many as 14 in the first half. The Badgers have not won in the opening round since 1996, while the Sun Devils rallied from a 14-point deficit, giving the team their fourth straight come-from-behind win.
ASU struggled from the field in the first half, knocking down just 30 percent of its shots in the first half (10-33). The Sun Devils hit 19-of-29 (65 percent) in the second half.Arizona State had led only on the opening basket until senior Melody Johnson, playing with three fouls, keyed an 18-8 run with 10 points. She tied it at 65 with four minutes left, scored again for a 67-65 lead and put the Sun Devils up 69-65 with her next bucket.
Wisconsin, ranked as high as No. 5 in January, took its final lead on Jessie Stomski's bucket with 47.4 seconds remaining. Johnson missed a shot on the other end, and Carvalho was fouled by Tamara Moore trying to score on the putback. She hit the free throws for a lead ASU would not lose again.
Kyle Black missed a shot driving across the lane, and the rebound turned into a tie-up with Arizona State getting possession. Carvalho was fouled one more time, and she sealed the victory with two free throws with 2.6 seconds to go.
Carvalho finished with a career-high 24 points, Johnson had 18 for Arizona State and senior Amanada Levens had 13 of her 14 in the second half. Stomski finished with 19 for Wisconsin, while Moore had 15.
20 and Beyond...With 25 wins this season, Arizona State has tied the school record for wins in a single season, a mark set by 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 20-112001-02 25-8
In the PostseasonWith its 73-70 win over Wisconsin on Saturday night, Arizona State turned in its first postseason win since 1983, snapping a streak of two straight losses in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (1992 loss to DePaul, 2001 loss to LSU). Arizona State is making its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament 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 3-4 all-time record in the 'Big Dance' and has never advanced farther than the round of 16.
Comeback KidsCall them the comeback kids, but Arizona State has come from behind to win each of its four games, including its NCAA first-round victory over Wisconsin on Saturday night. Against the Badgers, the Sun Devils trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, getting down 34-20 with 1:31 to play in the first 20 minutes. ASU closed the gap to nine points at halftime, 34-25, but trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half. The Sun Devils scored 48 points and shot 65.5 percent (19-29) in the second half to rally for the victory. ASU trailed 63-55 with 6:25 to play, but the Sun Devils used a 14-2 run to take their first lead in the ballgame since holding a 2-0 advantage at the beginning of the game. Wisconsin went up by a point with 46 seconds to play, but senior Cian Carvalho knocked down four free throws in the final 27 seconds to give ASU the victory. For the Sun Devils in the second half, Carvalho had 13 of her career-best 24 points, senior Melody Johnson had 15 of her 18 points and senior Amanda Levens scored 13 of her 14 points.
Coming from behind is nothing new for the team which did it at all 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.Winning the Close OnesThe Sun Devils are 4-0 this season in games decided by five points or less, including their 73-70 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday night. Each of the team's last five games have been decided by 10 points or less with ASU coming out on the winning end in four of those games. On the year, ASU is 9-4 in games decided by a 10-point margin or less.
Not Shying Away From AnyoneMonday night's match-up with Vanderbilt and Commodore head coach Jim Foster (24th in all-time wins) will mark the 11th time this season that Arizona State has faced a coach ranked among the 25 all-time winningest coaches in NCAA women's basketball history. Already this season, ASU has played a total of 10 games coached by six of the top 25 coaches 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). After Monday night, ASU will have played teams coached by 13 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.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 90-85 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.
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 59.0 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 (2nd) and rebounding margin (3rd).
The Battle of the BoardsDespite losing the battle of the boards against Wisconsin 34-33, the Sun Devils have outrebounded 25 of their 33 opponents this year and hold a 21-4 record when outrebounding their opponents this year. ASU is averaging 37.8 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.
Levens Lighting Up the ScoreboardWith 544 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 17.0 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 33 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 64 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 1,316 points in her career (302 points at ODU, 1,014 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 1,320 points in her career (450 points at Colorado, 870 so far at ASU), while the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has also topped the 500-board mark and has 636 career rebounds (199 at Colorado, 437 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. 1,014 Amanda Levens, 2000-pres.
Soft TouchWith an 8-for-12 effort from the field Saturday vs. Wisconsin, senior Melody Johnson continues to sit atop the Arizona State career charts for field goal percentage, knocking down 56.6 percent of her career attempts (343-606). This year, she is shooting 56.3 percent (171-304), 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).
Levens Chasing Her Own Single-Season Trey MarkSenior guard Amanda Levens has knocked down a team-best 57 treys and needs just three more to tie her own single-season school record of 60. Levens is shooting 35.8 percent from beyond the arc (57-159) 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 17 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 sole possession of second place on ASU's career list with 117 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 has moved past Molly Tuter (116, 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. 57 Amanda Levens, 2001-023. 56 Crystal Cobb, 1990-914. 52 Ryneldi Becenti, 1992-935. 49 Crystal Cobb, 1991-926. 47 Molly Tuter, 1996-977. 44 Stephanie Freeman, 1997-988. 38 Ryneldi Becenti, 1991-9238 Molly Tuter, 1995-9610. 36 Betsy Boardman, 2001-0236 Betsy Boardman, 2000-01
CAREER THREE-POINTERS MADE1. 134 Crystal Cobb, 1989-942. 117 Amanda Levens, 2000-pres.3. 116 Molly Tuter, 1994-974. 91 Kristine Sand, 1997-005. 90 Ryneldi Becenti, 1991-936. 78 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
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 (144 assists, sixth on ASU's single-season list) and Loney (102) 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 4.5 assists per game, Levens ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in the category. She has led the team in the category in 19 of her last 23 games, including a game-high four Saturday vs. Wisconsin and a career-high nine assists at Oregon State on Jan. 4 and again Jan. 16 vs. UCLA, while Loney is averaging 3.1 per game, which ranks 10th in the league. Loney and Levens are both tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.44.
Notes from the Charity StripeAfter shooting just 56.7 percent from the free throw line in its two previous games, the Sun Devils shot 68.1 percent (75-110) in their last four games ... senior Amanda Levens has set the school record for free throws with 165 this year, surpassing her own school mark of 146 last season ... with four attempts vs. Wisconsin, she also set the school record for single-season free throw attempts with 214 ... she has already been to the free throw line 214 times this year (35 more attempts than any other Pac-10 player) and has knocked down 77.1 percent of her attempts (165-214), which ranks 10th in the league ... while the Sun Devils have gotten to the free throw line 814 times this year (24.7 times per game and over 140 more times than any other Pac-10 school), the team has knocked down just 63.9 percent of its attempts (529-814), 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.
- Senior Cian Carvalho led the Sun Devils with a career-high 24 points in their first-round win over Wisconsin, while the team is 4-1 on the year when the Kapa'a, Hawaii, native has led the team in scoring this year.
- Senior Amanda Levens has scored 53 of her last 65 points in Arizona State's second-half comebacks over the last four games (82.5 percent).
- Monday's night's game against Vanderbilt will mark the fourth time this season that ASU has faced a team ranked in the national top 6. In their previous three ventures against top 6 opponents, ASU has gone 1-2, with the team's win coming in its upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 4.
- ASU's 48 points in the second half Saturday night vs. Wisconsin marked a season high for scoring in the final 20 minutes for the Sun Devils. ASU shot 65.5 percent from the field in the second half (19-29), which was the team's second-best second-half performance, behind the team's 80 percent effort at UCLA (16-20) on Jan. 17.
- After shooting just 25.6 percent from three-point land en route to their Pac-10 Tournament Championship (10-39), down from their season average of 32.8 percent, the Sun Devils knocked down 36.4 percent of their treys in Saturday night's victory over Wisconsin (4-11).
- Arizona State did not block a shot in three games at the Pac-10 Tournament but tied their season high with four blocks in the team's first-round victory over Wisconsin.
- 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. The Wisconsin game marked just the second time this year that ASU has allowed 70 points or more and won (2-5 overall this year when allowing 70 points or more).
- 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 67 assists to just 27 turnovers on the season (2.5).