Women's Basketball to Open 2002-03 Exhibition Season Friday Night at Wells Fargo Arena

Nov. 7, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne, the 2002-03 Arizona State women's basketball team will hit the court for the first time this season Friday, Nov. 8 at Wells Fargo Arena with an exhibition game vs. the University of Mathias Bell Banska Bystrica, a traveling team from Slovakia.

Friday night's game tips off at 6 p.m. Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The 2002 Pac-10 Tournament champion Sun Devils will have their second and final exhibition tune-up on Thursday, Nov. 14 vs. the West Coast All-Stars, a traveling team of former college stars, before opening the regular season Friday, Nov. 22 with Chicago State at 8 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Chicago State game will be part of a doubleheader with the ASU men's team, which opens its season with Morehead State at 5:30 p.m. that night. Fans purchasing a ticket for the men's game will receive free admission to the women's game, which will tip off 30 minutes after the conclusion of the men's game.

Including their season opener with Chicago State, the Sun Devil women will play their first seven games of the year at Wells Fargo Arena where the team won a school-record 13 games last season. ASU brings an eight-game home winning streak into the 2002-03 season after winning its last eight Pac-10 home contests last year. The school record for consecutive home victories is 12 games, accomplished over the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.

Highlights of the non-conference season include the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Nov. 29-30 and the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II on Dec. 7. Oklahoma State, Portland State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee visit the Valley of the Sun for the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic.

Arizona State will take on 2001 national champion Notre Dame in the first game of the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II, and national powerhouses Vanderbilt and Purdue will play in the second game. Proceeds from the doubleheader will be donated to the Phoenix affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to benefit breast cancer research, treatment and education in the Valley of the Sun.

Coming off back-to-back Pac-10 Conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances, including the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title last year, Arizona State returns just one starter and six letterwinners from its 2001-02 squad.

The team will be without the play of junior guard/forward Betsy Boardman (Portland, Ore.), the team's top returning scorer and rebounder from one season ago, who will miss the season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear on Oct. 13. In her first two years, Boardman averaged 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She shot 35.6 percent from three-point land (73-205) and led the team in steals in each of her first two seasons.

The Sun Devils, however, did regain the services of senior guard Rainy Crisp (Shiprock, N.M.) who will be allowed to play a fourth year after a successful appeal to the NCAA eligibility committee. In her three years at ASU after transferring from New Mexico State, Crisp played in 86 games and helped ASU to two of the most successful seasons in school history. Last year, she averaged 2.2 points and 2.0 assists per game and turned in 30 steals in helping the Sun Devils to a school-record 25 victories.

Crisp, who will have to sit out the first four regular-season games, will be the lone senior this year on a young Sun Devil roster that features four sophomores and six true freshmen.

Returners for the Sun Devils include junior Jen Albert (Longmont, Colo.) and sophomores Carrie Buckner (Corvallis, Ore.), Kylan Loney (Ames, Iowa), Lauren Stagg (Airdrie, Alberta, Canada) and Alexis Tate (Escondido, Calif.). Albert enters for her third season after winning the team's Most Improved Award last season, while Loney returns after starting all 34 games at point guard as a true freshman last year and being named an honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman selection.

Joining that group of returners is a recruiting class of five freshmen and one junior college transfer which was ranked in the top 25 in the nation by Blue Star last year. Incoming freshmen include guards Jill Noe (Tualatin, Ore.) and YoVanna Rosenthal (Phoenix, Ariz.) and forwards Amy Denson (Central Point, Ore.), Kristen Kovesdy (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Jenny Thigpin (Hanford, Calif.). Junior guard Iman Young comes to ASU after earning Kodak All-America honors in each of her two seasons at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif.

Joining the team as a walk-on is freshman guard Lauren Michalski (San Rafael, Calif.) who comes to ASU from Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield, Calif.

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