Women's Hoops to Open 2002-03 Regular Season Friday Night vs. Chicago State

Nov. 19, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off back-to-back Pac-10 Conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances, including the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title last year, seventh-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne and her Arizona State Sun Devils open the 2002-03 season Friday night, playing host to the Chicago State Lady Cougars at 8 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. The game with the Lady Cougars is part of an ASU basketball doubleheader with the men's basketball team opening its season at 5:30 p.m. vs. Morehead State. 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 first game. It will also mark the first of seven straight home games for the Sun Devils who won their last eight at home last season. ASU will also be looking to extend a streak of four straight victories in season openers when they take on the Lady Cougars.

This year, Arizona State returns just one starter (with the loss of junior and two-year starter Betsy Boardman to an ACL tear) and six letterwinners from its 2001-02 squad but adds a recruiting class of five freshmen and one junior college transfer which was ranked in the top 25 in the nation by Blue Star. The 2002-03 Sun Devil roster is a young one featuring a junior college transfer, four sophomores and six freshmen.

ASU in Season OpenersThe Sun Devils are 20-7 all-time in season openers and have won their last four season openers including last year's 72-67 victory over St. Peter's at Wells Fargo Arena on Nov. 17. Under head coach Charli Turner Thorne, ASU is 5-1 to begin the year. In home openers, ASU is 22-5 all time, having won seven of the last eight and 15 of the last 17 games.

Last Time OutFreshman Kristen Kovesdy turned in a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds as ASU fell 78-74 to the West Coast All-Stars to wrap up the exhibition season on Nov. 14. ASU downed Banska Bystrica, a traveling team from Slovakia, 101-57 in its first exhibition game on Nov. 8.

In the first half vs. the West Coast All-Stars, ASU jumped out to an early lead, going up 21-10 with 10:56 left when freshman YoVanna Rosenthal knocked down a jumper. The team led by as many as 15 points in the first half and went into the locker room with a 38-28 edge. Kovesdy and fellow freshman Amy Denson each had 10 points in the first half to lead the Sun Devils. Kovesdy knocked down 5-of-8 attempts and led the team with five rebounds, while Denson went 4-of-6 from the floor.

The West Coast All-Stars, a team of former college standouts, opened the second half on a 16-6 run to pull within one point, 45-44, with 14:04 to play in the game. Arizona State pushed its lead back to eight midway through the period, but the West Coast All-Stars tied the game at 64 with 3:55 to play. The Sun Devils regained the lead briefly in the next minute, but Akia Hardy, who played collegiately at Long Beach State, scored seven points during that stretch, including a three-pointer with 1:25 to play to give the West Coast All-Stars their first lead of the night, 71-70. Over the final minute, ASU cut the lead to one twice, but the All-Stars hit 5-of-6 free throws over the last 21 seconds to earn the 78-74 victory.

Kovesdy led the team with 17 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Denson finished with 15 points. Fellow freshman Jill Noe added 13 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and seven rebounds. Sophomore Kylan Loney turned in a team-high six assists, and junior Iman Young also chipped in with five assists. For the West Coast All-Stars, four players scored in double figures, led by Nicky McCrimmon, a former USC standout who now plays for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, with 33 points.

About Chicago StateChicago State returns all five of its starters and seven letterwinners from a team that turned in an 11-18 record and tied for fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference last year. Senior guard Krisey Sanders is the top returner for the Cougars after leading the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game last year. A preseason All-Mid-Continent Conference selection, Sanders led the league in steals (3.1 spg) and assists (6.8 spg) last year and is among the NCAA's returners in both categories. The Lady Cougars played just one exhibition game this season, falling to Team Concept 97-92 on Nov. 11. Five players scored in double figures for Chicago State, led by Sanders and freshman guard Tina Hill who each had 22 points.

In the SeriesThe Sun Devils hold a 1-0 advantage in the series, scoring an 83-43 victory over Chicago State last year on Dec. 13 in Chicago. ASU held the Lady Cougars to a school-record nine points in the first half. The Sun Devils hold a 4-1 all-time record vs. teams from the Mid-Continent Conference.

Young GunsASU's true freshmen made big contributions in each of ASU's two exhibition games this year with one of the highly touted rookies leading the team in scoring and rebounding in each contest. Four of the freshmen scored in double figures vs. Banska Bystrica on Nov. 8 with forward Amy Denson turning in team highs with 19 points and seven rebounds, and guard Jill Noe scoring 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Guard YoVanna Rosenthal had 13 points and four steals in 15 minutes, while forward Kristen Kovesdy turning in 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and four rebounds in 15 minutes. In ASU's second exhibition game vs. the West Coast All-Stars on Nov. 14, Kovesdy, Denson and Noe again all scored in double figures with Kovesdy turning in a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Denson had 15 points, while Noe turned in 13 points and seven boards.

Home-Court AdvantageThis season, the Sun Devils 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. ASU has turned in a 35-8 record at home in the last three seasons.

ASU to Hold Canned Food Drive Monday, Nov. 25Arizona State will hold a canned food drive at its game vs. Northern Illinois on Monday, Nov. 25 at Wells Fargo Arena. Fans will receive free admission to the game with the donation of a non-perishable food item. The collected food items will be donated to the Salvation Army Holiday Food Drive.

There are over 10,000 homeless individuals in the city of Phoenix, and more than 3,000 of them are children. The food collected at ASU's game will go to the Salvation Army's sit-down Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners where homeless families often congregate for their holiday meals. The Thanksgiving dinner, held at the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza in downtown Phoenix, will benefit more than 1,500 individuals. Thousands more, including the elderly and homebound, receive meals through the Army's Holiday Home-Delivery Program.

Fans can bring their food items to the east or west entrance of Wells Fargo Arena to redeem for free admission to the game. Doors open at 5 p.m., and tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 90-86 record in six years 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 last year, 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 mark in eight years (1979-87).

Since 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. 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, while her 2001-02 squad tied the school mark for single-season wins with a 25-9 record. 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.

Betsy Boardman to Miss the Season with an ACL TearJunior guard/forward Betsy Boardman will miss the 2002-03 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on Oct. 13. Boardman, who started all 65 games over her first two years, was Arizona State's top returning scorer and rebounder from one season ago. A two-time invitee to the USA Basketball Junior National Team Trials, she had led the team in steals in each of the last two years. Boardman averaged 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and shot 35.6 percent from three-point land (73-205) in her first two seasons.

Rainy Crisp Regains a Year of EligibilityThe Sun Devils have regained the services of senior guard Rainy Crisp who will be allowed to play a fourth year after a successful appeal to the NCAA eligibility committee. Crisp, who will be the lone senior on this year's young Sun Devil team, will sit out the first four regular-season games this year before becoming eligible.

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.

ASU Picked Sixth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State has been picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 Conference by both the media and the league's coaches. Last year, ASU was picked to finish second by the media and fourth by the coaches and ended up tied for second (and won the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament), while in the 2000-01 season, ASU was tabbed fifth by the coaches and sixth by the media 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.

AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic IIIn an attempt to raise money to fund the fight against breast cancer and turn in the first sell-out in the history of Arizona State women's basketball, the Sun Devils will play host to the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II Dec. 7 at the 14,088-seat Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils will take on 2001 national champion Notre Dame in the first game of the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II, which will be broadcast to a national cable audience on Fox Sports Net, while national powerhouse Vanderbilt and 1999 national champion Purdue will play the second game of the doubleheader.

Proceeds from the game 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.

Pac-10 Postseason TournamentThe Pac-10 Conference plays its second annual State Farm Women's Basketball Tournament March 7-10, 2002, HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Arizona State won the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament last year, upsetting second-ranked Stanford in the event, which was held at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. A total of nine games will be played in the Pac-10 Tournament with the champion earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

A Look Back at the 2001-02 SeasonThe 2001-02 Sun Devils turned in one of the most successful seasons in school history, tying the school mark for wins in a single season with a 25-9 overall record and earning the Sun Devils' second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Arizona State earned the Pac-10 Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by upsetting second-ranked Stanford in the championship game of the inaugural Pac-10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament. ASU downed Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to capture the team's first postseason win in 19 years and tie the 1981-82 NCAA Sweet Sixteen squad (25-7) for the most victories in a season. The Sun Devils also turned in their first back-to-back 20-win seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances since 1981-82 and 1982-83, while the team tied the school record for conference wins with a 12-6 Pac-10 mark which put them into a tie for second in the league.

Looking AheadArizona State plays its first seven games of the season at home, including its Nov. 22 season opener with Chicago State. After that, the Sun Devils play host to Northern Illinois on Nov. 25. Next up is the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Nov. 29-30. Oklahoma State, Portland State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee visit the Valley of the Sun for the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. No. 9/9 Georgia, a perennial SEC contender, comes to Tempe on Dec. 2, followed by the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II, which promises to be one of the best doubleheaders in college women's basketball. Arizona State will take on No. 10/12 Notre Dame, followed by a game between No. 12/12 Vanderbilt and No. 8/8 Purdue. Two nights later, the Sun Devils wrap up their non-conference homestand with Denver on Dec. 9 before hitting the road for a trip to the state of Ohio, taking on Kent State on Dec. 18 and Akron on Dec. 20.

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