Women's Hoops to Host Oregon State, Oregon This Weekend

Dec. 31, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Looking to rebound from an 0-2 Pac-10 start after losses at sixth-ranked Stanford and California last week, the Sun Devils open their Pac-10 Conference home slate this weekend at Wells Fargo Arena with Oregon State on Thursday, Jan. 2 and Oregon on Saturday, Jan. 4. Arizona State returns home to Wells Fargo Arena for the first time in 24 days after a four-game road trip that saw the team win games at Kent State and Akron and drop a pair at No. 6/7 Stanford and unranked Cal. This weekend, the Sun Devils, who are starting three true freshmen and two sophomores this year, will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak, the team's first back-to-back losses of the year and the first since ASU dropped a pair of non-conference games to Loyola Marymount and Western Michigan on Nov. 21 and 24 of last year.

Oregon State brings a 7-4 overall record and a 1-1 Pac-10 mark to Tempe after splitting a pair of games with USC (63-61 win) and UCLA (58-54 loss) last weekend. Oregon heads to Tempe with a 5-6 overall mark and a 1-1 league record after falling to UCLA 93-68 and downing USC 79-73 last weekend. The Ducks will take on No. 20 Arizona on Thursday night before heading to Tempe for Saturday afternoon's game, which will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net (Bill McDonald and Mary Murphy calling the action).

In the SeriesOregon State holds a slim 18-16 advantage over Arizona State in a series which dates back to the 1983-84 season. Last year, the teams split two meetings with the Beavers winning 77-70 in Corvallis on Jan. 4 and the Sun Devils earning a 71-65 victory on Feb. 2 in Tempe. The Sun Devils have won eight of the last 11 games in the series and hold an 11-6 edge in games played in Tempe. ASU has won the last six games between the two teams at Wells Fargo Arena.

Oregon leads the series with ASU 25-12 and holds an 11-8 advantage in games played in Tempe, dating back to the first meeting in 1980-81. The Sun Devils, however, won all three meetings between the two teams last year including two at Oregon's McArthur Court. It marked just the second season sweep of Oregon for the Sun Devils with the only other one coming in 1992-93. Last year, Arizona State snapped an eight-game losing streak at Mac Court with an 86-72 victory in Eugene on Jan. 6, downed the Ducks 69-58 Jan. 31 in Tempe and capped off the trifecta with a 64-58 victory in Eugene in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 2. In that Pac-10 Tournament victory, the Sun Devils overcame an eight-point second half deficit to advance to the championship game where the team upset second-ranked Stanford to win the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament.

Oregon ConnectionsThe Sun Devils have four players who hail from the state of Oregon in junior Betsy Boardman (Portland), sophomore Carrie Buckner (Corvallis), freshman Amy Denson (Central Point) and Jill Noe (Tualatin). Boardman, who is sitting out the 2002-03 season after tearing her ACL in preseason practice, came to ASU from Beaverton High School where she was an honorable-mention high school All-American in each of her last three seasons and runner-up for Oregon Player of the Year following her senior season. In 2000, Boardman led her Beavers to the school's first Metro League championship and was selected as the league's MVP. A three-time all-league selection and the 2001 Valley League Player of the Year, Buckner helped her Crescent Valley High School to its eighth straight Valley League title as a senior and earned all-tournament honors at the Oregon 4A state tournament.

Denson was the 2002 Gatorade Player of the Year in Oregon after leading her Crater High School team to its second straight league title. The Oregonian's 4A State Player of the Year, she set the school career scoring record with 1,326 points in just three years and led the state in scoring as a senior with 20.7 points per game. Noe came to ASU from Wilsonville High School where she was named the state 3A Player of the Year in each of her last two years. Noe led her team to back-to-back 3A state titles in her final two seasons and was a three-time Tri-Valley League MVP.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State's Dec. 9 victory over Denver marked the team's 14th win in 15 home games dating back to last year. The Sun Devils had their school-record 13-game home winning streak snapped by No. 9 Notre Dame on Dec. 7. That streak included the team's last eight Pac-10 home contests of last season and its first five games of the 2002-03 season. The previous school record for consecutive home victories was 12, accomplished over the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. ASU, which played its first seven games of the 2002-03 season at home, has turned in a 41-9 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last three-plus seasons. In the last two years, ASU has been 15-3 in Pac-10 play at home and brings an eight-game Pac-10 home winning streak into Thursday night's game vs. Oregon State.

Just Say NoeFreshman Jill Noe was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Dec. 9-15. Noe, a 5-10 guard from Tualatin, Ore., came within one rebound and one assist of recording the 13th triple-double in Pac-10 history in ASU's 76-53 defeat of Denver on Dec. 9. Noe finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, adding six steals in 26 minutes of play. She shot 7-of-11 (.636) from the field, including a 75.0 percent clip (3-of-4) from 3-point range. Noe also recorded two blocked shots and committed no turnovers as the Sun Devils posted their 14th win in their last 15 games at Wells Fargo Arena. The player of the week honor is the first of Noe's career and the 22nd all-time selection for ASU.

Noe has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (14.6 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (.452), free throw percentage (.844), assists (3.5 apg), steals (2.6 spg) and is third on the team in rebounding (4.5 rpg). She ranks second in steals, second in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, fifth in three-point shooting, seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio, eighth in scoring and tied for 10th in assists. She has scored in double figures nine times in 11 games this year and has paced the team in scoring in seven of ASU's 11 contests this season, including six of the last seven and a career-best 21 points at Cal last weekend.

Offensive FirepowerAfter leading the Pac-10 in most defensive categories in the last two years, this year's Sun Devils have also shown a little offensive firepower this season. This year, the team is averaging 71.2 points per game which ranks fourth in the Pac-10, including a season-high 82 points twice (last at Akron on Dec. 20). The team also ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and three-point percentage, shooting 43.7 percent from the field (281-643) and 34.9 percent from three-point land (45-129).

Arizona State also owns several of the top shooting performances in the Pac-10 so far this season, knocking down a season-high 59.6 percent (31-52) Dec. 20 at Akron, 58.8 percent (30-51) of its attempts vs. Denver on Dec. 9 and 58.2 percent (31-53) vs. Chicago State in the team's season-opener on Nov. 22.

Last Time OutFreshman Jill Noe scored a career-high 21 points and freshman Amy Denson turned in her second double-double of the year, but Arizona State fell 72-67 to California Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion.

The Sun Devils held a slim lead for most of the first half, going up 14-8 with 14:45 to play. Cal answered with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 14 with 12:35 and again at 16 two minutes later. Arizona State led by as many as seven midway through the half and led 38-32 with 1:57 to play in the half after a three-pointer by Noe. The Golden Bears scored the final four points of the half, and ASU held a slim 38-36 halftime lead. Noe led all scorers with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first half.

In the second half, ASU went up by five points early, but the Golden Bears outscored the Sun Devils 15-4 over the next five minutes to take a 52-47 lead with 13:22 to play. The game see-sawed over the next 10 minutes with five lead changes and five ties until Cal pulled ahead for good, taking a 65-64 lead with 1:48 to play. The Golden Bears sealed the victory by knocking down 7-of-10 free throws over the final 1:48 to earn the 72-67 win and snap a five-game losing skid to the Sun Devils.

Noe led all scorers with a career-best 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Denson turned in her second double-double of the year with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Sun Devils. Noe had three steals, while sophomore Kylan Loney and junior Iman Young each had four assists. For Cal, LaTasha O'Keith led four Golden Bears in double figures with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are ranked second in the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 12.0 steals per game. The team had a season-high 20 steals vs. UW-Milwaukee in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Nov. 30 and 19 in their victory over Denver on Dec. 9. ASU has tallied at least 10 steals in eight of 11 games this year. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 with 2.6 thefts per game. Eight Sun Devils have 10 or more steals on the year.

Young GunsThree of ASU's true freshmen continue to lead the team in scoring and rebounding with guard Jill Noe first in scoring at 14.6 points and and third in rebounding at 4.5 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in six of the last seven games, including a career-best 21 points at California on Dec. 29. Freshman forward Amy Denson paces the squad in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and is second in scoring (12.6 ppg), while freshman forward Kristen Kovesdy ranks second in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and is third on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg). Kovesdy also leads the team and is third in the Pac-10 Conference in field goal percentage at 64.1 percent (41-64).

ASU had a true freshman turn in her first career double-double in each of the team's first three games, while the rookies have all five of ASU's double-doubles this season. Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening victory over Chicago State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Kovesdy matched the feat with a double-double of her own with 19 points, on 7-of-7 shooting, and 10 rebounds off the bench vs. Northern Illinois, and Denson turned in 12 points and 14 rebounds in ASU's victory over Portland State in the first round of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Kovesdy turned in the second double-double of her young career at Kent State on Dec. 18 with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Denson had the second of her career with 17 points and 11 rebounds at Cal on Dec. 29.

Success at the Charity StripeThis season, the Sun Devils have turned into one of the league's best free throw shooting teams, ranking third in the Pac-10 in the category at 70.7 percent on the year (176-249). ASU has gone to the line 249 times (22.6 per game) compared to just 202 times for their opponents (18.4), while ASU has gone to the line more times than its opponent in all but four games this year. The Sun Devils turned in their best effort from the charity stripe this year with an 83.3 percent outing (15-18) at Kent State on Dec. 18. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 at 84.4 percent (38-45), while three Sun Devils rank in the top 10 in the league in free throw shooting (Noe-2nd, Kristen Kovesdy-T6th and Amy Denson-T8th). Six Sun Devils are shooting at least 70 percent from the charity stripe this season.

Second-Half SurgesThis year's Sun Devils have shown the ability to kick things up a notch in the second half, outscoring their opponents 424-355 over the final 20 minutes this year. The team has only been outscored in the second half just two games this year (at Stanford and at Cal). ASU has shot 48.2 percent from the field in the second half this year (150-311), including a season-best 81.0 percent outing Dec. 20 at Akron (17-21). On Dec. 18 at Kent State, ASU rebounded from a 26.7 percent first half (8-30) with a 51.9 percent half (14-27). Even in the team's first loss of the year to No. 9 Notre Dame, the Sun Devils followed up a dismal 17-point, 13.8-percent half by playing the Fighting Irish to a 35-35 tie and shooting 39.5 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. Comparatively, the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents just 359-338 and shot just 39.5 percent from the field (131-332) in the first halves of games this year.

Quick Notes

- In ASU's losses at Stanford and Cal, the team has shot just 38.3 percent from the field (49-128) and 11.8 percent from three-point land (2-17), down from the team's season averages of 43.7 and 34.9 percent, respectively. The Sun Devils also averaged just 65.0 ppg in the two losses, compared to 71.2 ppg on the year.

- The losses marked just the third time in three seasons that ASU has lost back-to-back games, while the Sun Devils have not lost three straight games since the team ended the 1999-00 season with three losses. In the last three seasons, ASU has turned in a 53-23 overall record.

- ASU's loss at Stanford on Dec. 29 marked the first time this season that the Sun Devils did not knock down any three-pointers. Prior to the Stanford game, ASU had at least three treys in each contest this year.

- The Sun Devils forced Stanford to commit 26 turnovers, a season high for the Cardinal which had previously had only 21 in a game this year. In the last three games, ASU has forced 25.7 turnovers per game, including 29 at Akron, 26 at Stanford and 22 at Cal.

- ASU has allowed just 6.5 offensive rebounds per contest in the last four games, including a season-low two by Kent State on Dec. 18. Sun Devils outrebounded Kent State 43-20 on Dec. 18 and held the Golden Flashes to just two offensive boards and no second chance points.

- Arizona State is ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 34.2 boards per game, but the team is second in the league in rebounding defense, allowing just 32.5 rebounds per game. ASU has led the league in rebounding defense in each of the last two years (2000-01 and 2001-02).

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 64.1 percent of her shots on the year (41-64). She knocked down her first 16 attempts of the season, including a perfect 7-of-7 performance in ASU's season-opening win over Chicago State, 4-of-4 vs. Northern Illinois and her first five shots vs. Portland State. Kovesdy did not miss her first shot until the 11:59 mark of the second half in that game vs. PSU, ASU's third game of the year.

- Freshman Jill Noe and junior Iman Young each rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in assists so far this year. Noe leads the team and is tied for 10th in the Pac-10 with 38 assists (3.5 per game), while Young ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.6 assists per game. Young (2.5) and Noe (1.5) also rank second and seventh in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio, respectively. Young has turned in 32 assists and just 13 turnovers so far this season.

- Senior Rainy Crisp has turned in 14 assists to just six turnovers this season. Her 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio would rank third in the Pac-10, but she is shy of the 3.0 assist-per-game minimum needed to appear in the Pac-10 statistics.

- Through ASU's first 11 games, sophomore Kylan Loney has already knocked down 15 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 the honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree had all of last year. Loney is shooting 34.1 percent from beyond the arc (15-44) this year.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all but two games this year (at Kent State, at Cal) and is averaging 22.3 points per game (245 points).

- This year, Arizona State returns just one starter and six letterwinners from its 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament squad (with the losses of junior and two-year starter Betsy Boardman and sophomore forward Alexis Tate to season-ending knee injuries) but has added 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 active roster is a young one featuring a junior college transfer, three sophomores and six freshmen.

Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 98-89 record in her seven years at ASU, head coach Charli Turner Thorne holds 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.

Rainy Crisp Regains a Year of EligibilityIn ASU's Dec. 2 upset of 14th-ranked Georgia, the Sun Devils regained the services of senior guard Rainy Crisp who sat out the first four regular-season games of the season. Crisp, who is the lone senior on this year's young Sun Devil team, has regained an additional year after a successful appeal to the NCAA eligibility committee. Crisp had a successful outing in her first game back with four points, on 2-of-3 shooting, two assists and two steals in 12 minutes of action vs. the Lady Bulldogs.

In her first 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.

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