Women's Hoops Travels to Washington Schools

Jan. 7, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a pair of home wins over Oregon and Oregon State last weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3 overall, 2-2 Pac-10) return to the road this week, traveling to Washington on Thursday, Jan. 9 and to Washington State on Saturday, Jan. 11. Both games in the Evergreen state will tip off at 7 p.m. Pacific Time and 8 p.m. Mountain time. Counting this week's games at Washington and Washington State, the Sun Devils will have played six of the last eight games on the road. Last weekend, ASU snapped the team's two-game losing streak and notched the team's first Pac-10 win with a 70-58 victory over Oregon State on Jan. 2, while two nights later, the team downed Oregon 78-63 to pull to 2-2 in conference play and give head coach Charli Turner Thorne the 100th win of her Arizona State career. This weekend, the Sun Devils, who are starting three true freshmen and two sophomores this year, will be looking to snap a six-game road losing streak at Washington and notch their 11th straight victory over Washington State. The team is also shooting for its first Pac-10 road win of the season after opening conference play with a pair of losses at then No. 6/7 Stanford and Cal.

Washington brings a 10-2 overall record and a 2-1 Pac-10 mark into Thursday night's matchup with the Sun Devils, which is UW's first Pac-10 home game of the season. The Huskies split a pair of games in Los Angeles last week, falling at UCLA 72-46 and downing USC 83-81 in overtime. Washington State is 0-11 overall and 0-3 in Pac-10 play and brings a 35-game losing streak into a Thursday night game with 18th-ranked Arizona.

In the SeriesWashington leads the series with Arizona State 23-11 and has won three of the last four games against the Sun Devils. Last year, the two teams split the two meetings with ASU earning a 66-61 win at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 10 and UW taking a 68-50 victory at Bank of America Arena on Feb. 9. The Huskies also hold a 14-3 advantage in Seattle and have won the last six meetings there. Thursday, the Sun Devils will be looking for their first victory at Washington since coming up with an 81-77 decision on Feb. 3, 1996. Arizona State holds a 21-11 advantage in the series with Washington State and has won the last 10 meetings with the Cougars. Last year, ASU earned its fifth straight season sweep over WSU with a 68-40 win in Tempe on Jan. 12 and a 75-56 victory in Pullman on Feb. 7. The series is tied 8-8 in games played in Pullman with WSU's last victory over the Sun Devils coming in Pullman during the 1996-97 season.

Just Say NoeFreshman Jill Noe earned her second Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week honor of the season this week and became the first true freshman in the Pac-10 to earn two player-of-the-week honors in a season since Stanford's Nicole Powell did it in 2000-01. Noe was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 30-Jan. 5 after averaging 21.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.5 steals in ASU's home wins over Oregon State and Oregon. She turned in a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Oregon State and followed up that effort with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in ASU's win over Oregon. On the weekend, Noe shot 41.7 percent from the field (10-24), 42.9 percent from three-point land (6-14) and 83.3 percent from the free throw line (15-18).

Noe was also named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Dec. 9-15. She 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 in the victory over the Pioneers.

Noe has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (15.5 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (.446), free throw percentage (.841), assists (3.8 apg), steals (2.9 spg) and is third on the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg). She is tied for first in the Pac-10 in steals, second in free throw shooting, sixth in scoring and three-point shooting, seventh in assists and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio. Noe has scored in double figures 11 times in 13 games this year (with three 20-point games) and has paced the team in scoring in eight of ASU's 13 contests this season, including seven of the last nine. In Pac-10 play, Noe has stepped up her game even more and is averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game. She notched career highs for scoring in back-to-back games with 21 points at California on Dec. 29 and 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State. In the last three games (Cal, OSU and Oregon), the Tualatin, Ore., native has averaged 20.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.0 steals per contest.

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 71.6 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 fourth in three-point percentage, shooting 43.7 percent from the field (330-755) and 35.8 percent from three-point land (59-165).

Arizona State 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. That 59.6 percent performance vs. the Zips is the second-best shooting effort in the Pac-10 this year.

But Not to Forget the Defense...Despite the team's improved offensive performance, the Sun Devils still continue to be one of the top defensive teams in the conference. ASU leads the Pac-10 in rebounding defense, allowing just 31.7 rebounds per game. The Sun Devils are also ranked third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 62.6 points per contest. Arizona State has led the league in both rebounding and scoring defense in each of the last two years (2000-01 and 2001-02). Last year, the team set a Pac-10 record by giving up just 59.1 points per game.

Last Time OutSophomore Kylan Loney knocked down five three-pointers for a career-high 21 points to lead Arizona State to a 78-63 victory over Oregon Jan. 4 at Wells Fargo Arena. The win also marked the 100th victory of head coach Charli Turner Thorne's Arizona State career.

Arizona State took the early lead in the game, going up 14-5 when Loney hit the first of her career-best five three-pointers with 12:35 to play in the first half. Oregon narrowed that gap to two a minute later, but ASU answered with an 8-2 run to go up 22-14 with 8:24 to play. The Ducks tied the game at 24 with 5:24 to play in the half, but Loney nailed two more treys over the final five minutes of the half to help ASU a 40-32 halftime lead.

Loney had 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first half to lead the Sun Devils. Sophomore Carrie Buckner turned in a solid first half with eight points, five rebounds, five steals and two assists while taking on the tough defensive assignment of keeping the Ducks' leading scorer, sophomore Brandi Davis, in check.

In the second half, ASU stretched its lead to double figures on the first possession when freshman Amy Denson stole the ball from Oregon's Kayla Steen, and freshman Jill Noe dished to Loney who hit her fourth trey of the game to make it 43-32 with 19:37 to play. The Ducks cut the lead to seven midway through the second half, but the Sun Devils knocked down 14-of-15 free throws, including all six of their attempts over the five 5:24, to come away with the 78-63 victory.

Loney led all scorers with her career-high 21 points, knocking down 8-of-15 from the field including 5-of-9 attempts from three-point land. Noe turned in 19 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Buckner finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, five steals and two assists. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy added 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds. For Oregon, Davis led three Ducks in double figures with 15 points, while sophomore Andrea Bills chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are ranked third in the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 11.9 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 13 games this year. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and is tied for first in the Pac-10 with 2.9 thefts per game, including a career-high-tying six steals Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State. 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 on the team and sixth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 15.5 points and and third on the team in rebounding at 5.4 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in seven of the last nine games, including 21 points at California on Dec. 29 and a career-best 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State. Freshman forward Amy Denson paces the squad and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding (6.5 rpg). She is is also second in scoring (11.8 ppg), while freshman forward Kristen Kovesdy ranks second in rebounding (5.9 rpg) and is third on the team in scoring (11.4 ppg). Kovesdy also leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference in field goal percentage at 64.2 percent (52-81).

Double TroubleASU had a true freshman turn in her first career double-double in each of the team's first three games, while the Sun Devil rookies have all six of ASU's double-doubles this season. Freshman guard Jill Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening victory over Chicago State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, freshman forward Kristen 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 freshman forward Amy 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. ASU has gotten a double-double from a rookie in two of the last three games with Denson turning in the second of her career with 17 points and 11 rebounds at Cal on Dec. 29 and Noe accomplishing the same feat on Jan. 2 with career bests of 23 points and 11 rebounds vs. Oregon State.

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 71.4 percent on the year (212-297). Last year, the team finished ninth in the Pac-10 in the category at just 63.9 percent (524-820). ASU has gone to the line 297 times (22.8 per game) compared to just 231 times for their opponents (17.8), 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 and have shot 70 percent or better from the line in eight of 13 games. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 at 84.1 percent (53-63), while three Sun Devils rank in the top 10 in the league in free throw shooting (Noe-2nd, Amy Denson-8th at 76.1 percent and Kristen Kovesdy-10th at 74.6 percent). Five 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 501-413 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 47.1 percent from the field in the second half this year (171-363), 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 430-401 and shot just 40.6 percent from the field (159-392) in the first halves of games this year.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State's victory over Oregon on Jan. 4 marked the team's 16th win in 17 home games dating back to last year. The Sun Devils had a 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 42-9 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last four seasons. In the last three years, ASU has gone 17-3 in Pac-10 play at home and is currently on a 10-game Pac-10 home winning streak (last eight of last season, 2-0 this year).

Quick Notes

- ASU's seven new players account for 64.2 percent of the team's scoring (598 of 931 points) and 58.9 percent of the team's rebounding (269 of 457 boards) this year.

- The Sun Devils are 9-0 on the year when allowing 69 or fewer points in a game.

- 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. On the year, ASU is forcing 23.8 turnovers per game, including a season-high 31 by Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 29 at Akron and 26 at Stanford.

- ASU's loss at Stanford on Dec. 27 marked the first time this season that the Sun Devils did not knock down any three-pointers. ASU has had at least three treys in all but two games this year (0 at Stanford, 2 at Cal).

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 64.2 percent of her shots on the year (52-81). 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 leads the team and is seventh in the Pac-10 with 49 assists (3.7 per game) so far this year. She already ranks 10th in the ASU single-season list for assists by a freshman, a record that honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman selection Kylan Loney set last year with 104 assists. Noe and junior Iman Young each rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ration with Young checking in at third in the category (1.9) and Noe at eighth (1.5). Young has turned in 34 assists and just 18 turnovers so far this season.

- Senior Rainy Crisp has turned in 18 assists to just 10 turnovers this season. Her 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio would rank fifth 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 13 games, sophomore Kylan Loney has already knocked down 22 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 she had all of last year. Loney is shooting 39.3 percent from beyond the arc (22-56) this year and drilled a career-best and team-high five three-pointers in ASU's Jan. 4 win over Oregon.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all but four games this year and is averaging 20.6 points per game (268 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 100-89 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. Turner Thorne earned the 100th win of her ASU career with a 78-63 victory over Oregon on Jan. 4 of this year. 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.

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