Women's Hoops to Host No. 20/24 Washington Saturday Afternoon

Feb. 7, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Following Thursday night's 70-52 win over Washington State, the Arizona State Sun Devils (13-8 overall, 5-7 Pac-10) continues its homestand, playing host to No. 20/24 Washington on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. Saturday afternoon's game vs. the Huskies, which is Native American Appreciation Night, will tip off at 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Net (Jim Watson and Tammy Blackburn calling the action). The matchup with the Huskies is the second and last home game in the middle of a streak that is seeing ASU play five of seven games on the road. With Thursday night's win over the Cougars, ASU's 12th straight in the series with WSU, the Sun Devils once again avoided their first three-game losing streak since the 1999-00 campaign, while a victory over the Huskies on Saturday would mark the team's fifth win in the last six meetings at home vs. Washington. No. 20/24 Washington (17-4, 9-3) heads to Tempe after having its four-game winning streak snapped with a 79-66 loss at Arizona on Thursday night in Tucson. The Huskies have won its last four of their last five games and eight of their last 10.

In the SeriesWashington leads the series with Arizona State 24-11 and has won the last two meetings and four of the last five games, including a 69-56 victory in Seattle on Jan. 9 of this year. Last season, 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 slim 9-8 advantage in games played in Tempe, while ASU will be looking for its second straight home win over the Huskies on Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils have won four of the last five meetings between the two teams at Wells Fargo Arena with the only loss in that stretch a 66-62 defeat on Jan. 11, 2001. That stretch of home success dates back to the 1997-98 season when Arizona State dealt then undefeated and seventh-ranked Washington a 77-76 loss on Jan. 8, 1998 in Tempe.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State's losses to UCLA and USC on Jan. 16 and 18 snapped a 10-game Pac-10 home winning streak for the Sun Devils and marked the team's first Pac-10 home losses since ASU fell to then sixth-ranked Stanford 75-66 on Dec. 21, 2001. ASU has won 18 of its last 21 home games and 12 of 14 Pac-10 home games dating back to last year. In the last three seasons, ASU has gone 19-5 in Pac-10 play at Wells Fargo Arena

Earlier this 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 43-11 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last four seasons.

There's No Place Like HomeIn addition to their 10-3 record at Wells Fargo Arena this year (4-2 in Pac-10 games), the Sun Devils are also turning in some stellar stats in their home games. At home, ASU is averaging 69.9 points a game and shooting 42.0 percent from the field (319-759) and 35.5 percent from three-point land (59-166). In comparison, on the road, the team is averaging 61.9 points per game and shooting 38.4 percent from the field (177-461) and just 27.5 percent from three-point land (22-80).

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 66.9 points per game which ranks seventh in the Pac-10, including a season-high 82 points twice (last at Akron on Dec. 20). The team also ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and fifth in three-point percentage, shooting 40.7 percent from the field (496-1220) and 32.9 percent from three-point land (81-246).

But Not to Forget the Defense...In addition to the team's improved offensive performance, the Sun Devils still continue to be one of the top defensive teams in the conference. ASU is second in the Pac-10 in rebounding defense, allowing just 33.6 rebounds per game. The Sun Devils are also ranked third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 62.2 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, while the team's current average of 33.6 boards allowed per game is just off the school record for rebounding defense, set by last year's team at 33.3 rebounds per game. On Jan. 23, the Sun Devils held then No. 19 Arizona to just 58 points and 28 rebounds, 20.8 points and 13.1 rebounds below the Wildcats' then Pac-10 leading 78.5 points and 41.1 rebounds per contest. ASU also held the Wildcats to just eight offensive rebounds in the game and none in the first half of that contest.

The Sun Devils also lead the league in three-point shooting defense, a category the team has paced the Pac-10 in three of the last four years. This season, ASU is allowing its opponents to shoot just 28.7 percent from three-point land (51-178), while in the last five games, the Sun Devils have held their opponents to just 17.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc (7-41). On Jan. 31 at Oregon, ASU held the Ducks, the league's third-best three-point shooting team, to just 18.2 percent (2-11), down from their season numbers of 35.7 percent and 6.2 treys per game.

Last Time OutJunior Jen Albert scored a career-high 18 points to lead Arizona State to a 70-52 victory over Washington State Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena. It marked ASU's 12th straight win over the Cougars and the sixth consecutive season sweep of WSU.

The Sun Devils took control of the game early in the first half, turning an early 10-6 deficit into a 25-14 lead with 7:38 to play. Arizona State maintained its double-digit lead for the remainder of the half and scored eight of the last 10 points to take a 38-22 halftime lead. The Sun Devils got very balanced scoring in the first half with freshman Kristen Kovesdy and sophomore Kylan Loney each leading the team with seven points and freshman Jill Noe turning in six points and six rebounds.

In the second half, the Sun Devils never allowed the Cougars to get closer than 15 points. The team used a 6-0 run to take its largest lead of the game, going up 59-36 with 10:31 to play. Washington State, which has now lost 44 consecutive games, cut the lead to 17 and then 15, but each time, Albert knocked down a shot, including her second three-pointer of the game with 5:01 to play, to lead the Sun Devils to the 70-52 win. Arizona State outrebounded Washington State 52-35 in the game and tied its season low with just 14 turnovers in the game.

Albert led all scorers with her career-high 18 points, including 14 in the second half. She knocked down 7-of-8 attempts from the field and also tied her career best with five rebounds in 21 minutes of play. Sophomore Carrie Buckner had 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals, while Noe finished with her fourth double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 rebounds and added three steals.

For Washington State, junior Bianca McCall had 17 points and eight rebounds, while junior Holly Harris added 15 points.

Last Time vs. WashingtonFreshman Amy Denson turned in a career-high 18 points as Arizona State fell to Washington 69-56 Jan. 9 at UW's Bank of America Arena. The Huskies, who were playing in their first Pac-10 home game of the year, honored sophomore Kayla Burt who was diagnosed with a career-ending rare heart condition and underwent surgery the week before.

The Sun Devils trailed from the start, falling behind 8-0 in the first four minutes. ASU shot just 20.7 percent (6-29) and scored a season-low 14 points in the first half, while ASU starters Jill Noe and Kylan Loney were limited to just five and four minutes, respectively, by foul trouble. UW's Giuliana Mendiola had 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half to lead UW to a 33-14 halftime lead.

In the second half, Washington continued to build on its lead, going up 39-18 with 18:28 to play, but the Sun Devils cut the lead to 15 after an 8-2 run to make it 41-26 with 16:49 remaining. The Huskies pushed their lead to 25 points midway through the half, but ASU scored the next eight points to cut the lead to 17, 59-42 with 6:20 remaining. Denson scored 10 of her career-high-tying 18 points over the final 2:14 in the 69-56 Husky victory.

For the Sun Devils, Denson knocked down 7-of-14 shots and pulled down nine rebounds in 24 minutes, while freshman Kristen Kovesdy finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and a career-best four steals. Loney had 11 points and knocked down a pair of three-pointers in just 19 minutes, while Noe, ASU's leading scorer, finished with just five points in the game. Mendiola led all scorers with 22 points and also turned in 10 rebounds and five assists for the Huskies.

Just Say NoeFreshman Jill Noe earned her second Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week honor of the season on Jan. 6 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.

Noe has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (14.6 ppg), free throw percentage (.821) and steals (2.3 spg). She also ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.369) and assists (3.0 apg) and is third in rebounding (5.7 rpg). She is ranked third in the Pac-10 in steals, fifth in free throw shooting, seventh in scoring, ninth in three-point shooting and tied for 15th in rebounding. With 307 points, she is already tied for third on the ASU single-season list for scoring by a freshman and is also threatening the school freshman records for steals (fifth with 47) and assists (ninth with 63).

Noe has scored in double figures 17 times in 21 games this year (with five 20-point games) and has paced the team in scoring in 12 of ASU's 21 contests this season, including 11 of the last 17. 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 and matched her career best again with 23 points (including 18 in the second half) at Washington State on Jan. 11.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are ranked third in the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 10.6 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 12 of 21 games this year. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and is ranked third in the Pac-10 with 2.3 thefts per game, including a career-high-tying six steals Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State. Nine Sun Devils have 10 or more steals on the year.

Young GunsThree of ASU's true freshmen continue to lead the team and rank in the top 20 in the Pac-10 in both scoring and rebounding. Freshman guard Jill Noe, a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week this season, ranks first on the team and seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring at 14.6 points and third on the team and tied for 15th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 5.7 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in 11 of the last 17 games, including a career-best 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State and again Jan. 11 at Washington State. Freshmen forwards Amy Denson and Kristen Kovesdy have turned in nearly identical numbers this season. Denson leads the team and ranks 10th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (6.2 rpg, 131 rbs), while Kovesdy is second on the team and 11th in the league in the category (6.1 rpg, 129 rbs). In scoring, Kovesdy has the slight edge and is second on the team and 19th in the Pac-10 at 10.7 points per game, while Denson is 20th in the league at 10.5 rpg (215). Kovesdy also leads the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 56.0 percent (84-150).

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 had nine of ASU's 10 double-doubles this season. Freshman guard Jill Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening win 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. Denson turned in the second of her career with 17 points and 11 rebounds at Cal on Dec. 29 and Noe accomplished the same feat on Jan. 2 with career bests of 23 points and 11 rebounds vs. Oregon State. Both Noe and Kovesdy had their third double-doubles of the season Jan. 16 vs. UCLA with Noe turning in 11 points and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds and Kovesdy adding 13 points and a career-best 13 boards. Noe added her team-leading fourth double-double of the year Thursday night with 10 points and 10 rebounds in ASU's win over Washington State.

Quick Notes

- This weekend's games with Washington State and Washington mark the only two home games for ASU in a stretch of five of seven on the road, which started last week in Oregon. ASU is 10-3 at home this year (4-2 in the Pac-10) compared to just 3-6 on the road (1-5 in the Pac-10). The team's lone league road win came at Washington State Jan. 11.

- Saturday's game will pair Washington, the league-leader in scoring (77.7 ppg) and three-point percentage (38.1 percent) with Arizona State which ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (62.2 ppg) and first in three-point defense (28.7 percent).

- The Sun Devils will also be looking for their third win over a ranked opponent on Saturday vs. No. 20/24 Washington. Earlier this season, ASU knocked off then No. 14 Georgia 74-70 on Dec. 2 and two weeks ago, the Sun Devils got the best of then No. 19 Arizona 73-58 on Jan. 23 at Wells Fargo Arena.

- ASU had 52 rebounds in Thursday night's win over Washington State (52-35 advantage), marking the second time this year that ASU has pulled down 50 or more boards in a game. ASU outrebounded UCLA 55-35 on Jan. 16, which marked a season high for the Sun Devils in rebounding and the most boards since the team turned in 55 in a win over Delaware State on Nov. 19, 2001. The last time ASU had 50 or more rebounds against a Pac-10 team came during the 1996-97 season when both Arizona State and Arizona had 50 rebounds in a 66-42 Wildcat win in Tempe.

- A total of four Sun Devils rank in the Pac-10's top 20 in rebounding (Amy Denson-10th, Kristen Kovesdy-11th, Jill Noe and Carrie Buckner-T15th).

- Along with her team, freshman Jill Noe has also turned in some stellar numbers at home this year, averaging a team-best 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game in the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena. She is also shooting 41.5 percent from the field (56-135) and 41.5 percent from three-point land (22-53) at home this year.

- Sophomore Carrie Buckner has turned up her game a notch in the last seven games, averaging 8.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest. She turned in the first double-double of her career with 10 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds vs. Arizona on Jan. 23, while on Thursday night vs. Washington State, she had 12 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals in just 23 minutes. Buckner played a career-high 35 minutes in each of ASU's games vs. UCLA and USC, averaging 10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game and taking the toughest defensive assignment in each contest. She held the Pac-10's scoring leader, UCLA senior Michelle Greco, to just six points, 12.6 points below her then average of 18.6 points per game and added 12 points and six rebounds, while against the Women of Troy, Buckner had eight points and matched her career best with five steals.

- On the year, Buckner is tied for seventh in the Pac-10 with 2.05 steals per game. With 43 takeaways this year, she has already matched her production of 38 steals from last year.

- The Sun Devils have already blocked 65 shots this season, which surpasses the 51 the team had all of last year and is the most since the 1996-97 team had 65 rejections. Last year, ASU finished ninth in the Pac-10 with just 1.5 blocks per game, while this season, the team ranks fifth with 3.1 per contest. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy leads the team and is tied for seventh in the Pac-10 in the category with 0.8 blocked shots per game. Her 16 blocked shots also put her in fourth on the ASU single-season list for blocks by a freshman and just three rejections out of second place on the list, while Jenny Thigpin is tied for seventh on that list with 10 blocks.

- The Sun Devils are now leading the Pac-10 in the category with 15.8 offensive boards per game, including a season-high 24 vs. UCLA on Jan. 16 and 21 vs. Washington State on Thursday night. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 2.8 offensive rebounds per game, while sophomore Carrie Buckner is sixth in the league with 2.7 offensive boards per contest.

- ASU's seven new players account for 63.4 percent of the team's scoring (890 of 1334 points) and 58.2 percent of the team's rebounding (463 of 795 boards) this year.

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 56.0 percent of her shots on the year (84-150). 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. Portland State, ASU's third game of the year.

- Through ASU's 21 games, sophomore Kylan Loney leads the team with 34 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 she had all of last year. Loney leads the team and ranks seventh in the Pac-10 at 38.2 percent from three-point land this year (34-89), while freshman Jill Noe is second on the team and ninth in the league at 36.9 percent (31-84). Loney drilled a career-best and team-high five three-pointers in ASU's Jan. 4 win over Oregon, while Noe has knocked down at least three treys in five games this year.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all but six games this year and is averaging 18.7 points per game (394 points). Junior Jen Albert is the team's leading scorer off the bench at 4.6 points per game, including a career-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting Thursday night vs. Washington State.

- 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.

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