Women's Hoops to Continue LA Trip Sunday at UCLA

Feb. 15, 2003

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

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Following a 64-56 loss at USC on Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-9 overall, 6-8 Pac-10) wrap up their road trip to Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, taking on the UCLA Bruins (13-9, 8-5) at 2 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. Sunday's game with the Bruins is the second of three straight road games and is part of a streak of five of seven on the road for the Sun Devils, who do not return to the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena until Feb. 27. Arizona State has lost three straight Pac-10 road games and is looking to improve upon a 1-6 road record in league play. The Sun Devils are also looking to avenge a 60-58 home loss to UCLA earlier this season, while a victory on Sunday afternoon would mark ASU's third straight win at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. UCLA is 13-9 overall and 8-5 in the league after defeating No. 23/24 Arizona 48-47 on Friday night. After winning their first six Pac-10 games of the year, the Bruins have dropped five of their last seven.

In the SeriesUCLA holds a 36-13 advantage in the series with the Sun Devils. The Bruins hold a 18-5 edge in games played at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, but the Sun Devils have won the last two games in Westwood, their first ever back-to-back wins at Pauley. ASU has gotten the better of the overall series recently, winning the four of the last five games, but the Bruins earned a 60-58 victory at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 16 to snap ASU's four-game winning streak which was the Sun Devils' longest all time vs. the Bruins. Last year, ASU swept the series for the second consecutive season with a 70-57 win at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 17 and a 64-42 victory in Tempe on Feb. 16.

Southern California ConnectionHead coach Charli Turner Thorne is also a native of southern California, graduating from Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, Calif., in 1984.

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 66.2 points per game which ranks sixth in the Pac-10, including a season-high 82 points twice (last at Akron on Dec. 20). The team also ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and fifth in three-point percentage, shooting 40.7 percent from the field (543-1335) and 32.1 percent from three-point land (85-265).

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 33.7 rebounds per game. The Sun Devils are also ranked third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 62.0 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 33.7 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, while in last week's upset of then No. 20/24 Washington, the Sun Devils allowed the Huskies just 56 points, which was UW's second-lowest point total of the season and 21.7 points below the team's Pac-10 leading average of 77.7 points per game.

The Sun Devils also continue to 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 28.9 percent from three-point land (55-195), while in the last seven games, the Sun Devils have held their opponents to just 23.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc (14-61). 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 then season numbers of 35.7 percent and 6.2 treys per game, while last week, Washington, the Pac-10 leader in three-point shooting, knocked down just 23.5 percent of its attempts last week (4-17), down from the Huskies' then season numbers of 38.1 percent and 8.52 treys per game.

Last Time OutSophomore Carrie Buckner scored 12 points to lead three Sun Devils in double figures as Arizona State lost its third straight road game, falling to USC 64-56 Friday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

In the first half, Arizona State took an early 10-3 lead with 14:04 to play, but USC pulled ahead 11-10 with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes. ASU scored the next five points of the game, including a three-pointer by sophomore Kylan Loney with the shot clock running down, to take a 15-11 lead with 8:40 to play. The final eight minutes of the half stayed close with USC cutting the Sun Devil lead to one point twice, forcing a pair of ties and taking a slim 21-19 lead into the locker room. For the second game in a row, the Sun Devils got balanced scoring in the first half with seven players getting on the scoreboard and freshmen forwards Jenny Thigpin and Amy Denson each turning in four points to lead the team.

The first four minutes of the second half stayed tight with four ties before USC pulled ahead with a 16-9 run, including 12 points from sophomore Rometra Craig, to take a 45-38 lead with 9:59 to play. Junior Megan Gnekow scored five of the next seven points in the game to give the Women of Troy 53-42 advantage with 8:20 left in the game. The Sun Devils, however, refused to give up, cutting the Trojan lead to one, 57-56, when junior Jen Albert knocked down one of two free throws with 3:17 to play. Buckner scored six points in that stretch, while Denson had five, but the Sun Devils would not score again in the 64-56 loss.

For Arizona State, Buckner had 10 of her team-leading points in the second half, while Denson and Albert added 11 points apiece. Denson also accounted for her fourth double-double of the year with 11 rebounds, while sophomore Lauren Stagg dished out a career-high five assists. For USC, Craig led all scorers with 17 points including 14 in the second half.

Last Time vs. UCLAFreshmen Jill Noe and Kristen Kovesdy turned in their third double-doubles of the year, but it wasn't enough as ASU fell to UCLA 60-58 Jan. 16 at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils started out the first half slowly, turning the ball over 11 times and falling behind 24-13 with 8:24 left in the period. ASU, however, responded with a 16-6 run over the remaining half and trailed just 30-29 at halftime. Kovesdy and sophomore Carrie Buckner each scored six points during the Sun Devil run and led the team with eight points apiece. Noe had six points and seven rebounds despite just playing 11 minutes.

The second half stayed close with ASU scoring the first four points of the half to take a three point lead, 33-30 with 14:48 to play. The next six minutes saw three ties and three lead changes until UCLA freshman Nikki Blue knocked down a three-pointer to put the Bruins up 42-39 with 11:46 left in the game. UCLA led by five points, 51-46 with 7:05 left to play, but ASU tied the game at 51 with 6:08 left on a layup by Buckner and a three-pointer by sophomore Kylan Loney. UCLA scored the next three points and held the lead until the Sun Devils took a 57-56 lead with 57 seconds to play after freshman Amy Denson knocked down a pair of shots. UCLA's Blue scored the next four points of the game to put the Bruins up 60-57 with seven seconds. For the Sun Devils, Kovesdy went to the line with six seconds left but hit just one of her free throws and ASU was unable to convert on their last possession as the Bruins won their sixth straight Pac-10 game.

Kovesdy led the team with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Buckner and Denson each had 12 points. Noe turned in 11 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in just 20 minutes, while Denson also chipped in with nine rebounds. Buckner had six rebounds and held the Pac-10's scoring leader, UCLA senior Michelle Greco, to just six points, 13.5 points below her league-leading average. Senior Rainy Crisp led all players with a career-high six assists.

UCLA's Blue led all scorers with 30 points, including the last 14 points of the game for the Bruins. Blue and Greco each had nine rebounds.

ASU outrebounded the Bruins 55-35 and outshot them 39.1 to 36.8 percent, but turnovers proved to be the story of the game as ASU had 23 turnovers which led to Bruin points compared to UCLA's 13 turnovers and 11 ASU points.

The Buck(ner) Stops HereSophomore Carrie Buckner has turned up her game a notch in the last nine games, averaging 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. She has scored 12 points in each of the last three games, including a team-leading dozen Thursday night at USC. She turned in the first double-double of her career with 10 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds vs. then 19th-ranked Arizona on Jan. 23, while on Feb. 6 vs. Washington State, she had 12 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals in just 23 minutes. In ASU's upset of No. 20 Washington on Saturday, Buckner scored 10 of her 12 points and had all six of her career-best steals in ASU's second-half comeback. She played 13 minutes in the second half and held UW's Giuliana Mendiola to just four second-half points after Mendiola had 16 in the first half.

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 five steals.

Buckner has been one of the most consistent players for the Sun Devils this year, ranking fifth in scoring (7.9 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (5.6), up from her averages of 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. Buckner leads the team and is third in the Pac-10 with 2.13 steals per game, while with 49 takeaways on the year, she has already surpassed her production of 38 steals from last year.

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 13 of 2w games this year. Sophomore Carrie Buckner leads the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 with 2.13 thefts per game, while freshman Jill Noe is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with 2.09 thefts per game. 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 eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 13.5 points and third on the team and tied for 13th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 5.8 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in 11 of the last 19 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 (6.4 rpg, 147 rbs), while Kovesdy is second on the team and 11th in the league in the category (6.0 rpg, 137 rbs). In scoring, Denson has the slight edge and is second on the team and tied for 18th in the Pac-10 at 10.5 points per game, while Kovesdy is 20th in the league at 10.3 rpg. Kovesdy also leads the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 54.9 percent (89-162).

Double TroubleThe Sun Devil rookies have had 10 of ASU's 11 double-doubles this season, including freshman Amy Denson's fourth of the year Friday night at USC (11 points, 11 rebounds). ASU had a true freshman turn in her first career double-double in each of the team's first three games. 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 fourth double-double of the year last with 10 points and 10 rebounds in ASU's win over Washington State on Feb. 6.

ASU's Double-DoublesJill Noe (Chicago State, 11/22/02)	17 pts, 10 rbsKristen Kovesdy (Northern Illinois, 11/25/02)	19 pts, 10 rbsAmy Denson (Portland State, 11/29/02)	12 pts, 14 rbsKristen Kovesdy (Kent State, 12/18/02)	12 pts, 12 rbsAmy Denson (California, 12/29/02)	17 pts, 11 rbsJill Noe (Oregon State, 1/2/03)	23 pts, 11 rbsJill Noe (UCLA, 1/16/03)	11 pts, 11 rbsKristen Kovesdy (UCLA, 1/16/03)	13 pts, 13 rbsCarrie Buckner (Arizona, 1/23/03)	10 pts, 12 rbsJill Noe (Washington State, 2/6/03)	10 pts, 10 rbsAmy Denson (at USC, 2/14/03)	11pts, 11rbs

Quick Notes

- At home, ASU is averaging 69.4 points a game and shooting 41.5 percent from the field (341-821) and 35.6 percent from three-point land (62-174). In comparison, on the road, the team has turned in a 3-6 record (just 1-6 in Pac-10 play) and is averaging 61.2 points per game and shooting 39.3 percent from the field (202-514) and just 25.3 percent from three-point land (23-91).

- Last weekend's games with Washington State and Washington marked 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 11-3 at home this year (5-2 in the Pac-10) compared to just 3-6 on the road (1-6 in the Pac-10). The team's lone league road win came at Washington State Jan. 11.

- Last week's upset of No. 20/24 Washington marked ASU's third win over a ranked opponent so far this year. 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 last week'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-T13th and Carrie Buckner-15th).

- The Sun Devils have already blocked 71 shots this season, which surpasses the 51 the team had all of last year and is the most since the 1992-93 team had 89 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 0.7 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 sixth on that list with 12 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 Feb. 6. Sophomore Carrie Buckner ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.7 offensive rebounds per game, while freshman Kristen Kovesdy is sixth in the league with 2.6 offensive boards per contest.

- ASU's seven new players account for 62.0 percent of the team's scoring (944 of 1522 points) and 60.6 percent of the team's rebounding (505 of 834 boards) this year.

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 54.9 percent of her shots on the year (89-162). 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 23 games, sophomore Kylan Loney leads the team with 37 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 she had all of last year. Loney leads the team and is tied for sixth in the Pac-10 at 37.0 percent from three-point land this year (37-100), while freshman Jill Noe is second on the team at 35.6 percent (31-87). 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 19.0 points per game (437 points). Junior Jen Albert is the team's leading scorer off the bench at 5.0 points per game, including a career-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting Feb. 6 vs. Washington State. Albert has scored an average of 12.0 points per game and shot 71.1 percent from the field (15-21) in the last three games.

- 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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