Women's Hoops Wraps Up Regular Season at Home vs. Cal and Stanford

Feb. 25, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 72-52 loss at No. 25/24 Arizona last weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils (14-11 overall, 6-10 Pac-10) return home for first time in 19 days to wrap up the regular season this weekend with California on Thursday night and No. 9/8 Stanford on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. Both games will be televised by AZ-TV with Thursday's game tipping off at 6 p.m. and Saturday's game at 3 p.m. The Sun Devils, who will honor their lone senior Rainy Crisp prior to Saturday's game with Stanford, will be looking to snap their first three-game losing streak since dropping the last three contests of the 1999-00 season. ASU returns to the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena this weekend, where the team has a three-game winning streak, for the first time since Feb. 8 after playing three straight and five of their last seven games on the road. Thursday night against Cal, the Sun Devils will be looking for their fourth straight home win over the Golden Bears and their fifth in the last six meetings with Cal, while on Saturday vs. ninth-ranked Stanford, ASU will have an opportunity to get its fourth win over a ranked team this year and its first home win over the Cardinal since the 1999-00 season.

California brings a 9-16 overall record and a 5-11 Pac-10 mark into Thursday night's game. The Bears are coming off a split with UCLA (72-54 loss) and USC (60-50 win) last weekend with their win over the Women of Troy snapping a four-game losing streak. Stanford, which plays at No. 24 Arizona on Thursday night, holds a 22-3 overall record and a 14-2 Pac-10 mark and has already clinched the Pac-10 regular-season title. The Cardinal, ranked ninth in this week's Associated Press poll and eighth in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, has won its last three games including a sweep of USC (63-55 win) and UCLA (79-61 win) last weekend.

In the SeriesCalifornia holds a 21-17 edge in the series with Arizona State, while ASU has a slim 9-8 advantage in games played in Tempe. Cal snapped ASU's four-game overall winning streak in the series earlier this year with a 72-67 win on Dec. 29 in Berkeley, while the Sun Devils have won the last three games in Tempe. Cal has not won in Tempe since the 1999-00 season when the Bears got a 67-63 victory at Wells Arena to earn its last season sweep of the Sun Devils. Last season, Arizona State got its first Pac-10 win of the year with a 63-49 victory over the Golden Bears on Dec. 23, 2001 in Tempe and earned its second straight season sweep over Cal with a 56-40 win on Jan. 24, 2002 in Berkeley.

Stanford holds a 34-9 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona State, including a 13-7 advantage in games played in Tempe. The Cardinal has won the last three games in the series including both regular-season meetings last year and an 80-63 victory on Dec. 27 in Palo Alto. ASU's last victory over Stanford came last year when the Sun Devils downed then No. 2 Stanford 70-63 on March 4 in Eugene, Ore., to win the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament. That win snapped five-game losing streak to the Cardinal, while ASU's last victory over Stanford in Tempe came during the 1999-00 season when ASU opened Pac-10 play with a 74-68 win over the Cardinal on Jan. 6 at Wells Fargo Arena.

Cal ConnectionsArizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne and assistant coach Laura Hughes have connections to third-year Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer. Turner Thorne was an assistant coach on Horstmeyer's staff at Santa Clara for three seasons from 1990-93 where the Broncos won three straight conference titles, won the 1991 WNIT and advanced to the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Hughes was a two-year starter at power forward at Santa Clara, helping the Broncos to a 28-3 record and the WNIT title in 1990-91 and an NCAA Tournament berth the following year. That 1990-91 campaign marked one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history with the team winning 28 games, an improvement of 19 from the previous season's 9-17 campaign. Hughes set and still holds school records for single-season and career field goal percentage, knocking down 53.9 percent of her career attempts.

Stanford ConnectionsArizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne was a four-year letterwinner at Stanford, playing for Cardinal head coach Tara Van Derveer in her last three seasons. Turner Thorne was twice voted the Most Inspirational Player by her Cardinal teammates and was co-captain of the 1987-88 NCAA Sweet Sixteen team. She won Stanford's H-Block Award in 1988, which is awarded to the senior female student-athlete with the highest grade point average, and earned her bachelor's degree in psychology that year.

Up NextFollowing this weekend's games with Cal and Stanford, the Sun Devils head to the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament, which will be held March 7-10 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Arizona State will be looking to defend its 2002 Pac-10 Tournament Championship from the inaugural event held last year at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State brings a three-game home winning streak into this weekend's games at Well Fargo Arena, a stretch that has included upsets of then No. 19 Arizona and then No. 20 Washington. ASU has won 18 of its last 21 home games and 12 of its last 14 Pac-10 home games dating back to last year. Earlier this season, the team'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. In the last three seasons, ASU has gone 20-5 in Pac-10 play at Wells Fargo Arena

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 44-11 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last four seasons.

There's No Place Like HomeIn addition to their 11-3 record at Wells Fargo Arena this year (5-2 in Pac-10 games), the Sun Devils are also turning in some stellar stats in their home games. At home, ASU is averaging 69.4 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 3-8 record (just 1-8 in Pac-10 play) and is averaging 60.5 points per game and shooting 39.8 percent from the field (246-618) and just 24.6 percent from three-point land (28-114).

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 65.4 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 seventh in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and eighth in three-point percentage, shooting 40.8 percent from the field (587-1439) and 31.3 percent from three-point land (90-288).

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 62.8 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, while in ASU's Feb. 8 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 29.1 percent from three-point land (66-227), while in the last nine games, the Sun Devils have held their opponents to just 25.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc (22-87). 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 on Feb. 8, Washington, the Pac-10 leader in three-point shooting, knocked down just 23.5 percent of its attempts (4-17), down from the Huskies' then season numbers of 38.1 percent and 8.52 treys per game.

This weekend's game with Stanford will provide an interesting matchup for the Sun Devils as the Cardinal lead the Pac-10 in rebounding (39.8 rpg) and rebounding defense (31.0 rpg), while ASU is third in rebounding (37.8 rpg) and second in rebounding defense (33.6 rpg). Stanford also ranks second in the league in three-point shooting at 36.1 percent, while ASU paces the Pac-10 in three-point defense, allowing its opponents to shoot just 29.1 percent from beyond arc.

Last Time OutArizona's Dee-Dee Wheeler scored 10 of her 18 points in the final eight minutes of the first half while No. 25 Arizona used a huge run to establish command en route to a 72-52 victory over Arizona State last Saturday in Tucson.

The Wildcats made only three of their first 17 shots and fell behind 16-7 before regaining their composure and shutting down the Sun Devils with a 23-2 run to take a 37-26 halftime lead.

The Wildcats didn't slow down in the second half, outscoring Arizona State 20-9 early to build a 57-35 edge with 10:55 remaining.

The Sun Devils were led by freshmen YoVanna Rosenthal and Jenny Thigpin who came off the bench to score a career-best 10 points apiece. Rosenthal knocked down 4-of-6 shots and added an assist and two steals, while Thigpin went 5-of-8 from the field and had five rebounds. Sophomore Carrie Buckner turned in nine rebounds and four steals for the Sun Devils.

For Arizona, Shawntinice Polk added 16 points, Aimee Grzyb 14 and Robin Roberson 11 as Arizona won its 11th straight home game.

Last Time vs. CalFreshman 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 Dec. 29 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, going 4-of-6 from the field.

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 four-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 Bears in double figures with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

Last Time vs. StanfordFreshman forward Amy Denson scored a career-high 18 points as Arizona State fell to sixth-ranked Stanford 80-63 Dec. 27 in the Pac-10 Conference season opener for both teams at Stanford's Maples Pavilion.

Stanford's Azella Perryman had six of her career-high 23 points during a 9-0 run to start the second half for the Cardinal, which won its 22nd consecutive conference game.

In the first half, Stanford went up 11-4 with 16:32 to play, but Arizona State went on a 10-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 14-13 with 12:08 left in the half. Denson scored eight of ASU's 10 points in that stretch. Stanford's Katie Denny snapped a 24-24 tie with less than five minutes left in the first half, and the Cardinal held a 32-28 lead at the break. Denson had 12 points in the first half, while Stanford's Kelley Suminski scored 18 of her career-high 25 points in the first half.

Stanford scored the first nine points of the second half and built a 41-28 lead. The Cardinal made 11 of their first 16 shots in the half and led by as many as 24 points. Perryman went 8-of-9 from the field and had seven of her nine rebounds in the second half for Stanford.

For the Sun Devils, Denson knocked down 7-of-15 shots and grabbed five rebounds in 21 minutes. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy and junior Jen Albert each had eight points, while sophomore Carrie Buckner turned in seven points, a team-best six rebounds and three steals in the loss.

The Buck(ner) Stops HereSophomore Carrie Buckner has turned up her game a notch in the last 11 games, averaging 8.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest. She has scored at least 12 points in four of the last five games, including a career-high 16 at UCLA on Feb. 16. Buckner 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 home 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 (8.0 ppg) and tied for third 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 fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.2 steals per game, while with 55 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 10.12 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 24 games this year. Sophomore Carrie Buckner leads the team and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.2 thefts per game, while freshman Jill Noe is ninth in the Pac-10 with 1.92 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 scoring and rebounding. Freshman guard Jill Noe, a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week this season, ranks first on the team and ninth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 12.8 points and third on the team and tied for 15th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 5.6 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in 11 of the last 21 games, including a career-best 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State and again Jan. 11 at Washington State. Freshmen forward Amy Denson leads the team and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding (6.3 rpg), while fellow freshman Kristen Kovesdy is second on the team and 13th in the league in the category (5.8 rpg). In scoring, Denson is second on the team at 10.4 points per game, while Kovesdy is third on the team at 9.9 rpg. Kovesdy also leads the team and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 53.7 percent (94-175).

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, who has been troubled by a groin strain over the last few weeks, has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (12.8 ppg) and free throw percentage (.797). She also ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.351), steals (1.92 spg) and assists (3.0 apg) and is tied for third in rebounding (5.6 rpg). She is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, ninth in steals, ninth in scoring and tied for 15th in rebounding. With 319 points, she is third on the ASU single-season list for scoring by a freshman and is also threatening the school freshman records for steals (fifth with 48), assists (third with 74) and rebounds (seventh with 140).

Noe has scored in double figures 17 times in 25 games this year (with five 20-point games) and has paced the team in scoring in 12 of ASU's 25 contests this season. 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.

Success at the Charity StripeThis season, the Sun Devils have turned into one of the league's better free throw shooting teams, ranking fourth in the Pac-10 in the category at 68.8 percent on the year (372-541). Last year, the team finished ninth in the Pac-10 in the category at just 63.9 percent (524-820). 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 11 of 24 games. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and is fifth in the Pac-10 at 79.7 percent (98-123), including 8-of-8 Jan. 18 vs. USC and a 6-of-6 effort Feb. 6 vs. Washington State. Six Sun Devils are shooting at least 65 percent from the charity stripe on the season.

Quick Notes

- After turning the ball over just 13.7 times per game in its previous three games, including a season-low 13 times in ASU's upset of then No. 20 Washington on Feb. 8, the Sun Devils have turned the ball over 25.3 times per game during its three-game losing streak, including 27 times last weekend at Arizona.

- ASU's Feb. 8 upset of then No. 20 Washington marked ASU's third win over a ranked opponent 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 has gone 3-3 this year against ranked opponents.

- ASU had 52 rebounds in its Feb. 6 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. The Sun Devils rank third in the Pac-10 in rebounding this year with 37.8 boards per game.

- A total of four Sun Devils rank in the Pac-10's top 15 in rebounding (Amy Denson-9th, Kristen Kovesdy-13th, Jill Noe and Carrie Buckner-T15th).

- The Sun Devils have already blocked 76 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 3.04 per contest. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy leads the team and is eighth in the Pac-10 in the category with 0.68 blocked shots per game. Her 17 blocked shots also put her in fourth on the ASU single-season list for blocks by a freshman and just two rejections out of second place on the list, while Jenny Thigpin is sixth on that list with 13 blocks.

- The Sun Devils continue to lead the Pac-10 with 15.12 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 is seventh in the Pac-10 with 2.64 offensive rebounds per game, while freshman Kristen Kovesdy is tied for eighth in the league with 2.44 offensive boards per contest.

- ASU's seven new players (including six freshmen) account for 61.7 percent of the team's scoring (1010 of 1636 points) and 57.2 percent of the team's rebounding (541 of 945 boards) this year.

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 53.7 percent of her shots on the year (94-175). 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 25 games, sophomore Kylan Loney leads the team with 40 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 she had all of last year. Loney leads the team and is tied for ninth in the Pac-10 at 37.0 percent from three-point land this year (40-108), while freshman Jill Noe is second on the team at 35.1 percent (33-94). Loney drilled a career-best and team-high five three-pointers in ASU's Jan. 4 win over Oregon, while Noe 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 19.2 points per game (480 points), including 30 points last week at Arizona. 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 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game and shot 64.2 percent from the field (18-28) in the last five 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.

Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASU

With a 104-97 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.

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