Women's Hoops Heads to Pac-10 Tournament
March 4, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Coming off a split with California and Stanford last weekend to wrap up the regular season, the Arizona State Sun Devils (15-12 overall, 7-11/8th in Pac-10) head to San Jose, Calif., for the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Conference Tournament, being held Friday-Monday, March 7-10 at HP Pavilion. As the No. 8 seed, the Sun Devils will face ninth-seeded California on Friday night at 8:45 p.m. PST/9:45 p.m. MST with the winner advancing to Saturday's second round to take on top-seeded Stanford at 5 p.m. PST/6 p.m. MST. Arizona State heads to San Jose as the defending Pac-10 Tournament champion after capturing the inaugural league tournament title last season. The Sun Devils, who will be playing on a neutral court for the first time this season, are also looking for their second straight win over California and their sixth in the last seven meetings in the series after defeating the Bears 61-47 in Tempe on Feb. 27. California brings a 9-18 overall record into Friday night's game. The Bears finished ninth in the Pac-10 with a 5-13 league mark and have lost their last two games and six of their last seven, including a 61-47 loss to Arizona State last weekend in Tempe.
In the SeriesCalifornia holds a 21-18 edge in the series with Arizona State, while the Sun Devils have gotten the better of the series recently, winning five of the last six meetings, including the last four games in Tempe. The two teams split a pair of meetings this year with Cal snapping ASU's four-game overall winning streak in the series with a 72-67 win on Dec. 29 in Berkeley, and the Sun Devils earning a 61-47 victory in Tempe last week. 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.
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.
2003 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament ScheduleMarch 7-10 o HP Pavilion o San Jose, Calif.
Friday, March 7Game 1: No. 7 USC vs. No. 10 Washington State, 6:30 p.m.Game 2: No. 8 Arizona State vs. No. 9 California, 8:45 p.m.
Saturday, March 8Game 3: No. 2 Washington vs. Winner 7/10, 11:00 a.m.Game 4: No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 6 Oregon State, 1:15 p.m.Game 5: No. 1 Stanford vs. Winner 8/9, 5:00 p.m.Game 6: No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 5 Oregon, 7:15 p.m.
Sunday, March 9Game 7: Game 3 win vs. 3/6 win, 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports NetGame 8: Game 5 win vs. 4/5 win, 3 p.m., Fox Sports Net
Monday, March 10Game 9: Championship Game, 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
All Times are Pacific Standard Time
Last Year at the Pac-10 TournamentArizona State won the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament Championship and earned the Pac-10's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament last season at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. Seniors Melody Johnson and Amanda Levens were named to the all-tournament team after the third-seeded Sun Devils earned a 70-63 upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championshp game, which ended Stanford's 22-game winning streak and was ASU's first victory over a team ranked in the nation's top two since downing then No. 2 USC 53-51 in 1982.
The Sun Devils came from behind to win each of its three games at last year's Pac-10 Conference Tournament. In their opening game vs. Arizona, the Sun Devils had to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit (36-26) to earn the victory. Senior Cian Carvalho scored 15 of her 17 points in the second-half effort, and ASU held the Wildcats to just 17.4 percent shooting and four field goals in the final 20 minutes.
In ASU's semifinals win over the host Oregon Ducks, the Sun Devils lost a 12-point halftime advantage and trailed by as many eight points in the second half (45-37 with 10:12 to play). Arizona State responded to that deficit with an 11-2 run, fueled by eight straight points from Levens, to go up for good, 48-47 with 7:53 to play. Levens scored 16 of her 19 points in the second half to lead ASU.
The Sun Devils completed the trifecta of come-from-behind wins in their upset of second-ranked Stanford in the championship game. After leading 35-31 at halftime, Stanford scored the first five points of the second half and went up 40-31 with 18:10 to play. ASU answered with a 12-2 run of their own, that included six points each from Levens and Johnson, to take a 43-42 lead with 12:24 to play, an advantage they would not relinquish. Again, Levens had a terrific second-half effort, scoring 17 of her game-high 22 points in the final 20 minutes.
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, the team is averaging 64.8 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 eighth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and sixth in three-point percentage, shooting 40.7 percent from the field (626-1537) and 30.8 percent from three-point land (95-308).
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, 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 28.9 percent from three-point land (72-249), while in the last 11 games, the Sun Devils have held their opponents to just 25.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc (28-109). 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.
Last Time OutStanford junior Nicole Powell had 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots to lead ninth-ranked Stanford past Arizona State 63-53 last Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in the regular-season finale for both teams. The loss snapped ASU's four-game home winning streak.
Arizona State opened the game by taking a 10-3 lead, but Stanford went on a 13-2 run while Arizona State went cold, missing eight straight shots and going 4-of-18. Stanford finished the half on a 15-5 run to take a 33-21 halftime lead, their biggest of the game.
In the second half, the Sun Devils cut the Cardinal lead to two points, 44-42 with 9:20 to play when sophomore Kylan Loney drained a three-pointer. Stanford, however, scored the next seven points of the ball game as Chelsea Trotter hit a basket, Kelley Suminski made two of three free throws and Powell converted a three-point play to give Stanford a 51-42 advantage with 7:20 left in the game. Arizona State never got closer than five points as Stanford earned the 63-53 win.
For Arizona State, Loney finished with 13 points and a career-high eight assists and just one turnover in 38 minutes. Freshman Amy Denson had 10 points, while freshman Kristen Kovesdy added eight points and nine rebounds.
Last Time vs. CaliforniaFreshman Jill Noe turned in her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead Arizona State to a 61-47 victory over California Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena. With the win, ASU snapped its three-game losing streak and won the team's fourth straight home game.
Arizona State took control of the game midway through the first half, using an 11-2 run to take a 19-10 lead with 8:18 to play, including four points from freshman Jenny Thigpin. ASU held a 23-13 lead with 4:37 remaining in the half, but the Bears forced three ASU turnovers and scored the next eight points to cut the Sun Devil lead to two points, 23-21, with 1:46 left in the half. The Sun Devils, however, knocked down the final four points of the period to take a 27-21 halftime lead. Thigpin had seven points and four rebounds in the first half to lead the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils came out strong in the second half, scoring the first six points of the half on layups by sophomore Carrie Buckner and freshmen Amy Denson and Noe to take a 33-21 lead with 18:20 to play. Cal cut the lead to eight points on four occasions but never got any closer. The Sun Devils took their largest lead of the ball game when sophomore Kylan Loney knocked down a pair of free throws and then hit her second three-pointer of the game to give the Sun Devils a 59-44 lead. ASU held Cal without a basket over the final 6:07 en route to the 61-47 win.
Noe led the Sun Devils in scoring and rebounding with 12 points and 11 rebounds for her team-leading fifth double-double of the year and added four steals. Thigpin finished with nine points and five rebounds, while sophomore Lauren Stagg pulled down a career-best six rebounds. For Cal, sophomore Kiki Williams led all scorers with 16 points, while junior Olga Volkova added eight rebounds. ASU outrebounded Cal 44-34 and held the Bears to a season-low 29.6 percent shooting from the field.
The Buck(ner) Stops HereSophomore Carrie Buckner has turned up her game a notch in the last 13 games, averaging 8.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. She has scored at least 12 points in four of the last seven 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 Feb. 8, 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 (7.9 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (5.5), 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 2.11 steals per game, while with 57 takeaways on the year, she has already surpassed her production of 38 steals from last year. She is ranked 18th in the Pac-10 in rebounding, while the Corvallis, Ore., native leads the team with 70 offensive rebounds which ranks sixth in the league (2.59 orpg).
Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are ranked third in the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 9.8 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 27 games this year. Sophomore Carrie Buckner leads the team and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.11 thefts per game, while freshman Jill Noe is ninth in the Pac-10 with 1.93 thefts per game. Eight Sun Devils have 15 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 10th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 12.5 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in 12 of the last 23 games, including a career-best 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State and again Jan. 11 at Washington State. Noe is also third on the team and 16th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (5.8 rpg). Freshman forward Amy Denson leads the team and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding (6.1 rpg), while fellow freshman Kristen Kovesdy is second on the team and 15th in the league in the category (5.9 rpg). In scoring, Denson is second on the team at 10.3 points per game, while Kovesdy is third on the team at 9.6 rpg. Kovesdy also leads the team and ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 52.2 percent (97-186).
Double TroubleThe Sun Devil rookies have had 11 of ASU's 12 double-doubles this season, including freshman Jill Noe's fifth of the year last week against Cal (12 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 (at 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) 11 pts, 11 rbsJill Noe (California, 2/27/03) 12 pts, 11 rbs
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 hip flexor/groin strain over the last few weeks, has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and free throw percentage (.806). She also ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.337), steals (1.93 spg) and assists (2.8 apg) and is third in rebounding (5.8 rpg). She is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, ninth in steals, 10th in scoring and 16th in rebounding. With 337 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 (fourth with 52), assists (third with 76) and rebounds (sixth with 157).
Noe has scored in double figures 18 times in 27 games this year (with five 20-point games) and has paced the team in scoring 13 times 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. Noe also leads the team with five double-doubles on the year, including 12 points and 11 rebounds Feb. 27 vs. Cal.
Success at the Charity StripeThis season, the Sun Devils have turned into one of the league's better free throw shooting teams, ranking fifth in the Pac-10 in the category at 68.8 percent on the year (403-586). 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 12 of 27 games. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and is fourth in the Pac-10 at 80.6 percent (104-129), 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.
- Sophomore Kylan Loney turned in a career-best eight assists with only one turnover last week vs. Stanford. Loney leads the team and is tied for sixth in the Pac-10 with 3.4 assists per game. After setting the ASU freshman assists record last year with 104 assists, she has 93 assists this year for a career total of 197. Loney needs just six assists to tie Crystal Cobb (1989-94) for 10th on the ASU career list (203).
- ASU held Cal to a season-low 29.6 percent shooting last week, while the Bears' 47 points marked the second-lowest total allowed by the Sun Devils this season. It was also the third time this year that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
- 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 22.8 times per game in the last five games, including 27 turnovers Feb. 22 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 3-4 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-15th, Jill Noe-16th and Carrie Buckner-18th).
- The Sun Devils have already blocked 84 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 in the Pac-10 with 3.11 per contest. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy leads the team and is tied for eighth in the Pac-10 in the category with 0.70 blocked shots per game. Her 19 blocked shots also put her into a tie for second on the ASU single-season list for blocks by a freshman with Tanya Morris (1984-85), while Jenny Thigpin is sixth on that list with 14 blocks.
- The Sun Devils continue to lead the Pac-10 with 14.96 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 sixth in the Pac-10 with 2.59 offensive rebounds per game, while freshman Kristen Kovesdy is eighth in the league with 2.44 offensive boards per contest.
- ASU's seven new players (including six freshmen) account for 61.1 percent of the team's scoring (1070 of 1750 points) and 57.3 percent of the team's rebounding (585 of 1021 boards) this year.
- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 52.2 percent of her shots on the year (97-186). 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 vs. Portland State, ASU's third game of the year.
- Through ASU's 27 games, sophomore Kylan Loney leads the team with 44 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 she had all of last year. With a total of 58 three-pointers in her career, Loney already ranks ninth on the ASU career list in the category, while her 44 treys this season are tied for seventh on the Sun Devils' single-season list with Stephanie Freeman (1997-98). Loney leads the team and is fifth in the Pac-10 at 37.9 percent from three-point land this year (44-116), while freshman Jill Noe is second on the team at 33.7 percent (33-98). 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 eight games this year and is averaging 18.9 points per game (509 points), including 30 points Feb. 22 at Arizona. Junior Jen Albert is the team's leading scorer off the bench at 4.9 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 7.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and shot 57.1 percent from the field (20-35) in the last seven 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 ASUWith a 105-98 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 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and District 8 Regional 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.
Home-Court AdvantageLast weekend's loss to ninth-ranked Stanford snapped a four-game home winning streak for the Sun Devils, a stretch that included upsets of then No. 19 Arizona and then No. 20 Washington. ASU has won 19 of its last 23 home games and 13 of its last 16 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 21-6 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 year at home, has turned in a 45-12 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last four seasons.
There's No Place Like HomeIn addition to their 12-4 record at Wells Fargo Arena this year (6-3 in Pac-10 games), the Sun Devils also turned in some stellar stats in their regular-season home games. At home, ASU averaged 67.8 points a game and shot 41.3 percent from the field (380-919) and 34.5 percent from three-point land (67-194). In comparison, on the road, the team turned in a 3-8 record (just 1-8 in Pac-10 play) and averaged 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). Friday night's game with Cal will mark the first foray onto a neutral court for this season's crop of Sun Devils.
Senior Rainy CrispArizona State honored its lone senior, guard Rainy Crisp, before last week's game with Stanford. A native of Shiprock, N.M., and a graduate of Navajo Preparatory Academy, Crisp has played in 114 games with three starts in her career since transferring to ASU from New Mexico State four years ago. This season, Crisp regained a year of eligibility after a successful appeal to the NCAA.
Despite sitting out the first four regular-season games of the season, Crisp has provided leadership and experience to one of the youngest teams in the country, while turning in the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team this year (1.2). In her career at ASU, Crisp has helped the Sun Devils to several of the most successful seasons in school history, including ASU's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Two seasons ago, she was the team's Most Improved Player on ASU's first ever Pac-10 Championship team, while last year, she was an integral part of the squad which tied the school record for wins with a 25-9 mark and won the first ever Pac-10 Tournament Championship.