Denson Shines in ASU's Win Over Grambling State

Nov. 23, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - By Brian Gomez - TheSunDevils.com

For the first eight minutes Sunday night, sophomore forward Amy Denson kept Arizona State ahead of Grambling State � by herself.

Denson scored her team's first nine points, including seven in the opening two minutes, as the Sun Devils built a lead they would not relinquish and cruised to an 89-51 win over Grambling State at Wells Fargo Arena.

'I kept wanting the ball, and I had a lot of confidence,' said Denson, who finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four steals, which matched a career high.

Denson's offense came smoother than water flowing from a faucet in a kitchen sink.

Denson scored first on a layup in transition after corralling a pass from junior point guard Kylan Loney, then laid in a bucket when junior forward Betsy Boardman zipped a rifle to the post.

On ASU's next trip up the floor, Denson converted a three-point play upon taking an inbounds pass from Boardman. She knocked down a short, baseline jumper about a minute later, capping the nine-point surge that gave the Sun Devils enough momentum to eventually double up the Tigers before halftime.

'We really need everybody to take a page from Amy right now,' ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 'The thing I love about Amy Denson's game is that she is playing hard every possession. She is showing great poise and leadership, and she is doing a nice job offensively in terms of making great moves and finishing her shots.'

For Denson, getting off to a hot start was no different than what happened last season. As a freshman, Denson scored in double figures in nine of her first 11 games. She started the Pac-10 season on a tear, posting back-to-back double-digit efforts at nationally-ranked Stanford and California.

In Friday's season opener, Denson scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an 80-48 romp against Akron. She struggled shooting the ball, but looked much better Sunday, making 6 of 10 shots from the field.

'I had a lot of open looks tonight,' said Denson, whose 13-point effort was only five shy of her career high. 'It's easy to work your way in and start with lay-ins, then kind of get the confidence and just stroke it on the way out.'

A fixture in ASU's starting lineup for the second straight season, Denson is trying to duplicate the success she had last year when she finished second on the team in scoring (9.9 points per game) and rebounding (6.0 rebounds per game).

Although the possibility of a sophomore slump doesn't appear imminent, especially with the amount of fresh talent in her team's revamped offense, Denson knows she has to maintain her diligent work ethic in order to stay consistent.

'It's a totally different feel from my freshman year,' Denson said. 'I don't feel any pressure whatsoever. I just want to have fun and win.'

Reach the reporter at brian.gomez@asu.edu.

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