Women's Hoops Heads to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam

Nov. 25, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a pair of decisive home wins over Akron and Grambling State to open the 28th season of Sun Devil women's basketball, eighth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne and her Arizona State Sun Devils head to the skies, making the 2,040-mile trip from Tempe to Grand Bahama Island for the 2003 Junkanoo Jam. Arizona State will take on No. 9/8 Kansas State (1-1) in its first game of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 28 and either No. 7/7 Penn State or George Washington (0-1) in the second game. The Sun Devils, ranked 35th by womenscollegehoops.com and receiving votes in both national polls, opened the season last weekend with an 80-48 win over Akron on Nov. 21 and an 89-51 victory over Grambling State on Nov. 23. It marked the sixth straight season that ASU has opened the year with a 2-0 mark. This weekend, the team will be looking to close in on the start of last year's squad which won its first five games, while the Sun Devils are looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since upsetting three ranked teams last year.

Leaving the CountryThe Sun Devils' trip to Grand Bahama Island will mark ASU's first regular-season trip outside the United States since traveling to the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands in November of 2001. That was a very successful trip with ASU winning the Junkanoo Jam, falling to Western Michigan in the first round but rebounding with victories over Kansas State and Richmond to capture the tournament championship. The Sun Devils went on to win a school-record 25 games, capture the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament championship and advance to the second round of the the NCAA Tournament during that 2001-02 season.

While this is ASU's first trip outside the U.S. in the regular season since the 2001-02 campaign, the Sun Devils added another stamp to their passports this summer when the team traveled to Australia for a five-game tour August 8-19. ASU played five games in eight days and visited the cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. The Sun Devils turned in a 4-1 record (winning their last four games) during the trip, which saw the team take seven flights (totaling over 35 hours), cross the International Date Line twice and travel nearly 20,000 miles.

Good StartsThe Sun Devils won their first five games last season, turning in the team's first 5-0 start since 1991-92, while the team's 8-1 non-conference record was the best start since that 1991-92 team turned in a 9-1 non-conference mark. Including this year, Arizona State has opened the season with back-to-back wins in each of the last six years, a streak dating back to 1998-99.

About the Junkanoo JamThe 2003 Junkanoo Jam is an eight-team tournament being held Nov. 28-29 at St. George High School on Grand Bahama Island. ASU is playing in the 'Freeport' Division with Kansas State, George Washington and Penn State. USC, Minnesota, Seton Hall and Texas A&M make up the 'Lucaya' Division.

In the SeriesArizona State leads the series with Kansas State 2-0, most recently defeating the Wildcats 76-58 on Nov. 25, 2001 in the second game of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. After the loss to ASU, K-State went on to win 14 straight games, climb as high as ninth in the AP poll and advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen that season. This season, the Wildcats have opened the year with a 79-69 loss at then No. 9 Purdue and a 76-48 victory over Western Illinois. No. 9/8 K-State returns all five starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 29-5 team which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. ASU is 10-22 all time against teams from the Big XII Conference, falling at Baylor in the second round of the WNIT last year and defeating both Kansas State and Kansas during the 2001-02 season.

ASU has never played George Washington or No. 7/7 Penn State and will have its first meeting with one of those two teams in its second game in the Bahamas. The Sun Devils are 3-3 against teams from GWU's Atlantic 10 Conference and 0-3 against opponents from the Big Ten Conference. George Washington opened the 2003-04 season with a 67-62 loss at Georgetown and returns four starters and nine letterwinners from a team that went 25-7, won the Atlantic 10 and advanced to the NCAA second round last year. Penn State won its 2003-04 season opener with a 83-46 victory over LSU and will play at Old Dominion on Nov. 25 before heading to the Bahamas. The Lady Lions return all five starters and 10 letterwinners from their 26-9 team last year. PSU won the Big Ten title and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive season last year.

Against Ranked OpponentsOn Friday against No. 9/8 Kansas State, the Sun Devils will be looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since a 62-56 victory over then No. 20/24 Washington on Feb. 8, 2003 in Tempe. ASU upset three ranked opponents last season and went 3-4 against teams listed in the national top 25. The Sun Devils' last victory over a team ranked in the national top 10 came during the 2001-02 season when ASU upset then No. 2/2 Stanford 70-63 in the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament.

Getting It Done on Both Ends of the FloorIncluding its two exhibition victories, ASU is averaging 84.5 points and 53.5 rebounds per game this year. The team has shot 45.7 percent from the field in the four games (129-282). On the defensive side of the ball, ASU is holding its opponents to 49.3 points and 35.0 rebounds per game and allowing teams to shoot just 27.9 percent from the field (61-218).

Notes from ASU's Season-Opening WeekendTrue freshman guard Alisha Godette led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in ASU's 80-48 season-opening win over Akron on Nov. 21...sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal had a career-high 13 points, knocking down 5-of-7 attempts from the field and 3-of-5 from three point land (all career bests)...Godette, sophomore forward Amy Denson and junior guard Carrie Buckner each turned in a game-high eight rebounds, while freshman forward Emily Westerberg led the Sun Devils with seven assists and just one turnover in her Sun Devil debut...in ASU's second game, an 89-51 victory over Grambling State on Nov. 23, junior guard Betsy Boardman scored a game-high 16 points and added six rebounds and a pair of assists and steals...sophomore forward Amy Denson scored ASU's first nine points and had all 13 of her points in the first half on 6-of-10 shooting. She also finished with five rebounds...ASU shot 44.8 percent in the game (30-67) compared to just 24.6 percent for Grambling and scored the most points by a Sun Devil squad since 96-52 win over Gonzaga on Dec. 5, 1998, a stretch of 148 games...Boardman saw her first action since March of 2002 (20 months) after missing last season with a knee injury and sitting out ASU's season-opener due to a one-game suspension for playing in a non-sanctioned summer league game...Denson added four steals, while sophomore forward Kristen Kovesdy pulled down a team-best seven rebounds...junior guard Carrie Buckner led the team with a career-high six assists.

Up NextFollowing their trip to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo Jam, the Sun Devils return home to play host to the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic Dec. 5-6 in Tempe, a tournament featuring ASU, Binghamton, Montana State and Western Michigan. ASU will take on Western Michigan in the first game of the tournament as the team attempts to win its own tournament for the third straight year.

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