2003-04 Women's Basketball Season In Review
April 27, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Earning a school-record fifth consecutive postseason appearance, the 2003-04 Arizona State women's basketball team turned in a 17-12 overall record. The Sun Devils finished in a tie for third place in the Pac-10 standings with an 11-7 league mark, just one win shy of the school record for conference victories. The team also turned in its fourth consecutive winning season, making eighth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne just the second mentor in school history to lead her team to four straight winning campaigns. Despite having three players suffer torn ACLs this year, including the team's only two four-year players, ASU earned its second straight bid to the Women's National Invitation Tournament and finished in the top half of the Pac-10 standings for the third time in four years. The Sun Devils also tied the school record for home wins for the third straight season and set a school mark for best home winning percentage with a 13-1 record in the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena (.929).
Three Sun Devils on the 2004 All-Pac-10 TeamsThree Sun Devils were named to the Pac-10 All-Conference teams this year led by junior point guard Kylan Loney who earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors. She became ASU's first first-team all-league selection since two-time honoree Amanda Levens was selected to the All-Pac-10 squad in 2002. It is the first all-league honor for Loney who was named to the honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman team in 2002. Sophomore Kristen Kovesdy was named an honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection after earning honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman accolades last year.
Freshman Emily Westerberg was selected to the Pac-10 All-Freshman first team, marking the seventh consecutive year that ASU has had a player garner mention on the all-rookie first- or honorable-mention team. Last season, ASU had three players earn Pac-10 All-Freshman honors with Jill Noe and Amy Denson earning first-team accolades and Kovesdy being named to the honorable-mention squad.
School-Record Six Named to All-Academic TeamsASU also had a school-record six Sun Devils named to the 2004 Pac-10 All-Academic teams. The most the team had ever had in the past was five in 2000. Senior Jen Albert was named to the All-Academic First Team for the third consecutive year to become the first Sun Devil in school history to earn first-team all-academic honors three times in her career. It also marks the fourth straight year that ASU has had at least one first-team all-academic honoree.
Junior Carrie Buckner was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic second team, her second career all-academic honor. ASU also had four players named to the Pac-10 All-Academic honorable-mention squad including juniors Betsy Boardman, Kylan Loney and Lauren Stagg and sophomore Amy Denson. It marks the second all-academic honor for both Boardman and Loney, while Stagg and Denson earned all-academic honors for the first time in their careers. Boardman was also named to the 2004 Academic All-America District VIII second team this year.
Head Coach Charli Turner ThorneEighth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne has led her Sun Devils to a school-record five consecutive postseason bids including WNIT appearances in 2000, 2003 and 2004 and ASU's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 20 years in 2001 and 2002. ASU previously had advanced to postseason play in three straight seasons (NWIT runner-up in 1981, NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1982 and 1983).
After a 17-12 mark this season, Turner Thorne became only the second coach in school history to lead the Sun Devils to four consecutive winning seasons. The last time ASU had four straight winning campaigns was under Juliene Simpson from 1980-81 to 1983-84. With a 123-112 record in eight seasons at ASU, Turner Thorne needs just 11 wins to tie the school record for victories. Simpson is currently the all-time winningest coach in Arizona State women's basketball history, notching a 134-92 mark in eight seasons in Tempe (1979-87).
Since Turner Thorne took over the reins of the program in 1996-97, the Sun Devils have climbed 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, advanced to the NCAA Tournament and won the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament Championship.
Tough DefenseArizona State has established itself as one of the top defensive teams in the Pac-10 Conference. The Sun Devils have led the league in at least one defensive category in each of the last six years (1998-99 to present). This year, ASU paced the Pac-10 in rebounding defense (32.2 rpg) and three-point field goal defense (30.4 percent allowed) and finished second in scoring defense (61.1 ppg). By allowing just 32.2 rebounds allowed per game, ASU set a school record for rebounding defense, besting the previous low of 33.3 by the 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament champion squad. ASU also led the Pac-10 in three-point defense in for the third straight year and the fifth time in six seasons. In the last six seasons (since the start of the 1998-99 season to present), the Sun Devils have allowed opponents to just 62.8 points and 34.0 rebounds per game and 29.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc (11,297 points, 6115 rebounds, 502-1707 three-pointers, 180 games).
Notes from the Charity StripeArizona State finished third in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting at 72.1 percent, including 76.2 percent from the free throw line over the last 13 games of the season (205-269). The Sun Devils turned in a 96.0-percent effort during its regular season-ending trip to the state of Washington (13-14 at Washington on Feb. 26 and a season-best 11-11 at Washington State on Feb. 28). ASU's 72.1 percent effort this season at the line was the best for the Sun Devils since the 1986-87 team shot 72.4 percent from the line. The school record for free throw shooting in a season was set in 1978-79 when the Sun Devils knocked down 74.7 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
Individually, junior Kylan Loney and sophomore Kristen Kovesdy both ranked in the Pac-10's top 10 in free throw percentage with Loney coming in at fourth at 81.5 percent and Kovesdy seventh at 78.2. Loney has shot 81.3 percemt from the line in her three years in Tempe (156-192), which ranks fourth in the ASU career list.
Defending Against the ThreeThe Sun Devils led the league in three-point defense for the third straight year and the fifth time in the last six seasons. This year, ASU allowed opponents to shoot just 30.4 percent from beyond the arc (83-273) and was even stingier during league play, allowing Pac-10 opponents to shoot just 28.4 percent (48-169).
The Sun Devils held Stanford, the league's top three-point shooting team at 37.7 percent and 7.53 treys per game, to just 8.0 percent (2-25) on Feb. 7. ASU allowed no three-pointers by their opponents five times this season, including none by George Washington on Nov. 29 (0-4), then No. 25 Arizona on Jan. 4 (0-3), Cal on Jan. 10 (0-6), USC on Jan. 17 (0-4) and UNLV on March 18 (0-7).
Just a Little Help From Their FriendsASU finished first in the Pac-10 and 26th in the country in assists, dishing out an average of 16.4 assists per game and marking the first time in 18 years in the Pac-10 that ASU paced the league in that category. In addition, the Sun Devils fell just one assist short of tying the school single-season record for assists with 475. The 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament championship team set the record with 476 assists.
Junior Kylan Loney led the team in assists for the second consecutive year and ranked 10th in the Pac-10 at 3.0 assists per game (88 assists). Juniors Carrie Buckner (76) and Betsy Boardman (69) trailed right behind Loney. For Buckner, her 76 assists were more than she had in her first two seasons combined (58), while Loney is already ranked ninth on the ASU career list with 296 assists heading into her senior season in 2004-05.
Home-Court AdvantageThe Sun Devils turned in a 13-1 record at Wells Fargo Arena this year, tying the school record for home wins for the third consecutive season and setting the school mark for home winning percentage in a season (.929).
ASU has won 18 of its last 20 home games and holds a 62-14 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last five seasons (.816). Prior to a 68-65 loss to USC on Jan. 17, the Sun Devils won their first eight home games this year and a total of nine straight games at Wells Fargo Arena. In 2002-03, ASU turned in a 13-4 record which matched the school-record 13 victories the 2001-02 team had (13-2).
Notes from the RoadAfter turning in a 1-8 mark in Pac-10 road games in 2002-03, the Sun Devils finished with a 3-6 in league road contests this year with victories at California, Oregon State and Oregon. Overall, ASU finished 4-8 in road games this year and played six of its last eight games away from Wells Fargo Arena, dropping their last six (0-5 away, 0-1 neutral) with their last road win coming on Jan. 24 at Oregon.
Did Someone Break a Mirror or Something?Arizona State endured four season-ending knee injuries this year, including leading scorer Betsy Boardman who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in the closing minutes at Washington State on Feb. 28. It marked the second ACL tear in 18 months for the junior guard who missed all of last year after injuring her right knee on Oct. 13, 2002. Last year, Boardman was the top returning scorer and rebounder for ASU heading in the season prior to her injury.
This season also marked the second year in a row that the Sun Devils entered the season after losing their top returning scorer to an ACL tear in the preseason. Sophomore Jill Noe, a 2003 Pac-10 All-Freshman first-teamer, has missed the entire 2003-04 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee Oct. 8 in preseason skillwork. Noe was the first Sun Devil rookie to lead the team in scoring since 1999, averaging 12.6 points per game, and finished second on the team in three-point shooting (35.5 percent), assists (2.7 assists per game) and steals (1.9 steals per game) in 2002-03. ASU also spent 2002-03 without forward Alexis Tate to season-ending knee injuries. Tate attempted a comeback this summer but was ultimately forced to end her career due to her injuries.
And last but not least, ASU lost its only senior, forward Jen Albert to an ACL tear on Dec. 28. A two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection, Albert had played in 100 career games with six starts prior to her injury. With the injuries to Albert and Boardman, Arizona State ended the season with no four-year players on its active roster and only three juniors.
Bench MarkASU's bench made a big difference in every game in 2003-04 and was been outscored just nine times in 29 games this season. The Sun Devil bench players turned in an average of 23.2 points per game this year, while a Sun Devil led the team in scoring off the bench five times this season. In all, ASU turned in a 12-5 record when its bench outscored its opponent's reserves. Freshman Emily Westerberg (6.2 points per game) was the team's top scorer off the bench this year, while sophomore Amy Denson (5.7), freshman Alisha Godette (4.4), sophomore Jenny Thigpin (3.9), sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal (3.6) and freshman Aubree Johnson all turned in solid scoring efforts in relief.
Quick Notes on the Season
- ASU upset two ranked teams this season, including then No. 24 Washington and then No. 7 Stanford. ASU's 73-53 win over Stanford was the only double-digit loss of the season for the Cardinal, which advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
- The Sun Devils played 16 games against 10 teams that advanced to the postseason in 2003-04 (10 games against six teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including 2004 NCAA Champion UConn, and six games against four teams that earned WNIT bids).
- ASU won the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic in November, defeating Western Michigan and Binghamton to win its own tournament for the third consecutive year and the 13th time in school history. Junior Betsy Boardman earned Tournament MVP honors, while junior Kylan Loney and sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal were also named to the all-tournament team.
- The Sun Devils opened the Pac-10 Conference season with a pair of wins over Washington State and Washington, marking just the second time that ASU opened league play with a 2-0 record since joining the Pac-10 in 1986-87.
- Arizona State turned in a five-game winning streak in the middle of Pac-10 play this year, the first since the team won a school-record seven consecutive league games in 2000-01.
ASU Picked Fourth, Fifth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State exceeded expectations with its tie for third place in this year's Pac-10 standings. It marked the third time in four years that ASU finished in the top half of the Pac-10 standings. ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 Conference by the media and fifth by the league's coaches in the preseason.
2003-04 Individual Accomplishments
Jen Albert * F * 6-2 * Sr. * Longmont, Colo./Niwot HS- Played in 10 games before tearing her ACL on Dec. 27 against Washington State.- Two-year team captain and the lone senior on this year's team.- Earned first-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors for the third straight season, becoming the first player in school history to be named to the all-academic first team three times in her career.- Played in 100 career games with six starts in her four years at ASU.- Helped ASU to a share of the 2001 Pac-10 title, the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament title and two NCAA Tournament appearances in her four years in Tempe.- Averaged 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game this year with her best game coming with four points and four rebounds vs. Grambling State on Nov. 23.- Finished her career with averages of 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.- Also shot 39.2 percent from the field and 71.6 percent from the free throw line in her career.
Betsy Boardman * G/F * Jr. * Portland, Ore./Beaverton HS- Started all 26 games she played in this year before suffering her second ACL tear in 18 months on the last day of the regular season.- Earned honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Academic honors this season.- Was also named to the 2004 Academic All-America District VIII second team.- Led the team and finished 18th in the Pac-10 in scoring with 10.6 points per game.- Finished second on the team with 44 steals. Has moved to ninth on the ASU career list with 164 career steals.- Was also second on the team in three-pointers made (39) and second on the squad and ninth in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage (.361).- Has climbed to fourth on the ASU career list for three-pointers made (112) and third in three-point field goal attempts (313).- Became just the fourth player in school history to knock down at least 100 career three-pointers.- Has played in 91 career games, starting all 91.- Needs just 57 points to become the 14th Sun Devil to score at least 1,000 points in her career.- Was the MVP of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic after averaging 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists to lead ASU to the tournament title.- Scored a career-best 20 points vs. Western Michigan on Dec. 5 in the first game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Also had a season-high nine rebounds in that game and in the next game vs. Binghamton in the championship game of that tournament.- Scored in double figures in 15 of 26 games and led the team in scoring six times on the year.- Had 19 points and knocked down a career-high 5-of-6 three-pointers Feb. 28 at Washington State before tearing her ACL with two minutes left in the game.- Knocked down more than one three-pointer in nine games this year, including four against Western Michigan on Dec. 5 and again vs. UCLA on Jan. 15.- Finished third on the team with 69 assists, including a career-best seven vs. WSU on Dec. 27.
Carrie Buckner * G * 5-9 * Jr. * Corvallis, Ore./Crescent Valley HS- Earned second-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors, the second league all-academic accolade of her career.- Was one of three players to start all 29 games this year. Has started the last 59 games over the last two seasons.- Led the team and finished eighth in the Pac-10 with 54 steals (1.86 per game).- Was second on the team with 76 assists (2.6 per game).- Had the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team (1.7) and would have ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in the category but fell just short of the assist-per-game minimum in the category.- Was also fourth in the team in scoring (7.0 ppg) and third in rebounding (4.7 rpg). Paced the team with 57 offensive rebounds on the season.- Ranks 10th on the ASU career list with 155 steals.- Scored in double figures in nine games, including a season-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting at Washington State on Feb. 28.- Turned in the second double-double of her career with 15 points and 11 rebounds Feb. 21 against Oregon State.- Matched her career best with six assists three times this year.- Had a season-high five steals twice this year (Jan. 10 at Cal and March 18 at UNLV).- Led the Sun Devils in rebounding in seven games and in scoring in two contests.
Amy Denson * F * 6-1 * So. * Central Point, Ore./Crater HS- Earned honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Academic honors.- Played in all 29 games, starting 20.- Finished second on the team and tied for 20th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (4.7 rebounds per game).- Paced the team with 4.7 rebounds per game in Pac-10 play.- Was sixth on the team in scoring at 5.7 points per game and had five games in double figures.- Was second on the team with three double-doubles and missed two others by just one rebound.- Scored a season-high 13 points in each of ASU's first two games of the season.- Led the team in rebounding in four games, including season-high 12 boards vs. UCLA Jan. 15.- Nearly doubled her assists total from one year ago with 44 assists (23 last year).
Alisha Godette * G * 5-10 * Fr. * Colorado Springs, Colo./Doherty HS- Played in all 29 games with two starts.- Was the second-leading scorer off the bench at 4.4 points per game.- Also averaged 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.- Scored a career-best 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in her Sun Devil debut Nov. 21 against Akron. Also pulled down a career-high eight rebounds in that game.- Scored nine points, including seven in the second half, of ASU's come-from-behind win at Oregon on Jan. 24. Hit the game-tying three-pointer with 1:39 to play in that game.- Dished out a career-high four assists twice (at Holy Cross Dec. 20 and vs. Oregon Feb. 19).- Had a career-best three steals vs. UCLA on March 6.
Aubree Johnson * F * 6-2 * Fr. * Post Falls, Idaho/Post Falls HS- Played in all 29 games with five starts.- Averaged 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this year.- Scored a career-best 13 points in her Sun Devil debut Nov. 21 vs. Akron.- Pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds Dec. 5 against Western Michigan.- Led the team in rebounding in three straight non-conference games (8 vs. Kansas State, 6 vs. George Washington and 11 vs. Western Michigan).- Pulled down nine boards on two occasions (vs. UCLA Jan. 15 and vs. Oregon Feb. 19).- Was the team's fourth-leading scorer off the bench.- Had a career-best four steals and four assists Feb. 28 at Washington State.
Kristen Kovesdy * F * 6-3 * So. * Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Mary's HS- Earned honorable-mention All-Pac-10 honors after being an honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year.- Was one of three players to start all 29 games this year.- Finished second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 55.7 percent of her attempts. Her 55.7-percent effort ranks seventh on the ASU single-season chart.- Also paced the team and ranked 18th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (4.9 per game).- Finished third on the team in scoring for all games (9.8 ppg) and led the team in scoring for Pac-10 games (11.0 ppg).- Led the Pac-10 in field goal percentage for league play at 58.9 percent.- Was second on the team and seventh in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at 78.2 percent.- Also led the team with 13 blocked shots (0.4 per game).- Scored a career-best 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting Dec. 29 at Washington.- Had 15 games in double figures for scoring, including three 20-point games.- Turned in the fourth double-double of the her career with 20 points (on 9-of-12 shooting) and a season-high 12 rebounds vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 10.- Led the team in scoring eight times this year, including 13 points at Connecticut on Dec. 18 and 24 points Jan. 15 vs. UCLA.- Has knocked down 53.2 percent of her career field goal attempts, which ranks fifth on the ASU career charts.
Kylan Loney * G * 5-7 * Jr. * Ames, Iowa/Ames Senior HS- Earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors this season, the first all-conference honor of her career and ASU's first first-team selection since Amanda Levens in 2002.- Also earned honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Academic honors, the second league all-academic honor of her career.- Finished second on the team and 20th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 10.2 points per game.- Led the team and finished sixth in the league in three-point field goal percentage, draining 37.8 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc. Her 37.8-percent effort ranked seventh on the ASU single-season charts.- Also ranked 20th in the Pac-10 in three-pointers made (1.55), while her 45 three-pointers this year rank seventh on the ASU single-season list.- Became the fifth player in school history to knock down at least 100 career treys and ranks fifth on the ASU career list with 103 treys. Also ranks sixth in career three-point attempts (297).- Led the team and ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at 81.5 percent.- Also paced the team and ended up 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.03 assists per game. Also ended up ninth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14).- Ranks eighth on the ASU career records list with 296 assists.- Was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Feb. 5 after scoring a career-best 32 points Jan. 31 vs. Arizona. That was the most points scored by a Sun Devil since Molly Tuter had 32 in 1997.- Knocked down 9-of-14 attempts from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point land in that game.- Had one three-pointer in 23 of 29 games and more than one in 11 contests.- Also had a career-high-tying five three-pointers Dec. 27 vs. Washington State.- Scored in double figures 13 times this season, including 24 points vs. WSU on Dec. 27.- Made her last 13 free throw attempts of the season.- After starting the season shooting just 15.4 percent from three-point land (2-13) in the first five games, shot 41.0 percent in the last 24 tilts (41-100).- Finished fifth in the Pac-10 at 42.5 percent from three-point land for Pac-10 play.- Was second on the team and tied for 19th in scoring in Pac-10 games at 10.8 points per game.- Dished out a season-high and career-high-tying eight assists Dec. 20 at Holy Cross.- Led the team in scoring in eight games and in assists in seven contests.
YoVanna Rosenthal * G * 5-7 * So. * Phoenix, Ariz./Thunderbird HS- Played in all 29 games this year.- Averaged 3.6 points and 1.4 assists per game.- Finished third on the team with 32 steals.- Matched her career high with four steals vs. Binghamton on Dec. 6 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 10.- Was named to the all-tournament team at the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic after averaging 9.5 points and 3.0 steals per game and shooting 50.0 percent from the field- Averaged 7.4 points per game in the non-conference season, including a career-best 14 points Dec. 10 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.- Knocked down a career-best 3-of-5 three-pointers, scored 13 points and dished out four assists in ASU's season-opener vs. Akron.
Lauren Stagg * G * 5-10 * Jr. * Airdrie, Alberta, Canada/George McDougall HS- Earned honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Academic honors.- Saw action in all 29 games.- Averaged 1.3 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game.- Scored a season-high six points on two occasions (vs. Grambling State on Nov. 23 and at Holy Cross on Dec. 20). Also had a season-high three steals in that Holy Cross game.- Dished out a career-best six assists (with only one turnover) in 12 minutes vs. Cal on Feb. 5.- Grabbed a career-best eight rebounds and tied her career high with three steals in 14 minutes on Feb. 12 at USC
Jenny Thigpin *F * 6-3 * So. * Hanford, Calif./Hanford HS- Played in all 29 games.- Averaged 3.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.- Was the third-leading scorer off the bench for the Sun Devils.- Shot a team-best 56.0 percent from the field. That mark would have ranked second in the Pac-10 but fell short of the minimum of 3.0 field goals made per game.- Scored a career-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting in just 15 minutes in ASU's upset of then No. 7 Stanford on Feb. 7.- Also knocked down 6-of-8 free throw attempts and pulled down a season high seven rebounds in that game.- Had 16 of her 18 points in ASU's second-half comeback vs. the Cardinal.- Led the team in scoring in three games, including 12 points at California on Jan. 10 and 13 at USC on Feb. 12.- Blocked a career-best two shots vs. Arizona on Jan. 31.
Emily Westerberg * F * 6-0 * Fr. * Greenacres, Wash./Central Valley HS- Earned Pac-10 All-Freshman first-team honors, marking the seventh straight year that ASU has had a player earn mention on the league's all-rookie team.- Played in 28 games, starting five contests.- Was ASU's leading scorer off the bench at 6.2 points per game.- Also averaged 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.- Scored a career-best 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting Jan. 2 at Arizona.- Pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds (five offensive boards) at Oregon on Jan. 24.- Scored in double figures in six games, including 16 points vs. No. 7 Stanford on Feb. 7.- Knocked down a career-best 3-of-5 three-point attempts vs. the Cardinal.- Was third on the team with 10 three-pointers made.- Dished out a career-best seven assists (with only one turnover) in her Sun Devil debut vs. Akron on Nov. 21.- Had a career-high three steals vs. UCLA on March 6 and a career-best two blocks vs. the Bruins on Jan. 15.