Women's Basketball Hosts ASU Holiday Classic This Weekend

Nov. 30, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Winners of three straight games including two last weekend in San Antonio, the Arizona State Sun Devils return home to play host to their own ASU Holiday Classic this weekend at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will be looking to win its own tournament for the fourth consecutive season and will take on Alabama State (0-1) in the first game at 6 p.m. on Friday night. Gonzaga (2-1) will take on Nevada (2-1) in the nightcap on Friday, while on Saturday, the consolation game will be played at 4:30 p.m. followed by the championship game at 7 p.m. The Sun Devils are 4-1 on the year after earning victories over Seton Hall and Prairie View A&M at last week's UT-San Antonio Thanksgiving Classic. This week, ASU looks to extend a streak of six straight wins at Wells Fargo Arena, while the team will play four of its next five games on the road following this weekend's tournament, including a trip to Athens, Ga., to take on No. 6/6 Georgia on Dec. 7. The Sun Devils' only home game in that stretch will be a Dec. 21 matchup with three-time defending national champion and eighth-ranked Connecticut at Wells Fargo Arena.

Tough SlateArizona State, which is ranked 25th in the latest RPI rankings, has put together one of the toughest schedules in the nation this season. The Sun Devils will take on eight teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year, including a Dec. 21 match-up with three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut. Including a Nov. 12 game at then No. 3/2 (and now top-ranked) LSU, the Sun Devils will take on six teams ranked in the most recent polls, including three of the preseason top five squads in the country during the non-conference slate. The team travels to No. 6/6 Georgia on Dec. 7 and will then play host to No. 8/8 Connecticut on Dec. 21 at Wells Fargo Arena. Three Pac-10 teams - No. 5/2 Stanford, No. -/25 Arizona and No. 25/- UCLA - are ranked with ASU, Oregon, USC and Washington receiving votes.

ASU Tournament HistoryThe Sun Devils have compiled a 37-12 record in their own tournament, reaching the championship game in 23 of 24 tournaments. ASU has captured the title in its own tournament 13times, including the last three and four of the last five tournaments. Last year, ASU won the 2003 ASU Holiday Classic with wins over Western Michigan and Binghamton. Betsy Boardman was named the 2003 Tournament MVP, while Kylan Loney and YoVanna Rosenthal were both named to the all-tournament team. Complete ASU Holiday Classic results are available on page 6 of this release.

In the SeriesFriday's game will mark the first meeting between Arizona State and Alabama State, while the Sun Devils hold a 2-0 record against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, including last week's 102-30 victory over Prairie View A&M. Alabama State, which has been picked to finish second in the SWAC this season, brings an 0-1 record into Friday's game after dropping the team's season opener at Arkansas 74-49 and takes on South Alabama on Tuesday night. The Hornets return 10 letterwinners and three starters from last year's 19-9 team which tied for first in the SWAC, including the 2004-05 preseason league offensive and defensive player of the year, 6-5 center Crystal Kitt. Kitt led the team in scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (11.5 rpg) last season.

A first meeting is also possible with Nevada in the second round of the ASU Holiday Classic, while the Sun Devils hold a 1-0 record against Gonzaga. ASU holds a 13-3 all-time record against teams from Nevada's Western Athletic Conference and a 14-5 all time against teams from Gonzaga's West Coast Conference, including a 70-45 win over San Diego Nov. 20. Nevada brings a 2-1 record into this weekend's tournament after opening the season with wins over Cal State Fullerton and Colorado before falling at BYU last week, while Gonzaga is 2-1 on the year with a Tuesday night game at Eastern Washington before the team heads to Tempe.

Nevada ConnectionsSecond-year Nevada head coach Kim Gervasoni and Wolfpack assistant coach Amanda Levens should be more than a little familiar to Sun Devil fans. Gervasoni served as an assistant coach at Arizona State for two seasons (2001-03), helping the Sun Devils to the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament championship and a pair of postseason appearances, including a trip to the second round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. A longtime friend of the ASU basketball program, Gervasoni's husband, Mike, was tragically killed in a car accident in October. A 38-year coaching veteran, Gervasoni was an assistant coach on the Wolfpack staff, coming to Nevada after 16 seasons as the head women's basketball coach at DeAnza (Calif.) College. Under his tenure, De Anza had a winning percentage of .750 with nine conference titles and three state tournament appearances.

A 2002 Associated Press honorable mention All-American and two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection, Levens starred for the Sun Devils for two seasons (2000-02) after transferring to ASU from Old Dominion. Levens helped the team to a share of its first ever Pac-10 title in 2001, the Pac-10 Tournament Championship in 2002 and the school's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 20 years. She set the Sun Devil school record for three-pointers in a season (60) and ranks in the top 10 in seven ASU career records lists despite playing for just two seasons.

ExposureAll of Arizona State's games will be broadcast live or on tape delay on NBC 1190 AM with 28-year Valley broadcaster Jeff Munn (play-by-play) and Phoenix Mercury general manager Seth Sulka (color) calling the action. Munn, who is a fill-in radio play-by-play announcer for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the club's public address announcer, is in the first year of his second stint as ASU's play-by-play voice. All of ASU's radio broadcasts are also available live on the internet at www.thesundevils.com.

ASU's game on Saturday will also be televised statewide by AZ-TV with George Allen and Doug Gerlach calling the action. It will mark the first of at least 11 television appearances this year for ASU, which has had 78 games televised in the last seven seasons.

Home-Court AdvantageThe Sun Devils turned in a 13-1 record at Wells Fargo Arena last year, tying the school record for home wins for the third consecutive year and setting the school mark for home winning percentage in a season (.929). Including a Nov. 20 win over San Diego in the team's home opener, ASU has won its last six home games and 19 of its last 21 home games. The Sun Devils hold a 63-14 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last five-plus seasons (.818) and a 40-7 mark over the last three-plus campaigns (.851). In 2002-03, ASU turned in a 13-4 record which matched the school-record 13 victories the 2001-02 team had (13-2).

Last Week in San AntonioArizona State turned in a 2-0 record at last week's UTSA Thanksgiving Classic in San Antonio, downing Seton Hall 73-53 and Prairie View A&M 102-30. Sophomore Emily Westerberg and senior Carrie Buckner were both named to the all-tournament team.

Senior Betsy Boardman scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting to lead ASU past Seton Hall on Nov. 26. The Sun Devils jumped out an early 6-3 lead, but the Pirates tied the game at 11 with 14:20 to play in the first half. Westerberg drained a three-pointer and scored a layup in transition to put ASU up 16-11 just under a minute later. ASU went to its perimeter game, draining four more three-pointers, including three by senior Kylan Loney and one by Boardman, to take a 32-19 lead with 7:01 to play.

ASU scored the final six points of the half and shot 55.9 percent to go into the locker room with a 47-29 lead. Boardman led the Sun Devils with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a pair of treys, while Loney had nine points, all from long range.

In the second half, ASU made 12 of 14 free throw attempts and never let Seton Hall closer than 16 points en route to the 73-53 victory.

Boardman led four Sun Devils in double figures for scoring with 14 points and knocked down two of her three three-point attempts. Loney and Westerberg each had 13 points and junior Kristen Kovesdy finished with 11. ASU shot 49.1 percent from the field and had a season-low 13 turnovers in the victory.

Six Sun Devils scored in double figures as ASU cruised to a 102-30 victory over Prairie View A&M on Nov. 27. ASU's 102 points marked the most for the team since the Sun Devils turned in a 118-56 victory over Long Island on Dec. 20, 1997, while ASU tied its school record for fewest points given up in a game.

The Sun Devils jumped out to a 12-point lead early with eight players scoring to give ASU a 16-4 lead with 13:05 to play. Prairie View cut the lead to 10, but ASU scored the next 14 points to take a 32-8 lead with 6:35 left in the first half, including back-to-back three-pointers by freshman Reagan Pariseau. Loney knocked down two of her three first-half treys in the final six minutes of the half as the Sun Devils outscored the Lady Panthers 18-6 to take a 52-14 halftime lead.

Pariseau and Loney each had 11 points in the first half, each knocking down three three-pointers. The Sun Devils got balanced scoring with 10 players getting on the board en route to their season high for scoring in a half. ASU shot 59.4 percent from the field and outrebounded Prairie View A&M 21-6 with sophomore Alisha Godette and Boardman each pulling down four boards in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, Arizona State outscored Prairie View A&M 12-4 over the first four minutes and shot 62.5 percent from the field as the Sun Devils cruised to the win.

Junior Kristen Kovesdy and Pariseau each had 14 points to lead the team. Kovesdy knocked down 7-of-9 field goal attempts, while Pariseau went 4-of-5 from three-point land en route to her career-best 14 points. Westerberg had 12 points, all in the second half, while Loney and Buckner each chipped in with 11 points. Junior Amy Denson had a career-best seven assists, while senior Lauren Stagg tied her career best with six assists and turned in a team-best three steals. The Sun Devils outrebounded the Lady Panthers 43-9 in the victory and tied the school record with nine three-pointers made, including four by Pariseau and three by Loney.

Getting It Done on 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). Last 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 per game, ASU set a school record for rebounding defense in 2003-04, 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 for the third straight year and the fifth time in six seasons.

This season, the Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in rebounding defense (25.4 rebounds per game) and three-point percentage defense (19.0 percent) and rank second in the league in scoring defense (48.6 points per game). ASU has held four of its five opponents to 53 points or fewer and tied the school record for fewest points allowed after holding Prairie View A&M to just 30 points on Nov. 27. ASU also outrebounded Prairie View by a margin of 43-9 in the victory.

In the last six-plus seasons (since the start of the 1998-99 season to present), the Sun Devils have allowed opponents to just 62.4 points and 33.8 rebounds per game and 29.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc (11,487 points, 6,216 rebounds, 506-1727 three-pointers, 184 games).

A Little Help From Their FriendsArizona State ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 17.8 assists per game. In the last two games, the Sun Devils have averaged 24.0 assists per contest, including a season-high 30 against Prairie View A&M. In those two games, ASU has had an assist on 75 percent of its field goals made (30 of 38 vs. Prairie View and 18 of 26 vs. Seton Hall).

Junior forward Amy Denson is leading the team and ranked eighth in the Pac-10 with 3.4 assists per game, including a career-best seven in last week's win over Prairie View. Denson has continued to improve her passing in each of her three seasons at ASU. Last year, she nearly doubled her assists total from her freshman year, averaging 1.5 assists per game compared to 0.8 in her rookie season. Senior Kylan Loney is second on the team with 2.4 assists per game, and with 308 dishes in her four years at ASU, she is ranked ninth on the ASU career lists.

Keeping Up with KovesdyJunior forward Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranked 15th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.6 points per game this season. She paced the team with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in ASU's season-opening victory over Virginia on Nov. 11 and tied freshman Reagan Pariseau for the team lead with 14 points in ASU's win over Prairie View A&M last week in San Antonio.

Kovesdy leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this season, shooting a blazing 70.3 percent from the field (26-37). She finished second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage last year at 55.7 percent, the seventh-best season effort by a Sun Devil. Kovesdy already ranks second on the Arizona State career field goal percentage chart at 54.7 percent (235-430).

Balanced ScoringThe Sun Devils have gotten balanced scoring so far this year with five different players leading the team in scoring in the team's five games. Three Sun Devils are ranked in the top 17 in the Pac-10 in scoring including junior Kristen Kovesdy at 11.6 points per game (15th in the league), sophomore Emily Westerberg at 11.4 ppg (16th) and senior Kylan Loney at 11.2 ppg (17th). In last week's win over Prairie View A&M, all 13 Sun Devils scored at least two points, while ASU has nine players averaging at least three points per game this year.

ASU's Leading Scorers in 2004-05Date	Opponent	Leading ScorerN 11	vs. Virginia	Kristen Kovesdy (16 points)N 12	at #3/2 LSU	Kylan Loney (12 points)N 20	San Diego	Emily Westerberg (17 points)N 26	Seton Hall	Betsy Boardman (14 points)N 27	Prairie View A&M	Reagan Pariseau (14 points)		Kristen Kovesdy (14 points)

Early-Season Quick Hits

... In addition to tying the school record for the fewest points allowed in a single game, ASU's 102-30 win over Prairie View A&M last week marked the second-biggest margin of victory in school history. The only bigger win in the 29 years of ASU women's basketball was an 83-point victory when the Sun Devils defeated Luke Air Force Base 125-42 on Dec. 13, 1980.

... ASU holds a perfect 19-0 record (2-0 under head coach Charli Turner Thorne) when scoring 100 points or more.

... Junior Amy Denson is ASU's leading rebounder with 4.6 boards per tilt in ASU's five games, including a team-high eight in the season-opening win over Virginia. Denson led the team in rebounding in four games last year and paced the squad in the category in Pac-10 play (4.7 rpg).

... After averaging 25.0 turnovers per game in its first three contests, Arizona State has turned the ball over just 13.5 times in its last two, including a season-low 13 Nov. 26 against Seton Hall.

... Last weekend in San Antonio, the Sun Devils shot 55.6 percent from three-point land (15-27) and tied the school record with nine three-pointers made in their Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M. Freshman Reagan Pariseau is ASU's top three-point shooter so far this year and ranks third in the Pac-10 at 54.5 percent (6-11), including a 4-of-5 effort last week against Prairie View.

... After finishing fifth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting last year at 33.8 percent, the Sun Devils shot just 20.0 percent from beyond the arc in their first three games this year (6-30). The team has climbed to 36.8 percent (21-57) after shooting 55.6 percent in last week's games in San Antonio. Senior Kylan Loney, who ranked sixth in the Pac-10 last year at 37.8 percent, was shooting just 16.7 percent from three-point range (2-12) in the first three games. Last week, however, Loney knocked down six of her 10 long-range attempts and has climbed to 36.4 percent for the season. Loney had a similar start last year, shooting 15.4 percent in the first five games and lighting it up for 41.0 percent in the last 24 contests (41-100).

... ASU is leading Pac-10 in free throw shooting. connecting on 72.4 percent of its attempts from the charity stripe (76-105). Arizona State has attempted 37 more free throws than the team's opponents this season (105 compared to 68). Sophomore Emily Westerberg is leading the team and ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting at 87.0 percent (20-23).

... In its five games this season, Arizona State has shot 48.3 percent from the field (131-271), including a season-high 62.3 percent in last week's win over Prairie View A&M (38-61). ASU is shooting 49.6 percent in the second half of games this year (61-123).

... ASU is tied for third in the Pac-10 with 12.4 steals per game in its five contests this year after finishing third in the Pac-10 in the category last season (10.0 steals per game). The Sun Devils reached double figures for steals in 19 of 29 games last year with a season high of 17. Arizona State has been in double figures for steals in four of its five games this year and turned in a season-high 19 steals in its Nov. 20 win over San Diego with four Sun Devils turning in three steals apiece in the victory.

... Senior guard Kylan Loney and junior forward Kristen Kovesdy were named to the all-tournament team as the Sun Devils finished second at the Women's Sports Foundation Classic Nov. 11-12 in Baton Rouge, La. ASU defeated Virginia 60-50 in its first-round matchup and fell to then No. 3/2 LSU 65-54 in the championship game.

... ASU's Nov. 11 game with Virginia tied for the earliest start in school history. The Sun Devils also opened the season on Nov. 11 in 1978-79. The contest against the Cavaliers also marked the first time that ASU had begun a campaign on the road since the 1995-96 Sun Devil squad went to Ames, Iowa for the Cyclone Classic.

Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 127-113 record in eight seasons at ASU, Turner Thorne needs just seven wins to tie the school record for victories. Juliene 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).

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 in 2003-04, 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.

Since Turner Thorne took over the reins of the program in 1996-97, the Sun Devils have regained the national prominence 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.

A Look at the 2004-05 SeasonNinth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne, the second winningest coach in school history, and the Sun Devils return 11 letterwinners, including all five starters, from last year's 17-12 squad. This season, ASU looks to extend a streak that has seen the team advance to the postseason for a school-record five consecutive seasons. ASU's roster features four seniors this year in guards Betsy Boardman, Lauren Stagg, Carrie Bucker and Kylan Loney. Loney was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection last season after leading the team in assists and three-point shooting. The Sun Devils also return a talented group of four juniors and three sophomores who have made significant contributions in the last two years, including 2004 honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection Kristen Kovesdy and Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree Emily Westerberg. Joining the returners are redshirt freshman Jacquelyn Johnson and true freshman Reagan Pariseau. Johnson was the 2004 Pac-10 Track and Field Newcomer of the Year after winning NCAA and Pac-10 heptathlon titles last season, while Pariseau was the MVP of the Greater Spokane League last year at Central Valley High School in Spokane, Wash.

ASU Picked Fourth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 Conference by the media and the league's coaches. It marks the fourth time in five years that ASU has been picked to finish in the upper half of the Pac-10. Last year, ASU was picked fourth by the media and fifth by the coaches and ended up in a tie for third place in the final league standings.

March MadnessArizona State University and Wells Fargo Arena have been selected to host the Tempe Regional of the 2005 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. ASU will play host to games on March 26 and 28 in Tempe. Tickets for the NCAA Tempe Regional are on sale now at the ASU ticket office, by calling (480) 965-2381 or by logging on to www.thesundevils.com.

Up NextAfter their tournament this weekend, the Sun Devils will play four of their next five games on the road, traveling to No. 6/6 Georgia on Dec. 7 and New Mexico on Dec. 18 and opening the Pac-10 Conference season on the road at Washington State and Washington on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively. The team's only home game in that stretch is a Dec. 21 game with No. 8/8 Connecticut at Wells Fargo Arena.

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