Women's Hoops To Play Host to UConn Tuesday Night
Dec. 20, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Coming off a loss at New Mexico last weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils wrap up the non-conference schedule this week, playing host to eighth-ranked Connecticut (4-1) Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena in the team's Hoops for the Cause Game. Tuesday night's game against the three-time defending NCAA champion Huskies will tip off at 7 p.m. Mountain Time and will be televised by AZ-TV. ASU's 61-45 loss at New Mexico on Saturday snapped the team's six-game winning streak, which had been ASU's longest since 2001-02, and dropped the team out of the top 25 after only one week. Tuesday against the Huskies, the Sun Devils look to extend a streak that has seen them win eight straight home games and 21 of their last 23. ASU is also looking to get its second victory of the season over a ranked opponent in the contest, which is the team's only home game in a stretch of four of five on the road. Following Tuesday's game with UConn, the Sun Devils open Pac-10 Conference play on the road, traveling to Washington State and Washington on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively. Connecticut brings a 4-1 record into Tuesday's game with the team's only loss coming to North Carolina on Nov. 21.
In the SeriesConnecticut holds a 1-0 advantage in the series with Arizona State, winning the first game between the two schools with an 81-55 victory on Dec. 18 of last year in Hartford, Conn. UConn led just 34-32 at halftime but pulled away in the second half. Diana Taurasi had a game-high 22 points for the top-ranked Huskies. ASU holds a 7-4 all-time record against teams from the Big East Conference, including a 73-53 win over Seton Hall on Nov. 26 of this year at the UTSA Thanksgiving Classic in San Antonio.
UConn, which is ranked eighth in the national polls, brings a 4-1 record into Tuesday night's game. The Huskies have won their last three games, most recently defeating Hartford 55-32 on Dec. 7. Junior forward/guard Barbara Turner leads three Huskies in double figures for scoring at 15.4 points per game, while junior forward/center Wilnett Crockett is averaging a team-best 7.8 rebounds per contest.
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.
AZ-TV will televise the UConn game to a statewide audience with George Allen, Doug Gerlach and Kelly Burke (sidelines) calling the action. It is the second broadcast of the season for AZ-TV, which will televise at least five of ASU's games this season.
Hoops for the Cause GameThis week's UConn game will mark the third time that Arizona State has staged a game to raise awareness about important health issues. Prior to the game on Tuesday - from 5:30 to 7 p.m. - ASU will host a health expo on the concourse of Wells Fargo Arena to rpomote children making healthy choices and ASU's STAR P.O.W.E.R. program.
STAR P.O.W.E.R.: FIVE POINT PLAN FOR HAPPY, HEALTHY LIVES (Win in Life: Choose healthy habits) is designed to encourage children in grades K through 8 to better themselves by focusing on five key areas for personal growth and the establishment of healthy life habits (pride in oneself, optimistic outlook, working well with others, eating well and exercising and refusing to take drugs).
In 2000, the Sun Devils held the inaugural AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic, falling to Tennessee 67-63 at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix in the first outdoor college women's basketball game. With 16,782 fans in attendance, ASU set school and Pac-10 Conference attendance records and raised $10,000 for breast cancer research, treatment and education in the Valley of the Sun. In 2002, the Sun Devils held the second Hoops for the Cure Classic game at Wells Fargo Arena, playing host to a four-team event with ASU taking on Notre Dame and Vanderbilt taking on Purdue. The Fighting Irish got the best of the Sun Devils 81-52, but the game set ASU's single-game attendance record for a women's game at Wells Fargo Arena and continued to raise awareness about the importance of breast cancer health.
Balanced ScoringThe Sun Devils have gotten balanced scoring so far this year with six different players leading the team in scoring in the team's nine games. Most recently, junior Amy Denson scored a season-high 14 points to lead the team last week at New Mexico. Two Sun Devils are ranked in the top 20 in the Pac-10 in scoring with senior Kylan Loney at 12.2 points per game (11th) and junior Kristen Kovesdy at 11.1 ppg (17th). Sophomore Emily Westerberg is just out of the Pac-10 rankings at 10.3 ppg. In ASU's Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M, all 13 Sun Devils scored two or more points, while ASU has eight players averaging at least 4.0 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)D 3 Alabama State Kylan Loney (16 points)D 4 Gonzaga Kristen Kovesdy (21 points)D 7 at #11/14 Georgia Kylan Loney (23 points)D 18 at New Mexico Amy Denson (14 points)
Home-Court AdvantageIncluding a 3-0 mark this year, Arizona State has won its last eight home games and 21 of its last 23 in the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils hold a 65-14 record at home in the last five-plus seasons (.823) and a 42-7 mark over the last three-plus campaigns (.857). The school record for consecutive home wins is 13, set by the Sun Devils over the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons (last eight in 2001-02, first five in 2002-03).
The 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). In 2002-03, ASU turned in a 13-4 record which matched the school-record 13 victories the 2001-02 team had (13-2).
Against Ranked OpponentsArizona State holds a 1-1 record against ranked opponents this season with its loss coming at then No. 3/2 (and now top-ranked) LSU on Nov. 12. The team's win at No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7 marked the team's first victory over a ranked team on the road since the Sun Devils defeated then No. 15 USC 64-55 on March 11, 1993.
Last year, the Sun Devils went 2-4 against ranked opponents last year, upsetting then No. 24 Washington 84-81 in overtime on Dec. 27 and No. 7 Stanford 73-53 on Feb. 7, both at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, while in 2002-03, ASU upset three ranked opponents (3-4 mark). ASU's last win over a team ranked in the top five came against then No. 2 Stanford when the Sun Devils upset the Cardinal 70-63 on March 4 in the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament championship game.
In the RankingsArizona State debuted at 23rd in the Associated Press poll and 25th in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA coaches' poll last week but fell out of the AP rankings after last week's loss at New Mexico (with the coaches' poll coming out on Tuesday afternoon). Tuesday's opponent, Connecticut, is ranked eighth in each of the national polls.
Last week marked the first time that the Sun Devils were ranked in the national top 25 since Jan. 14, 2002 (23rd in AP poll that week). During the 2001-02 season, ASU was ranked in three weeks. That year, the Sun Devils won a school-record 25 games, captured the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Attendance RecordsArizona State has a chance to play in front of one of the top crowds in school history Tuesday night against the three-time defending NCAA champion Huskies. The team set the school single-game attendance record on Dec. 27, 2000 when 16,782 fans showed up to watch the team play Tennessee at Bank One Ballpark in the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic. The biggest crowd at Wells Fargo Arena came on Dec. 8, 2002 when 7,274 watched the team take on Notre Dame in the second Hoops for the Cure Classic.
Top Five All-Time WBB Crowds at Wells Fargo Arena1. 7,274 vs. Notre Dame Dec. 7, 2002 (Hoops for the Cure Classic II)2. 5,379 vs. Arizona Jan. 27, 20013. 5,271 vs. Arizona Feb. 26, 20004. 4,203 vs. Arizona Feb. 8, 19975. 4,110 vs. Arizona Feb. 19, 1993
Last Time OutThen No. 23/25 Arizona State turned in season lows for scoring and shooting as the team fell at New Mexico 61-45 last Saturday, snapping the Sun Devils' six-game winning streak. Junior Amy Denson scored a season-high 14 points for the Sun Devils, but it wasn't enough to overcome 29.5 percent shooting (18-61).
After falling behind early, ASU cut the New Mexico lead to one, 24-23, midway through the first half, but fell behind again after an 8-0 Lobo run. ASU scored the final four points of the first half to get within five, 32-27, at halftime.
In the second half, Abbie Letz drained a pair of threes to put the Lobos up 44-31 with 12:45 to play. ASU made a late run, cutting it to seven, 48-41, with 3:34 to play, but New Mexico scored the next three points to increase its lead to 10 and did not let the Sun Devils get any closer in the 61-45 victory. ASU hit just 8-of-33 shots in the second half.
Letz scored a game-high 16 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting and Mandi Moore added 12 points and six assists to lead the Lobos.
For the Sun Devils, Denson finished with 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while junior Kristen Kovesdy had 10. Senior Kylan Loney, the team's leading scorer (13.8 ppg) failed to score, going 0-for-7 from the field before fouling out with 2:13 left. Senior Carrie Buckner had seven rebounds and four steals for ASU.
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 seven seasons (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 (28.7 rebounds per game) and rank second in the league in scoring defense (50.0 points per game). ASU has held seven of its nine opponents under 60 points and tied the school record for fewest points allowed after holding Prairie View A&M to just 30 points on Nov. 27. The very next game, ASU almost tied the school record again with a 71-31 victory over Alabama State. ASU also outrebounded Prairie View by a margin of 43-9 in the victory.
In the last seven seasons (since the start of the 1998-99 season to present), the Sun Devils have allowed opponents to just 62.2 points and 33.8 rebounds per game and 29.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc (11,694 points, 6,347 rebounds, 518-1755 three-pointers, 188 games).
Tough SlateArizona State 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 (Georgia, LSU, UConn). The team upset then No. 11/14 Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Dec. 7 and will play host to No. 8/8 Connecticut on Dec. 21 at Wells Fargo Arena.
Loney Lights It UpDespite being held scoreless last week at New Mexico, senior guard Kylan Loney is leading the Sun Devils and ranked 11th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 12.2 points per game. She ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage, knocking down 42.2 percent of her long-range attempts (19-45). In ASU's Dec. 7 upset of No. 11/14 Georgia, Loney tied her career bests with five three-pointers and nine three-point attempts and was named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time in her career.
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 of the season. In the last six games, however, she has knocked down 51.5 percent of her attempts (17-33) and has climbed to 42.2 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).
Loney has climbed to second on the ASU career list for three-pointers made with 122 and needs just 12 more this season to tie the school record, held by Crystal Cobb who had 134 three-pointers from 1989-94.
Keeping Up with KovesdyJunior forward Kristen Kovesdy ranks fifth the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this season, shooting 58.1 percent from the field (43-74). 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 third on the Arizona State career field goal percentage chart at 54.0 percent (252-467).
Kovesdy ranks second on the team and 17th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.1 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 on Nov. 27 in San Antonio. She turned in a season-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the win against Gonzaga in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Dec. 4.
A Little Help From Their FriendsArizona State ranks third in the Pac-10 with an average of 17.4 assists per game. In the last five games, the Sun Devils have averaged 19.6 assists per contest, including a season-high 30 Nov. Prairie View A&M. In those five games, ASU has had an assist on 72.6 percent of its field goals made (30 of 38 vs. Prairie View, 15 of 22 vs. Alabama State and 25 of 32 vs. Gonzaga, 15 of 25 at No. 11/14 Georgia, 13 of 18 at New Mexico).
Junior forward Amy Denson is leading the team and tied for ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.0 assists per game, including a career-best seven in ASU's Nov. 27 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 2.8 assists per game, including a season-high six Dec. 4 against Gonzaga. With 321 assists in her four years at ASU, she is ranked eighth on the ASU career lists and should finish her career in the top five.
Early-Season Quick Hits
... The Sun Devils turned in season lows for scoring (45 points), field goal shooting (29.5 percent), three-pointers made (0), free throws and attempts (9-10) and rebounds (28) in last week's loss at New Mexico.
... That loss snapped ASU's six-game winning streak, which was the longest since the team turned in seven straight non-conference victories during the 2001-02 season.
... Sophomore Emily Westerberg continues to be outstanding from the charity stripe and is leading the team and ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting at 87.9 percent (29-33).
... As a team, ASU made a season-high 90.0 percent of its free throw attempts (9-10) at New Mexico and is ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting this season at 67.9 percent.
... Prior to shooting 29.5 percent last week at New Mexico, ASU had been leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this year at 47.0 percent and is now fourth in the league at 44.9 percent. Prior to New Mexico, ASU had shot 49.4 percent from the field in its previous four games, including a season-high 62.3 percent (38-61) Nov. 27 against Prairie View A&M.
... Seniors Kylan Loney and Betsy Boardman rank second (122) and third (119) on the Arizona State career list for three-pointers made. On Dec. 7 at No. 11/14 Georgia, the pair passed honorable-mention All-American Amanda Levens who is now fourth on the list with 117 three-pointers in her career (2000-02). Crystal Cobb holds the ASU career record with 134 treys (1990-94).
... The team went 0-for-9 from three-point land last week against the Lobos, but in the previous five games, the Sun Devils had shot 53.6 percent from three-point land (30-56), including a season-high 60.0 percent in their Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M. ASU tied the school record with nine three-pointers made in the game vs. the Lady Panthers. ASU knocked down 50.0 percent of its three-pointers (7-14). Dec. 7 at then No. 11/14 Georgia.
... The Sun Devils have climbed to second in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting at 37.1 percent (36-97). Last year, the team finished fifth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting (33.8 percent) but shot just 20.0 percent from beyond the arc in their first three games this year (6-30).
... Freshman Reagan Pariseau would rank second in the Pac-10 at 54.5 percent (6-11) from three-point land, including a 4-of-5 effort Nov. 27 against Prairie View, but falls short of the league minimum of 1.0 made per game.
... After averaging 25.0 turnovers per game in its first three contests, Arizona State has turned the ball over just 16.3 times in its last six including a season-low 13 Nov. 26 against Seton Hall.
... The team is forcing an average of 26.0 turnovers per game by its opponents this season and ranks third in the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+6.8).
... ASU ranks second in the Pac-10 with 12.9 steals per game 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 eight of its nine 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 Carrie Buckner is leading the team and ranked fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.9 steals per game. She has averaged 3.8 steals per game in the last four games, including a season-high five in ASU's Dec. 4 win over Gonzaga and four last week at New Mexico. At only 5-9, Buckner is also leading Arizona State with 4.4 rebounds per contest, including seven in each of the team's last two games.
... 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 130-114 record in eight seasons at ASU, Turner Thorne needs just four 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.
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 Tuesday's game with Connecticut to wrap up the non-conference season, the Sun Devils hit the road to open Pac-10 play at Washington State and Washington on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively. ASU holds a 3-15 all-time record in Pac-10 Conference openers. Last year, the Sun Devils opened the Pac-10 season with a 2-0 mark for just the second time since joining the league in 1986-87. ASU defeated Washington State and Washington at Wells Fargo Arena to start conference play last season.