No. 21/23 Women's Hoops Continues Trip at Washington Wednesday
Dec. 28, 2004
SEATTLE, Wash. -
Following a 67-39 victory in Monday night's Pac-10 opener at Washington State, the No. 21/23 Arizona State Sun Devils wrap up their first conference road trip of the season at Washington (4-7) on Wednesday night at Bank of America Arena in Seattle. Wednesday's game tips off at 7 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Mountain) and will be televised in the Valley of the Sun by Fox Sports Net Arizona. With the win, which was ASU's second straight victory in a Pac-10 opener, the Sun Devils improved to 9-2 on the year and won for the eighth time in nine games. Wednesday's game wraps up a stretch of four of five games on the road for the Sun Devils, who have turned in a 5-2 mark away from Wells Fargo Arena this year. ASU will be looking to win its first two Pac-10 games for the second season in a row and just the third time in school history. The Sun Devils also aim to snap an eight-game losing streak in Seattle and get their first win at Bank of America Arena since 1996.
In the Series With WashingtonWashington leads the series with Arizona State 26-13, including a 15-3 advantage in games played in Seattle. The teams split two meetings last year with each team winning on its home floor. The Sun Devils downed the Huskies 84-81 in overtime on Dec. 29, 2003 at Wells Fargo Arena, which marked ASU's sixth win in seven meetings with UW in Tempe, while UW got the best of ASU 63-55 on Feb. 26 in Seattle. This week, Arizona State heads to the Pacific Northwest looking to snap an eight-game losing streak in Seattle with the team's last road win against the Huskies coming with an 81-77 victory on Feb. 3, 1996. That 1995-96 season also marked ASU's last season sweep of the Huskies.
Washington is 4-7 on the year, having dropped its last four games and six of its last seven, including a 67-63 loss to Arizona in Monday's night's Pac-10 opener. Junior guard Kayla Burt is leading the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game, while sophomore forward Jill Bell is the Huskies' top rebounder at 6.6 boards per game and also adds 7.2 points per game.
Washington NativesASU has three players on its current rosters who hail from eastern Washington/Idaho. Sophomore forward Emily Westerberg (Greenacres, Wash.) and freshman point guard Reagan Pariseau (Spokane, Wash.) were teammates at Spokane's Central Valley High School, while the pair played for the Spokane Stars AAU team with sophomore forward Aubree Johnson, a Post Falls, Idaho, native. The Sun Devils will have two more players from the Evergreen state on its roster next season when Kirsten Thompson, a 6-6 center from Monroe, Wash., and Briann January, a 5-8 guard from Spokane, Wash., join the squad. Thompson and January signed letters of intent with the Sun Devils in November.
ASU in Pac-10 OpenersWith Monday's win at Washington State, ASU improved to 4-15 all time in Pac-10 Conference openers since joining the league in 1986-87 (3-6 under head coach Charli Turner Thorne). The team snapped a three-game losing streak in league starters last year with a 68-60 victory over Washington State on Dec. 27, 2003 at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils followed that win up with an 84-81 overtime victory over Washington on Dec. 29, 2003 to open league play with a 2-0 record for just the second time in school history. The Sun Devils also won their first two Pac-10 games to start the 1999-00 league slate, downing Stanford 74-68 on Jan. 6, 2000 and then defeating California 69-59 on Jan. 8 at Wells Fargo Arena. This year marks just the second time in six years that ASU has not opened Pac-10 play with Stanford.
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.
Fox Sports Net Arizona and Northwest will televise the Washington game, which marks the third television game of the year for the Sun Devils who are 2-0 in television games this season.
Defense Against Pac-10 OpponentsASU allowed Washington State just 39 points in Monday night's victory, setting the school record for fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game. It marked the 11th time that the Sun Devils have held a Pac-10 opponent to 50 points or fewer in ASU's 19 years in the league. Ten of those 11 low-scoring efforts have come under ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne. Turner Thorne's squads have led the Pac-10 in scoring defense in two seasons, setting the Pac-10 record for fewest points allowed at 59.1 points per contest in 2001-02. Last year, ASU finished second in the league in scoring defense at 61.1 points per game, while this year, the Sun Devils are allowing a league-low 49.0 points per contest.
Fewest Points Allowed in a Pac-10 Game1. 39 at Washington State (67-39 win), 12/27/042. 40 vs. Oregon (65-40 win), 2/19/04 40 at California (56-40 win), 1/26/02 40 vs. Washington (68-40), 1/12/025. 42 vs. UCLA (64-42 win), 2/16/02 42 vs. Oregon (79-42 win), 1/30/93
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 11 games. Monday night's game at Washington State exemplified that balance with three players (sophomore Emily Westerberg and juniors Amy Denson and Kristen Kovesdy) leading the team in scoring with 11 points each. Westerberg turned in a season-high 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 win over No. 8 Connecticut, while Denson became the sixth Sun Devil to lead the team in scoring with a season-high 14 points Dec. 18 at New Mexico.
ASU has three players averaging in double figures and ranking in the top 20 in the Pac-10 for scoring with less than one point separating the trio. Kovesdy is leading the team and ranked 14th in the Pac-10 at 11.4 points per game, while Westerberg (11.1 ppg, 15th in league) and senior Kylan Loney (11.0 ppg, 16th) trail closely behind. In ASU's Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M, all 13 Sun Devils scored two or more points, while Arizona State has nine players averaging at least 3.0 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)D 21 #8/8 Connecticut Emily Westerberg (18 points)D 27 at Washington State Amy Denson (11 points) Kristen Kovesdy (11 points) Emily Westerberg (11 points)
Road WarriorsAfter finishing with a 4-11 road record last year (4-8 away, 0-3 neutral), the Sun Devils have already turned in a 5-2 mark away from home this season, including an upset at then No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7 and a win in Monday's Pac-10 opener at Washington State. This season, ASU is 2-2 in away games and 3-0 at neutral-site contests, while Wednesday's game at Washington marks the team's fourth road game in its last five.
Last year, ASU went 3-6 in Pac-10 road games with victories at California, Oregon State and Oregon. The team played six of its last eight games away from Wells Fargo Arena last season, dropping their last six (0-5 away, 0-1 neutral) with their last road win coming on Jan. 24 at Oregon.
In the RankingsArizona State, which has been receiving votes in every poll this season, returned to the national polls after one week's absence, checking in at No. 21 in the Dec. 27 Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the Dec. 28 USA Today/ESPN/WBCA coaches' poll. ASU debuted at 23rd by Associated Press poll and 25th by the coaches on Dec. 13 but fell out of the rankings after just one week (loss at New Mexico).
The Dec. 13 poll 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.
Last Time OutThree Sun Devils scored 11 points apiece as 21st-ranked Arizona State downed Washington State 67-39 Monday night at WSU's Friel Court in the Pac-10 Conference opener for both teams.
ASU took control of the game early, getting five points from junior Kristen Kovesdy to build an 11-4 lead with 13:34 to play. After a bucket by the Cougars, sophomore Emily Westerberg scored the first five points in a 9-0 ASU run, including a three-pointer, to make it 20-6. The Sun Devils went up 30-12 with 3:00 to play and led 32-15 at the half. Westerberg had all 11 of her points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first half for the Sun Devils.
In the second half, junior Amy Denson knocked down a three-pointer to put the Sun Devils up by 20, but Washington State went on a 13-0 run to cut the ASU lead to seven points, 35-28 with 11:58 to play. Senior Kylan Loney, who was battling a bout of the flu, knocked down a jumper and a three-pointer as the Sun Devils scored the next seven points to regain the double-digit lead and go up 42-28 with 10:38 to play. Washington State never got closer than 11 points, and ASU made 10-of-12 free throws down the stretch en route to the 67-39 victory.
Westerberg, Denson and Kovesdy each had 11 points to lead the Sun Devils, while sophomore Alisha Godette added season highs with nine points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Aubree Johnson and senior Betsy Boardman each pulled down six rebounds, and freshman Reagan Pariseau turned in eight points and a career-best four steals.
For Washington State, junior Ariana Scales scored 10 points to lead the team, while sophomore Kate Benz had eight points and 13 rebounds.
The Sun Devils outshot the Cougars 41.7 to 29.4 percent in the game, including 0-for-10 from three-point land, and forced 22 WSU turnovers.
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 scoring defense (49.0 points per game), rebounding defense (29.5 rebounds per game) and three-point defense (23.9 percent). ASU has held nine of its 11 opponents under 60 points and three under 40 points, setting the school record for fewest points by a Pac-10 opponent in a Dec. 27 win at Washington State (67-39). The Sun Devils 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 A&M 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 62.0 points and 33.8 rebounds per game and 29.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc (11,783 points, 6,414 rebounds, 519-1777 three-pointers, 190 games).
Westerberg's WaysSophomore forward Emily Westerberg is pacing the squad with eight games in double figures for scoring and has climbed to second on the team and 15th in the Pac-10 in overall scoring at 11.1 points per game. She turned in a season-high 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 upset of eighth-ranked Connecticut and was one of three players with a team-best 11 points in Monday night's win at Washington State.
A first-team Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last season, Westerberg continues to be outstanding from the free throw line and is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 at 89.7 percent from the charity stripe (35-39), including a 6-of-6 effort against the UConn Huskies.
Loney Lights It UpSenior guard Kylan Loney ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage, knocking down 38.5 percent of her long-range attempts (20-52). 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 is also ranked third on the team in scoring with 11.0 points per game. She had been leading the squad in scoring but fell to third after averaging just 3.7 points in the last three games. Despite battling a case of the flu, Loney did have five huge points Monday at Washington State, knocking down a jumper and a three-pointer in ASU's second-half run to regain a double-digit lead.
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 eight games, however, she has knocked down 45.0 percent of her attempts (18-40) and has climbed to 38.5 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).
The 2004 first-team All-Pac-10 selection has climbed to second on the ASU career list for three-pointers made with 123 and needs just 11 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 leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this season, shooting 62.1 percent from the field (54-87). 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 54.8 percent (263-480).
Kovesdy is leading the Sun Devils and ranked 14th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.4 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. Last week against No. 8 UConn, she finished second on the team with 14 points, going 6-of-6 from the field, while Monday against Washington State, she was one of three players with 11 points to lead the team.
A Little Help From Their FriendsArizona State ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 17.4 assists per game. In the last seven games, the Sun Devils have averaged 18.9 assists per contest, including a season-high 30 Nov. Prairie View A&M (132 assists). In those seven games, ASU has had an assist on 73.0 percent of its field goals made (132-181), including 17 of 21 Dec. 21 vs. UConn.
Junior forward Amy Denson is leading the team and ranked 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.1 assists per game, including a career-best seven in ASU's Nov. 27 win over Prairie View. Denson, who has led the team in the category in five games this year, 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 2.6 assists per game, including a season-high six Dec. 4 against Gonzaga. With 325 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.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 132-114 record in eight seasons at ASU, Turner Thorne needs just two 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.
Early-Season Quick Hits
... The Sun Devils are also getting balanced rebounding this season with seven different players leading the team in the category in at least one game. Eight Sun Devils are averaging at least 2.0 boards per game.
... At only 5-9, senior guard Carrie Buckner is ASU's top rebounder with 4.4 boards per contest. In the last four games, Buckner has averaged 5.5 rebounds per contest, including seven each against Georgia and New Mexico and four in ASU's Dec. 21 win over UConn. Sophomore Aubree Johnson (4.2 rpg) and junior Amy Denson (4.1) trail closely behind. Denson turned in a season-high eight rebounds last week against the eighth-ranked Huskies.
... Denson has averaged 10.7 points per game in the last three games, including a season-high 14 points last weekend against eighth-ranked UConn. She is also ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 57.6 percent of her field goal attempts, including 60.0 percent (15-25) in the last three games.
... As a team, ASU made a season-high 90.0 percent of its free throw attempts (9-10) Dec. 18 at New Mexico and is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting this season at 68.9 percent.
... In addition to sophomore Emily Westerberg who is ranked fourth in the league in free throw percentage at 89.7 percent, freshman Reagan Pariseau checks in at eighth in the league at 78.6 percent (22-28). Pariseau knocked down 6-of-6 free throws Monday at WSU.
... 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 their Dec. 18 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.
... Prior to shooting 29.5 percent Dec. 18 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 44.4 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 (123) and third (120) 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).
... ASU has shot just 24.2 percent from three-point land in its last three games (8-33), including a season-low 0-for-9 effort Dec. 18 at New Mexico. 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 third in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting at 36.4 percent (44-121). 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).
... After averaging 25.0 turnovers per game in its first three contests, Arizona State has turned the ball over just 16.6 times in its last eight (133 turnovers), including a season-low 13 Nov. 26 against Seton Hall.
... The team is forcing an average of 25.8 turnovers per game by its opponents this season and ranks second in the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+6.5).
... ASU ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 12.2 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 nine of its 11 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 sixth in the Pac-10 with 2.5 steals per game. She has averaged 2.8 steals per game in the last six games, including a season-high five in ASU's Dec. 4 win over Gonzaga and four Dec. 18 at New Mexico.
... 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.
Up NextAfter Wednesday's game at Washington, the Sun Devils return to Wells Fargo Arena, where they have won nine straight games, for a three-game homestand. ASU will play host to intrastate rival Arizona on Monday, Jan. 3, while that weekend, No. 5/2 Stanford and California visit Tempe. The Sun Devils will play host to the Cardinal on Friday, Jan. 7 and the Golden Bears on Sunday, Jan. 9 at Wells Fargo Arena.