Women's Hoops to Take on Cal Sunday Afternoon

Jan. 8, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 68-57 loss to No. 8/8 Stanford on Friday night, the 24th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils finish their three-game homestand with a Sunday afternoon contest against the California Golden Bears (8-6, 2-3). Sunday's game will get underway at 2 p.m. Friday's loss to the Cardinal snapped ASU's 10-game home winning streak and marked the team's first home loss since Jan. 17, 2004. Winners of nine of their last 12 games, ASU looks to extend a five-game home winning streak over the Golden Bears. Ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne also enters Sunday's game just one win shy of the school record for coaching victories.

ExposureAll of Arizona State's games will be broadcast live or on tape delay on the radio with with 28-year Valley broadcaster Jeff Munn (play-by-play) and Phoenix Mercury general manager Seth Sulka (color) calling the action. ASU's radio home is NBC 1190 AM, while broadcasting conflicts have the team on different stations in the next two weeks. Friday's Stanford game will be broadcast on KDUS 1060 AM, while on Sunday, ESPN Radio 860 AM KMVP will broadcast ASU's game with the California Golden Bears. The Sun Devils return to their radio home on NBC 1190 AM on Friday, Jan. 14 when the team travels to UCLA, and KMVP 860 AM will carry the Sunday, Jan. 16 game at USC. 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.

In the Series with CaliforniaCalifornia holds a narrow 22-20 edge in the series with Arizona State, while the Sun Devils hold an 11-8 advantage in games played in Tempe. ASU swept the series last year (for the third time in four seasons) with a 56-52 win in Berkeley on Jan. 10 and a 62-43 victory in Tempe on Feb. 5. ASU has won eight of the last 11 games in the series, including five straight at Wells Fargo Arena.

Cal brings an 8-6 overall record and a 2-3 Pac-10 mark into Sunday's game, falling at Arizona 80-69 on Friday night. Cal split a pair of games last weekend in Berkeley, falling to Washington 65-52 and rebounding with a 64-56 win over Washington State. Senior forward Leigh Gregory leads four Golden Bears in double figures for scoring with 12.9 points per game, while freshman center Jessica Lawson is pacing the club with 5.1 rebounds per game.

California ConnectionsTurner Thorne and assistant coach Laura Hughes have connections to Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer. Turner Thorne was an assistant coach on Horstmeyer's staff at Santa Clara for three seasons from 1990-93 where the Broncos won three straight conference titles, won the 1991 WNIT and advanced to the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Hughes was a two-year starter at power forward at Santa Clara, helping the Broncos to a 28-3 record and the WNIT title in 1990-91 and an NCAA Tournament berth the following year. That 1990-91 campaign marked one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history with the team winning 28 games, an improvement of 19 from the previous season's 9-17 campaign. Hughes set and still holds school records for single-season and career field goal percentage, knocking down 53.9 percent of her career attempts.

Junior forward Amy Denson also has a connection to the Golden Bear squad, playing with Cal junior guard Sarah Pool for three years at Crater High School in Central Point, Ore. The pair led Crater to two consecutive league titles, while Denson was the school's career-leading scorer and Pool finished second.

Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 133-116 record in eight seasons at ASU, ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne heads into the weekend just one shy of the school record for victories. Turner Thorne needs just one win to tie Juliene Simpson as the all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history. Simpson notched 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.

Last Time OutStanford freshman Candice Wiggins had a season-high 31 points, leading the eighth-ranked Cardinal to a 68-57 victory over Arizona State on Friday night.

Sophomore Emily Westerberg had a career-high 22 points for the Sun Devils, and senior Kylan Loney added 14, knocking down all four of her three-point attempts. ASU sophomore Aubree Johnson had a season-high seven rebounds and a career-best five steals and two blocks along with six points.

Arizona State came in with a 10-game winning streak at Wells Fargo Arena, but Stanford never trailed after seizing the lead late in the first half. Wiggins had 18 points before the break to help the Cardinal take a 38-31 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Cardinal used a 8-2 run to open up a 13-point lead. Smith made a hook shot early on, Wiggins scored twice on layups and Thiel made a putback for a 46-33 lead. Stanford then went more than six minutes without a field goal, allowing Arizona State to close within 49-45 on Kristen Kovesdy's hook shot with 10:27 left. Wiggins helped Stanford regain some breathing room when she pulled up for a 14-foot jumper with 9:41 left, and the Sun Devils got no closer than five points after that.

Wiggins had six points in 58 seconds during a pivotal first-half run. The two teams traded the lead seven times in four minutes with neither team leading by more than a point before Wiggins broke a 21-21 tie with a driving layup with 7:36 to play. She followed that with two midcourt steals for layups, and the Cardinal led 27-21 with 6:38 to go.

The Sun Devils got within 30-28 on Westerberg's 10-footer with 3:12 remaining, but the Cardinal finished the half with an 8-3 spurt that included four more points by Wiggins.

Westerberg's WaysWith a career-best 22 points in Friday night's loss to No. 8 Stanford, sophomore forward Emily Westerberg is now leading the Sun Devils in scoring with 11.9 points per game, which ranks 11th in the Pac-10. She is also leading the team with 10 games in double figure this season. Westerberg turned in 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 upset of eighth-ranked Connecticut and finished second on the team with 13 points Jan. 3 vs. Arizona.

A first-team Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last season, Westerberg continues to be outstanding from the free throw line and is ranked third in the Pac-10 at 88.0 percent from the charity stripe (44-50), including a 6-of-6 effort Dec. 21 against the UConn Huskies and 6-of-7 night Friday against the Cardinal.

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 14 games. ASU's Dec. 27 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. Kovesdy has led the team in scoring six imes, including each of the last two games with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting Dec. 29 at Washington and 18 on 8-of-11 shooting Jan. 3 against Arizona. Westerberg turned in 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 win over No. 8 Connecticut and a career-best 22 on Friday vs. Stanford, 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 for scoring with less than two points separating the trio. Westerberg is leading the team and ranked 11th in the Pac-10 at 11.9 points per game, while Kovesdy checks in at 13th in the league at 11.6 points per game. Senior Kylan Loney is just out of the Pac-10's top 20 at 10.5 points per game. 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.

In addition to scoring, 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.Sophomore Aubree Johnson is leading the team with 4.4 rebounds per game, including a season-high seven Friday vs. Stanford, while junior Amy Denson (4.3 rpg) and senior Carrie Buckner (4.1 rpg) trail closely behind. Seven Sun Devils are averaging at least 2.0 boards per contest.

Home-Court AdvantageFriday's loss to No. 8/8 Stanford snapped ASU's 10-game winning streak at Wells Fargo Arena and marked the team's first loss at home since Jan. 14, 2004. Arizona State holds a 5-1 mark at home this year, including a Dec. 21 upset of No. 8 UConn and a victory over then No. 25 Arizona on Monday, and has won 10 of its 11 home games and 23 of the last 26. 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 hold a 67-15 record at home in the last six seasons (.817, 1999-00 to present) and a 44-8 mark at Wells Fargo Arena over the last four campaigns (.846).

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 went 13-4 at Wells Fargo Arena which matched the school-record 13 victories the 2001-02 team had (13-2).

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 championship squad. ASU also led the Pac-10 in three-point defense for the third straight year and the fifth time in six seasons in 2003-04.

This season, the Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense (51.2 points per game), rebounding defense (30.1 rebounds per game) and three-point defense (22.0 percent). Arizona State is also ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense. ASU has held 10 of its 14 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 33.7 rebounds per game and 29.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc (11,961 points, 6,511 rebounds, 524-1806 three-pointers, 193 games).

Keeping Up with KovesdyJunior forward Kristen Kovesdy leads the Pac-10 and ranks sixth in the nation in field goal percentage this season, shooting 64.5 percent from the field (71-110). In the last five games, she has shot a blazing 77.8 percent from the field (28-36), including a 6-of-6 effort Dec. 21 vs. UConn, a 6-of-7 showing Dec. 29 at Washington and an 8-of-11 night Monday against Arizona. Kovesdy 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, and already ranks second on the Arizona State career field goal percentage chart at 55.7 percent (280-503).

Kovesdy is second on the team and ranked 13th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.6 points per game this season. She is second on the team with nine games in double figures for points and has led the team in scoring in a team-best six games. Kovesdy paced the team with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in ASU's season-opening victory over Virginia on Nov. 11. 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. Dec. 21 against No. 8 UConn, she finished second on the team with 14 points, going 6-of-6 from the field and was one of three players with 11 points to lead the team Dec. 27 at Washington State. She paced the team with 13 points at Washington on Dec. 29 and had a team-best 18 on 8-of-11 shooting Jan. 3 against then No. 25 Arizona.

Loney Lights It UpIncluding a 4-for-4 effort from three-point land Friday against Stanford, senior guard Kylan Loney has knocked down 38.5 percent of her long-range attempts (25-65) this year (sixth in the Pac-10). 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 third on the team in scoring with 10.5 points per game. She had been leading the squad in scoring but has fallen to third after averaging just 4.6 points in the next five games. Despite battling a case of the flu, Loney did have five huge points Dec. 27 at Washington State, knocking down a jumper and a three-pointer in Arizona State's second-half run to regain a double-digit lead.

Loney, who also 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 next five games, she knocked down 58.6 percent of her threes (17-29) but looks to break out of another shooting slump in the last five contests that has seen her shoot just 25.0 percent (6-24). 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 128 and needs just six more this season to tie the school record, held by Crystal Cobb who had 134 three-pointers from 1989-94.

A Little Help From Their FriendsArizona State leads the Pac-10 with an average of 17.4 assists per game. In the last 10 games, the Sun Devils have averaged 18.5 assists per contest, including a season-high 30 Nov. Prairie View A&M (185 assists). In those 10 games, ASU has had an assist on 72.8 percent of its field goals made (185-254), including 17 of 21 Dec. 21 vs. UConn and 18 of 23 Jan. 7 against Stanford.

Junior forward Amy Denson is leading the team with 2.9 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 2.7 assists per game, including a season-high six Dec. 4 against Gonzaga. With 334 assists in her four years at ASU, Loney is ranked eighth on the ASU career lists and should finish her career in Arizona State's top five.

Early-Season Quick Hits

... Despite leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 51.2 points per game, the Sun Devils gave up a season-high 68 points to Stanford on Friday night.

... ASU also tied its season lows with just seven free throws and 10 attempts from the line against the Cardinals.

... Only four of ASU's opponents have shot more free throws than the Sun Devils this season (1-3 record in those games). The Sun Devils have attempted more free throws (276) than all but one team in the league (Cal at 295). ASU is averaging 19.7 free throws per game to 16.6 for its opponents, and are knocking down 66.3 percent of the team's attempts from the line.

... ASU will face a test against California with the Golden Bears heading into Sunday's game leading the Pac-10 in three-point shooting at 45.7 percent (75-164). Cal senior guard Kristin Iwanaga leads the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage at 65.8 percent (25-38). The Sun Devils are leading the league in three-point defense, holding teams to just 22.0 percent shooting (22-100).

... Senior guard/forward Betsy Boardman needs just 14 points to become the 14th Sun Devil in school history to join the 1,000-point club. The fifth-year senior, who has come back from two ACL tears (one on each knee), has scored 986 career points.

... Junior Amy Denson is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 51.9 percent of her field goal attempts.

... In addition to sophomore Emily Westerberg who is ranked third in the league in free throw shooting (88.0 percent), freshman Reagan Pariseau is fifth in the Pac-10 at 81.3 percent (26-32). Pariseau has made her last 12 free throw attempts over the last six games.

... The Sun Devils' Dec. 18 loss at New Mexico snapped a 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 fifth in the league at 43.9 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 (128) 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 22.7 percent from three-point land in its last six games (15-66), including a season-low 0-for-9 effort Dec. 18 at New Mexico and a 2-for-11 performance Dec. 29 at Washington. 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 33.1 percent (51-154). 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).

... Prior to turning the ball over 27 times Dec. 29 at Washington, ASU had averaged just 16.6 turnovers in its previous eight games, including a season-low 13 Nov. 26 against Seton Hall. The Sun Devils had not struggled with turnovers since averaging 25.0 miscues per game in their first three contests. On the season, ASU is turning the ball over 19.3 times per game.

... The team is forcing an average of 24.4 turnovers per game by its opponents this season and ranks third in the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+5.1).

... ASU ranks second in the Pac-10 with 11.8 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 11 of its 14 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 2.8 steals per game. She has averaged 3.1 steals per game in the last nine games (28 thefts), including a season-high five in ASU's Dec. 4 win over Gonzaga and again Dec. 29 at Washington. Buckner is ranked fifth on the ASU career list with 194 steals in her four seasons in Tempe.

Up NextFollowing Sunday's game with California, Arizona State hits the road again, traveling to Los Angeles to take on No. 22/23 UCLA and USC. The Sun Devils will play at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 16 and head to USC's Lyon Center on Sunday, Jan. 18. The game with the Trojans will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net. ASU returns to Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 20 and 22, playing host to Oregon State and Oregon, respectively.

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