No. 25 Women's Basketball Travels to USC Sunday
Jan. 15, 2005
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
Following a 44-42 victory at 19th-ranked UCLA on Friday night, the No. 25 Arizona State Sun Devils wrap up their second Pac-10 road trip of year on Sunday afternoon at USC (11-4, 5-1 Pac-10. The game at USC's Lyon Center will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net at 12 p.m. PT (1 p.m. MT). Winners of their last two contests and three of their last four, the Sun Devils got their first win at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion since 2002, while ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne became the all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history with Friday night's victory over the Bruins. Sunday against the Women of Troy, ASU will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak to USC and earn their first road sweep of the L.A. schools since 2001. ASU holds a 4-2 Pac-10 record and is a game and a half out of first place in the league (tied for fourth). USC continues to be one of the hottest teams in the Pac-10, winning its last five games to a tie for second place in the league standings with a 5-1 mark, including a 67-54 win over Arizona on Friday night.
ExposureAll of Arizona State's games will be broadcast live or on tape delay on the radio with 28-year Valley broadcaster Jeff Munn (play-by-play) and Phoenix Mercury general manager Seth Sulka (color) calling the action. ESPN Radio 860 AM KMVP will carry Sunday's 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 available live on the internet at www.thesundevils.com.
Fox Sports Net will broadcast Sunday's game at USC to a national cable television audience with Bill Macdonald and Krista Blunk calling the action. It will mark the sixth television game of the season for the Sun Devils (3-2 mark).
In the Series with USCUSC leads the series with the Sun Devils 45-8, including a 23-3 advantage in games played in Los Angeles. USC has won four straight games in the series, including a sweep of the Sun Devils last season (a 68-65 victory on Jan. 17 in Tempe and a 65-50 win on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles). In 2000-01, ASU earned its first ever season sweep of the Women of Troy, while in 2001-02, the teams split the two meetings with USC earning a 68-49 victory on Jan. 19 in Los Angeles and ASU getting a 67-60 win on Feb. 14 in Tempe.
On Sunday, ASU will be looking for just the second road sweep of UCLA and USC in school history. The only other season that the Sun Devils won at UCLA and USC was in 2000-01 when the Pac-10 co-champion Sun Devil turned in a 78-68 win at UCLA on Jan. 18, 2001 and a 66-59 victory at USC on Jan. 20, 2001. ASU won a school-record 12 Pac-10 games that season en route to a share of the team's first ever league title.
About USCUSC is riding a five-game winning streak and is tied for second in the league standings with a 5-1 Pac-10 record. The Women of Troy bring an 11-4 overall mark into the game, including a 67-54 victory over Arizona in Friday night. Freshman guard Brynn Cameron is leading the team in scoring at 10.0 points per game, while junior guard Meghan Gnekow is USC's top rebounder at 5.8 boards per contest (10th in the Pac-10).
Turner Thorne Tied for First in All-Time Wins at ASUWith Arizona State's 44-42 victory over No. 19 UCLA on Friday night, ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne has become the all-time winningest coach in Arizona State women's basketball history. She now holds a 135-116 record at ASU and passed Juliene Simpson who notched a 134-92 mark in eight seasons in Tempe (1979-87). Turner Thorne tied Simpson's mark with ASU's Jan. 9 win over California.
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 OutSophomore Emily Westerberg made two free throws with 35 seconds left to help 25th-ranked Arizona State beat No. 19/19 UCLA 44-42 at Pauley Pavilion on Friday night in Pac-10 women's basketball action.With the victory, ASU won its second straight game, handed the Bruins their first conference loss of the year and snapped UCLA's 10-game winning streak at Pauley Pavilion.
The Sun Devils never trailed in the defensive battle. Freshman Reagan Pariseau drained three three-pointers early in the first half as ASU built a 13-5 lead with 7:48 to play. The Sun Devils led by as many as nine points in the first half and took a 19-13 advantage into the locker room at the half. Pariseau had all 11 of her points in the first half, while the defense-minded Sun Devils held the Bruins to just 18.5 percent shooting and five first-half field goals.
Arizona State scored the first five points of the second half to build a 24-13 lead with 17:37 to play in the game. The Sun Devils would go for four minutes without a field goal and allowed the Bruins to get within three, 26-23 with 12:19 to play, but senior Kylan Loney knocked down a three-pointer and junior Amy Denson hit a jumper to regain an eight-point advantage.
The Sun Devils held off the Bruins later in the half as UCLA made four free throws and Amanda Livingston made a layup to tie the game at 35 with 4:08 to play. Westerberg made a layup of her own 27 seconds later, but UCLA again tied it up with another pair of free throws. Westerberg however, knocked down a pair of free throws and Loney hit a tough jumper to put the Sun Devils up 42-37 with 1:42 to play. UCLA's Lisa Willis hit a three-pointer to cut it to two, but Westerberg's free throws with 35 seconds left made it a two-possession game.
UCLA's Nikki Blue scored with 21.7 seconds left to pull UCLA within two. The Sun Devils' Kylan Loney then was fouled with 9.1 seconds left and missed both shots. UCLA got a deadball offensive rebound with 0.3 seconds left, but the inbounds pass was intercepted by ASU senior Carrie Buckner to hold off the late rally and give ASU its first win at Pauley Pavilion since 2002.
Westerberg finished with eight points, including six in the second half, and a career-best 11 rebounds, while junior Kristen Kovesdy had nine points and eight rebounds, all in the second half.
Blue led the Bruins with 12 points, four assists and seven rebounds, and Quinn scored eight points, snapping her streak of double-figure scoring at 35 games. UCLA tied the school record for fewest points in a game at Pauley Pavilion set against Utah in 2000 and also matched against Georgia in 1985.
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 16 games. Freshman Reagan Pariseau led the team in scoring for the second time this year with 11 points Friday at UCLA, including a 3-of-5 effort from beyond the arc.
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 times, including 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 Jan. 7 vs. eighth-ranked 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 and ranked in the Pac-10's top 20 for scoring with less than one point separating the trio. Westerberg is leading the team and ranked 11th in the Pac-10 at 11.4 points per game, while Kovesdy checks in at 13th in the league at 11.2 points per game. Senior Kylan Loney is ranked 17th in the Pac-10 at 10.6 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. Senior Carrie Buckner and junior Amy Denson are leading the team with 4.4 rebounds per game a piece, while sophomore Emily Westerberg is just behind at 4.3, including a career-best 11 Friday night against UCLA. Sophomore Aubree Johnson is fourth in the team with 4.2 rebounds per game and had a season-high seven Jan. 7 vs. Stanford. Denson pulled down seven rebounds, including a season-best six offensive boards, Jan. 9 against Cal. Buckner had a season-high eight rebounds Jan. 9 against the Golden Bears. Seven Sun Devils are averaging at least 2.0 boards per contest.
Defense Against Pac-10 OpponentsArizona State held No. 19 UCLA to just 42 points on Friday night, 31 points below the Bruins' season average of 73.0 points per game (second in the Pac-10). It marked the third time this year that ASU has held a Pac-10 opponent under 50 points after allowed Washington State just 39 points in the team's Dec. 27 victory, which set the school record for fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game. Including a 69-47 victory over Arizona on Jan. 3, the Sun Devils have held a Pac-10 opponent to 50 points or fewer 13 times in ASU's 19 years in the league (three this year). Twelve of those 13 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 game 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 51.0 points per contest (eighth in the nation)
Arizona had come into the Jan. 3 game as the Pac-10 scoring leader at 73.5 points per game but was held 26.5 points below its season average. California was the best three-point shooting team in the league at 45.7 percent (75-164) but was held to 0-of-5 shooting behind the arc Jan. 9 against the Sun Devils. Cal senior guard Kristin Iwanaga was leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 65.8 percent (25-38) heading in the game but got off just one trey vs. ASU (0-1).
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 6-3 mark away from home this season, including an upset at then No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7, a win in the team's Pac-10 opener at Washington State on Dec. 27 and Friday's victory at No. 19/19 UCLA. This season, ASU is 3-3 in away games and 3-0 at neutral-site contests, playing eight of its first 12 games of the year and four of its first seven Pac-10 games away from home.
ASU already has a pair of league road wins (at WSU and 19th-ranked UCLA) this season and going 3-6 in Pac-10 road games last year 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.
Against Ranked OpponentsFriday's game against No. 19/19 UCLA marked ASU's fourth win over a team ranked in the national top 25 this year. Arizona State holds a 4-2 record against ranked opponents this season, including a 61-50 upset of No. 8/8 Connecticut on Dec. 21 and a 67-49 victory over No. -/25 Arizona on Jan. 3. The team's losses have come at then No. 3/2 LSU on Nov. 12 and Jan. 7 against then No. 8/8 Stanford. The team's 67-57 win at No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7 marked ASU's first victory over a ranked opponent 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, 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, which has been receiving votes in every poll this season, is ranked 25th in this week's USA Today/ESPN/WBCA coaches' poll and is just out of the Associated Press poll (75 points to rank 26th). The team returned to the national polls three weeks ago, checking in at No. 21 in the Dec. 27 AP poll and No. 23 in the Dec. 28 coaches' rankings, and has been ranked in each of the last three coaches polls. 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.
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 (51.0 points per game), rebounding defense (30.2 rebounds per game) and three-point defense (20.6 percent). Arizona State is also ranked eighth in the nation in scoring defense. ASU has held 11 of its 16 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 61.8 points and 33.7 rebounds per game and 28.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc (12,060 points, 6,572 rebounds, 528-1832 three-pointers, 195 games).
Westerberg's WaysWith 13.0 points per game in the last four tilts, sophomore forward Emily Westerberg has moved into the team scoring lead. She paces the team and ranks 11th in the Pac-10 with 11.4 points per game. Westerberg turned in a career-high 22 points Jan. 7 against No. 8 Stanford and is also leading the Sun Devils at 12.0 points per game in Pac-10 play. She is pacing the team with 10 games in double figures this season. Westerberg scored 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. She is ranked third in the Pac-10 and 30th in the nation at 86.0 percent from the charity stripe (49-57), including a 6-of-6 effort Dec. 21 against the UConn Huskies and 6-of-7 night Jan. 7 against the Cardinal.
Keeping Up with KovesdyJunior forward Kristen Kovesdy leads the Pac-10 and ranks seventh in the nation in field goal percentage this season, shooting 63.2 percent from the field (79-125). In the last seven games, she has shot a blazing 70.6 percent from the field (36-51), 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 Jan. 3 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 55.6 percent (288-518).
Kovesdy is second on the team and ranked 13th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.2 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 paced the team with 13 points at Washington on Dec. 29. She 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 Jan. 7 against No. 8 Stanford, senior guard Kylan Loney has knocked down 36.0 percent of her long-range attempts (27-75) this year (ninth 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 third on the team in scoring with 10.6 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 six contests that has seen her shoot just 23.5 percent (8-34). 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 130 and needs just four 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 and ranks 20th in the NCAA with an average of 17.0 assists per game. In the last 12 games, the Sun Devils have averaged 17.8 assists per contest, including a season-high 30 Nov. Prairie View A&M (213 assists). In those 12 games, ASU has had an assist on 72.0 percent of its field goals made (213-296), including 17 of 21 Dec. 21 vs. UConn and 18 of 23 Jan. 7 against Stanford.
Junior forward Amy Denson and senior guard Kylan Loney are tied for first on the team (and just out of the Pac-10's top 10) with 2.6 assists per game. Denson turned in 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.
Loney dished out a season-high six Dec. 4 against Gonzaga. With 337 assists in her four years at ASU, Loney is ranked eighth on the ASU career lists and should finish her career in ASU's top five.
Early-Season Quick Hits
... ASU's 44 points in Friday night's win over No. 19 UCLA marked the fewest points that the Sun Devils have ever scored in a victory. It also marked the lowest combined scoring total for the team in a Pac-10 game since a 46-38 loss to California on March 7, 2003 in the first round of the 2003 Pac-10 Tournament.
... The Sun Devils have averaged 39.5 rebounds per game in the last two contests, including 16.0 offensive boards, up from their season averages of 35.6 rebounds and 14.7 offensive rebounds.
... Friday's game against the Bruins marked ASU's season lows for points scored (44), free throws made (five), free throws attempted (nine). ASU also held UCLA to 23.1 percent shooting (12-52) which was the worst effort from the field by a Sun Devil opponent this year.
... This weekend's games pit the Pac-10's top three leaders in steals. No. 19/19 UCLA leads the league with 12.3 steals per game, USC is second at 12.7 and ASU ranks third at 11.7 thefts per game.
... The Sun Devils are 12-0 on the season when scoring 60 points or more and holding opponents to 59 points or less.
... ASU ranks third in the Pac-10 and 35th in the nation with 11.7 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 13 of its 16 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 3.0 steals per game in the last 11 games (33 thefts), including a season-high five in ASU's Dec. 4 win over Gonzaga and again Dec. 29 at Washington. Buckner is ranked fourth on the ASU career list with 199 steals in her four seasons in Tempe.
... Only five of ASU's opponents have shot more free throws than the Sun Devils this season, including a 18-9 advantage by UCLA on Friday night (2-3 record in those games). The Sun Devils have attempted more free throws (310) than all but one team in the league (Cal at 316). ASU is averaging 19.4 free throws per game to 17.0 for its opponents, and are knocking down 65.8 percent of the team's attempts from the line.
... Senior guard/forward Betsy Boardman needs just 10 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 990 career points.
... Junior Amy Denson would rank ninth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 50.0 percent (42-84), but is three field goals short of the league's statistical minimum.
... 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.
... ASU has shot just 23.3 percent from three-point land in its last seven games (20-86), including a season-low 0-for-6 effort Jan. 9 against California. 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 had climbed as high as second in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting but have dropped to seventh after the team's recent drought (32.2 percent on the season, 56-174). 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).
... Seniors Kylan Loney and Betsy Boardman rank second (130) 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).
... 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 19.7 times per game.
... Arizona State is forcing an average of 23.6 turnovers per game by its opponents this season and ranks third in the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+3.9).
Up NextFollowing Sunday's game at USC, Arizona State returns to Wells Fargo Arena next week, playing host to Oregon State and Oregon on Jan. 20 and 22, respectively. The contest with the Beavers tips off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, while Fox Sports Net will broadcast the clash with the Ducks to a national television audience at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22. After taking on Oregon State and Oregon, the Sun Devils will hit the road for three games, traveling to Arizona, California and No. 6/4 Stanford over the next two weeks.