Women's Hoops Plays Host to UCLA Saturday at 4 p.m.

Feb. 11, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 49-45 win over second-place USC on Thursday night, the Arizona State University Sun Devils wrap up their two-game homestand with the UCLA Bruins (15-8, 9-5) Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. Home for the first time after three straight road games, ASU will play host to third-place UCLA at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon with AZ-TV broadcasting the contest to a statewide audience. The Sun Devils' win over the Women of Troy on Thursday night marked the team's fourth straight home win and its 14th in 15 tries at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU holds a 16-7 overall mark and an 8-5 Pac-10 record, which puts them in a tie for fifth place but just a game out of third place. Winners of four of their last six games and six of the previous nine, the Sun Devils head into Saturday's game looking to earn their fourth home win in five tries against UCLA.

In the Series with UCLAUCLA holds a 39-15 advantage in the series with the Sun Devils, including an 18-9 edge in games played in Tempe. The Sun Devils won the first meeting between the two teams this season with a 44-42 victory over then No. 19 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 14. ASU heads into this weekend looking for its third season sweep of the Bruins with the other two coming with four straight victories in 2000-01 and 2001-02. UCLA has gotten the best of the series recently, winning four of the last six games between the two schools. Last year, each team won on its home floor with ASU earning a 73-58 victory on Jan. 15 in Tempe and UCLA getting a 74-63 win on Feb. 14 in Los Angeles. The Bruins won the rubber match last season, earning a 70-50 victory on March 6 in San Jose at the Pac-10 Tournament.

UCLA brings a 15-8 overall mark and a 9-5 Pac-10 record (third place in the league standings) into Saturday's game with the Sun Devils. The Bruins had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 76-73 loss at Arizon on Thursday night. UCLA had won will play at Arizona on Thursday night before heading to Tempe. UCLA has won four of the team's last five prior to the loss to the Wildcats, including a sweep of Washington (86-81 win) and Washington State (68-63 victory) last weekend in Westwood. UCLA is still without the services of sophomore Noelle Quinn who ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (47.1 rpg). She is out up to six weeks with a knee injury. A total of four Bruins are averaging in double figures for scoring including junior Lisa Willis (15.6 ppg) and senior Nikki Blue (14.6 ppg) who are fifth and seventh in the league statistics, respectively.

One Season Ago...Arizona State is one game ahead of the pace of last year's team with its 16-7 record this season. Last year, ASU held a 15-8 mark through the first 23 games of the season and finished with a 17-12 overall record. At 8-5 in league play, ASU is one game behind the 9-4 mark the team had through 13 league games last year. The team already matched the 6-3 record that last year's squad turned in through the first half of Pac-10 play. ASU went 5-4 over the final nine league games last year to tie for third with an 11-7 Pac-10 record. That was just one win shy of the school record for Pac-10 wins of 12 accomplished by the 2000-01 Pac-10 co-champions and the 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament champions.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State holds an 9-1 mark at home this year, including a Dec. 21 upset of No. 8 UConn. Including Thursday's victory over USC, the Sun Devils have won four straight home games, 14 of their last 15 home contests and 27 of the last 30 at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU's Jan. 7 loss to No. 8/8 Stanford snapped the team's 10-game winning streak at Wells Fargo Arena and marked the team's first loss at home since Jan. 14, 2004. 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 71-15 record at home in the last six seasons (.826, 1999-00 to present) and a 48-8 mark at Wells Fargo Arena over the last four campaigns (.857).

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).

Defense Against Pac-10 OpponentsFor the second time this season, Arizona State set the school record for fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game, holding Oregon State to just 38 in its 50-38 victory on Jan. 20. Earlier this season, ASU had held Washington State to 39 points in a Dec. 27 win. Arizona State allowed then No. 19 UCLA 42 points in its Jan. 14 victory, 31 points below the Bruins' then league-leading average of 73.0 points per game. ASU's 44 points in that game marked the fewest points that the Sun Devils have ever scored in a victory.

Including Thursday's 49-45 victory over USC, the Sun Devils have held a Pac-10 opponent to 50 points or fewer five times this year and 15 times in ASU's 19 years in the league. Fourteen of those 15 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 (2000-01 and 2001-02) and set the Pac-10 record for fewest points allowed at 59.1 points per game in 2001-02. This year, the Sun Devils are allowing a league-low 52.7 points per contest (ninth in the nation), while last year, ASU finished second in the league in scoring defense at 61.1 points per game.

Turner Thorne First in All-Time Wins at ASUWith Arizona State's 44-42 victory over then No. 19 UCLA on Jan. 14 in Los Angeles, ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne became the all-time winningest coach in Arizona State women's basketball history. She now holds a 139-119 record at ASU and has 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.

Last Time OutJunior Kristen Kovesdy scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds -- Arizona State University's first double-double of the season -- as the Sun Devils held off USC 49-45 Thursday night in Pac-10 play at Wells Fargo Arena.

With the win, ASU improved to 16-7 overall and 8-5 in the Pac-10, while USC fell to 16-7 and 10-4 in league action. The Sun Devils won their fourth straight home game and the team's 14th in 15 tries at Wells Fargo Arena and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Women of Troy.

ASU took control of the game early in the first half, using a 7-0 run to go up 22-16 with 5:46 to play. Senior Kylan Loney led the team with 10 first-half points, including a pair of three-pointers, as the Sun Devils went into the locker room with a 33-22 halftime lead.

The Sun Devils opened the second half with a 7-2 run to take a 16-point lead, 40-24 with 15:00 to play, but the Women of Troy scored nine straight points as part of 17-3 run to tie the score at 43 with 3:37 left.

For ASU, Kovesdy scored on a second-chance layup, and Loney followed with her own to put the team up four. USC junior Meghan Gnekow scored her 10th point on a driving layup to cut the lead to 47-45 with 1:45 left, but USC got no closer. Sophomore Jamie Hagiya missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 34 seconds remaining and then sophomore Eshaya Murphy traveled with 3.3 seconds left and the Women of Troy trailing 48-45.

Loney led all scorers with 14 points and added three assists and two steals, while Kovesdy finished with 13 points and a season-high 10 rebounds. Senior Lauren Stagg added six rebounds, and senior Betsy Boardman had five for the Sun Devils. Sophomore Emily Westerberg had four assists to lead the Sun Devils in the category.

Sophomore Jamie Funn had 13 points and 10 rebounds -- her first double-double of the season -- to lead USC, which had won three of four to move within two games of first-place Stanford. USC rallied despite shooting 29 percent from the field (18 of 63) and outrebounding the Sun Devils 50-40. ASU shot just 24 percent from the field in the second half but was able to hold on for the team's eighth conference victory of the season.

Loney Sets Career Three-Point MarksSenior Kylan Loney is the ASU career-leading three-point shooter, draining 144 three-pointers so far. The 2004 first-team All-Pac-10 selection set the ASU career mark with a pair of treys Jan. 26 at Arizona, passing Crystal Cobb who had 134 from 1989-94. Fellow senior Betsy Boardman ranks third on the ASU career list with 125 three-pointers made, while Loney has also surpassed Cobb's career mark of 392 three-point tries with 408.

Loney has shot 51.9 percent of her long-range attempts over the past five games (14-27), including a 4-of-5 evening Feb. 3 at Cal and a perfect 3-for-3 effort Feb. 5 at No. 4/2 Stanford. She is on the way to shaking the slump that had seen her shoot just 18.2 percent (8-44) from beyond the arc in the previous 10 contests. This season, she has shot 36.6 percent from three-point land (41-112). Loney ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in three-pointers made (1.78 per game) and is shooting 34.4 percent in Pac-10 play (22-64).

Loney, who finished sixth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting last year at 37.8 percent, shot just 16.7 percent from three-point range (2-12) in the first three games of this season but knocked down 58.6 percent of her threes (17-29) in the next five. She 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 ranks third on the team and tied for 16th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 10.5 points per game. She had been leading the squad in scoring but has fallen to third with 9.7 points per game in league action. Loney has started to heat up a bit recently, leading the team in scoring in each of the last two contests, including a game-high in Thursday night's win over USC. She has averaged 13.2 points in the last five games.

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. Against Stanford on Jan. 7, she knocked down 4-of-4 three-pointers and finished second on the team with 14 points, while last week, she had a team-best 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting against the Cardinal.

Keeping Up with KovesdyAfter leading the league all season, junior forward Kristen Kovesdy is second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this week, shooting 60.7 percent from the field (111-183). She would also rank eighth in the NCAA but falls four field goals short of the statistical minimum (5.0 per game). In Pac-10 play, Kovesdy has shot 60.2 percent from the field (62-103), including 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 ASU career field goal percentage chart at 55.6 percent (320-576).

Kovesdy is second on the team and 14th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.2 points per game this season, less than a point behind sophomore Emily Westerberg for the team lead (11.7). Kovesdy has paced the Sun Devils in scoring in a team-best eight games and is second on the squad with 13 games in double figures for scoring. She turned in the team's first double-double of the season Thursday with 13 points and season-high 10 rebounds against USC.

Kovesdy led the Sun Devils 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. On 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 also had a team-best 18 on 8-of-11 shooting Jan. 3 vs. then No. 25 Arizona.

Westerberg's WaysSophomore forward Emily Westerberg is leading the Sun Devils and ranked 11th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.7 points per game. She is also ASU's top rebounder this year, pulling down 4.8 boards per game. In Pac-10 play, Westerberg is averaging 12.2 points (10th in the league) and 5.9 rebounds per game (ninth) to pace the squad, including 22 points Jan. 7 against Stanford and a career-best 26 Jan. 22 against Oregon.

Westerberg has turned in a team-best 14 games in double figures this season. She scored 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 upset of eighth-ranked Connecticut and has moved into the team rebounding lead after averaging 6.5 boards per game in the last eight contests (52), including 11 Jan. 14 at UCLA, a career-best 14 Jan. 20 vs. Oregon State and nine Feb. 3 at California.

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 24th in the nation at 85.1 percent from the charity stripe (74-87), including a 6-of-6 effort Dec. 21 against UConn and a perfect 8-for-8 afternoon Jan. 22 against the Ducks.

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 23 games. Sophomore Emily Westerberg scored a career-best (and team season-high) 26 points in a Jan. 22 win over Oregon, while senior Betsy Boardman and junior Kristen Kovesdy each had 13 points in a Jan. 20 victory over Oregon State Kovesdy tied her season high with 21 points Jan. 3 against Cal, including 19 in the second half, while Westerberg and senior Kylan Loney each added 16 points vs. the Golden Bears. ASU has three players averaging in double figures and ranked in the Pac-10's top 20 for scoring with less than two points separating the trio. Westerberg is leading the team and ranked 11th in the league at 11.7 points per game, while Kovesdy checks in at 14th in the Pac-10 at 11.2 points per game. Loney is third on the team and tied for 16th in the league at 10.5 points per game. In a 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.

Kovesdy has led the team in scoring eight times, including 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting Jan. 3 against Arizona and 21 Feb. 3 vs. Cal. Westerberg has accomplished the feat six times, turning in 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 win over No. 8 Connecticut and 22 Jan. 7 vs. eighth-ranked Stanford, while Loney scored a season-high 23 points, including 5-of-9 three-point attempts, in ASU's Dec. 7 victory at then No. 11/14 Georgia.

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. Westerberg is leading the team with 4.8 rebounds per game, including an average of 6.5 boards in the last eight games, while sophomore Aubree Johnson (4.5), senior Carrie Buckner (4.3) and junior Amy Denson (4.0) trail closely behind. Westerberg pulled down a career-best 14 rebounds Jan. 20 against Oregon State, while Johnson had a season-best nine rebounds in that game and seven two days later against Oregon. Denson pulled down seven rebounds, including a season-best six offensive boards, Jan. 9 against Cal and had seven Jan. 22 against the Ducks. Buckner grabbed a season-high eight rebounds Jan. 9 against the Golden Bears. Seven Sun Devils are averaging at least 2.0 boards per contest.

Sun Devil Quick Hits

... With the team's win over USC on Thursday night, ASU improved to 2-0 with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano serving as a guest coach. Napolitano sat on the bench with the Sun Devils during the game, participated in team huddles and attended pre-game, halftime and post-game locker room meetings. Napolitano also presided over a 65-40 win over Oregon on Feb. 19, 2004.

... ASU has held eight teams to 50 points or fewer this season, including five Pac-10 opponents. The team holds a 8-0 record when holding teams under 50 points this season, while head coach Charli Turner Thorne is 35-2 in her nine years at ASU when the Sun Devils hold teams to 50 or fewer points.

... This weekend's games pit the Pac-10's top three leaders in steals. UCLA leads the league with 12.3 steals per game but had only six Thursday at Arizona. USC is second at 11.3 and ASU ranks third at 10.8 thefts per game. Both the Sun Devils and the Women of Troy had 11 thefts in Thursday night's tilt at Wells Fargo Arena.

... ASU shot just 23.1 percent from three-point land (3-13, 0-6 in the second half) vs. USC on Thursday night. The Sun Devils had shot 48.3 percent from three-point land in their previous two games (14-29) up from their season percentage of 32.6. The team shot 58.3 percent from three-point land Feb. 3 at Cal, making seven of 12 three-pointers. That marked ASU's best long-range shooting performance since the team drained a season-high 60.0 percent of its treys in a Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M (9-15).

... Arizona State is shooting 30.5 percent from three-point land in Pac-10 play (49-164), compared to 32.6 percent in all games. On the flip side, the Sun Devils are only allowing Pac-10 opponents to shoot a conference-low 21.6 percent from beyond the arc (29-134).

... ASU scored 76 points in its Feb. 3 win over California, which was the most points the team has scored in Pac-10 action this year. The Sun Devils had averaged just 52.4 points per game in their previous five contests. ASU is scoring an average of 58.0 points per league outing compared to 62.3 points per game overall.

... The team scored 74 points in a Jan. 22 victory over Oregon, snapping a stretch that had seen the Sun Devils score just 46.3 points per game and turn in three of their four lowest scoring outputs of the year in the previous three contests.

... Arizona State has averaged just 55.0 points per game in the last eight contests (440 total points) but has won five of those eight games. In that eight-game stretch, the Sun Devils have held opponents to 54.8 ppg (438 points).

... ASU holds a 7-0 mark when scoring 70 points or more this year. The Sun Devils hold an 13-0 record this season when scoring 60 points or more and are 15-1 when holding teams to 59 points or less.

... ASU is on pace to set its school single-season marks for both scoring and rebounding defense. The Sun Devils are allowing just 52.7 points and 32.0 rebounds per game, while the school records are 59.1 points and 32.2 boards per contest and were set by the 2001-02 and 2003-04 Sun Devil teams, respectively.

... Junior Kristen Kovesdy is also on pace to set ASU's single-season field goal percentage mark. She is shooting 60.7 percent from the field this year, while Monique Ambers holds the school mark with a 58.8 percent effort in 1992-93 (142-243).

... Sophomore forwards Emily Westerberg and Aubree Johnson have both stepped up their rebounding during league play. Westerberg is grabbing 5.8 boards per league contest up from 4.8 in all games, while Johnson is pulling down 4.9 rebounds in Pac-10 action compared to 4.5 in all games. Johnson had a season-high nine rebounds Jan. 20 against Oregon State and has averaged 5.8 boards in the last six games, leading the team in the category in three of the six.

... Senior guard/forward Betsy Boardman made her first two starts of the season Jan. 20 and 22 against Oregon State and Oregon. With 13 points Jan. 20 against Oregon State, she became 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 in each knee), now has 1,023 career points. Boardman has played in 114 career games with 92 starts and has averaged 9.0 points per game in her ASU career.

... ASU is 14-1 when leading at halftime. The team lost its first game when leading at the half Jan. 26 at Arizona. The Sun Devils led 27-23 at halftime in Tucson but were outscored 33-22 in the second half in the 56-49 loss.

... Turnovers have troubled the Sun Devils this season. ASU is averaging and forcing 20.1 turnovers per game in Pac-10 action. On the season, ASU is turning the ball over 19.7 times and forcing 22.4 turnovers per game (fifth in the Pac-10 in turnover margin at +2.7). ASU averaged 25.0 miscues per game in its first three contests of the season but had just 16.7 in its next seven non-conference games.

... Only nine of ASU's 23 opponents have shot more free throws than the Sun Devils this season (3-6 record in those games). The team has a season average of 19.0 free throw attempts per game and is connecting on just 66.9 percent of the team's attempts from the line (seventh in the Pac-10).

... ASU ranks third in the Pac-10 with 10.8 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 16 of its 23 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 2.2 steals per game. She had a season-high five in ASU's Dec. 4 win over Gonzaga and five again Dec. 29 at Washington. Buckner is ranked fourth on the ASU career list with 206 steals in her four seasons in Tempe.

Up NextFollowing Saturday's game with UCLA, ASU completes its stretch of five of seven games on the road the following week, traveling to Oregon and Oregon State on Feb. 17 and 19. The Sun Devils will wrap up the regular season on Feb. 24 and 26 with Washington and Washington State at Wells Fargo Arena.

Looking for their sixth straight postseason appearance and first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002, the Sun Devils will head to San Jose, Calif., for the fourth annual Pac-10 Conference Tournament March 4-7.