Women's Hoops to Take on Oregon in Pac-10 Tournament Semis

March 5, 2005

SAN JOSE, Calif. -

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Coming off a 73-71 victory over UCLA in Saturday's quarterfinals, the third-seeded Arizona State University Sun Devils continue play in the 2005 State Farm Pac-10 Tournament, taking on No. 2 seed Oregon (20-8 overall) in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon at the HP Pavilion. Sunday's game will tip off at 12:30 p.m. Pacific (1:30 p.m. Mountain) and will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net. Winners of their last four games and seven of their last eight, the Sun Devils have turned in the seventh 20-win season in school history and the third under ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne. With its win over the Bruins, ASU won its first Pac-10 Tournament game since capturing the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament championship in 2002, snapping a two-game losing streak in San Jose.

In the Series with OregonOregon leads the series with ASU 27-16 dating back to the first meeting between the two teams in 1980-81. The series is tied 1-1 in neutral-site games, while the Sun Devils have won three of the last four games in the series and seven of the last nine. The two teams split the regular-season meetings with each team winning on its home floor. ASU won its third straight game in the series with a 74-65 victory on Jan. 22 in Tempe, while the Ducks turned in a 66-59 decision on Feb. 17 in Eugene.

Sunday marks the second time that ASU and Oregon have met in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. In 2002, the Sun Devils turned in a 64-58 win over the Ducks on March 3 at McArthur Court en route to capturing the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title.

ASU in the Pac-10 TournamentWith its win over UCLA on Saturday afternoon, Arizona State now holds a 4-2 mark in Pac-10 Conference Tournament games. That victory over the Bruins also snaps a two-game losing streak in the Pac-10 Tournament for ASU. This season marks the second time that ASU has earned the No. 3 seed in the four-year history of the league event. In 2002, the third-seeded Sun Devils captured the first ever Pac-10 Tournament championship in 2002 in Eugene, Ore. ASU defeated Arizona, Oregon and then No. 2 Stanford that season.

Last Time OutJunior Kristen Kovesdy scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half to lead ASU past UCLA 73-71 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2005 State Farm Pac-10 Conference Tournament...after falling behind 18-10 midway through the first half, junior Amy Denson scored six straight points to get ASU within two...ASU led 35-33 at the half...Denson had 11 first-half points, while Loney knocked down a pair of treys for 10 points and also had four assists...in the second half, UCLA used an 8-0 run to take a 41-37 advantage with 17:44 to play...ASU tied the game five more times before regaining the lead for good when Loney knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to put the Devils up 63-58 with 4:49 to play...ASU led by as many as seven points, but the Bruins made one final run, cutting the lead to two points with 1:12 to play...sophomore Emily Westerberg knocked down a jumper to give ASU a 73-69 lead with 53 seconds left and UCLA again cut it to two seven seconds later...After an ASU turnover with 29 seconds to play, one of just five in the second half for ASU, the Sun Devil defense stood strong, forcing UCLA junior Nikki Blue to miss the potential game-tying jumper with four seconds left to hold onto the 73-71 victory...Kovesdy led three Sun Devils in double figures for scoring with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting. She also paced the team with seven rebounds, including a season-high six offensive boards...Loney finished with 18 points and knocked down four three-pointers, while Denson had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds off the bench...For UCLA, Blue finished with a career-high 36 points and junior Lisa Willis added 25, but the Sun Devil bench outscored the Bruins 21-0 en route to the win, their third of the season over UCLA.

20-Win SeasonsWith a 21-8 record, the Sun Devils have turned in the seventh 20-win season in school history and the most victories since the team tied the school record for single-season victories with a 25-9 record in 2001-02. It also marks the third 20-win campaign for ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne. Turner Thorne has also become the second Sun Devil mentor to turn in three 20-wins seasons (Juliene Simpson is the other).

Balanced ScoringThe Sun Devils have gotten balanced scoring so far this year with eight different players leading the team in scoring in the team's 29 games. ASU has two players averaging in double figures and ranked in the Pac-10's top 20 for scoring (and another just under 10 points per game) with less than two points separating the trio. Sophomore Emily Westerberg is leading the team and ranked 11th in the league at 11.2 points per game, while junior Kristen Kovesdy checks in at 13th in the Pac-10 at 11.1 points per game. Senior Kylan Loney is third on the team and just out of the league's top 20 at 9.8 points per game, while Arizona State has nine players averaging at least 3.0 points per game this year. Kovesdy has led the team in scoring 10 times, including 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting Saturday against UCLA. Kovesdy's 19 points were just two shy of her season high of 21, which she has accomplished twice this year.

Getting DefensiveArizona State has established itself as one of the top defensive teams in the Pac-10 Conference and the nation. The Sun Devils have led the league in at least one defensive category in each of the last seven seasons (1998-99 to present). This season, ASU is pacing the Pac-10 in scoring defense (53.5 points per game) for the third time in school history, rebounding defense (32.0 rebounds per game) for the fourth time in five years and three-point defense (23.6 percent) for the fourth straight season and the sixth time in seven years. ASU is also ranked eighth in the nation in scoring defense.

ASU is on pace to set its school single-season marks in all three categories - scoring, rebounding and three-point defense. The 2001-02 squad set the school record for fewest points allowed at 59.1, while ASU also has a chance this season to break the Pac-10 record for scoring defense, currently held by Stanford which gave up just 58.4 points per game in 2003-04. Last year's squad allowed the fewest rebounds in school history at 32.2, while ASU is well below the school record of 27.1 percent from three-point land that the 1998-99 team allowed.

ASU has held 19 of its 29 opponents under 60 points, 12 to 50 points or fewer and four under 40 points. The Sun Devils set the school record for fewest points by a Pac-10 opponent in a 50-38 win over Oregon State on Jan. 20 and tied the school mark for fewest points allowed in all games 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 43-9 in that victory.

In the last seven seasons (since the start of the 1998-99 season to present), ASU has held its opponents to just 61.5 points and 33.7 rebounds per game and 28.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc (12,793 pts, 7,017 rbs, 563-1964 treys, 208 games).

A Little Help From Their FriendsWith their 23 assists Saturday against UCLA, ASU has set the school single-season record with 495. That is 19 better than the previous school mark of 476 set by the 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament championship squad. Last year, ASU finished just one assist shy of the school record with 475 (16.4 dishes per game).

Arizona State ranks second in the Pac-10 and 21st in the NCAA with an average of 17.1 assists per game. The Sun Devils have had assists on 72.6 percent of their field goals this season (495 on 682 field goals), including 23 of 28 Saturday against the Bruins. ASU has four players with 60 or more assists this year, led by senior Kylan Loney who is averaging 2.7 assists (78 total). With four assists against UCLA on Saturday, Loney moved into fourth place in the Sun Devil record book with 374 assists in her four years at ASU.

Sun Devil Quick Hits

... Saturday's win over UCLA gave ASU a 4-0 record in neutral-site contests this year.

... The Sun Devils have won their last four games, which is ASU's second-longest winning streak of the season. The team won six consecutive non-conference contests this year.

... ASU has shot 47.4 percent from the field in the last four games (156-329), up from the team's season percentage of 42.9 (fifth in the Pac-10). ASU shot 46.7 percent Saturday vs. UCLA and turned in a league-play best 61.2 percent in Feb. 24 vs. Washington (30-49).

... The Sun Devil bench has averaged 27.5 points per game in the last six contests and has outscored its opponents 165-54 in that stretch, including a 21-0 advantage Saturday against the Bruins. Junior forward Amy Denson is the team's leading scorer and rebounder off the bench, turning in 6.6 points, 4.1 and 2.3 rebounds per game. Denson turned in another strong performance off the bench on Saturday with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds vs. UCLA.

... ASU is 9-0 when scoring 70 points or more this year, including a 73-71 win over UCLA in Saturday's quarterfinals. The Sun Devils hold a 17-0 record when scoring 60 points or more and are 19-1 when holding teams to 59 points or less.

... The 71 points by the Bruins Saturday was the most allowed by ASU this season.

... Sophomore Emily Westerberg, a first-team All-Pac-10 selection this year, is ranked third in the Pac-10 and 31st in the nation at 84.8 percent from the charity stripe (84-99).

... Westerberg has a chance to be the first Sun Devil to lead the team in scoring and rebounding since Pac-10 All-Freshman selection Theresa Jantzen accomplished the feat during her rookie year in 1998-99.

... After leading the league for most of the season, junior forward Kristen Kovesdy is now second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, shooting 60.9 percent from the field (140-230). The two-time honorable-mention All-Pac-10 selection ranks second on the ASU career field goal percentage chart at 56.0 percent (349-623), and at 60.9 percent this year, she is on pace to set ASU's single-season shooting mark. Monique Ambers holds the school mark with a 58.8 percent effort in 1992-93.

... Senior Kylan Loney is ASU's career-leading three-point shooter, draining 152 three-pointers in her four years in Tempe. She drained 4-of-8 three-pointers Saturday against UCLA, which was just one shy of her career-best five. Loney has knocked down five treys in five career games.

... With a 144-120 record, ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne became the all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history. Turner Thorne has led her Sun Devils to a school-record five consecutive postseason bids with a sixth on tap this year and is the only coach in school history to lead the team to five consecutive winning seasons.

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