Women's Basketball NCAA Tournament Notes
March 14, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. -
2005 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT TEMPE REGION
#5 seed Arizona State Sun Devils (22-9) vs. #12 seed Eastern Kentucky (23-7)
Saturday, March 19, 2005 11 a.m. PT/12 p.m. MT
Save Mart Center (15,621) Fresno, Calif.
ESPN2/NBC 1190 AM
With a 22-9 overall record, the 24th-ranked Arizona State University Sun Devils head to Fresno, Calif., to make their sixth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since 2002. Fifth-seeded ASU will take on 12th-seeded Eastern Kentucky (23-7) of the Ohio Valley Conference at 11 a.m. Pacific (12 p.m. Mountain) on Saturday, March 19 at Fresno State's Save Mart Center with ESPN2 televising the action.
Winners of five of their last six games, 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. The team's 22 victories also marks the most since ASU tied the school record for wins with a 25-9 record in 2001-02. The Sun Devils earned an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament after finishing in a tie for second in the Pac-10 standings. If ASU should prevail over Eastern Kentucky, the team would take on the winner of the game between fourth-seeded Notre Dame (26-5) and 13th-seeded UC Santa Barbara (21-8) on Monday night on ESPN2 with the game times to be determined after all of the first-round games are completed.
ExposureAll of ASU's games in the 2005 NCAA Tournament will be broadcast live 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 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.
ESPN2 will televise ASU's first-round game with Eastern Kentucky to a national television audience with Dave O'Brien, Kara Lawson and Heather Cox (sidelines) calling the action. ESPN2 will also televise Monday's contest between the winners of the ASU-EKU and Notre Dame-UCSB games with the time to be determined after the conclusion of all of the first-round games. The Sun Devils hold an 8-5 record when playing on television this season.
ASU in the NCAA TournamentASU is making its sixth all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its first since advancing to the second round in 2002. The team's five seed marks its highest since earning a four seed in both 1982 and 1983. The Sun Devils hold a 3-5 all-time record in their five previous forays into the 'Big Dance.' ASU made its first back-to-back NCAA appearances in 20 years with invitations in 2001 and 2002, while ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne has now become the first ASU mentor to lead her team to three NCAA Tournament berths. In 2002, ninth-seeded ASU traveled to Nashville, Tenn., and defeated Wisconsin 73-70 to earn the team's first postseason win in 19 years before falling to top-seeded and fourth-ranked Vanderbilt 61-35 on the Lady Commodore's home floor.
ASU has reached the Sweet Sixteen on two occasions (1982 and 1983), both under then head coach Juliene Simpson. In each of those seasons, the fourth-seeded Sun Devils lost to the eventual national champion in the round of 16, falling to Louisiana Tech in 1982 and USC in 1983.
Four Sun Devils return from ASU's 2002 NCAA Tournament squad, including seniors Betsy Boardman, Carrie Buckner, Kylan Loney and Lauren Stagg. Boardman also played in the 2001 NCAA Tournament for the Sun Devils.
In the Series with Eastern KentuckySaturday's game will mark the first meeting between ASU and Eastern Kentucky, while the Sun Devils hold a 2-0 record against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference.
Eastern Kentucky earned the OVC's automatic bid to this year's NCAA Tournament, defeating Murray State, Jacksonville State and Southeast Missouri to win its conference tournament. The Lady Colonels, who are coached by OVC Coach of the Year Larry Joe Inman, hold a 23-7 overall record and bring a 15-game winning streak in Saturday's matchup with the Sun Devils. Senior forward Miranda Eckerle is leading four Lady Colonels in double figures for scoring with 15.5 points per game. She is also the team's top rebounder at 7.1 boards per game.
ASU vs. the Tempe RegionASU has faced Notre Dame twice before with each team winning one game. Most recently, the Sun Devils fell to then No. 9 Notre Dame 81-52 in Tempe in the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic II. UCSB leads the series with ASU 4-3, winning the last three meetings, including a 76-66 victory in finals of the 2001 ASU Holiday Classic.
The Sun Devils hold a 28-38 combined record against the teams who make up the Tempe Regional (North Carolina 0-1, Mississippi 0-1, George Washington 0-1, Notre Dame 1-1, UCSB 3-4, Virginia 1-0, Minnesota 0-1, Oregon 17-27, Baylor 0-1, Illinois State 3-1).
Tempe RegionalArizona State University and Wells Fargo Arena have been selected to host one of four regionals of the 2005 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. ASU will play host to games in the Tempe Regional on March 26 and 28. If ASU should advance past the first and second rounds, the Sun Devils will play on their own home floor in the Tempe Regional. Tickets for the NCAA Tempe Regional are on sale now at the ASU ticket office, by calling (480) 965-2381 or by logging on to www.thesundevils.com.
Fresno Area ConnectionJunior forward Jenny Thigpin hails from Hanford, Calif., which is 33 miles south of Fresno. Thigpin, a 6-3 forward, helped lead the Hanford High School Lady Pups to three straight league titles (1999-01) and the 2001 CIF Division II state championship.
Pac-10 Conference HonoreesSophomore forward Emily Westerberg and junior forward Kristen Kovesdy earned 2004-05 All-Pac-10 honors in a vote by the league's coaches. Westerberg has been named to the All-Pac-10 first team after being a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year, while Kovesdy was named to the honorable-mention squad for the second consecutive season.
Westerberg becomes the ninth Sun Devil to earn first-team All-Pac-10 accolades. She is also just the second sophomore in school history to earn first-team all-conference accolades with the other being Kym Hampton who was a three-time first-team All-Western Collegiate Athletic Conference honoree (1981-83).
Kovesdy and sophomore forward Aubree Johnson were also named to the Pac-10 All-Tournament team for their part in leading ASU to the championship game.
20-Win SeasonsWith a 22-9 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 become just the second Sun Devil mentor to turn in three 20-wins seasons (Juliene Simpson is the other).
In the RankingsASU made its return to the national top 25 last week and is ranked 24th in the March 13 USA Today/ESPN/WBCA coaches poll. That marks the fifth week that ASU has been ranked this season. The team has climbed as high as No. 21 in the Dec. 27 AP poll and No. 23 in the Dec. 28 coaches' rankings this year.
Against Ranked OpponentsASU holds a 4-4 record against ranked opponents this season, including a 61-50 upset of No. 8/8 Connecticut on Dec. 21, a 67-49 victory over No. -/25 Arizona on Jan. 3 and a 44-42 win over then No. 19/19 UCLA Jan. 14 in Los Angeles. All four of those losses to ranked have come against teams ranked No. 1 in the national polls at one point this year (Nov. 12 at then No. 3/2 LSU and three losses to now top-ranked Stanford). ASU's 67-57 win at No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7 marked the team'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.
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 (53.4 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 13th 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 holds the school record for fewest points allowed at 59.1, while ASU will likely 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.
This season, ASU has held 21 of its 31 opponents under 60 points, 13 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 the win.
In three games with Stanford, which leads the Pac-10 and ranks seventh in the nation in scoring at 77.3 points per game, the Sun Devils held the Cardinal to just 63.7, including a season-low 56 in the Pac-10 Championship game on March 7, while ASU tied its school record for fewest points allowed in a half when it held Washington State to nine in the opening frame in its Feb. 26 victory.
In the last seven seasons (since the start of the 1998-99 season to present), ASU has held its opponents to just 61.4 points and 33.7 rebounds per game and 28.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc (12,896 pts, 7,080 rbs, 568-1986 treys, 210 games).
Pac-10 VictoriesWith a 12-6 league mark this year, the Sun Devils tied their school record for Pac-10 wins. It also marked the sixth time in school history that ASU has reached double figures for Pac-10 wins (four times under Charli Turner Thorne). ASU also won a school-record 12 Pac-10 games two other times, capturing a share of the 2001 Pac-10 championship and matching that mark in 2002 before going onto win the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament.
The Sun Devils finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-10 standings this season, marking the fourth time in five years that the team has finished in the top half of the Pac-10 standings. ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 by the media and the league's coaches in this year's preseason poll. Last season, ASU was picked fourth by the media and fifth by the coaches and ended up in a tie for third with an 11-7 mark in Pac-10 action.
More Balanced Than A ScaleThe Sun Devils have gotten balanced scoring so far this year with eight different players leading the team in scoring in the team's 31 games. Sophomore Aubree Johnson led the team in scoring for the second time this season with a career-high-tying 14 points and sophomore Emily Westerberg added 12 against Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals, while junior Kristen Kovesdy had 19 and senior Kylan Loney scored 18 in ASU's quarterfinal win over UCLA.
ASU has two players averaging in double figures and ranked in the Pac-10's top 15 for scoring (and another just under 10 points per game) with less than two points separating the trio. Westerberg is leading the team and ranked 12th in the league at 11.1 points per game, while Kovesdy checks in at 13th in the Pac-10 at 11.0 points per game. Loney is third on the team and just out of the league's top 20 at 9.4 points per game, while Arizona State has eight players averaging at least 3.0 points per game this year.
Kovesdy has led the team in scoring 11 times. Her 19 points in the Pac-10 quarterfinals vs. UCLA were just two shy of her season high of 21, which she has accomplished twice this year (most recently on 8-of-11 shooting vs. Cal on Feb. 3). Westerberg has accomplished the feat six times, turning in 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 win over No. 8 Connecticut and a career-best (and team season-high) 26 points in a Jan. 22 win over Oregon. 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 eight different players leading the team in the category in at least one game. Westerberg and sophomore Aubree Johnson are tied for the team lead with 4.8 rebounds per game each with senior Carrie Buckner (4.5) trailing closely behind. Westerberg pulled down a career-best 14 rebounds Jan. 20 against Oregon State, while Johnson had a career-high 14 boards (seven offensive) in last week's Pac-10 Tournament championship game vs. No. 1/2 Stanford. Seven Sun Devils are averaging at least 2.0 boards per contest this season.
Turner Thorne First in All-Time Wins at ASUWith ASU's 44-42 victory at then No. 19 UCLA on Jan. 14, ninth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne became the all-time winningest coach in Arizona State University women's basketball history. She now holds a 145-121 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.
Turner Thorne has led her Sun Devils to a school-record six consecutive postseason bids, including NCAA Tournament appearances in 2001, 2002 and 2005. Turner Thorne is the only coach in school history to lead the team to five consecutive winning seasons as well as three NCAA Tournament appearances, while with this year's 22-9 mark, she has also become the second Sun Devil mentor to turn in three 20-wins seasons (Juliene Simpson is the other).
Since she 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.
A Little Help From Their FriendsWith 517 assists this year, ASU has set the school single-season record in the category. The team has already bested 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 previous school record with 475 (16.4 dishes per game).
ASU ranks first in the Pac-10 and 22nd in the NCAA with an average of 16.7 assists per game. The Sun Devils have had assists on 71.9 percent of their field goals this season (517 on 719 field goals), including 23 of 28 March 5 against UCLA. ASU has four players with 65 or more assists this year, led by senior Kylan Loney who is averaging 2.8 assists (86 total). With 382 career assists, Loney has moved into fourth place in the Sun Devil record book and needs just seven more to break into the top three. Loney has averaged 5.3 assists per game in the last four contests, including a career-best nine in ASU's Feb. 26 Senior Day victory over Washington State. She has also turned in an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.0 in that stretch.
Senior Carrie Buckner (2.38 per game) is second on the squad in assists, while sophomore Emily Westerberg and junior Amy Denson are tied for third at 2.16 assists per contest. Buckner has the best overall assist-to-turnover ratio on the squad (1.61) with 74 assists and 46 turnovers. She would rank fourth in the Pac-10 in the category but falls short of the minimum of 3.0 assists per game.
Westerberg's WaysSophomore forward Emily Westerberg is leading the Sun Devils and ranked 12th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.1 points per game. She is tied for the team lead with fellow sophomore forward Aubree Johnson at 4.8 boards per game. 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.
Westerberg has turned in a team-best 18 games in double figures this season, including a career-best 26 points in a Jan. 22 win over Oregon. She scored 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 upset of eighth-ranked Connecticut and moved into the team rebounding lead after averaging 5.6 boards per game in Pac-10 play. She pulled down 11 rebounds Jan. 14 at UCLA and had a career-best 14 Jan. 20 vs. Oregon State. Westerberg turned in her first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds vs. UCLA on Feb. 12.
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 27th in the nation at 84.5 percent from the charity stripe (87-103), including a 6-of-6 effort Dec. 21 against UConn and a perfect 8-for-8 afternoon Jan. 22 vs. Oregon.
Aubree's AnticsSophomore forward Aubree Johnson has kicked her game up a notch in the last three weeks, averaging 9.0 points and 6.2 rebounds over the last six games. She ranks fifth on the team in scoring with 5.6 points per game and is tied for the lead with 4.8 boards per outing.
Johnson scored a career-best 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting in ASU's Jan. 24 win over Washington and matched that career mark with 14 points in ASU's Pac-10 Tournament semifinal victory over Oregon. She played one of the finest minutes of basketball ASU has gotten this year in that game vs. the Ducks, scoring six points, including the go-ahead leaning jumper, and grabbing the game-clinching steal in the final 47 seconds of that game. She followed that effort up with 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards (both career highs), to go along with six points in ASU's Pac-10 Championship game loss to No. 1/2 Stanford.
Keeping Up with KovesdyAfter leading the league for most of the season, junior forward Kristen Kovesdy is now second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, shooting 60.8 percent from the field (149-245), including a perfect 7-of-7 night Feb. 26 against Washington. 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.
Kovesdy already ranks second on the ASU career field goal percentage chart at 56.1 percent (358-638), just behind Melody Johnson who shot 56.2 percent from 2000-02. At 60.8 percent this year, Kovesdy is also 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 (142-243).
Kovesdy ranks second on the team and 13th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.0 points per game this season, just 0.1 points behind sophomore Emily Westerberg for the team lead (11.1). Kovesdy has paced the Sun Devils in scoring in a team-best 12 games and is tied for first on the squad with 18 games in double figures for scoring. She turned in the team's first double-double of the season with 13 points and season-high 10 rebounds Feb. 10 against USC.
Kovesdy turned in a season-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in ASU's 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 had a team-best 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting Jan. 3 vs. then No. 25 Arizona. Kovesdy led the Sun Devils with 19 points and seven rebounds in their quarterfinal win over UCLA in last week's Pac-10 Tournament, knocking down 9-of-13 field goal attempts.
Loney Sets Career Three-Point MarksSenior Kylan Loney is ASU's career-leading three-point shooter, draining 154 three-pointers in her four years in Tempe. 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 132 three-pointers made, while Loney has also surpassed Cobb's career mark of 392 three-point tries and has 442.
This season, Loney has shot 35.2 percent from three-point land (51-145), which ranks eighth in the Pac-10, while her 1.65 treys per game are fourth in the league. With 51 three-pointers made this season, she ranks fifth on the ASU single-season charts, just nine behind the school-record 60 that Amanda Levens had in 2000-01, and has turned in three of the top nine efforts on that list.
Loney ranks third on the team (and just out of the Pac-10's top 20) in scoring at 9.4 points per game. She had been leading the squad in scoring but fell to third with 8.3 ppg in league action. 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 she was also second on the squad with 18 points with four treys in ASU's Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals victory over UCLA last week.
Road WarriorsThe Sun Devils have turned in a 10-8 mark away from home this season, including an upset at then No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7 and a Jan. 14 victory at No. 19/19 UCLA. This season, ASU is 5-7 in away games and 5-1 in 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 finished with a 4-5 Pac-10 road mark, surpassing the three league road wins it had last year. This year, ASU won at Washington State, then No. 19 UCLA, California and Oregon State.
1,000-Point & 500-Rebound ClubsWith 13 points Jan. 20 against Oregon State, senior Betsy Boardman 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 1,056 career points which ranks 10th all time at ASU. Boardman has played in 122 career games with 94 starts and has averaged 8.7 points per game in her ASU career.
Senior Carrie Buckner has also joined an elite group of Sun Devils who have pulled down 500 career rebounds. At just 5-9, Buckner has grabbed 560 boards in her four years in Tempe, which is tied for seventh all time in the ASU record books.
Double TroubleAfter going through the first 22 games of the season without a double-double, ASU has had a player accomplish one in three consecutive games in February. Junior Kristen Kovesdy turned in 13 points and 10 rebounds Feb. 10 against USC for her fifth career double-double, while sophomore Emily Westerberg notched the first of her career with 10 points and 11 rebounds Feb. 12 against UCLA. Junior Amy Denson turned in her first double-double of the year and the fourth of her career Feb. 17 at Oregon with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Double-doubles are a relatively rare thing for ASU's balanced scoring and rebounding attack as the team had just two all of last season.
Sun Devil Quick Hits
... Junior Kristen Kovesdy has shot 68.2 percent from the field in the last five games (30-44) and averaged 12.2 points per game in that stretch.
...ASU has shot just 31.4 percent (37-118) in its last two games after hitting at a 48.1 clip in its previous five games (156-324), including a 61.2 league-play best 61.2 percent in Feb. 24 vs. Washington (30-49). ASU ranks fifth in the Pac-10, shooting 42.1 percent from the field on the year.
... ASU holds a 5-1 record this season in games played at neutral sites. The Sun Devils won their first five contests of the year on neutral floors before falling to Stanford last week at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, an arena just 18 miles from the Cardinals' Palo Alto campus.
... Senior Carrie Buckner is leading the team and ranked fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.2 steals per game. She has had a season-high five steals three times this year, most recently Feb. 19 at Oregon State. Buckner is ranked third on the ASU career list with 223 steals in her four seasons in Tempe. She needs just eight more to move into a tie for second place all time at ASU.
... The Sun Devil bench has outscored its last three opponents 42-9, including a 21-0 advantage over UCLA in the Pac-10 Tournament. ASU has gotten 23.3 points per game from its reserves in the last eight contests and has outscored its opponents 186-63 in that stretch.
... Junior forward Amy Denson is the team's leading scorer and rebounder off the bench, turning in 6.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Denson turned in another strong performance off the bench in the Pac-10 Tournament with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds vs. UCLA.
... ASU holds a 13-0 record when holding teams to 50 points or less this season, while head coach Charli Turner Thorne is 37-2 in her nine years at ASU when the Sun Devils hold teams to 50 or fewer points.
... ASU is 8-0 when scoring 70 points or more this year. The Sun Devils hold a 16-0 record this season when scoring 60 points or more and are 20-2 when holding teams to 59 points or less.
... ASU is 19-1 when leading at halftime this season. The team lost its only 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.
Home-Court AdvantageASU finished the regular season with a 12-1 mark at home this year, including a Dec. 21 upset of No. 8 UConn. The Sun Devils have won their last six home games, 17 of their last 18 home contests and 30 of the last 333 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 74-15 record at home in the last six seasons (.831, 1999-00 to present) and a 51-8 mark at Wells Fargo Arena over the last four campaigns (.864).
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).
Senior FinaleASU honored its four outstanding senior guards - Betsy Boardman, Carrie Buckner, Kylan Loney and Lauren Stagg - prior to its Feb. 26 regular-season finale with Washington State. The four players have helped ASU to several of the most successful seasons in school history, including the Pac-10 Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002 and 2005. Boardman, a fifth-year senior, also played on ASU's 2001 Pac-10 co-championship squad which advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
No NoeThis season marks the second straight year that ASU has been without the services of 2003 Pac-10 All-Freshman selection Jill Noe. After leading the team in scoring and turning in a sensational rookie campaign in 2002-03, she tore the ACL in her left knee in October of 2003 and missed all of last year. Noe again tore the same ACL in June and was forced to sit out all of this season.
Tough SlateArizona State has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation this season. The Sun Devils played a total of 15 games against nine teams that have earned NCAA Tournament bids this season, including a Dec. 21 victory over three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut. Other NCAA qualifiers on ASU's schedule this year include Virginia (1-0 record), LSU (0-1), Arizona (1-1), Georgia (1-0), Oregon (2-1), New Mexico (0-1), USC (1-1) and Stanford (0-3).
The Sun Devils played the 12th-toughest non-conference schedule in the country (according to the WBCA/Summerville RPI), while ASU has an unofficial strength of schedule of 23rd in the country (March 13 by collegerpi.com). ASU played four games against two teams that have been ranked No. 1 in the nation this year, including a Nov. 12 loss at then No. 3/2 LSU and three games with now top-ranked Stanford.