No. 15 ASU Women's Basketball Team Travels To San Diego
Nov. 16, 2005
THIS WEEK: The No. 15 (USA Today/ESPN coaches Poll) Arizona State women's basketball makes its first road trip of the season this weekend when it travels to San Diego, Calif., to take on the University of San Diego. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. (Arizona time) on Sunday.
ASU opened its 2005-06 campaign last weekend with a pair of victories over No. 16 Vanderbilt (69-60) and Missouri (69-54) to win the fourth annual WBCA/BTI Classic. The Sun Devils were led in the tournament by senior Kristen Kovesdy (Tournament MVP) and junior Emily Westerberg (All-Tournament Team), who combined for 60 points in the two games. In the victory over Vanderbilt, Westerberg had 16 of her 18 points in the second half (6-9 FGs) while Kovesdy had 11 of her 14 points in the second half (5-6 FGs) to help ASU overcome an eight-point deficit. Combined, Westerberg and Kovesdy had 27 of ASU's 48 second half points and shot 73 percent from the field (11-15).
For Arizona State, its current 2-0 record marks the seventh time in the last eight years that it has won its first two games to start the season. With a victory this weekend, the Sun Devils would move to 3-0 for the fourth time (1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03) in Charli Turner Thorne's 10 seasons as head coach. The highest number of consecutive victories the Sun Devils have had to start a season under Turner Thorne is five (2002-03).
RADIO: Arizona State's game against San Diego can be heard on a tape-delayed (6 p.m.) basis on KXAM 1310 AM. Valley veteran broadcast Jeff Munn is in his second year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
DID YOU KNOW? Arizona State's current No. 15 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll is the program's highest ranking in either of the major polls (ESPN/USA Today or Associated Press) since Nov. 18, 1983 when it was also ranked No. 15 in the AP poll. Last season, the Sun Devils closed the season ranked No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne: The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (149-122), Turner Thorne has led the Sun Devils to a school record six consecutive post season appearances (NCAA Tournament in 2001-02 and 2005, WNIT in 2000, 2003-04 ... Last season, guided ASU to a 24-10 overall record and its first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 22 years ... Led her 2001-02 team to a 25-9 record, tying the ASU record for wins in a single season ... Guided ASU to a share of the Pac-10 title in 2001 and the Pac-10 Tournament title in 2002, the first league championships in school history ... Led Northern Arizona University to consecutive winning seasons in 1994-95 and 1995-96, the first coach in school history to accomplish that feat ... As a player, lettered four years at Stanford under Tara VanDerveer ... Graduated from Stanford in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and later earned her master's degree in education from Washington in 1990. Career Record: 189-162
PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS: Playing in the Pac-10, one of the most competitive women's basketball conferences in the country, it is often difficult for programs to turn around patterns of inconsistency and break into the upper echelon of the conference because of the ability of the top schools to maintain their status. When Charli Turner Thorne took over as head coach of Arizona State in 1996, she inherited a program that had never won a Pac-10 title and had previously been unable to sustain a consistent patter of winning ... Now things are different. As she enters her 10th season in Tempe, Turner Thorne has established the Sun Devil women's basketball as a program which now consistently challenges for the conference title. In 2001, Turner Thorne guided ASU to a share of the Pac-10 title and in 2002 the Sun Devils captured the Pac-10 Tournament title, the first league championship in school history. Entering the 2005-06 season, the Sun Devils have won the second-highest number of overall games in the Pac-10 since the 2000-01 season. The model of consistency Turner Thorne has established in the Valley of the Sun clearly shows that ASU basketball can now be considered not only one of the top teams in the Pac-10, but also in the nation.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS SAN DIEGO: ASU leads the all-time series with San Diego 5-1 ... ASU's 70-45 victory in Tempe last year was the first meeting between the two teams since the 1990-91 season ... San Diego's only victory in the series came in the 1989-90 season when the Toreros won 84-62 in San Diego ... Emily Westerberg (17 points) and Amy Denson (13 points) led ASU in last year's win over San Diego.
NOTES FROM LAST WEEKEND'S WBCA/BTI CLASSIC: Arizona State trailed by as many as eight points in the second half of its eventual 69-60 victory over Vanderbilt. With 14:13 remaining in regulation, Vanderbilt took a 38-30 lead. The Sun Devils used a 14-5 run to reclaim the lead (44-43). Vanderbilt came right back to take a 45-44 lead. ASU would then take the lead right back (46-45) and did not relinquish it the rest of the game ... After shooting only 28 percent in the first half (7-25) against Vanderbilt, the Sun Devils would settle down in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the field (16-32) ... Junior F Emily Westerberg had 16 of her 18 points in the second half (6-9 FGs) against Vanderbilt while senior F Kristen Kovesdy had 11 of her 14 points in the second half (5-6 FGs). Combined, Westerberg and Kovesdy had 27 of ASU's 48 second half points and shot a combined 73 percent from the field (11-15) against Vanderbilt ... Sophomore G Reagan Pariseau tied a career high with four steals vs. Vanderbilt ... ASU forced Vanderbilt into 32 turnovers. For some perspective on that, the highest number of turnovers Vanderbilt had in a single game last year was 25. The Sun Devils scored 34 points off those 32 turnovers, including 20 in the second half ... Arizona State made 24 free throws in its win over Missouri, the most free throws it has made in a game since it made 32 free throws in a 73-53 win over No. 7 Stanford on February 7, 2004 ... In the second half of both games, ASU shot a combined 50 percent (26-52) ... ASU's bench outscored the benches for Vanderbilt and Missouri a combined 39-23 ... Senior F Kristen Kovesdy has scored in double figures in ASU's last six games going back to last season ... For the weekend, ASU was +9 in the rebounding category, including a +8 advantage on the offensive glass, which helped lead to 24 second-chance points in the two games ... Kovesdy (Tournament MVP) and Westerberg were both named to the WBCA/BTI All-Tournament Team ... With wins in both games, Arizona State now has a 27-3 (.900) record at home since 2003-04 ... With a combined 30 points last week, Kovesdy now has 985 career points. She needs 15 more points to become the 16th player in ASU history to score 1,000 points.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Last season, ASU finished the season with a 12-2 mark at Wells Fargo Arena, including a Dec. 21 upset of then eighth-ranked UConn. The team's NCAA Sweet Sixteen loss to No. 4/2 North Carolina snapped a seven-game home winning streak. Prior to that loss, the Sun Devils had won 17 of their previous 18 home contests and 30 of 33 at Wells Fargo Arena. In the last three seasons, the team turned in a 26-3 home record (.893). ASU's Jan. 7, 2005 loss to then 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. Since 1999, the Sun Devils hold a 76-16 record at home (.822). The Sun Devils turned in a 13-1 record at Wells Fargo Arena in 2003-04, 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).
NOE RETURNS FOR ASU: The 2005-06 season marked the return Sun Devil G Jill Noe to the hardwood. Noe missed each of the last two seasons with ACL injuries after earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors following the 2002-03 season. That season, Noe started 29 of 30 games for ASU and led the team and finished 11th in the Pac-10 in scoring with 12.6 points per game. ACL injuries in October of 2003 and June of 2004 put her promising Sun Devil career on hold. In her first `official' action since 2002-03, Noe scored a combined 15 points last week in ASU's victories over No. 16 Vanderbilt and Missouri. Against the Commodores, Noe also added five assists and four steals.
SUN DEVILS PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH IN THE PAC-10: ASU was picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 at the conference's media day which was held earlier this month in San Jose, Calif. Last season, the Sun Devils were also picked to finish fourth and ended up finishing tied for second with a 12-6 conference mark. Individually speaking, junior forward Emily Westerberg was named to the Pac-10's 2005-06 Preseason All-Conference Team.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Arizona 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). In 2004-05, ASU paced the Pac-10 in scoring defense (54.7 points per game) for the third time in school history, rebounding defense (32.2 rebounds per game) for the fourth time in five years and three-point defense (25.4 percent) for the fourth straight season and the sixth time in seven years. ASU also finished the year ranked 15th in the nation in scoring defense. Last season, ASU set or tied its school single-season marks in all three categories -scoring, rebounding and three-point defense. The 2001-02 squad had previously held the school record for fewest points allowed at 59.1, while at 54. 7 ppg, ASU also broke the Pac-10 record for scoring defense in 2004-05, previously held by Stanford which gave up just 58.4 points per game in 2003-04. Last year's squad also allowed a school-record 32.2 rebounds per game, while at 25.4 percent, ASU shattered the previous mark of 27.1 per-cent from three-point land that the 1998-99 team allowed. ASU held 21 of its 34 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 oppo-nent 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 on Dec. 3. ASU also outrebounded Prairie View A&M 43-9 in the win. In three games with Stanford, which lead the Pac-10 and finished fourth in the nation in scoring at 77.8 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. ASU also matched its school record for fewest points allowed in a half when it held Washington State to nine in the opening frame of 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 61.5 points and 33.7 rebounds per game and 28.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc (13,101 pts, 7,183 rbs, 579-2009 treys, 213 games).
AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: The Sun Devils' victory over No. 16 Vanderbilt last week now gives them a 6-5 record against ranked teams the last two seasons. Last season, ASU turned in a 5-5 record against ranked opponents, including a 61-50 upset of then No. 8/8 Connecticut on Dec. 21 and a 70-61 victory over then No. 11/13 Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Four of ASU's five losses came against teams ranked No. 1 in the national polls at one point during the season (Nov. 12 at LSU, three losses to Stanford), while the other came in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen against then No. 4/2 North Carolina. ASU's 67-57 win at then 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.
WESTERBERG COMES TO PLAY: A 2005 first-team All-Pac-10 honoree, junior forward Emily Westerberg led the Sun Devils and ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.3 points per game in 2004-05, including a team-high 20 points in ASU's NCAA first-round win over Eastern Kentucky. She also finished second on the team in rebounding at 4.9 boards per game. Westerberg paced the Sun Devils in scoring (11.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg) in Pac-10 play. Westerberg turned in 19 games in double figures for scoring last season, which was second on the team, including a career-best 26 points in a Jan. 22 win over Oregon. She scored 18 points in ASU's Dec. 21 upset of then eighth-ranked Connecticut. 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. Westerberg was also outstanding from the free throw line in 2004-05, finishing third in the Pac-10 and 26th in the nation at 84.9 percent from the charity stripe (101-119). She made 19 of her last 22 free throw attempts over the last six games of the year, including 6-of-6 vs. Eastern Kentucky in the NCAA first round and again vs. No. 4/2 North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. Westerberg already ranks sixth on the ASU career list for free throw percentage at 79.4 percent (135-170).
AUBREE'S ANTICS: Junior forward Aubree Johnson kicked her game up a notch over the last month of last season, averaging 9.4 points and 6.8 rebounds over the last nine games, including the first double-double of her career with 12 points and 10 rebounds in ASU's NCAA Sweet Sixteen game vs. then No. 4/2 North Carolina. Johnson led the team and ranked 17th in the Pac-10 in rebounding with 5.1 boards per game and was fifth on the squad with 6.1 points per contest. She paced the Sun Devils in rebounding in nine games this season, including each of the last four games of the year (9.0 rpg in that stretch). 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 on March 6. She played one of ASU's finest minutes of the season 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 then No. 1/2 Stanford. In the NCAA Tournament, Johnson averaged 11.3 points and 8.0 rebounds, up from her season marks of 6.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg.
KEEPING UP WITH KRISTIN: Senior forward Kristen Kovesdy led the Pac-10 in field goal percent-age last season, shooting 61.3 percent from the field (168-274), including a perfect 7-of-7 night Feb. 26 against Washington and 9-of-11 efforts Dec. 4 vs. Gonzaga and again in ASU's NCAA first-round win over Eastern Kentucky. At 61.3 percent for the year, Kovesdy broke ASU's single-season shooting mark, previously held by Monique Ambers who shot 58.8 percent from the field in 1992-93 (142-243). She has also moved into first on the ASU career field goal percentage chart at 56.6 percent (372- 657), just ahead of Melody Johnson who shot 56.2 percent from 2000-02 (349-621). Kovesdy finished second on the team and 12th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.2 points per game this season, just two points behind junior Emily Westerberg (11.3 ppg). Kovesdy ended the season on a tear, shooting 67.1 percent from the field in the last eight games (49-73) and averaging 12.8 points per game in that stretch (102). Kovesdy paced the Sun Devils in scoring in a team-best 12 games and finished first on the squad with 21 games in double figures for scoring. She turned in a season-high 21 points in ASU's win against Gonzaga in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Dec. 4 and again on Feb. 3 at Cal. Kovesdy led the Sun Devils with 19 points and seven rebounds in their quarterfinal win over UCLA in the Pac-10 Tournament, knocking down 9-of-13 field goal attempts, and added 18 in ASU's March 19 win over Eastern Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.
UP NEXT: The Sun Devils travel to Cancun, Mexico, where they will compete in the Caribbean Classic. ASU will play games against No. 8 North Carolina (Fri., Nov. 25 at 12:40 p.m. Arizona time), which ended ASU's 2004-05 season in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, and Mississippi State (Sat., Nov. 26 at 6:10 p.m. Arizona time).