Sun Devils to Face Memphis in the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic
Dec. 2, 2005
THIS WEEK: After three weeks away from the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena, the No. 13 Arizona State women's basketball team returns home this weekend to host the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic, which will feature Holy Cross, Memphis and Western Kentucky.
The Sun Devils have won the last four Holiday Classics, most recently defeating Alabama State (71-31) and Gonzaga (77-58) to capture the 2004 tournament title. Former Sun Devil Kylan Loney was the tournament MVP, averaging 15.5 points for the two games, while current Sun Devils Kristen Kovesdy and Emily Westerberg were both named to the All-Tournament team.
Schedule for the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic:
Friday, December 2
No. 13 Arizona State vs. Memphis (6 p.m.)
Holy Cross vs. Western Kentucky (approximately 8:30 p.m.)
Saturday, December 3
Wells Fargo Holiday Classic Consolation Game (4 p.m.)
Wells Fargo Holiday Classic Championship Game (Approximately 6:30 p.m.)
RADIO: Friday's game can be heard be heard live on KXAM 1310 AM. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his second year as the voice of ASU women's basketball. Coverage of Friday's game will start with the pre-game show at 5:30 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY: Arizona State and Memphis have never played each other in women's basketball. In fact, of the three other teams competing in this weekend's tournament, Holy Cross is the only school the Sun Devils have a prior history with. ASU won both of the prior meetings between the two schools - 67-49 at the Northern Lights Tournament in Anchorage, Alaska (12/19/95) and 81-56 in Worcester, Mass., (12/20/03).
ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne: The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (151-123), 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: 191-163
FOR STARTERS: With a pair of wins in this weekend's tournament, Arizona State would move to 6-1 for the season. For more perspective on that, it would be the fourth time in Charli Turner Thorne's 10 seasons that ASU has won six of its first seven games to start the season. The best `one-loss record' the Sun Devils have had to start the season during the Turner Thorne era came in 2002-03 when they started the season 8-1. Looking even further back in the record books, the most wins an ASU team has had before recording its second loss is 14 which came courtesy of the 1982-83 squad.
HOME SWEET HOME: With wins against Vanderbilt and Missouri in the season's opening weekend, the Sun Devils extended their regular season home court winning streak to nine games. Entering this weekend, the Sun Devils are 27-2 in regular season home games going back to the 2003-04 season. In those 29 games the Sun Devils are outscoring their opponents by more than 15 points (69.8 - 54.2) and are shooting almost seven percentage points higher (44.5 - 37.9).
SHOOTING FOR THE TOP: Despite shooting 42 percent in the season's first two games, including 15 percent from three-point range, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne insisted that she had no concerns about her team's shooting. It is now easy to see why. Coming into this weekend the Sun Devils are second in the Pac-10 in field goal pct. (.481), three-point FG pct. (.392) and FT pct. (.730). In their last three games, the Sun Devils have shot .522 (82-157), including an incredible .548 (28-43) from three-point range.
FRONT AND CENTER: Thus far this season one prominent strength of the Sun Devils has been the ability of their starting front court - junior F Emily Westerberg, junior F Aubree Johnson and senior F/C Kristen Kovesdy - to not only score points, but also to shoot the ball with accuracy when they get their chances. Through the season's first five games, the trio has shot a combined 58.0 percent from the field. Individually speaking, Westerberg, who currently leads ASU in scoring (13.6 points per game), has the best percentage of the three, shooting 62.5 percent for the season (25-40), which is good for second place in the Pac-10. Kovesdy, who is second on the team in scoring (12.8 points per game), has made 58.5 percent of her shots (24-41), which is currently fourth in the Pac-10, and Johnson has made 50.0 percent (12-24).
SUN DEVILS REBOUND FROM LOSS -- LITERALLY: In their loss to North Carolina, the Sun Devils were out-rebounded by the Tar Heels (38-28), the first time this season that ASU had fewer rebounds than its opponent. Following the loss, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne felt it was rebounding that made the difference in the game.
'Our inability to rebound hurt us,' said Turner Thorne. 'We did not box out and do the things we talked about doing when it came to rebounding and that is what made the difference.'
The following night against Mississippi State, the Sun Devils dominated the Lady Bulldogs, winning by a 22-point margin, 70-48. In the rebounding department the Sun Devils responded to Turner Thorne's challenge to rebound better, grabbing 13 more rebounds than the Lady Bulldogs (34-21). In fact the 21 rebounds by Mississippi State are tied for the fewest rebounds by a Pac-10 opponent this season.
F Kristen Kovesdy went over the 1,000-point mark for her career in ASU's 79-72 loss to North Carolina last week. She added five more points the following night vs. Mississippi State and in the process passed former Sun Devil Stephanie Freeman (1,017 points, 1995-98) for 15th on the Sun Devil's all-time scoring list. Currently with 1,019 career points, Kovesdy needs one point to tie Amanda Levens (1,020 points, 1999-02) for 14th place, 5 points to tie Kylan Loney (1024 points, 2001-05) for 13th place, 14 points to tie Kim Griffee (1,033 points, 1979-81) for 12th place and 19 points to tie Olivia Jones (1,038 points, 1981-83) for 11th place.
G Jill Noe enters this weekend's action tied for third in the Pac-10 with 10 three pointers. A redshirt junior, Noe led ASU in scoring in both of its games last week at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico. In the two games against North Carolina and Mississippi State, Noe averaged 17.5 points and shot 80 percent from three-point range (8-10). Overall, Noe shot 59 percent from the field (13-22) for the two games. She scored 20 points on 8-15 shooting, including 4-5 from three-point range, in ASU's 79-72 loss to North Carolina. Seventeen of her 20 points came in the second half, helping ASU stay within striking distance of the Tar Heels. In ASU's 80-48 win over Mississippi State, Noe scored 15 points on 5-7 shooting, including 4-5 from three-point range. Fourteen of her 15 points and all four of her three-point field goals came in the first half, helping ASU take a 39-23 lead at halftime. The four three-pointers in both games tied Noe's single-game career best.
FREE THROWS: The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 199-165 in the second half this season ... ASU has nine players averaging 10 or more minutes per game ... Jill Noe's 20 points against North Carolina were the most by a Sun Devil in any game this season ... Noe has made half (10-20) of ASU's three-point FGs thus far this season and she currently leads the team in both assists (17) and steals (12) ... ASU has had the same starting five in every game this season: Reagan Pariseau (G), Jill Noe (G), Emily Westerberg (F), Aubree Johnson (F) and Kristen Kovesdy (F/C) ... Westerberg leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game, averaging 29.5 ... Among players coming off the bench, freshman G Briann January currently leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game (16.0) ... As a team, ASU is first in the Pac-10 in assists per game (18.0) and second in the Pac-10 in steals per game (12.0) ... The 10 three-pointers ASU hit against Mississippi State ties Stanford for the most 3s hit by a team in the Pac-10 this season.