No. 13 Sun Devils Host No. 18 New Mexico

Dec. 6, 2005

TONIGHT'S GAME: Winners of three straight games, the No. 13 Arizona State women's basketball team returns to action tonight when it hosts the No. 18 New Mexico Lobos at 6:30 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils are coming off a pair of wins in the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic in which they beat Memphis (103-57) and Western Kentucky (78-64) to capture their fifth consecutive Holiday Classic title. Senior Amy Denson led the way for the Sun Devils over the weekend. Coming off the bench, Denson averaged 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds for the weekend on her way to tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Also named to the All-Tournament team was senior Kristen Kovesdy, who averaged 14 points and 8.5 rebounds for the weekend.

With a win against New Mexico, the Sun Devils would move to 7-1, which would mark the fourth time in the last six years that the Sun Devils have won seven of their first eight games to start the season. The best `one-loss' record the Sun Devils have had under head coach Charli Turner Thorne was 8-1, which came in the 2002-03 season.

 During their current three-game winning streak the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents by an average of 27.3 points per game.

RADIO: Tonight's game can be heard be heard live on KXAM 1310 AM. Valley veteran broadcast Jeff Munn is in his second year as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined on the broadcast by Seth Sulka, General Manager of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

DID YOU KNOW? Arizona State's current No. 13 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 Jan. 30, 1983 when it was also ranked No. 13 in the AP poll. The highest ranking the Sun Devils have ever achieved is No. 9 (AP poll, January 9, 2003).

DID YOU ALSO KNOW? Without question the Sun Devils will be facing one of the nation's toughest schedules in 2005-06. Including tonight's opponent, New Mexico, the combined record of the Sun Devils' opponents in 2005-06 is 35-21 (.625). It will get no easier once the Sun Devils reach the conference season. Entering this week's action, Pac-10 teams are 47-16 against the rest of the country ( .746).

ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne: The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (153-123), 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: 193-163

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS NEW MEXICO: Dating back to 1976, New Mexico leads the all-time series 7-6. The Lobos have won the last three contests between the two schools most recently a 61-45 victory last season in Albuquerque. Amy Denson (14 points) and Kristin Kovesdy (10 points) led ASU in scoring in last year's game.

NOTES ENTERING THIS WEEK

• During their current three-game winning streak the Sun Devils have are averaging 83.7 points per game and have outscored their opponents by an average of 27.3 points per game.

• ASU's top two rebounding performances this season have come in their last two outings -- 54 vs. Memphis (Dec. 2) and 38 vs. Western Kentucky (Dec. 3). The 54 rebounds vs. Memphis were ASU's most since grabbing 55 vs. UCLA on January 16, 2003 ... Its 24 offensive rebounds were also the most since its 24 offensive rebounds vs. UCLA (1/16/03).

• Senior Amy Denson is averaging 14.3 points and is shooting 60 percent in ASU's last three games.

• In their last three games the Sun Devils averaging 24.7 free throws per game. They are shooting 75.7 percent from the line during that span.

• With 10 points vs. Western Kentucky, senior F Kristen Kovesdy passed former Sun Devil Olivia Jones (1,038 points, 1981-83) for 11th place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Now with 1,047 career points, 19 points to pass former Sun Devil Betsy Boardman (1,065 points, 2000-05) for 10th place on the all-time list.

• In the last four games, redshirt junior G Jill Noe has averaged 16.3 points per game while also shooting .600 (21-35) from the field, including .667 (10-15) from three-point range.

HOME SWEET HOME: With their victory over Western Kentucky, the Sun Devils extended their regular season home court winning streak to 11 games. Entering Tuesday night's game, the Sun Devils are 29-2 in regular season home games going back to the 2003-04 season. In those 31 games the Sun Devils are outscoring their opponents by more than 16 points (70.9 - 54.3) and are shooting more than seven percentage points higher (44.7 - 37.6).

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 tonight's game, the Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in field goal percent (.486). In their last four games the Sun Devils are shooting .504 from the field and .452 from three-point range (19-42).

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.

The Sun Devils would take it a step further one week later vs. Memphis and Western Kentucky in which they would post their two highest rebound totals of the season. Against Memphis the Sun Devils grabbed 54 rebounds, their most since grabbing 55 vs. UCLA on January 16, 2003. Their 24 offensive rebounds vs. the Tigers were also the most since their 24 offensive rebounds vs. UCLA (1/16/03). The following night against Western Kentucky, ASU tallied 38 rebounds to 27 for the Lady Toppers. Arizona State enters tonight's game No. 2 in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin (+7.6).

KOVESDY NAMED ONE OF 30 FINALISTS FOR BAYER ADVANTAGE SENIOR CLASS AWARD: ASU senior F Kristen Kovesdy was recently named one of 30 finalists for the Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award, which is presented annually to the nation's senior player-of-the-year for NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball. From the list of 30 nominees, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award in February as the conference season hits its peak. Those ten names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide voting process during the NCAA Tournament in March. Fan balloting will be coupled with results from voting by coaches and media to determine the winner. ASU's all-time leader in field goal percentage, Kovesdy currently leads the Sun Devils in scoring, averaging 13.1 points per game, and leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.583).

FREE THROWS: The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 290-229 in the second half this season ... ASU has nine players averaging 11 or more minutes per game ... Jill Noe's 20 points against North Carolina are the most by a Sun Devil in any game this season ... Noe has made almost half (12-25) of ASU's three-point FGs thus far this season and she is currently tied for the team lead in assists (23) and second on the team in steals (13) ... 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 27.9 ... Among players coming off the bench, senior F Amy Denson currently leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game (17.3) ... As a team, ASU is first in the Pac-10 in assists per game (19.86) and second in the Pac-10 in steals per game (11.57) ... The 10 three-pointers ASU hit against Mississippi State is tied for the most 3s hit by a Pac-10 team this season ... In their seven games the Sun Devils have been led in scoring by four different players -- Noe (3), Westerberg (2), Kovesdy (1), Denson (1).

ASU No. 2 IN PAC-10 IN OVERALL WINS SINCE 2000: 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.

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