No. 18 ASU Women's Basketball Returns Home to Face UCLA
Feb. 1, 2006
After a four-game road trip the Arizona State women's basketball team returns home to face the UCLA Bruins on Thursday night (6:30 p.m.) at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Thursday's game will begin a stretch in which the Sun Devils will play five of their final seven regular season games at home where they have 17 won straight regular season games and are 35-2 going back to the 2003-04 season.
ASU (16-5, 7-4 Pac-10) enters this week in a four-way tie for second place in the Pac-10 with Washington (14-6, 7-4), USC (13-7, 7-4) and UCLA (12-8, 7-4).
The Sun Devils are coming off a pair of road victories at Washington State (75-65) and Washington (67-61), which gave them their first season sweep over both Washington schools since the 1992-93 season. The Bruins come to Tempe winners of three of their last four games, including victories last week over (then) No. 11 Stanford (90-80) and California (90-87 in OT).
Thursday's game will be a rematch of a 77-69 win by UCLA last month in Los Angeles in which the Sun Devils committed a season-high 28 turnovers. In that game, three UCLA players scored in double figures led by Noelle Quinn (24 points) and Lisa Willis (23 points), who combined for more than half (47) of UCLA's scoring output. Senior Kristen Kovesdy (12 points, 10 rebounds) and junior Emily Westerberg (11 points) paced the Sun Devils.
RADIO: Thursday night's game vs. UCLA can be heard live both on KXAM 1310 AM and on the Internet (SunDevilSportsNetwork.com). Coverage will begin with 'Countdown to Tip-Off' at 6 p.m. 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.
TV: Thursday night's game will also be shown live on KAZ-TV. George Allen and Doug Gerlach will be on hand to call the action.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ASU enters Thursday's game ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin (+7.0), rebounds allowed per game (30.3) and assists per game (18.43) and No. 2 in scoring margin (+10.4), FG percentage (.458) and FT pct. (.740). The Sun Devils have won their last 17 regular season games at home and are 35-2 since the 2003-04 season. Coming off the bench, senior F Amy Denson has either led or tied for the team lead in scoring in three of ASU's last four games, including a career-best 19 points at California (Jan. 19). During that four-game span, Denson has averaged 13.0 points per game while shooting 62.2 percent from the field. In ASU's last five games, its bench has outscored the opposition's bench 180-56, or an average of 36-11.2 per game. Senior F Kristen Kovesdy enters Thursday's game No. 7 on ASU's all-time scoring list with 1,219 points. Kovesdy now needs six points to pass former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1,224 points, 1988-91) for No. 6 on ASU's all-time scoring list. Kovesdy currently leads the Pac-10 and is No. 13 in the nation in field goal percentage, shooting .600 from the field.
ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne: The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (163-127) and No. 6 in the Pac-10 in most career wins, 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) ... Earlier this season guided ASU on a nine-game winning streak which tied the school record for most consecutive wins. (Also led ASU to its first Top 10 ranking in 22 years and tied the highest ranking in school history (No. 9) ... In the last two seasons, has led ASU to a 13-2 record when coming off a loss ... 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 inaugural 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: 203-167
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS UCLA: UCLA holds a 40-17 advantage in the series with the Sun Devils, including an 18-10 lead in games played in Tempe. UCLA's 77-69 victory last month in Los Angeles snapped ASU's three-game winning streak in games played between the two schools, which tied the Sun Devils' second longest winning streak in the all-time series.
Last season the Sun Devils swept the regular season series - 44-42 in Los Angeles and 80-59 in Tempe - and then defeated the Bruins again in the Pac-10 Tournament (73-71) in San Jose. In 2003-04, each team won on its home floor with ASU earning a 73-58 victory in Tempe and UCLA getting a 74-63 in Los Angeles. The Bruins won the rubber match, earning a 70-50 victory in the Pac-10 Tournament.
HOME SWEET HOME: With their 69-51 victory over Oregon State on Jan. 14, the Sun Devils extended their regular season home court winning streak to 17 games. The Sun Devils are now 35-2 in regular season home games going back to the 2003-04 season. In those 37 games the Sun Devils are out-scoring their opponents by more than 16 points (70.4 - 54.3) and are shooting more than six percentage points higher (44.5 - 38.4).
TEAM NOTES ASU's nine-game winning streak earlier in the season tied the longest winning streak in school history (1982-83). The Sun Devils were ranked No. 9 in both of the major polls the first week in January, tying the highest ranking in school history (January 1983). ASU's 67-61 win at Washington represented its first win against the Huskies in Seattle since the 1995-96 season. ASU has out-rebounded its opponent 16 times in 21 games this season. ASU and Vanderbilt tied with 33 rebounds each in their season opening matchup. North Carolina (38-28), Oregon (44-42), California (45-35) and Washington State (37-35) are the only teams who have out-rebounded ASU this season. Four times this season ASU has limited its opponent to 21 or fewer rebounds, including only 20 by Stanford (Jan. 21), the lowest number of rebounds allowed by any team in the Pac-10 this season. ASU has had fewer turnovers than its opponent 14 times in 21 games this season. ASU is 13-1 in those games. The only exception came in ASU's 66-64 loss at California. ASU is averaging 20.6 points off turnovers per game, compared to 15.9 for its opponents. ASU's bench has outscored the opposition's bench 569-309 this season, an average of 27.1-14.7 per game.
OFFENSIVE NOTES ASU has shot 50 percent or better nine times this season, including a season-best .565 (26-46) in its 69-51 win vs. Oregon State (Jan. 14). Senior F Kristen Kovesdy has either led or tied for the team lead in scoring eight times this season. Kovesdy's 27 points (23 in the second half) vs. Washington (Dec. 29) are the most for a Sun Devil this season. Coming of the bench, senior F Amy Denson has led or tied for the team lead in scoring four times this season. Denson is averaging 13.0 points and shooting 62.2 percent in ASU's last four games. Redshirt junior G Jill Noe leads ASU in three-point FGs with 24. Noe had a career-best 5 three-pointers at Stanford (Jan. 21) and also recorded four three-pointers in back-to-back games earlier this season -- vs. North Carolina (Nov. 25) and vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 26). The Sun Devils have made 20 or more free throws five times this season, including a season-best 28 made free throws vs. Western Kentucky (Dec. 3). ASU has had more assists than its opponent in all but two games this season (vs. North Carolina, Nov. 25, at Washington, Jan. 28). ASU has had more offensive rebounds than its opponent 17 times in 21 games this season.
DEFENSIVE NOTES ASU has forced 20 or more turnovers 13 times this season, including a season-high 32 turnovers in its season opening victory vs. Vanderbilt (Nov. 11). The Sun Devils have held their opponents under 40 percent shooting seven times this season. The Sun Devils have allowed two or fewer three-point field goals 10 times this season and have held their opponents to 25 percent or less shooting from three-point range nine times this season. ASU's best defensive performance of the year to date came in its 44-43 win over Oregon. The Sun Devils won despite shooting 25.8 percent for the game. The 43 points Oregon scored represents the second-lowest number of points allowed by a Pac-10 team this season.
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 and currently No. 7 on the school's all-time scoring list, Kovesdy currently leads the Sun Devils in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg) and is No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 13 in the nation in field goal percentage (60.0 percent). Earlier this season against Washington (Dec. 29), Kovesdy scored 23 of her season-best 27 points in the second half and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Sun Devils to a 64-51 victory over the Huskies. Kovesdy has turned in a double-double performance five times this season.
KOVESDY CLIMBS THE CHARTS: With nine points at Washington last Saturday, senior F Kristen Kovesdy moved closer to climbing up another spot on ASU's all-time scoring list. Currently with 1,219 points, Kovesdy now needs six points to pass former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1,224 points, 1988-91) for No. 6 on ASU's all-time scoring list.
Kovesdy is also among ASU's all-time leaders in the rebounding department. With 593 career rebounds Kovesdy currently sits No. 5 on ASU's all-time rebounding list. She needs 64 more rebounds to pass former Sun Devil Jovonne Smith (656 rebounds, 1984-86) for No. 4 on ASU's all-time rebounding list.
FREE THROWS: ASU has eight players averaging 10 or more minutes per game ... Kristen Kovesdy's 27 points against Washington (Dec. 29) are the most by a Sun Devil in any game this season ... ASU has had the same starting five in all but two games this season: Reagan Pariseau (G), Jill Noe (G), Emily Westerberg (F), Aubree Johnson (F) and Kristen Kovesdy (F/C). The only exceptions came in ASU's 77-69 loss at UCLA (Jan. 8), when freshman G Danielle Orsillo started for Jill Noe (bruised hand) and in ASU's 84-78 loss at Stanford (Jan. 21) when Orsillo started for Noe and senior Amy Denson started for Johnson ... Westerberg leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game, averaging 27.2 ... Among players coming off the bench, freshman G Briann January currently leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game (19.0), followed by Amy Denson (18.3) ... In their 21 games the Sun Devils have been led in scoring by seven different players -- Denson, January, Kovesdy, Noe, Orsillo, Kirsten Thompson and Westerberg ... According to CollegeRPI.com, the Sun Devils are No. 17 in the nation in RPI (a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule). Their strength of schedule is ranked No. 23 in the country.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI? Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne added another great accomplishment to her coaching dossier last month when it was revealed that ASU was ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. For the Sun Devils it was their first appearance in the top 10 of a major poll in 22 years. If the figure `22 years' sounds familiar it's because last season Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 22 years.
Currently in the midst of her 10th season in Tempe, Turner Thorne has more than established the Sun Devils as one of the teams to watch on an annual basis not only in the Pac-10 Conference, but also across the country. In fact, since the 2000-01 season, the Sun Devils have won the second-highest number of overall games (118) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 6 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 163.
2005-06 Arizona State Women's Basketball Player Notes
#2 Reagan Pariseau G 5-5 So./1V Spokane, Wash. A starter in every game in 2005, is currently averaging 4.9 points per game. Has had one or zero turnovers 10 times this season. Leads the team in assists (59) and is second in three-point FGs (14). Had a season-best 10 points (all in the second half) at Arizona (Dec. 22). Played in all 34 games with one start as a freshman. One of four players on the roster from the state of Washington, Pariseau was a high school teammate of current Sun Devil F Emily Westerberg.
#4 Emily Westerberg F 6-0 Jr./2V Greenacres, Wash. Is currently second on the team to senior F Kristen Kovesdy in both scoring (11.2 points per game) and rebounding (5.1 per game). Is also second in assists (58) and leads the team in minutes per game (27.2). Has led or tied for the team lead in scoring five times this season and has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding seven times this season. Led ASU with a season-best 20 points on 7-11 shooting and tied her career-best with three 3-point field goals (3-5) in ASU's 84-78 loss at Stanford (Jan. 21). Hit game-winning 3-point FG with 13.9 seconds left in ASU's 44-43 win over Oregon (Jan. 12). Was named to the WBCA/BTI Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in ASU's season opening wins against Vanderbilt (Nov. 11) and Missouri (Nov. 12). Last season became the second sophomore (Kym Hampton) in school history to earn first-team All-Pac-10 honors. One of four players on the roster from the state of Washington, Westerberg was a high school teammate of current Sun Devil G Reagan Pariseau.
#10 Lavinia Fanaika G 5-8 Fr./HS Millbrae, Calif. Has played in three games this season (vs. Memphis Dec. 2, at Arizona Dec. 22 and vs. Oregon State Jan. 14).
#11 Kate Engelbrecht G 5-10 Fr./HS Tucson, Ariz. Has appeared in all but one game (at California, Jan. 19) this season, averaging 6.4 minutes per game. Is currently shooting 61.9 percent from the field (13-21). Made all five of her shots and had a career-high 11 points vs. Memphis (Dec. 2). Made all five of her shots and scored 10 points at Arizona (Dec. 22).
#13 Danielle Orsillo G 5-9 Fr./HS Oroville, Calif. Has averaged 10.5 points and has hit five three-pointers in her last four outings. Scored a career-best 16 points (6-11 shooting) in only 18 minutes in ASU's 73-61 victory over No. 18 New Mexico (Dec. 6). Made a career-best three 3-pointers and tied for the team lead with 13 points in ASU's 75-65 win at Washington State (Jan. 26). Tallied 14 points in 24 minutes in ASU's 66-64 loss at California (Jan. 19). Made the second start of her career (first came at UCLA on Jan. 8) at Stanford (Jan. 21). Had ASU's only four-point play of the 2005-06 season at Stanford. Is currently second on the team in free throw shooting percentage (30-38, 78.9 percent). A 2005 graduate of Las Plumas High School in Oroville, Calif., finished her high school career third (3,340 points) on the state of California's all-time scoring list behind Charde Houston and Cheryl Miller. Has played the guitar since she was seven years old.
#15 Cristina Lopez F 6-0 Fr./HS Villa Park, Calif. Has appeared in 11 games this season as she continues to recover from major shoulder surgery she had last year.
#20 Briann January G 5-8 Fr./HS Spokane, Wash. Is averaging the most minutes (19.0) of players coming off the bench. Has had 16 assists and only four turnovers in her last four games. Is No. 1 on the team and No. 6 in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting pct (80.4 pct on 45-56 FTs). Led the team in scoring with a career-best 12 points in ASU's 72-47 victory over Washington State (Dec. 31). Had a career-best six assists with no turnovers at Washington State (Jan. 26). One of four players on the roster from the state of Washington, January was an AAU teammate of current Sun Devil G Reagan Pariseau. Holds a black belt in karate. Her father (Barry) is a karate instructor.
#22 Jill Noe G 5-10 RS-Jr./1V Tualatin, Ore. A member of the All-Pac-10 freshman team in 2002-03, Noe returned to the starting line-up this year after missing the last two seasons because of ACL injuries incurred before the start of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. A starter in 19 of 21 games, is currently third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.6 points per game. Has led or tied for the team lead in scoring four times and is the team's leader in three-point field goals (24). Scored 19 points and drained a career-best five 3-point FGs in ASU's 84-78 loss at Stanford (Jan. 21). During earlier three-game stretch (vs. North Carolina, vs. Mississippi State and vs. Memphis), averaged 18.0 points per game and was 18-30 from the field, including 10-14 from three-point range.
#23 Kirsten Thompson C 6-6 Fr./HS Monroe, Wash. Is currently shooting 50.6 percent from the field (39-77). The team's leader with 12 blocked shots, tallied a team single-game best four blocked shots vs. Memphis (Dec. 2). Led ASU in scoring with a career-best 15 points while also recording career-best numbers in rebounds (8) and minutes played (19) in ASU's 69-51 win over Oregon St. (Jan. 14). Was 4-5 from the field and scored eight points in ASU's 58-50 loss at USC (Jan. 6). One of four players on the roster from the state of Washington, Thompson was the first girls basketball player from the state to be named a McDonald's All-American.
#32 Aubree Johnson F 6-2 Jr./2V Post Falls, Id. A starter in all but one game (at Stanford, Jan. 21) this season, is currently averaging 23.3 minutes and 5.9 points per game. Had a season-best 11 points in ASU's victory over Memphis (Dec. 3) and again in ASU's 77-69 loss at UCLA (Jan. 8). Pulled down a season-best 11 rebounds in ASU's 44-43 win over Oregon (Jan. 12). Took the last of her six offensive rebounds and found teammate Emily Westerberg, who hit the game-winning three with :13.9 left. Has won the team's academic award each of the last two seasons (was a co-winner last season).
#33 Amy Denson F 6-1 Sr./3V Central Point, Ore. Has appeared in every game and is currently averaging 18.3 minutes per game (7.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg). Coming off the bench, has either led or tied for the team lead in scoring in three of ASU's last four games, including a career-best 19 points at California (Jan. 19). During that four-game span, Denson has averaged 13.0 points per game while shooting 62.2 percent from the field. Scored a game-high 18 points on 6-8 shooting in ASU's 67-61 victory at Washington (Jan. 28). Scored 12 of her points in the second half, including six of ASU's final eight points to help break open what was a one-point game (59-58 ASU) with under three minutes remaining. Recorded the third double-double of her career with a career-best 19 points and season-best 11 rebounds in ASU's 66-64 loss at California (Jan. 19). Tied for the team lead with 13 points on 6-9 shooting in ASU's 75-65 win at Washington State (Jan. 26). Was named the MVP of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic after averaging 15 points and 6.5 rebounds in ASU's victories over Memphis and Western Kentucky. Tied her (then) career best with 18 points in ASU's 78-64 win vs. Western Kentucky (Dec. 3). Made only start of the season at Stanford (Jan. 21).
#34 YoVanna Rosenthal G 5-7 Sr./3V Phoenix, Ariz. Has appeared in all but one game (vs. Oregon, Jan. 12) this season, averaging 7.0 minutes per game. Turned in her best performance of the season at Washington (Jan. 28), scoring a season-best eight points, including 2-2 from three-point range. Also added one rebound, one steal and one momentum changing block in which she chased down Husky G Emily Florence, who had clear path to the basket after a steal, and knocked away what was an all-but-certain two points for Washington that would have tied the game at 57-57 with 4:15 left in regulation. ASU would outscore the Huskies 10-6 the rest of the way to seal its 67-61 victory, the Sun Devils' first victory in Seattle since the 1995-96 season. Scored seven points to go along with three assists in ASU's victory over Memphis (Dec. 2). Scored six points in ASU's 75-65 win at Washington State (Jan. 26). One of three players on the roster (Kate Engelbrecht, Kristen Kovesdy) from Arizona.
#54 Kristen Kovesdy F 6-3 Sr./3V Scottsdale, Ariz. ASU's all-time leader in FG pct. (.572), is currently first in the Pac-10 and No. 14 in the country in FG pct. (60.0) and leads the team in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). Has led or tied for the team lead in scoring eight times and has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding 11 times. Is currently No. 7 on ASU's all-time scoring list with 1,219 points. Needs six points to pass former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1,224 points, 1988-91) for No. 6 on ASU's all-time scoring list.With 593 career rebounds Kovesdy currently sits No. 5 on ASU's all-time rebounding list. Needs 64 more rebounds to pass former Sun Devil Jovonne Smith (656 rebounds, 1984-86) for No. 4 on ASU's all-time rebounding list. Posted her fifth double-double of the season with 16 points (7-8 FGs) and 10 rebounds in ASU's 84-78 loss at Stanford (Jan. 21). It marked her third double-double in ASU's last five games. Recorded her second consecutive and fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds in ASU's 44-43 win over Oregon (Jan. 12). Notched her third double-double of the season (12 points and 10 rebounds) in ASU's 77-69 loss at UCLA (Jan. 8). Carried the Sun Devils to a victory vs. Washington (Dec. 29), scoring 23 of her season-best 27 points in the second half to go along with 10 rebounds which gave her her second double-double in 2005-06. Was named the MVP of the season-opening WBCA/BTI Classic after averaging 15.0 points on 63.2 percent shooting and 7.0 rebounds in ASU's victories over No. 16 Vanderbilt (Nov. 11) and Missouri (Nov. 12). Was named to the All-Tournament team of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic after averaging 14 points and 11.5 rebounds in ASU wins over Memphis (Dec. 2) and Western Kentucky (Dec. 3). 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.