Women's Basketball to Open Season with Two-Game Homestand

Nov. 15, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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2000-2001 Arizona State Women's Basketball

ASU Sun Devils (0-0) vs. Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (0-0)

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2000 * 2 p.m.

ASU Sun Devils (0-0) vs. South Florida (0-0)

Sunday, Nov. 19, 2000 * 1 p.m.

Wells Fargo Arena * Tempe, Ariz.

Both Games on XTRA 910 AM

Fresh off their first postseason invitation since 1991-92 and just the fifth in the history of the program, fifth-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne and her Arizona State Sun Devils open the 2000-01 season with a two-game homestand at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU takes on the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners at 2 p.m. on Saturday, followed by South Florida at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday and Sunday's games also mark the season openers for both of ASU's opponents. With eight returning letterwinners, two Division I redshirts, a junior college standout and three talented freshmen, the Sun Devils look to improve upon the 1999-2000 campaign which saw the team notch the most overall and conference wins for ASU since the 1992-93 season.

ASU in Season Openers

The Sun Devils are 18-7 all-time in season openers and have won three of their last four openers including last year's 78-62 victory over UC Irvine at Wells Fargo Arena. Under head coach Charli Turner Thorne, ASU is 3-1 to begin the year. In home openers, ASU is 20-5 all time, having won five of the last six and 13 of the last 15 games.

Probable Starters				'99-00				Pos.	Ht.	Cl.	PPG	RPG	NOTES

#23 Betsy Boardman G/F 6-1 Fr. -- -- HM USA Today HS All-American

#13 Leah Combs F 6-2 Jr. 3.5 3.8 Avg. 6.0 rpg over last six games

#35 Melody Johnson C 6-2 Jr. -- -- Transfer from Colorado

#33 Natalie Tucker G 5-9 Sr. 7.0 3.8* Has started 56 straight games

#4 Amanda Levens G 5-9 Jr. -- -- Transfer from Old Dominion

Off the Bench '99-00


#3 Liz Paulson G 5-11 Sr. 3.7 1.4* Coming off major back surgery

#11 Aubrey McFadyen G/F 6-1 Sr. 2.1 1.4 Played in 23 games last year

#12 Brett Leonard G 5-5 So. 1.5 1.8* Started seven games last year

#21 Sarah Allen G/F 6-1 So. 5.4 2.5 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team

#31 Jen Albert F 6-2 Fr. -- -- HM USA Today HS All-American

#32 Rainy Crisp G 5-6 Jr. 1.1 1.5 Played in 22 games last year

#34 Li'i Liu G/F 5-10 Fr. -- -- Has team's highest vertical jump

#52 Cian Carvalho F 5-11 Jr. -- -- Transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) CC

* assists per game

Last Time Out

Led by junior Melody Johnson's 17 points, Arizona State defeated Cassovia Bardejov (Slovakia) 80-73 last Saturday in an exhibition game at Wells Fargo Arena.

Johnson made 7-of-10 from the field and added three from the free throw line to obtain her team-high total. Junior Leah Combs added 12 points for the Sun Devils.

Although it had led by as much as 16 points earlier in the second half - and 10 points with 3:34 remaining - Arizona State saw its lead slipping away in the final minutes. After creating her third steal of the game, Slovakia's Stela Vaselova banked in a three-pointer with 2:37 left that cut the Sun Devil advantage to seven points. A minute later, Vaselova managed another three-point play before making the field goal that brought Slovakia to within three, 75-72 with 1:31 left. The Sun Devils, however, cashed in from the free-throw line to secure the victory, sinking 5-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final 1:18 of the contest including four-of-six from sophomore Brett Leonard. ASU also cashed in from the three-point line, knocking down 6-of-10 from behind the arc. Seniors Aubrey McFadyen and Natalie Tucker led the way with two apiece. ASU also played smothering defense that resulted in 14 steals among Slovakia's 29 turnovers.

About Texas-San Antonio

Under the direction of first-year head coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair, Texas-San Antonio looks to improve upon its 7-20 record from last season. The Roadrunners return seven letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's club including junior guard Latifa Northern who averaged 10.5 points per game in 1999-2000. The Roadrunners should also benefit from the addition of seven new players.

Probable Starters	'99-00

Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

#21 Kate Fitzgerald F 6-0 Jr. -- --

#40 Renda Churman C 6-2 Sr. 5.0 4.0

#13 Jene Vanderbilt G 5-8 Jr. 8.5 3.4

#15 Chelsea Demarte G 5-8 Sr. -- --

#31 Amber Prose G 5-2 Jr. -- --

About South Florida

South Florida returns seven letterwinners and three starters from last season's team which notched a 13-16 overall and 3-13 conference record. Sophomore guard Aiya Shepard is the Bulls' top returning scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game last year, while senior guard Shannon Layne holds the school career record for three-point attempts and is second in treys made. The Bulls's roster also features six new players including five true freshmen.

Probable Starters	'99-00

Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

#33 Aiya Shepard F 5-7 So. 11.7 2.0*

#50 Lindsey Smith F 6-0 So. 6.3 3.5

#54 Ashley Teets C 6-2 So. 2.7 2.0

#14 Shannon Layne G 5-8 Sr. 10.4 4.1

#20 Melissa Tape G 5-6 Fr. -- --

* assists per game

In the Series

Arizona State won the first game in the series with Texas-San Antonio with a 70-35 victory in UTSA's Convocation Center last year. ASU dominated the entire game en route to its largest victory of the season and the biggest road win since defeating New Mexico 91-36 during the 1992-93 season. The Sun Devils also hold a sterling 4-0 advantage over teams from the Southland Conference. Sunday's game vs. South Florida will mark the first meeting between the two teams, while Arizona State is 3-2 vs. teams from Conference USA.

A Look Ahead at the Rainbow Wahine Classic

Following their games against Texas-San Antonio and South Florida, the Sun Devils head to Honolulu for the Rainbow Wahine Classic Nov. 24-26. ASU will open tournament play with NCAA Tournament qualifier Stephen F. Austin in the first round and will face either Hawaii or UC Irvine in the second round. The trip to Honolulu marks ASU's first to the United States' 50th state and the first trip outside the contiguous United States since traveling to to the San Juan Shootout in in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1996-97, Charli Turner Thorne's first season at Arizona State.

Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne

Since Charli Turner Thorne took over the reigns of the program in 1996-97, the Sun Devils have begun a steady climb back to the national prominence that the team enjoyed in the early 1990s. She has improved the team's wins total in her four seasons and guided ASU to three consecutive double-digit win seasons in as many years. In 1999-2000, Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to a 14-14 regular-season record and a 7-11 mark in the Pac-10 Conference, both of which marked the school's most victories since 1992-93. Turner Thorne's Sun Devils also earned the team's first postseason appearance in eight seasons, falling to Colorado State 66-54 in Fort Collins, Colo., in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament

A Springboard for the Future

Arizona State's invitation to the Women's National Invitation Tournament last bodes well for the future. Of the 32 teams that advanced to the WNIT in 1998-99, seven earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2000 and nine advanced to the WNIT for a second season (a total of 16 teams in postseason play).

Tough Slate

This season, Arizona State will take on seven teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament or the Women's National Invitation Tournament last year including 2000 national runner-up Tennessee. Other NCAA qualifiers on the 2000-01 slate include Stephen F. Austin, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA, while USC advanced to the WNIT. The Sun Devils will also face at least one more NCAA participant in the ASU Holiday Classic in either Kent State or UC Santa Barbara and have the chance to take on four more postseason qualifiers in the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

Home-Court Advantage

The Sun Devils turned in an 11-3 mark at home last year, including six Pac-10 Conference victories, which ranks second on the ASU list for home victories in a season with the 11-1 mark of the 1981-82 team. The 1982-83 Sun Devils hold the school record for home wins with a 12-3 mark in Wells Fargo Arena, while ASU's 78.6 winning percentage at home ranks third in school history.

ASU Picked Fifth, Sixth in Preseason Pac-10 Polls

Arizona State was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 Conference by the league's coaches and sixth by the media in their preseason polls, the same spots they were picked last season. Following are the complete Pac-10 Conference preseason polls:

	Coaches			Media	1.Stanford (9)		1. Stanford (16)

2. Oregon (1) 2. Oregon (3)

3. USC 3. USC

4. Arizona 4. Arizona

5. Arizona State 5. UCLA

6. Washington 6. Arizona State

UCLA 7. Washington

8. Oregon State 8. California

9. California 9. Oregon State

10. Washington State 10. Washington State

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