Women's Basketball Knocks Off Stephen F. Austin 67-45 in First Round of Rainbow Wahine Classic

Nov. 24, 2000

HONOLULU, Hawaii -

Junior Amanda Levens scored a career-high 28 points as the Sun Devil women's basketball team opened play in the Rainbow Wahine Classic with a 67-45 win over Stephen F. Austin Friday afternoon at the University of Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center.

Arizona State jumped ahead quickly in the game, building a 10-2 lead in the first 5:36 of the game with six points from Levens including a pair of three-pointers. The Sun Devils went ahead by as many as 21 points in the first half, taking a 35-14 lead with 2:53 to play in the period and headed into the locker room at halftime with a 39-22 advantage.

Levens, a transfer from Old Dominion University, turned in 15 points in the first half and grabbed five rebounds, while junior Melody Johnson, a transfer from the University of Colorado, also finished the first half strong with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds. ASU outshot the Ladyjacks 48 percent (12-25) to 32 percent (8-25) and dominated on the boards 25-12 in the first half.

In the second half, the Sun Devils provided much of the same, opening the stanza on a 9-2 run to take a 48-24 lead with 16:17 minutes to play. Johnson and Levens accounted for Arizona State's first 13 points in the second half, including nine points for Levens and four for Johnson. Junior Cian Carvalho, a native of Kapa'a, Kauai, Hawaii, gave the Sun Devils their biggest lead of the game, scoring a pair of buckets to put ASU ahead by 25 (62-37) with 7:21 to play.

'I think this game was about preparation,' Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'We know we can beat this kind of team if we play defense and control the boards. We have been bragging for over a year about how good Amanda and Melody are, but I don't think our fans at home had a chance to see that in our first home games. They just had a phenomenal game, but this win was really a team effort. This tournament is going to be about depth.'

As a team, the Sun Devils finished the game shooting 44.2 percent from the field (23-52) compared to just 30.4 percent (17-56) for the Ladyjacks. ASU also won the battle of the boards, pulling down 49 rebounds to SFA's 29.

For Levens, her 28 points surpassed a career high of 25 that she turned in during her sophomore year at Old Dominion. She finished the game shooting 8-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point land, and was 9-of-12 from the free throw line. Levens also tied sophomore Leah Combs for the team and game high with nine rebounds apiece.

'When you have a player (like Amanda) who can score in every way, it's really hard for a team to defend her,' Turner Thorne said. 'We have a really solid backcourt with not just two good ballhandlers but two scorers. Amanda is really tough. This was the kind of game she needed to have. This was definitely her breakout game, but I think she can come out consistently and perform this way. But I don't think teams can focus on her either because we have so many other good players around her.'

Johnson finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds, while senior Natalie Tucker led the team with four assists. For Stephen F. Austin, junior guard Lashinda Winters led the team with 12 points, while senior center Tami Rater had 10.

Arizona State returns to action in the Rainbow Wahine Classic Saturday afternoon, taking on either tournament host Hawaii or UC Irvine depending on the outcome of a game between the two teams being played Friday night. If Hawaii wins, the Sun Devils will play the Rainbows at 1:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m. Mountain time), while if UC Irvine wins, ASU will take on the Anteaters at 11:20 a.m. (2:20 p.m. MST).

- www.thesundevils.com -

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