Women's Basketball To Take on NC State in the Rainbow Wahine Classic Championship Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 25, 2000

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Junior Melody Johnson scored a career-best 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Arizona State women's basketball team to a 67-61 victory Saturday afternoon to advance to the championship game of the Asahi Rainbow Wahine Classic. The Sun Devils will take on No. 22 North Carolina State, which defeated Arkansas 48-46 Saturday afternoon, in the championship game Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Hawaii time (6:30 p.m. MST) at the University of Hawaii's Stan Sheriff Center.

Arizona State jumped ahead quickly in the first half, putting together a 10-0 run over the first four minutes of the game. Johnson scored four of ASU's first six points. Hawaii fought back to a 12-12 tie in the next six minutes and took its first lead of the game to go ahead 16-12 with 8:45 to play in the first half.

ASU junior Amanda Levens knocked down a pair of clutch three-pointers to put the Sun Devils back on top, while Johnson finished the half with another six points to put ASU ahead 30-24 at halftime. Johnson ended the first half with 12 points and six rebounds, while Levens had 11 points including three three-pointers.

Arizona State came out strong in the second half, going ahead by eight points three times, but Hawaii used an 8-0 run midway through the second half to tie the game at 41 with 12:23 to play. The Rainbow Wahine took a 48-44 with 9:22 to play, but freshman Betsy Boardman and Johnson each made a bucket to tie the game at 48. Hawaii senior Kylie Galloway put the Rainbow Wahine up by two with 7:38 to play, while sophomore Brett Leonard knocked down the first three-pointer of her career to give ASU a 51-50 lead. Hawaii's Crystal Lee countered with a bucket to give Hawaii the lead again, but Leonard and freshman Betsy Boardman each drained three-pointers to give ASU a six-point lead, and the Sun Devils never looked back.

Hawaii narrowed the lead to two points twice over the last 2:56 of the game, but Arizona State sealed the victory with a pair of baskets by Boardman and junior Kapa'a, Kauai, native Cian Carvalho in the final 20 seconds.

'This was great in a lot of ways for this program,' Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 'This was a great road victory. We hadn't had a close game yet, so to get that refuse-to-lose mentality and toughness down the stretch was great.'

Three Sun Devils finished in double figures with Johnson leading the way with the first double-double of her Arizona State career (28 points, 10 rebounds), while Levens finished with 15 points including three three-pointers. Boardman scored 17 points, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point land. Four Sun Devils had three assists apiece to lead the team. Arizona State finished with eight three-pointers in the game, one shy of the school record of nine, while the team shot 47.1 percent from three-point land (8-17) including an outstanding 4-of-5 in the second half.

'Melody Johnson, Amanda Levens and Betsy Boardman just had great games as did Brett Leonard and Cian Carvalho off the bench,' Turner Thorne said. 'This is the hump that we needed to get over for this program, to finish down the stretch. We've always been close, but we needed to make the plays to get it done, and we did today.'

For Hawaii, four players scored in double figures led by senior center Dainora Puida who had 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Arizona State's game with North Carolina State can be heard live on XTRA 910 AM or on the Internet at www.thesundevils.com.

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