Women's Hoops Travels to Northern Arizona Wednesday night

Dec. 5, 2000

TEMPE, Ariz. - 2000-2001 Arizona State Women's Basketball

ASU Sun Devils (5-2) vs. Northern Arizona (2-5)

Dec. 3, 2000 * 7:05 p.m. MST * Walkup Skydome * Flagstaff, Ariz.

Live on XTRA 910 AM

With a 5-2 overall record, the Arizona State Sun Devils head to Flagstaff, Ariz., for an intrastate matchup with the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Wednesday night at the Walkup Skydome. ASU looks to get back on its winning track after dropping two of its last three games including a 76-66 loss to UC Santa Barbara in the championship game of the ASU Holiday Classic last weekend in Tempe. The Sun Devils will also be aiming to notch their first victory in Flagstaff since the 1990-91 season and their second straight overall win in the series with the Lumberjacks. Following the NAU game, the Sun Devils take 10 days off for finals before heading to Denver for a Dec. 18 matchup with the Pioneers. ASU will then return home for a Dec. 21 game with Cal State Northridge followed by the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic against six-time national champion Tennessee at Bank One Ballpark on Dec. 27.

Northern Arizona Connections

Last year marked the first time that the two programs had met since the 1995-96 season when ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne was at the helm of the Northern Arizona program. This season's meeting is the first trip to Flagstaff for ASU since the 1994-95 season. Turner Thorne served as the Lumberjack mentor from 1993 to 1996, putting together a 40-40 record in her three seasons in Flagstaff. She became the first coach in NAU history to lead the team to back-to-back winning seasons and in 1994-95 went 14-12, the school's first winning season. Current Northern Arizona head coach Meg Sanders was Turner Thorne's top assistant during her time in Flagstaff.

Probable Starters	'00-01		Pos.	Ht.	Cl.	PPG	RPG	NOTES#23	Betsy Boardman	G/F	6-1	Fr.	10.9	3.7	Avg. 13 points over last four games#13	Leah Combs	F	6-2	Jr.	4.3	5.9	12 points, 8 rebounds vs. La Salle#35	Melody Johnson	C	6-2	Jr.	14.0	7.3	Shooting 58.5 percent from the field#33	Natalie Tucker	G	5-9	Sr.	5.4	3.9*	Has started 63 straight games#4	Amanda Levens	G	5-9	Jr.	15.9	2.7	Two 20-point efforts this season

Off the Bench '00-01 Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG NOTES#3 Liz Paulson G 5-11 Sr. 0.5 0.7* Coming off major back surgery#11 Aubrey McFadyen G/F 6-1 Sr. 2.1 1.0 Played in 23 games last year#12 Brett Leonard G 5-5 So. 3.0 2.1* 5-of-8 from three-point land this year#21 Sarah Allen G/F 6-1 So. 2.9 1.4 Scored 10 points vs. South Florida#31 Jen Albert F 6-2 Fr. 0.5 0.5 HM USA Today HS All-American#32 Rainy Crisp G 5-6 Jr. 1.1 2.0 Played in 22 games last year#34 Li'i Liu G/F 5-10 Fr. 0.0 1.0 Has team's highest vertical jump#52 Cian Carvalho F 5-11 Jr. 4.6 4.4 Third on the team in rebounding* assists per game

Last Time Out

Juniors Amanda Levens and Melody Johnson earned all-tournament honors as Arizona State fell to UC Santa Barbara 76-66 Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the ASU Holiday Classic held Dec. 1 and 3 at Wells Fargo Arena. La Salle downed Kent State 77-66 in the consolation game Sunday afternoon.

Joining Johnson and Levens on the ASU Holiday Classic all-tournament team were senior guard Jen Zenszer of La Salle, senior center Julie Studer of Kent State and senior forward Nicole Greathouse of UCSB, while UCSB senior guard Rachelle Rogers was named tournament MVP after scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds in the championship game.

Arizona State led for most of the first half, but UCSB finished the half on an 8-2 run and took a 27-25 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Gauchos outshot the Sun Devils 46.4 percent (13-28) to 30 percent (9-30) in the first half and 60 percent (30-50) to 38.3 percent (23-60) in the game.

In the second half, UCSB's hot shooting continued as the team hit a sizzling 77.3 percent of their shots (17-22) including 3-of-4 from three-point land. UCSB jumped ahead by as many as seven points in the early part of the second half, but the Sun Devils tied the game and went ahead 46-45 when Levens hit a pair of free throws with 12:18 to play. The teams battled to three more ties over the next two minutes before UCSB used a pair of unanswered three-pointers to go ahead for good.

For ASU, Levens turned in 20 points, her second 20-plus performance of the season, and tied a career best with a team-high five assists, while Johnson had 14 points. Freshman Betsy Boardman scored 13 points, going 6-of-10 from the field, and grabbed a team-high five rebounds. For UCSB, Rogers and sophomore guard Jessica Hansen paced the four Gauchos in double figures with 17 points each. Greathouse turned in a game-high seven rebounds.

In the consolation game, Zenszer led La Salle with 15 points en route to the victory, while Studer had a game-high 20 points for Kent State. In the first day of action, ASU downed La Salle 73-56, while UCSB defeated Kent State 68-53.

Turner Thorne Notches 90th Career Win

The Sun Devils' 73-56 win over La Salle in the first game of last weekend's ASU Holiday Classic marked the 90th win of head coach Charli Turner Thorne's coaching career and her 50th while at Arizona State. She has notched a 50-68 record in four-plus seasons at Arizona State and was 40-40 in her three seasons at Northern Arizona.

Great Start

With a 4-0 start to the season, the Sun Devils won their first four games for the first time since 1991-92, while the team's 5-2 record is one shy of the start of last year's squad and is the best since 1992-93. Last year, ASU turned in the best start since 1991-92 with a 7-1 record, winning its first three games before falling at then No. 10 North Carolina then capturing four straight victories (including two in the 1999 Wells Fargo Classic) before losing to then No. 25 Texas in Austin on Dec. 21.

In the Polls

Arizona State made an appearance in last week's Associated Press poll, earning nine votes to tie for 39th, but dropped out of the vote getters after falling to UCSB on Sunday. This season, ASU will face nine opponents ranked or receiving votes in one of the polls. Northern Arizona is not ranked or receiving votes

About Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona enters Wednesday night's game with a 2-5 record after splitting a pair of road games, defeating Fresno State 57-52 on Nov. 30 and falling at Cal Poly SLO 67-60 on Dec. 2. The Lumberjacks opened the season with four losses, including three in the Hawaiian Regent Classic in Honolulu, before downing Idaho and Fresno State. Junior guard Kara Kleinhenz is leading the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game, while junior forward Bridgette Wickham is the top rebounder at 6.3 boards per contest. As a team, the Lumberjacks have knocked down 29 three-pointers this season including 13 each by Kleinhenz and sophomore guard Lindsey Foster.

Probable Starters '00-01

Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG

#34 Bridgette Wickham F 6-1 Jr. 9.7 6.3

#33 Lynsie Blau C 6-3 Fr. 4.3 5.3

#3 Kristi Harkey G 5-7 Sr. 6.3 2.9

#12 Lindsey Foster G 5-9 So. 9.1 2.9

#15 Kara Kleinhenz G 5-8 Jr. 12.1 3.0

In the Series with Northern Arizona

Wednesday's game mark ASU's first trip to Northern Arizona since a 79-60 loss to to the Lumberjacks in Walkup Skydome Dec. 7, 1994, while ASU holds a 24-4 advantage in the overall series including a 10-2 edge in Flagstaff. Last year, the Sun Devils renewed an old rivalry between ASU and NAU that dates back to the 1975-76 season, the first year of women's basketball at ASU, with a 76-52 victory on Dec. 8, 1999 in Wells Fargo Arena. Last year's win snapped a two-game losing streak in the series for ASU with the Lumberjacks winning the previous two meetings, both under the direction of then NAU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. ASU is 32-8 all time vs. teams from the Big Sky Conference.

Welcome Additions

Four of Arizona State's top five scorers are making their debuts for the Sun Devils this season, led by junior Amanda Levens, a transfer from Old Dominion University who is averaging 15.9 points per game. Junior Melody Johnson, who transferred from the University of Colorado, is averaging 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds, honorable-mention high school All-American Betsy Boardman is averaging 10.9 points and junior Cian Carvalho, a junior college transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community is fifth on the team with 4.6 points per game.

ASU's newcomers have been the leading scorers in each of ASU's seven games this season with Boardman leading the team vs. Texas-San Antonio (15 points) and North Carolina State (16), Levens vs. South Florida (14), Stephen F. Austin (28), La Salle (15) and Santa Barbara (20) and Johnson vs. Hawaii (23).

Taking Care of the Ball

Arizona State is averaging just 15.7 turnovers per game in 2000-01 which may not sound so good until you consider that the team had 20.5 turnovers per game last season. The Sun Devils have been especially sharp in the last four games, averaging just 13.3 giveaways (16 or less in all four games) including a season-low nine turnovers vs. La Salle. Last year, the lowest turnover total for the team was 13 in their final game of the season in the WNIT vs. Colorado State.

Notes From Beyond the Arc

Arizona State has knocked down 34.4 percent of its three-pointers (32-93) in its first seven games, led by sophomore Brett Leonard who has hit 5-of-8 attempts. Junior Amanda Levens has 13 three-pointers on the season, including three of ASU's season-high eight treys vs. Hawaii which was one shy of the school single-game record of nine three-pointers made in a contest.

On the other hand, ASU's defense has been just as successful beyond the arc, allowing its opponents to shoot just 19.6 percent (9-46) this season. Only UCSB has hit more than two three-pointers in a game (four), while three teams have had no three-pointers in a single-game (Texas-San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin, Hawaii). That trend is not completely out of the ordinary for the Sun Devils who have led the Pac-10 Conference in three-point field goal defense in each of the last two seasons including a 27.3 percent mark last season.

Home-Court Advantage

With a 3-1 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in an 14-4 mark at home in the last two seasons including an 11-3 mark last year which ranks second on the ASU list for home victories in a season with the 11-1 mark of the 1981-82 team. Last year, the Sun Devils won their first eight home games of the season.

Three-Dot Data

Juniors Melody Johnson and Amanda Levens have been named all-tournament in both of ASU's tournaments this season (Asahi Rainbow Wahine Classic and ASU Holiday Classic) ... Arizona State's 5-2 mark is the fifth-best overall record in the Pac-10 Conference ... The Sun Devils have scored first in all seven games this season ... The team has jumped out ahead of three teams by eight points or more in the opening minutes including a 10-0 run in the first 2:35 vs. Texas-San Antonio, a 10-2 run vs. Stephen F. Austin in the first 5:36 and a 10-0 run in the first 5:57 of the Hawaii game ... Arizona State is outscoring its opponents by an average of 12.0 points per game this year with the team's biggest win being a 35-point victory over South Florida (74-39) on Nov. 19 ... ASU's opponents are averaging just 53.0 points per game, while the Sun Devils have held all but two oppponents to 54 points or less (Hawaii with 61, UCSB with 76) ... two opponents have managed 40 points or less (UTSA with 40 and South Florida with 39) ... ASU is averaging 15.0 assists per game in 2000-01 with 12 of 13 players getting into the action ... Senior Natalie Tucker leads the team in assists for the third straight season at 3.9 assists per game.

Notes From the Road

ASU's 67-61 victory at Hawaii in the second round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic marked the team's first road victory since defeating Washington State in Pullman, Wash., on Jan. 15 of last year, a span of eight consecutive road losses. Last year, the Sun Devils earned two non-conference road victories (at Wake Forest and at Texas-San Antonio) but managed just one during the Pac-10 slate, ending the season with a 3-12 road record.

Johnson Named Pac-10 Player of the Week

Junior Melody Johnson earned the first Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honor of the season after averaging 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead ASU to a 2-1 record and its runner-up finish in the Rainbow Wahine Classic last week. Johnson turned in 16 points and eight rebounds in ASU's opening-round win over Stephen F. Austin, shooting 70 percent (7-10) in the game, and then recorded her first double-double as a Sun Devil with a career-best 23 points and tying a career-high 10 rebounds vs. Hawaii. In the championship game vs. No. 22 North Carolina State, Johnson led the team with 12 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. The accolade marks the first for Johnson and the 18th all-time selection for ASU.

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 10 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, North Carolina State, UC Santa Barbara Arizona, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA, while USC and Hawaii advanced to the WNIT.

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.

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