Women's Hoops to Host AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic

Dec. 22, 2000

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ASU Sun Devils (7-3) vs. #2/2 Tennessee Lady Vols (9-0)

AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic

Dec. 27, 2000 * 7:07 p.m. MST * Bank One Ballpark * Phoenix, Ariz.

Live on Fox Sports Net & XTRA 910 AM

Coming off an 80-44 victory over Cal State Northridge Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils will play host to the inaugural AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic on Wednesday, December 27, taking on six-time national champion Tennessee at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. BOB's state-of-the-art retractable roof will be open for the game in what is believed to be the first outdoor women's college basketball game, while a portion of the proceeds from the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic will benefit breast cancer research, treatment and education.

Arizona State brings a 7-3 record into Wednesday night's game but has dropped three of its last six games after opening the season with four straight wins. Tennessee, ranked second in both national polls, holds a perfect 9-0 mark on the year and will take on the Texas Longhorns in Austin, Texas, Dec. 22 before heading to Tempe.

Probable Starters	'00-01		Pos.	Ht.	Cl.	PPG	RPG	NOTES#23	Betsy Boardman	G/F	6-1	Fr.	10.8	3.1#13	Leah Combs	F	6-2	Jr.	4.5	5.0#35	Melody Johnson	C	6-2	Jr.	13.3	6.7#4	Amanda Levens	G	5-9	Jr.	14.8	2.8#33	Natalie Tucker	G	5-9	Sr.	4.8	3.4*

Off the Bench '00-01 Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG NOTES#3 Liz Paulson G 5-11 Sr. 0.4 1.1*#11 Aubrey McFadyen G/F 6-1 Sr. 2.5 0.9#12 Brett Leonard G 5-5 So. 2.7 1.9*#31 Jen Albert F 6-2 Fr. 1.0 0.4#32 Rainy Crisp G 5-6 Jr. 1.9 2.0#34 Li'i Liu G/F 5-10 Fr. 0.3 0.7#52 Cian Carvalho F 5-11 Jr. 5.6 4.7* assists per game

ExposureFox Sports Net will broadcast the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic to a national cable audience with Paul Sunderland and Ann Meyers calling the action. It is the first of at least two national Fox Sports Net appearances for the Sun Devils this season. ASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast the game to the Valley of the Sun and a national audience via the ASU official athletics web site (www.thesundevils.com) with Vince Marotta calling the action, while KTNN Radio will provide a broadcast in Navajo to an audience in 13 states with L.A. Williams calling the action.

Attendance Records With several days to go, the Sun Devils have already sold and distributed over 13,500 tickets for the Tennessee game which would shatter ASU's own single-game attendance record of 5,271 set vs. Arizona on Feb. 26, 2000 at Wells Fargo Arena. That would also make the game the largest attended women's college basketball contest in the state of Arizona since the University of Arizona's single-game record is 5,272 (March 4, 2000 vs. Oregon) and eclipse the Pac-10 women's basketball single-game record of 9,738 set at Oregon's McArthur Court in a game vs. Oregon State (March 8, 19960.

The WNBA's Phoenix Mercury hold the single-game attendance record for a women's basketball game in the state of Arizona with 17,747 fans attending a Aug. 24, 1997 game vs. the Los Angeles Sparks in Phoenix's America West Arena, while the University of New Mexico holds the record for the biggest attended women's college basketball game west of the Mississippi River, drawing capacity crowds of 18,018 on two separate occasions at the team's University Arena (most recently vs. BYU, 2/5/00). Tennessee holds the NCAA Division I record with 24,597 fans on hand to view an 84-69 victory over Connecticut on Jan. 3, 1998 in UT's Thompson-Boling Arena, while the Lady Vols have been involved in all 10 of the top attended games in NCAA Division I history.

The CauseA portion of the proceeds from the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic will benefit breast cancer research, treatment and education in the Valley of the Sun with the donation going to the Phoenix affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Greater Phoenix Community Clinical Oncology Program. Health risk assessment screenings by physicians, an on-site mammography machine and other educational information will be available at the game to raise awareness about breast cancer, a disease which will strike one in nine women in her lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, aside from skin cancer. During 2000, an estimated 182,800 new cases of breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the United States, and over 48,000 women will die from the disease.

The SupportAstraZeneca, maker of the breast cancer drug Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate), is the title sponsor for the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic which is designed to raise awareness of breast cancer, the most common type of cancer among women. Television and film star Rosie O'Donnell is the national honorary spokesperson for the event, while a number of corporations, community leaders throughout the nation and a staff of over 75 committed volunteers have pledged their time and support to this event over the last six months and longer. A significant number of Arizona youth have been given the opportunity to attend the game thanks to the donations of many corporations and individuals.

Busy BallparkBank One Ballpark, home of the Major League's Arizona Diamondbacks, has become one of the busiest places in the Valley in December with four major events in a stretch of just 13 days. On Dec. 17, the U.S. Soccer 'Glory Tour,' featuring the U.S. women's soccer national team and the Japanese national team, made a stop at the BOB, while the Dec. 27 AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic will be the first basketball game to be played there. The following afternoon at 5 p.m., the Insight.com Bowl featuring Iowa State and Pittsburgh will be the first football game at Bank One Ballpark, while the 23rd annual Fiesta Bowl band competition, which draws 16 of the top high school bands in the country and over 3,000 musicians and color guard members, will take place at the BOB on Dec. 29.

Last Time Out In the team's best offensive performance of the season, Arizona State downed the Cal State Northridge Matadors 80-44 Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The 36-point victory marked the largest for the Sun Devils since downing San Jose State 83-46 in Tempe on Dec. 30, 1998 and is the first 80-point effort for the team since defeating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 85-67 in the first round of last year's Wells Fargo Classic on Dec. 3.

For Arizona State, junior Amanda Levens led the team in scoring with 16 points on five-of-seven shooting. Juniors Melody Johnson and Cian Carvalho each had 11 points for the Sun Devils (a career-best for Carvalho), while no Matador reached double figures for scoring. Freshman Betsy Boardman had career bests with four assists and seven steals, while Carvalho and junior Leah Combs tied for the game high with six rebounds.

Coached by former Sun Devil Frozena Jerro, the Matadors controlled the game for just three minutes before Arizona State went ahead 9-7 with 13:46 to play in the first half and never looked back. The Sun Devils outshot the Matadors 39.3 percent (11-28) to 28.6 percent (6-21) in the first half and led by as many as 20 points before taking a 35-18 lead at halftime. In the second half, ASU held Northridge scoreless for the first 7:45 of the period and led by as many as 41 points en route to the win.

In the Polls Tennessee is ranked No. 2 - behind Connecticut - in both national polls. Arizona State made an appearance in the Nov. 27 Associated Press poll, earning nine votes to tie for 39th but dropped out of the vote getters after falling to UCSB on Dec. 3. This season, ASU will face nine opponents ranked or receiving votes in one of the polls.

In the Series Wednesday night's game will mark the first meeting between Arizona State and Tennessee. ASU is 2-8 all time against teams from the Southeastern Conference with the team's last victory over an opponent from that league coming in the championship game of last year's Wells Fargo Classic with a 61-56 win over South Carolina (Dec. 4, 2000).

The Last Time...Wednesday's game with No. 2 Tennessee will mark Arizona State's first match-up with a team ranked in the national top five since a 90-71 loss at then No. 5 Stanford on Feb. 26, 1998. The Sun Devils' last victory over a top five opponent came on Feb. 27, 1992 at Wells Fargo Arena with a 77-65 upset of then No. 5 Stanford. That 1992 team notched a 20-9 record en route to ASU's last NCAA Tournament appearance. ASU last upset a ranked opponent with a 77-76 win over then undefeated and No. 7 Washington at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan.. 8, 1998, during head coach Charli Turner Thorne's first season at ASU.

Arizona State has not taken on a team ranked No. 2 since falling at Stanford 90-63 on Jan. 27, 1990, while the Sun Devils' only victory over a No. 2 team came in the form of a 53-51 home win over USC on Feb. 15, 1982.

A League of Their Own Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt has guided her Lady Vols to six national championships, but she will be not the only coach with six NCAA titles to her credit in attendance at the AstraZeneca Hoops for the Cure Classic. Arizona State head women's golf coach Linda Vollstedt, a 1969 graduate of ASU, led the Sun Devils to six NCAA championships in the 1990s, twice as many as any other women's golf program in the nation. One of Golf World's top 10 college golf coaches of the century and a finalist for induction into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, the five-time national coach of the year has coached 40 All-Americans and guided 15 players to the professional ranks in her 20 years at 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.

The Sun Devils' 73-56 win over La Salle in the first game of the ASU Holiday Classic on Dec. 1 marked the 90th win of head coach Charli Turner Thorne's coaching career and her 50th while at Arizona State. She has notched a 52-69 record in four-plus seasons at Arizona State and was 40-40 in her three seasons at Northern Arizona.

Home-Court AdvantageWith a 4-1 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in an 15-4 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.

Welcome AdditionsFour 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 14.8 points per game. Junior Melody Johnson, who transferred from the University of Colorado, is averaging 13.3 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds, honorable-mention high school All-American Betsy Boardman is averaging 10.8 points and junior Cian Carvalho, a junior college transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community is fifth on the team with 4.8 points per game.

ASU's newcomers have been the leading scorers in each of ASU's 10 games this season with Boardman leading the team vs. Texas-San Antonio (15 points), North Carolina State (16) and Denver (15 points), Levens vs. South Florida (14), Stephen F. Austin (28), La Salle (15), UC Santa Barbara (20) and Cal State Northridge (16) and Johnson vs. Hawaii (23) and Northern Arizona (15).

Soft TouchArizona State's roster features five players shooting 40 percent or better from the field this season led by junior center Melody Johnson who is fourth in the Pac-10 at 56.5 percent (52-92). But it is not just ASU's post players who are shooting well, all three players with 85 or more field-goal attempts are shooting 43 percent or better. Freshman guard/forward Betsy Boardman is hitting 47.7 percent from the field (41-86), while junior guard Amanda Levens is shooting 43.1 percent (44-102).

Notes From the RoadWith wins at Northern Arizona and at Hawaii in the second round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic, the Sun Devils are 2-1 on the road this season. ASU's 67-61 vs. the Rainbow Wahine 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. With their next road win, the Sun Devils will match the total of three road victories from last season. 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.

Great StartWith 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 7-3 record matches 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.

Taking Care of the BallArizona State is averaging just 16.1 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 turned in a season-low nine turnovers vs. La Salle and has had 16 or less giveaways in six of the team's 10 games this year. 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 ArcArizona State has knocked down 37.0 percent of its three-pointers (44-119), led by sophomore Brett Leonard who has hit 6-of-10 attempts. Junior Amanda Levens has a team-best 17 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 29.6 percent (21-78) this season. Only UCSB (four) and Denver (eight) have hit more than two three-pointers in a game, while three teams have had no three-pointers (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.

Three-Dot DataThe Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in two defensive categories: three-point field goal percentage defense and rebounding defense ... ASU is ranked among the best in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 54.4 points per game so far this season ... four opponents have managed 45 points or less (UTSA with 40, South Florida with 39, Stephen F. Austin with 45, Cal State Northridge with 44) ... ASU's victory at Northern Arizona marked the first win of the season for the Sun Devils when trailing at halftime and the first since overcoming a 36-32 halftime deficit to notch a 78-74 overtime win vs. USC last year (Jan. 20, 2000) ... Junior Amanda Levens has notched double figures for scoring in all but one of ASU's games this season, while junior Melody Johnson has scored in double figures in eight games and had nine points in each of the other two ... the pair has also been named all-tournament in both of ASU's tournaments this season (Asahi Rainbow Wahine Classic and ASU Holiday Classic).

More Three-Dot DataArizona State had a season-high 16 steals vs. Cal State Northridge, while the team had a season-high of just 14 takeaways all last season (at Texas-San Antonio, 12/18/00) ... freshman Betsy Boardman had a season-high seven steals vs. the CSUN Matadors, surpassing last year's individual season high of five ... With a 31-30 rebounding advantage vs. Northern Arizona Dec.6 , the Sun Devils snapped a four-game stretch of being outrebounded ... ASU was 2-2 in that stretch ... Since shooting just 40.9 percent from the free throw line (9-22) in its season opener vs. Texas-San Antonio, ASU has shot 65.8 percent from the charity stripe since (127-193) ... Arizona State is outscoring its opponents by an average of 10.4 points per game this year with the team's biggest win being a 36-point victory over Cal State Northridge (80-44) on Dec. 21 ... ... ASU is averaging 14.7 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 3.4 assists per game.

Johnson Named Pac-10 Player of the WeekJunior 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.

A Springboard for the FutureArizona 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 SlateThis 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.

ASU Picked Fifth, Sixth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona 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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