Women's Basketball Returns Home to Face Washington, Washington State

Jan. 9, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 1-1 record in their Pac-10 Conference opening trip to the Bay Area, the Arizona State Sun Devils (9-5, 1-1 Pac-10) bring conference action back to Wells Fargo Arena, playing host to Washington (9-3, 2-0) Thursday night and Washington State (7-5, 2-0) Saturday night. The Sun Devils will be looking to open their Pac-10 home slate with a win for the second consecutive season after upsetting Stanford in last year's opener. ASU also aims to stay on the winning track and notch consecutive wins, something the team has not accomplished since opening the season with four straight victories. Washington and Washington State each stand atop the Pac-10 standings after notching home wins over UCLA and USC last weekend, while ASU is fifth in the league standings after splitting games with Stanford and Cal.

Probable Starters	'00-01		Pos.	Ht.	Cl.	PPG	RPG	NOTES#23	Betsy Boardman	G/F	6-1	Fr.	10.7	3.1	Team-high 14 points at Cal#13	Leah Combs	F	6-2	Jr.	4.7	5.1	Career-best 4 assists at Stanford#35	Melody Johnson	C	6-2	Jr.	13.5	6.4	11th in Pac-10 in rebounding#4	Amanda Levens	G	5-9	Jr.	13.9	3.0	6th in the Pac-10 in scoring#33	Natalie Tucker	G	5-9	Sr.	5.9	3.2*	Season-best 12 points at Stanford

Off the Bench '00-01 Pos. Ht. Cl. PPG RPG NOTES#3 Liz Paulson G 5-11 Sr. 0.6 0.8* Coming off major back surgery#11 Aubrey McFadyen G/F 6-1 Sr. 1.9 0.8 Nine points vs. South Florida#12 Brett Leonard G 5-5 So. 2.9 2.1* 7-of-16 from three-pt land this year#31 Jen Albert F 6-2 Fr. 0.8 0.5 4 points vs. Cal State Northridge#32 Rainy Crisp G 5-6 Jr. 2.4 1.7 Hit 1st career trey at Stanford#34 Li'i Liu G/F 5-10 Fr. 0.3 0.7 Has team's highest vertical jump#52 Cian Carvalho F 5-11 Jr. 5.7 4.6 7.0 points in last five games* assists per game

ExposureASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast both games to the Valley of the Sun with Vince Marotta calling the action. The broadcast is also available via the ASU official athletics web site (www.thesundevils.com). Cox Communications (Channel 9) will broadcast the California game to a local cable audience with George Allen and Doug Gerlach calling the action. ASU is 2-1 when playing on television this year, including a 69-54 win over Wake Forest on Dec. 30 and a 58-47 victory at Cal last weekend on Fox Sports Net. Over the last two seasons, the Sun Devils are a perfect 7-0 when appearing on Cox Communications.

ASU in Pac-10 Home OpenersASU is 5-9 all time in Pac-10 Conference home openers with wins in their first league home game in three of the last four seasons. Last year, Arizona State opened the Pac-10 Conference slate with two wins for the first time in school history, defeating Stanford 74-68 Jan. 6 followed by a 69-59 win over Cal Jan. 8 at Wells Fargo Arena. Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne has now led the Sun Devils to three wins in Pac-10 home openers including last year's upset victory over Stanford, a 77-76 upset of then No. 7 Washington on Jan. 8, 1998, and a 66-65 win over UCLA on Jan. 16, 1997.

Last Time OutArizona State turned in a 1-1 record in the first weekend of Pac-10 play, falling at No. 21/22 Stanford 92-64 on Thursday night and picking up a 58-47 victory over Cal Saturday, the team's first win in Berkeley since 1991-92, a streak of eight consecutive road losses.

In the first game, Stanford senior Sarah Dimson scored 17 of her 21 points in the first half to lead Stanford. Freshman Nicole Powell scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and while junior forward Lindsey Yamasaki added 21 points as the Cardinal improved to 7-0 at home and won their 12th conference opener in 15 years. For Arizona State, junior center Melody Johnson scored 19 points, while senior guard Natalie Tucker added 12 points. The Cardinal maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half and continued to build on it until the final margin. Arizona State shot 47 percent in the first half, but the Cardinal was even better, hitting on 69 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes. Dimson, who made her first seven shots, connected on her first career 3-pointer as time was running out to give Stanford a 49-34 halftime lead.

In the second game of the weekend, ASU overcame a 27-26 half-time deficit to defeat the Golden Bears at Haas Pavilion. Cal put together a strong first half. The Bears built leads of 16-8 (11:02) and 18-10 with 9:42 left in the first half behind eight points from junior center Ami Forney. ASU went on an 8-0 run, capped by a three pointer from freshman guard Betsy Boardman, to even the score at 18-18 with 8:03 to play. Cal led 27-26 at the half, shooting 44.4 percent in the opening stanza to the Sun Devils 37.0.

The Sun Devils gained their first lead since being up 2-0 a minute and 20 seconds into the second half at 29-27 and never surrendered it again. After having only six turnovers in the first half, Cal committed eight turnovers and was held to just one point over the first 6:25 of the second period. ASU built its lead to double digits at 48-38 with 6:14 left in the game with junior guard Amanda Levens, leading the charge with six of her eight points during that run. Arizona State converted on 17-of-25 free throws, including a 10-of-14 in the final 3:28 of the game, while Cal was just 3-of-5 from the line in the game. Boardman paced the Sun Devils with 14 points, and Johnson added 13 points and a team-high seven boards. Forney led Cal with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Keeping 'Em Off the ScoreboardArizona State ranks second in the Pac-10 Conference and among the best in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 57.4 points per game so far this season. Oregon State leads the conference at 56.7 points per game. ASU has held six opponents to 50 points or less this season including 47 by Cal last Saturday, while four of those teams have managed 45 points or less (with a season-low 39 by South Florida). ASU held No. 2 Tennessee to just 67 points, 16.4 points short of the Lady Vols' season average of 83.4

Prior to Saturday's 58-47 win at Cal, the last time ASU held a Pac-10 opponent under 50 points was in 1997-98 with a 69-49 win over Oregon State in Tempe, while 47 is the fewest points for a league opponent since defeating Oregon 79-42 in Tempe on Jan. 30, 1992. Prior to Saturday, ASU had never held a Pac-10 opponent to less than 50 points on the road in the previous 14 years of conference play.

Home-Court AdvantageWith a 5-2 home mark this year, the Sun Devils have turned in an 16-5 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.

In the PollsArizona State made an appearance in the Nov. 27 Associated Press poll, earning nine votes to tie for 39th but dropped out of the ranks of vote getters after falling to UCSB on Dec. 3. Washington is not ranked but is receiving votes in both polls, while Washington State does not appear in either poll.

About Washington and Washington StateWashington and Washington State each stand atop the Pac-10 Conference standings after opening conference play with home wins over USC and UCLA. Washington, which is receiving votes in both polls and is tied for 30th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, brings a 9-3 overall record into this weekend's games. Last weekend, UW downed UCLA 73-54 and followed that up with a 91-79 triple-overtime decision over USC. Three Huskies are averaging double figures for scoring led by All-Pac-10 senior guard Megan Franza at 13.8 points per game. Three UW players ranked among the Pac-10's top 20 rebounders paced by freshman guard Giuliana Mendiola with 7.7 boards per contest.

Washington State is off to a 2-0 conference start for the first time since 1991-92 and will face No. 22 Arizona in Tucson on Thursday night before heading to Tempe. The Cougars earned their first sweep over the Los Angeles schools in six years with a 79-78 win over USC and a 74-52 defeat of UCLA. Their two Pac-10 wins already double their conference wins from one season ago. Junior center Brittney Hawkes is pacing the Cougar roster in scoring (10.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg) so far this season, including 15 points and 12 rebounds vs. USC and 13 points and seven rebounds vs. UCLA.

In the SeriesWashington leads the series with Arizona State 20-10 including a split last year with a 78-76 loss in Seattle on Jan. 13 and a 74-53 win in Tempe on Feb. 10. While the Huskies hold an 8-6 advantage in games played in Tempe, the Sun Devils have won the last three contests in Wells Fargo Arena. Two of those three games were decided by last-second three-pointers with Michelle Tom hitting a last-second trey to give ASU a 77-76 victory over then undefeated and No. 7 Washington on Jan. 8, 1998, and Tom draining another trey to send another game into overtime, which ASU won 72-69 on Feb. 6, 1999. In fact, three of the last six games in the series have been decided by a combined six points.

Arizona State holds a 17-11 advantage in the series with Washington State, sweeping the series last year for the second consecutive season with a 64-54 victory in Pullman on Jan. 15 and a 74-53 win at Wells Fargo Arena on Feb. 10. The Sun Devils have earned victories in the last four games and five of the last six games against the Cougars. ASU holds an 11-3 record in games played in Tempe and has won the last three games at Wells Fargo Arena.

Last year's wins over Washington and Washington State at Wells Fargo Arena marked ASU's first back-to-back 20-point conference wins since the 1976-77 season in the Intermountain West Conference. The 21-point margin of victory over Washington last year tied as ASU's biggest win of the series with an 82-61 win in 1979-80, the first game in the 20-year rivalry.

Washington ConnectionsTwo members of the Arizona State program have ties to the state of Washington. Head coach Charli Turner Thorne was a graduate assistant at the University of Washington under then head coach Chris Gobrecht from 1988-90. During Turner Thorne's stint at Washington, the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Tournament both seasons reaching the Elite Eight in 1989-90. Senior Aubrey McFadyen, who transferred to ASU from Colorado State three years ago, attended Redmond (Wash.) High School where she was a first-team all-league selection in 1995-96.

Super JuniorsAfter sitting out last season as Division I transfers, juniors Amanda Levens and Melody Johnson have made themselves right at home this season. The pair is 1-2 in scoring this season and has also been named all-tournament in both of ASU's tournaments this season (Asahi Rainbow Wahine Classic and ASU Holiday Classic). Levens, a 5-9 guard who transferred from Old Dominion University, is pacing the ASU squad at 13.9 points per game and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in that category as well. Levens has notched double figures in all but three of ASU's games this season. Johnson, a 6-2 guard from the University of Colorado, is second in scoring at 13.5 ppg and has scored in double figures in 12 games and had nine points in each of the other two. Levens has hit a team-best 20 three-pointers, while Johnson, who earned the first Pac-10 Player of the Week honors this season, leads the Sun Devils in rebounding at 6.4 boards per game which is good for 11th in the Pac-10.

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 15.3 points per game. Junior Melody Johnson, who transferred from the University of Colorado, is averaging 13.5 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds, honorable-mention high school All-American Betsy Boardman is averaging 10.7 points and junior Cian Carvalho, a junior college transfer from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community is fifth on the team with 5.7 points per game and third with 4.6 rebounds per contest.

ASU's newcomers have been the leading scorers in each of ASU's 14 games this season with Boardman leading the team vs. Texas-San Antonio (15 points), North Carolina State (16), Denver (15 points) and Cal (14), Levens vs. South Florida (14), Stephen F. Austin (28), La Salle (15), UC Santa Barbara (20), Cal State Northridge (16) and Tennessee (21) and Johnson vs. Hawaii (23), Northern Arizona (15) and Stanford (19). Levens and Johnson each had 14 points in ASU's victory over Wake Forest.

Soft TouchArizona State's roster features six players shooting 40 percent or better from the field this season led by junior center Melody Johnson who is tops on the team and fourth in the Pac-10 at 54.4 percent (68-125). But it is not just ASU's post players who are shooting well, all three players with 120 or more field-goal attempts are shooting 40 percent or better. Freshman guard/forward Betsy Boardman is hitting 43.1 percent from the field (53-123), while junior guard Amanda Levens is shooting 40.1 percent (57-142).

Taking Care of the BallArizona State is averaging just 16.4 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 seven of the team's 14 games this year. The Sun Devils have also won the turnover battle (having fewer turnovers than their opponents) in 13 of 14 games including a 24-21 advantage over No. 2 Tennessee and a 20-11 edge at then No. 21/22 Stanford. Last year, the lowest turnover total for the team was 13 in their final game of the season in the WNIT vs. Colorado State.

The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in turnover margin, forcing an average of 4.93 more turnovers than they commit per game. ASU also stands in third in the league in assist-to-turnover margin at 0.83 (192 assists to 230 turnovers). Senior Natalie Tucker, who leads the team with an average of 3.2 assists per game, is fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5).

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are also averaging 8.9 steals per game and have turned in double figures in that category in five of the past seven games with nine each in the other two games in that stretch. ASU had a season-best 16 steals vs. Cal State Northridge including seven by freshman Betsy Boardman. Both totals surpassed last year's highs of 14 takeaways (at Texas-San Antonio, 12/18/00) and five by two players last season. The Sun Devils have averaged 11.3 steals in the past seven games.

Notes From Beyond the ArcArizona State has knocked down 33.1 percent of its three-pointers (58-175), led by sophomore Brett Leonard who has hit 7-of-16 attempts (438). Junior Amanda Levens has a team-best 20 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.

Head Coach Charli Turner ThorneSince 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 2000 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 ASU. She has notched a 54-71 record in four-plus seasons at Arizona State and was 40-40 in her three seasons at Northern Arizona.

Notes From the Charity StripeSince shooting just 40.9 percent from the free throw line (9-22) in its season opener vs. Texas-San Antonio, ASU has shot 66.8 percent from the charity stripe since (209-313) ... Junior Amanda Levens is shooting a team-best 82.4 percent from the free throw line (61-74) which is good for fifth in the Pac-10 ... Levens' miss in the second half at Stanford ended a streak of 16 consecutive free throws (nine straight in the second half vs. Tennessee, 6-of-6 vs. Wake Forest) ... In the last five games, ASU has been to the free throw line 149 times and drained 67.1 percent of those attempts (100-149).

Three-Dot DataASU is ranked 20th in the country in attendance, averaging 3,056 fans per home game ...ASU has overcome two half-time deficits for victories this season, both on the road (at Northern Arizona and at California) ... Starting with last weekend's trip to the Bay Area, ASU will play four of its six games on the road ... The Sun Devils' 67-63 loss to Tennessee was the Lady Vols' closest game of the season so far this year ... This season, ASU will face nine opponents ranked or receiving votes in one of the polls ... Arizona State is outscoring its opponents by an average of 7.0 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 13.7 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 3.2 assists per game ... ASU has held 12 teams to four three-pointers or less this season including three teams with no three-pointers (Texas-San Antonio, Stephen F. Austin, Hawaii).

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 8-4 record is one game off the pace of last year's squad. One year ago, ASU turned in the team's 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.

Notes From the RoadWith wins at Northern Arizona, at Hawaii in the second round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic and at California, the Sun Devils are 3-2 on the road this season. ASU's 67-61 over Hawaii 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 victory at California on Jan. 6, the Sun Devils matched their 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.

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