Women's Hoops Starts Second Half of Pac-10 Schedule at Cal and No. 3 Stanford
Jan. 22, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. -
After splitting a road series in Los Angeles last weekend, the Arizona State Sun Devils open up the second round of Pac-10 play by finishing a grueling four-game road stretch at California on Thursday night and at third-ranked Stanford on Saturday afternoon in a game nationally televised by Fox Sports Net. Winners of four of their last five games, the Sun Devils are now 15-5 on the year and 6-3 in the Pac-10, which puts them into a three-way tie for second place in the league with USC and Oregon State. This weekend, ASU will be looking to extend its three-game winning streak over the Cal Golden Bears, while the Sun Devils are hoping to snap a three-game losing skid to Stanford and get their first win at Maples Pavilion since 1984, a string of 17 straight losses in Palo Alto.
Cal comes into Thursday night's game with a 6-11 overall record and a 1-7 Pac-10 mark after getting its first league win of the year at Washington State last week, while Stanford is 18-1 and 8-0 in the Pac-10 on the year following a sweep of Washington and Washington State last week. Currently on a 10-game winning streak, the Cardinal will play host to Arizona on Thursday night before taking on the Sun Devils.
ExposureASU's flagship station XTRA 910 AM will broadcast both games to the Valley of the Sun with Vince Marotta calling the action. The broadcasts are also available via the ASU official athletics web site (www.thesundevils.com).
Fox Sports Net will televise the California game to a national cable audience with Jim Watson and Mary Murphy calling the action. It marks the second television appearance of the year for the Sun Devils who won their first with a 63-49 victory over Cal. ASU was 9-4 when playing on live TV last year.
Road WarriorsWith this weekend's trip to the Bay Area, Arizona State wraps up a stretch of four straight road games and will have played six of its last eight on the road. The Sun Devils are 4-2 in road games this season, including a 2-2 Pac-10 mark following last weekend's split at UCLA (win) and USC (loss). Last year, ASU finished the season with a 7-5 road record, including a 5-4 mark in Pac-10 play, which marked the most road wins since the 1992-93 squad turned in the same record. Following next weekend's home series with Oregon and Oregon State, ASU will play three of its last five regular-season games on the road.
Playing back-to-back road series is not new to the Sun Devils, who have done it in each of the last four seasons, but in each of those years, one of the road trips has been to Tucson to take on Arizona. Prior to this stretch, Arizona State had not played four straight Pac-10 road games since the 1994-95 season when the team dropped four straight at Washington and Washington State and at Stanford and Cal.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith an 80-82 record at ASU, head coach Charli Turner Thorne has moved into sole possession of second place in all-time wins by a Sun Devil women's basketball coach. With ASU's victory over Arizona on Dec. 30, the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year passed Maura McHugh who turned in a 75-65 record in her six seasons at the helm (1987-93). Juliene Simpson is the all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history, notching a 134-92 record in eight seasons (1979-87).
Last Time OutSenior Melody Johnson turned in her third double-double of the season, but it was not enough as USC downed Arizona State 68-49 last Saturday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, snapping the Sun Devils' four-game winning streak.
The Sun Devils fell behind early in the first half, getting down by as many as 11 points, 28-17 with 4:57 to play in the half. ASU, however, finished the half on a 7-0 run to pull within four points and cut USC's halftime lead to 28-24. The Sun Devils shot just 29.4 percent in the first half compared to 40 percent for the Trojans, while Johnson had eight points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes to lead ASU.
In the second half, ASU cut the lead to two points with an opening score and stayed within three points through the first seven and a half minutes. USC, however, used a 9-0 run to stretch its lead to double digits and led by as many as 21 late in the half. The Trojans outrebounded the Sun Devils 25-15 in the second half and shot 42.6 percent to 33.3 in the half en route to the victory.
For ASU, Johnson had 16 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Amanda Levens was the only other Sun Devil in double figures with 11 points in just her second game back from her ankle injury. Senior Cian Carvalho had eight rebounds. Four Trojans scored in double figures led by Aisha Hollans who scored all 16 of her points in the second half.
Levens Lighting Up the ScoreboardDespite missing the first game of her career with a sprained ankle vs. Washington State on Jan. 12 and playing some limited minutes last weekend in Los Angeles, senior guard Amanda Levens is ranked second in the Pac-10 and 21st in the nation in scoring at 19.2 points per game. Levens, already the winner of two Pac-10 Player-of-the-Week honors this season, has scored 20 points or more on 10 occasions this season, including a game-high 20 points against Washington on Jan. 10. She has led the team in scoring in 15 of 20 games this year.
The transfer from Old Dominion University scored a career-high 30 points in ASU's season-opening win over St. Peter's, while at the Paradise Jam, Levens just missed tying her career high with 29 points in ASU's win over Kansas State. Leven's 30-point effort vs. St. Peter's marked the most points for a Sun Devil since Molly Tuter scored 32 in a 70-66 victory over Southern Utah on Nov. 8, 1997.
In her short ASU career, Levens has led ASU in scoring in 30 of 51 games and has had 17 efforts with 20 points or more. With 365 points this year, she needs just 105 to match the 470 she had all of last year, a total which was eight on ASU's single-season scoring charts.
The Battle of the BoardsASU has been outrebounded in each of its last two games after outrebounding 16 of its first 18 opponents. The Sun Devils hold a 14-2 record when outrebounding their opponents and are averaging 38.3 rebounds per game compared to a Pac-10 low 33.1 for their opponents. ASU held both Rutgers and Oregon to a season-low 23 rebounds earlier this year. ASU also led the Pac-10 in rebounding defense last year, holding its opponents to just 33.5 boards per contest.
Woes at the Free Throw LineArizona State has shot just 52.4 percent from the free throw line (33-63) over the last three games, including a season-low 50 percent in its loss at USC last week (9-18).
While the Sun Devils have gotten to the free throw line 527 times this year (26.4 times per game and 123 more times than any other Pac-10 school), the team has struggled a bit at the charity stripe, knocking down just 62.4 percent of its attempts (329-527). ASU has shot below 60 percent from the line nine times this year.
Defending the ThreeThe Sun Devils are leading the league in three-point field goal defense, allowing their opponents to shoot just 30.1 percent from beyond the arc (52-173). Although they finished ninth in the category last year, ASU led the league in three-point defense in 1998-99 and 1999-00.
ASU has held its last 11 opponents to just 24.1 percent shooting from three-point range (27-112) and has kept its last seven opponents under 30 percent from beyond the arc. Earlier this season, ASU held Stanford, the Pac-10's best three-point shooting team at 43.8 percent and 7.47 three-pointers per game, to just 33.3 percent on 3-of-9 shooting.
Soft TouchASU's senior frontcourt of Cian Carvalho, Leah Combs and Melody Johnson has combined to shoot 58.1 percent (54-93) over the last five games. Johnson, ASU's career leader in field goal percentage at 56.0 percent (266-475), is shooting 66.7 percent in the last five games (28-42), including an 8-of-9 outing at Oregon on Jan. 6. On the year, Johnson ranks second in the Pac-10 in the category, knocking down 54.3 percent of her attempts from the field (94-173), including a perfect 7-for-7 effort Dec. 13 at Chicago State.
Combs is shooting 71.4 percent (10-14) over the last five games and 50.8 percent on the year (33-65), while Carvalho has connected on 43.2 percent of her shots (16-37) in the last five contests. Carvalho and sophomore Jen Albert have also shown the ability to hit the three this season with Carvalho knocking down 40 percent of her attempts (10-25) from beyond the arc (52.9 percent in Pac-10 play) and Albert shooting 33.3 percent from three-point land on the year (3-9).
Double TroubleSenior Melody Johnson turned in her third double-double of the year with 16 points and 11 rebounds last weekend at USC. The Colorado Springs, native, and 2001 All-Pac-10 selection has eight double-doubles in her short ASU career, including 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds vs. Arizona Dec. 30. She turned in her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds vs. Richmond on Nov. 26 to earn Paradise Jam MVP honors.
About Cal & StanfordCal brings a 6-11 overall and 1-7 Pac-10 record in Thursday night's game, snapping a seven-game conference losing streak with a 62-50 win at Washington State last weekend. Senior Ami Forney continues to lead the Golden Bears in scoring (12.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) but had just five total points in Cal's two games last weekend. Cal is second in the Pac-10 in scoring defense, giving up just 60.6 points per game but is ninth in scoring offense at 58.2 points per game.
Currently riding a 10-game winning streak, third-ranked Stanford is 18-1 overall and 8-0 in the Pac-10 this year and will play host to Arizona on Thursday night before taking on the Sun Devils. Senior Lindsey Yamasaki leads the Cardinal in scoring at 16.0 points per game (5th in the Pac-10) while sophomore Nicole Powell paces the conference in rebounding at 10.1 boards per game and is second for Stanford in scoring at 15.4 ppg. As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in just about every category including scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, three-point shooting, assists and blocked shots.
In the SeriesThe Sun Devils have won the last three games in the series vs. California, including a 63-49 victory in Tempe on Dec. 23, but Cal holds a 20-16 lead in the series and a 12-6 advantage in games played in Berkeley. The Sun Devils snapped an eight-game road losing streak in Berkeley last year with a 58-47 win on Jan. 6 and swept the series with a 70-58 victory in Tempe on March 8. This weekend, ASU could get its first back-to-back road wins over Cal since winning a pair in 1986 and 1987.
Stanford holds a 32-8 advantage in the series with Arizona State, including a commanding 19-1 lead Palo Alto. ASU has lost the last three games in the series, including a 75-66 decision on Dec. 21 in Tempe. The Sun Devils' last victory against the Cardinal came two seasons ago when ASU snapped a dubious 14-game losing streak to Stanford with a 74-68 victory in Tempe on Jan. 8, 2000. The Sun Devils look to snap an even more dubious streak as they look to snap a 17-game road losing streak with their first and only win at Maples Pavilion coming in an 84-72 decision on March 3, 1984.
Stanford & Cal ConnectionsArizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne and assistant coach Laura Hughes have connections to second-year Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. Turner Thorne was an assistant under Horstmeyer at Santa Clara for three seasons from 1990-1993. The Broncos won three West Coast Conference titles in those three seasons including a 28-3 mark and WNIT championship in 1990-91 and a run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1991-92. Hughes was a big part of the Broncos' success on the court, starting at power forward in 1990-92. She averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game and shot a school-record 53.9 percent in her two seasons there.
Turner Thorne is also no stranger to the Stanford program, lettering four years under Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer. The Sun Devil mentor co-captained the 1987-88 Cardinal squad which advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. An Academic All-Pac-10 selection, Turner Thorne was twice voted Most Inspirational Player by her teammates and won Stanford's H-Block award in 1988, an honor given to the senior female student-athlete with the highest grade-point average.
Ranked OpponentsSaturday's game at third-ranked Stanford will mark the second of the year against a ranked opponent for the Sun Devils who notched three wins over ranked opponents last year (Arizona twice, Oregon) and lost to two others by a combined seven points last year, including a 67-63 loss to then No. 2 Tennessee. Earlier this season, ASU opened the Pac-10 slate with a 75-66 loss to then No. 6 Stanford on Dec. 21 at Wells Fargo Arena.
In Saturday's game vs. third-ranked Stanford, ASU will be looking for their first victory over a team ranked in the national Top 10 since downing then undefeated and No. 7 Washington 77-76 at Wells Fargo Arena on Jan. 8, 1998. ASU's last victory over a Top 5 team came in 1991-92 when the team defeated then No. 5 Stanford 77-65 on Feb. 27, 1992, while the Sun Devils' only victory over a team ranked in the national Top 3 came in the form of a 53-51 home win over then No. 2 USC on Feb. 15, 1982.
Last Time vs. CaliforniaFour Sun Devils scored in double figures as ASU downed Cal 63-49 on Dec. 23 at Wells Fargo Arena in the team's first Pac-10 win of the year. Cal took an early lead in the game, holding a 12-8 lead with 12:19 to play in the half, but ASU answered with a 9-0 run which put the Sun Devils up 17-12 with 8:18 remaining in the half. ASU went up by as many as nine points in the first half and led 31-22 at halftime on the strength of eight points from senior Cian Carvalho and seven for senior Amanda Levens.
In the second half, ASU quickly increased its lead to double digits, going up 42-26 with 17:31 on a steal and layup by Levens. Cal pulled within nine points twice, but ASU closed out the victory with an 8-0 run to go up by 16 points. The Sun Devils led by as many as 19 points in the waning minutes of the game before coming away with the 63-49 win.
Levens led the Sun Devils with 16 points, while freshman Carrie Buckner, sophomore Betsy Boardman and Carvalho each contributed 12 points in the victory. Buckner and Boardman each turned in season highs in scoring, while Buckner also grabbed a career-best nine rebounds and dished out a career-best two assists. Cal senior Ami Forney posted her second double-double of the year with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Last Time vs. StanfordSenior guard Amanda Levens scored a game-high 28 points as ASU fell to Stanford 75-66 in the team's Pac-10 season opener at Wells Fargo Arena on Dec. 21. Stanford sophomore Nicole Powell was 10-of-15 from the field for 25 points, while senior Lindsey Yamasaki had 22 for the Cardinal.
In the first half, ASU took control early with a 15-2 run that gave it a 34-21 advantage with 5:02 remaining before the half. Levens scored nine of ASU's 15 points in that run and finished with 16 in the first half. Stanford got back into the game with a 12-2 run over the final four minutes, and ASU led just 36-33 at intermission.
Stanford took its first lead of the game on the strength of a 17-5 run to open the second half. The Cardinal took the lead at 39-37 on a Powell lay-up at 18:22 and built the lead to 50-41 just 3:27 later. The Sun Devils cut the lead to five with 11:17 remaining, but Stanford went on a 10-2 run behind six points from Yamasaki to push the lead to 62-49 at the 7:58 mark. The Sun Devils got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
In the PollsArizona State dropped out of the national polls again after returning last week at 23rd in the Jan. 14 Associated Press poll following a seven-week hiatus. ASU was ranked in the first three polls of the year, climbing as high as 21st, but dropped out after back-to-back losses in November. The Sun Devils are receiving votes in both polls (27th-AP, 38th-USA Today/ESPN Coaches). Cal is unranked, while Stanford moved up one spot to third in each poll.
Joining the 1,000-Point ClubSeniors Amanda Levens and Melody Johnson have each surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their careers this season. Levens, who came to ASU after two seasons at Old Dominion, has scored 1,137 points in her career (302 points at ODU, 835 at ASU), while Johnson has now scored 1,138 points in her career. Johnson had 440 points in her two seasons at Colorado and has 698 so far at ASU, while the Colorado Springs, Colo., native has also topped the 500-board mark and has 541 career rebounds (199 at Colorado, 342 so far at ASU).
The pair also has a shot at becoming the 13th and 14th Sun Devils to join ASU's 1000-point club and the first since Olivia Jones (1980-83) to do it in just two seasons. Levens needs 165 more points, while Johnson needs 292 to accomplish that feat.
Amanda From Beyond the ArcSenior guard Amanda Levens has shot 42.5 percent from three-point land (34-80) over her past 15 games, including a career-best 6-of-9 performance in ASU's win over Kansas Dec. 5 and a 4-of-9 effort Jan. 10 vs. Washington. She has knocked down a team-best 39 treys and is shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc (39-96), which ranks seventh in the league. Levens has knocked down at least one three-pointer in all but two games this year and all but six games in her Sun Devil career. She has also had more than one three-pointer in 11 games this year. Levens has moved into third place on ASU's career list with 99 three-pointers in her career and needs just one more to become just the third Sun Devil in school history to hit 100 treys in her career. Levens needs 17 three-pointers to tie with Molly Tuter (1994-97) for second all time at 116, while Crystal Cobb (1989-94) holds the ASU school record with 134 three-pointers in her career.
Kicking It Up a NotchPortland, Ore., native Betsy Boardman has kicked it up a notch in Pac-10 play, averaging 12.0 points per game, up from her overall scoring average of 8.8 ppg. She is also shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc in league action.
A Pac-10 All-Freshman selection last year, Boardman has scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games, including a season-high 17 points at Oregon on Jan. 6 and a game-high 16 vs. Washington State on Jan. 12. After shooting just 24 percent from three-point land in the first 11 games of the year, Boardman has shot 50.0 percent from beyond the arc in the last nine games (16-32). Boardman now ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting at 37.7 percent (23-61) on the year, including a 3-of-4 effort at UCLA on Jan. 17.
Scoring DefenseAfter leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense last year (61.5 ppg), ASU has continued its stingy ways in 2001-02, pacing the league again at just 58.8 points allowed per game.
ASU has held five teams under 50 points, a season-low of 40 points by Fordham Dec. 1 and again by Washington State Jan. 12, which is the fewest points allowed since downing South Florida 74-39 on Nov. 19 of last year.
The Sun Devils set a school record by holding Chicago State to just nine points in the first half of its 83-43 victory Dec. 13, while Washington State had just 15 points in the first half in ASU's 68-40 win on Jan. 12.
Dishing It OutASU's starting backcourt of senior Amanda Levens and true freshman Kylan Loney is averaging 7.8 assists per game so far this season, the most since Natalie Tucker and Kitch Kitchen averaged 8.4 assists as the second-best tandem in the Pac-10 in 1998-99. At 4.63 assists per game, Levens ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in the category. She has led the team in the category in 10 of her last 11 games, including a career-high nine assists at Oregon State on Jan. 4 and a game-high five vs. Washington on Jan. 10, while Loney is averaging 3.4 per game. Levens is fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.49, while Loney is sixth at 1.46.
Levens Repeats as Pac-10 Player of the WeekSenior guard Amanda Levens was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week on two consecutive weeks (Dec. 10 and 17) after leading ASU to four straight victories. She became the first Sun Devil to ever earn back-to-back selections and the first to earn two conference player-of-the-week honors in a season since Ryneldi Becenti in 1992-93. The Player-of-the-Week honors were the second and third of Levens' career and the 19th and 20th all-time selections for ASU.
- Four Sun Devils are scoring in double figures in Pac-10 play, led by senior Amanda Levens who is averaging 18.4 ppg in Pac-10 play and sophomore Betsy Boardman who is averaging 13.0 points per game in conference action.
- The Sun Devils rank in the top three in the league in five defensive categories this year, including scoring defense (2nd), rebounding defense (1st), three-point defense (1st), scoring margin (2nd) and rebounding margin (3rd).
- Senior Amanda Levens has knocked down her last 12 free throw attempts, making her last six at Oregon on Jan. 6 and going 2-for-2 in each of the last three games. She is shooting 94 percent from the charity stripe in her last four games (16-17). Last year, she turned in streaks of 16 and 17 consecutive free throws made.
- Levens has already been to the free throw line 137 times this year and has knocked down 78.8 percent of her attempts, which ranks seventh in the Pac-10 (108-137). Last year, Levens set school single-season marks for free throws (146) and was second in attempts (183) and is on pace to eclipse those marks this year.
- ASU turned in a season-low 49 points in its loss at USC on Jan. 19 and had its second-worst shooting day against the Trojans, going just 31.1 percent from the field (19-61). Two nights earlier, ASU shot a season-high 58.3 percent (28-48) at UCLA, including an 80 percent showing in the second half (16-20).
- The Sun Devils have turned in their top two shooting performances of the season on the road, shooting 57.4 percent (27-47) at Oregon on Jan. 6 and 58.3 percent (28-48) at UCLA on Jan. 17.
- Saturday's game at Stanford will pair the top two three-point shooting teams in the Pac-10 with the Cardinal knocking down 40.8 percent and the Sun Devils shooting 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. The two schools are also 1-2 in field goal shooting with Stanford leading the Pac-10 at 48.7 percent and ASU second at 43.0 percent.
- Saturday's game will also prove an interesting matchup as Stanford leads the league in scoring, rebounding and three-point shooting, while Arizona State paces the Pac-10 in scoring defense, rebounding defense and three-point defense.
- In the first meeting between ASU and Stanford, the Sun Devils held a 36-33 halftime lead, marking the only time this year that the third-ranked Cardinal has trailed at halftime.
- Senior Rainy Crisp, who made her first career start vs. Washington State last weekend, has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team this year, dishing out 48 assists to just 18 turnovers on the season (2.6).
- After shooting just 36.8 percent from the field in its first four games (87-236), ASU has shot 44.7 percent in the last 16 (390-873). From three-point land, ASU has improved from 24.4 percent (10-41) in its first four games to 38.0 in the last 16 (76-200).
- Since the first Pac-10 statistics of the year were released five weeks ago, ASU has climbed from sixth to second in field goal percentage and from 10th to second in three-point shooting.
- The Sun Devil rotation includes 11 players this year with nine averaging at least 10 minutes per game and freshman Lauren Stagg just shy of the 10-minute mark at 9.7 minutes per game, respectively. Senior Amanda Levens is leading the team in minutes played at 28.6 per game, while true freshman point guard Kylan Loney is second at 26.1.
- The Sun Devils have already defeated both Oregon and Washington this season, marking the first time since 1992-93 that ASU has downed both schools in a single season. That year, ASU swept both meetings with both schools. ASU's 86-72 victory at Oregon's McArthur Court on Jan. 6 snapped an eight-game road losing streak against the Ducks and was the first for ASU since the 1992-93 season.
- The Sun Devils' 87-point effort vs. Arizona on Dec. 30 marked the most for the Sun Devils since the team scored 96 in a 96-52 win over Gonzaga on Dec. 5, 1998, a span of 96 games.
- ASU's bench has averaged 19.0 points per game over the last 15 contests (285 points), including a season-high 27 points at Chicago State on Dec. 13. ASU's bench has had 20 or more points in six games this year, including 23 vs. Washington State on Jan. 12. The Sun Devils are 12-2 on the year when outscoring their opponents' bench.
- The Sun Devils turned in a 70-57 win at UCLA on Jan. 17, marking their third straight win over the Bruins, ASU's longest winning streak in the series.
- ASU's seven-game winning streak, which was snapped with a Dec. 23 loss to then No. 6 Stanford, was the longest for the Sun Devils since the team won seven consecutive Pac-10 games last year from Jan. 13 to Feb. 8.
- ASU's 86-72 victory at Oregon on Jan. 6 snapped an eight-game road losing streak at McArthur Court and was the team's first victory in Eugene since the 1992-93 season.
- ASU emerged from the non-conference slate with nine victories for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
- ASU's crowd of 2,419 at the Stanford game on Dec. 23 was the largest home crowd of the year for the Sun Devils. ASU has averaged 1,643 fans per home game so far in the Pac-10 season.
ASU Picked Second, Fourth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State has been picked to finish second in the Pac-10 Conference by the media (with a pair of first-place votes) and fourth by the league's coaches. Last year, ASU was tabbed fifth by the coaches and sixth by the media in their preseason polls but surpassed all outside expectations by finishing in a tie for first with Stanford and Washington for ASU's first ever Pac-10 basketball title.
Recruiting ClassArizona State's recruiting class for the 2002-03 season is ranked 24th in the nation by Blue Star. Here's a list of the six players that ASU signed in the early period:
Name Ht. Pos. Hometown/SchoolAmy Denson 6-1 F Central Point, Ore./Crater HSKristen Kovesdy 6-3 F Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Mary's HSJill Noe 5-10 G Tualatin, Ore./Wilsonville HSYoVanna Rosenthal 5-7 G Phoenix, Ariz./Thunderbird HSJenny Thigpin 6-3 F Hanford, Calif./Hanford HSIman Young 5-9 G San Pablo, Calif./Contra Costa CC
Not Shying Away From AnyoneSo far this season, ASU has faced six coaches ranked among the 25 all-time winningest coaches in NCAA women's basketball history and come up with wins in five of the games: Arizona's Joan Bonvicini (18th), Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (17th), Northern Illinois' Carol Hammerle (22nd), Kansas' Marian Washington (16th), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (3rd) and Mike Granelli of St. Peter's (10th). ASU has played teams coached by 12 of the top 25 coaches over the last five seasons, while in the past three seasons alone, ASU has played all five of the NCAA's winningest coaches.
Pac-10 Postseason TournamentA new era starts as the Pac-10 begins its first annual Women's Basketball Tournament on March 1-4, 2002, at McArthur Court on the campus of the University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon. The league's Directors of Athletics and the Pac-10 Council approved the postseason tournament last fall. The Pac-10 postseason tournament will be a 10-team event which will be hosted by one of the Pac-10 members on its campus each year. A total of nine games will be played with the champion earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Head Coach Charli Turner ThorneSince Charli Turner Thorne took over the reins 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. That climb culminated in 2000-01 when Turner Thorne's Sun Devils captured ASU's first Pac-10 Championship, an NCAA berth, a return to the national rankings and the team's first 20-win season in nine years. The 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and District 8 Regional Coach of the Year has improved the team's wins total in each of her five seasons and guided ASU to five consecutive double-digit win seasons in as many years. In 1999-00, 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 team also earned the team's first postseason appearance in eight seasons, falling at Colorado State in the first round of the 2000 WNIT.
Pac-10 Conference HonoreesThe Sun Devils return a trio of all-conference performers from one season ago, including senior center Melody Johnson and senior guard Amanda Levens who were named to the All-Pac-10 Conference first team, marking the first time in school history that ASU has had two players earn first-team accolades. Arizona was the only other school to have two first-team selections last year. Freshman guard/forward Betsy Boardman was named to the five-player Freshman All-Pac-10 squad, marking the third consecutive season that the Sun Devils have had a player named to the all-rookie team. In addition, three Sun Devils earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors with junior Leah Combs becoming ASU's first first-team selection since 1990.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne was named the 2001 Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year as selected by the league's coaches, ASU's first such honor, and was one of eight finalists for the 2001 Russell Athletic/WBCA Division I National Coach of the Year Award. As a finalist, Turner Thorne earned the distinction of WBCA District 8 Coach of the Year as selected by WBCA member coaches from that geographical region.