Sun Devils Win Seventh Straight at Home, Downing USC 67-60

Feb. 14, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - Senior center Melody Johnson scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Arizona State women's basketball team to a 67-60 victory over USC Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

With their seventh straight home win, Arizona State notched its 20th victory of the year (20-7) and moved back into second place in the Pac-10 with an 11-5 conference mark. USC falls to 13-11 on the season and 9-6 in the Pac-10 with the loss. The victory also gives the Sun Devils their first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1981-82 and 1982-83 and ties the school record for home wins in a season at 12.

The game stayed close in the first half until ASU used a 12-2 run, including eight points by Johnson, to go up 29-18 with 3:56 to play in the first 20 minutes. Johnson scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the first half to lead the Sun Devils to a 35-27 halftime advantage.

In the second half, USC cut the ASU lead to one point, 44-43, with 13:49 to play, holding the Sun Devils without a point for almost five minutes until senior Amanda Levens knocked down a crucial three-pointer to put Arizona State up by four, 47-43, with 12:47 to play. The Women of Troy tied the game at 47 with 10:58 to play on a layup by senior Tiffany Elmore, but Levens knocked down a pair of free throws and a leaning jumper to put the Sun Devils up again by four.

USC got within two points twice over the next five minutes on a pair of three-pointers by Elmore and sophomore Jessica Cheeks, but ASU sophomore Betsy Boardman had three steals over the final four minutes of the game and ASU scored 11 of the last 17 points of the half en route to the victory.

Johnson led all scorers with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting and tied fellow senior Cian Carvalho with a game-high six rebounds. Four Sun Devils reached double figures for scoring with Levens turning in 15 points, Carvalho with 13 and Boardman with 12 to go along with a season-high five steals. Levens and freshman Kylan Loney each dished out five assists in the Sun Devil victory.

For USC, freshman Rachel Woodward led the team with 14 points, while sophomore Ebony Hoffman added 13.

As a team, ASU outrebounded USC 34-24.

Arizona State returns to action Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. vs. UCLA in its final home game of the season. The Sun Devils will honor their five seniors - Cian Carvalho, Leah Combs, Rainy Crisp, Melody Johnson and Amanda Levens - who will be playing in the final home games of their careers.

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