Women's Hoops Continues Pac-10 Opening Weekend Sunday at Cal

Dec. 28, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Following Friday night's loss at sixth-ranked Stanford which snapped Arizona State's three-game winning streak, the Sun Devils wrap up their Pac-10 Conference-opening trip to the Bay Area at California on Sunday afternoon. Friday night's loss marked ASU's third straight loss to open Pac-10 play, while Sunday's game at Cal will wrap up a four-game road trip that began for the Sun Devils last week in Ohio. Arizona State will also be looking to win its fifth straight game in the series against Cal when the team heads to Berkeley on Sunday. Cal brings a 3-5 record into Sunday's game and has dropped its last three games following the Golden Bears' 83-53 loss to 21st-ranked Arizona on Friday night.

In the Series with CalCalifornia holds a 20-17 edge in the series with Arizona State, but the Sun Devils have gotten the best of the series in recent years, winning the last four meetings and five of the last six. Last season, Arizona State got its first Pac-10 win of the year with a 63-49 victory over the Golden Bears on Dec. 23, 2001 in Tempe and earned its second straight season sweep over Cal with a 56-40 win on Jan. 24, 2002 in Berkeley.

Cal ConnectionsArizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne and assistant coach Laura Hughes have connections to third-year Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer. Turner Thorne was an assistant coach on Horstmeyer's staff at Santa Clara for three seasons from 1990-93 where the Broncos won three straight conference titles, won the 1991 WNIT and advanced to the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Hughes was a two-year starter at power forward at Santa Clara, helping the Broncos to a 28-3 record and the WNIT title in 1990-91 and an NCAA Tournament berth the following year. That 1990-91 campaign marked one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA history with the team winning 28 games, an improvement of 19 from the previous season's 9-17 campaign. Hughes set and still holds school records for single-season and career field goal percentage, knocking down 53.9 percent of her career attempts.

Just Say NoeFreshman Jill Noe was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Dec. 9-15. Noe, a 5-10 guard from Tualatin, Ore., came within one rebound and one assist of recording the 13th triple-double in Pac-10 history in ASU's 76-53 defeat of Denver on Dec. 9. Noe finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, adding six steals in 26 minutes of play. She shot 7-of-11 (.636) from the field, including a 75.0 percent clip (3-of-4) from 3-point range. Noe also recorded two blocked shots and committed no turnovers as the Sun Devils posted their 14th win in their last 15 games at Wells Fargo Arena. The player of the week honor is the first of Noe's career and the 22nd all-time selection for ASU.

Noe has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (14.0 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (.447), free throw percentage (.838), assists (3.6 apg) and steals (2.6 spg) and is third on the team in rebounding (4.7 rpg). She ranks second in steals, third in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, fourth in three-point shooting, tied for fourth in scoring, seventh in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio and 10th in field goal percentage. She has scored in double figures eight times in 10 games this year and has paced the team in scoring in six of ASU's 10 contests this season, including the last five of the last six.

Offensive FirepowerAfter leading the Pac-10 in most defensive categories in the last two years, this year's Sun Devils have also shown a little offensive firepower this season. In ASU's nine games, the team is averaging 71.6 points per game which ranks fourth in the Pac-10, including a season-high 82 points twice (last at Akron on Dec. 20). The team also ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and second in three-point percentage, shooting 44.3 percent from the field (256-578) and 35.5 percent from three-point land (43-121).

Arizona State also owns the top three shooting performances in the Pac-10 so far this season, knocking down a season-high 59.6 percent (31-52) Dec. 20 at Akron, 58.8 percent (30-51) of its attempts vs. Denver on Dec. 9 and 58.2 percent (31-53) vs. Chicago State in the team's season-opener on Nov. 22.

Last Time OutFreshman forward Amy Denson scored a career-high 18 points as Arizona State fell to sixth-ranked Stanford 80-63 Friday night in the Pac-10 Conference season opener for both teams at Stanford's Maples Pavilion.

Stanford's Azella Perryman had six of her career-high 23 points during a 9-0 run to start the second half for the Cardinal, which won its 22nd consecutive conference game.

In the first half, Stanford went up 11-4 with 16:32 to play, but Arizona State went on a 10-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 14-13 with 12:08 left in the half. Denson scored eight of ASU's 10 points in that stretch. Stanford's Katie Denny snapped a 24-24 tie with less than five minutes left in the first half, and the Cardinal held a 32-28 lead at the break. Denson had 12 points in the first half, while Stanford's Kelley Suminski scored 18 of her career-high 25 points in the first half.

Stanford scored the first nine points of the second half and built a 41-28 lead. The Cardinal made 11 of their first 16 shots in the half and led by as many as 24 points. Perryman went 8-of-9 from the field and had seven of her nine rebounds in the second half for Stanford.

For the Sun Devils, Denson knocked down 7-of-15 shots and grabbed five rebounds in 21 minutes. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy and junior Jen Albert each had eight points, while sophomore Carrie Buckner turned in seven points, a team-best six rebounds and three steals in the loss.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are tied for first in the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 12.6 steals per game. The team had a season-high 20 steals vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Nov. 30 and 19 in their victory over Denver on Dec. 9. ASU has tallied at last 10 steals in eight of 10 games this year. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 with 2.6 thefts per game, while sophomore Carrie Buckner is 10th in the league with 1.9 steals per game. A total of eight Sun Devils have at least 10 steals on the year.

Young GunsThree of ASU's true freshmen continue to lead the team in scoring and rebounding with guard Jill Noe first in scoring at 14.9 points and and third in rebounding at 5.2 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in five of the last six games, including a career-best 20 points vs. No. 14 Georgia, 19 vs. No. 9 Notre Dame, 17 vs. both Denver and Kent State and 16 at Akron. Freshman forward Amy Denson paces the squad in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and is second in scoring (12.2 ppg), while freshman forward Kristen Kovesdy ranks second in rebounding (5.7 rpg) and is third on the team in scoring (11.2 ppg). Kovesdy also leads the Sun Devils and is third in the Pac-10 Conference in field goal percentage at 65.5 percent (38-58).

ASU had a true freshman turn in her first career double-double in each of the team's first three games, while the rookies have all four of ASU's double-doubles this season. Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening victory over Chicago State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, Kovesdy matched the feat with a double-double of her own with 19 points, on 7-of-7 shooting, and 10 rebounds off the bench vs. Northern Illinois, and Denson turned in 12 points and 14 rebounds in ASU's victory over Portland State in the first round of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic. Kovesdy turned in the second double-double of her young career at Kent State on Dec. 18 with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Success at the Charity StripeThis season, the Sun Devils have turned into one of the league's best free throw shooting teams, ranking third in the Pac-10 in the category at 71.6 percent on the year (161-225). ASU has gone to the line 225 times (22.5 per game) compared to just 171 times for their opponents (17.1), while ASU has gone to the line more times than its opponent in all but three games this year. The Sun Devils turned in their best effort from the charity stripe this year with an 83.3 percent outing (15-18) at Kent State on Dec. 18. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 at 83.8 percent (31-37), while a total of four Sun Devils rank in the top 10 in the league in free throw shooting (Noe-3rd, Kylan Loney-4th, Kristen Kovesdy-5th and Amy Denson-9th). Six Sun Devils are shooting at least 70 percent from the charity stripe this season.

In the RankingsArizona State, which has been ranked at times in each of the last two seasons, is receiving votes in each of the Dec. 23 national polls (22 votes to rank 31st in the AP poll, 28 votes to rank 30th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll).

Second-Half SurgesThis year's Sun Devils have shown the ability to kick things up a notch in the second half, outscoring their opponents 395-319 over the final 20 minutes this year. The team has only been outscored in the second half in one game this year (at Stanford on Dec. 27). ASU has shot 50.0 percent from the field in the second half this year (141-282), including a season-best 81.0 percent outing Dec. 20 at Akron (17-21). On Dec. 18 at Kent State, ASU rebounded from a 26.7 percent first half (8-30) with a 51.9 percent half (14-27). Even in the team's first loss of the year to No. 9 Notre Dame, the Sun Devils followed up a dismal 17-point, 13.8-percent half by playing the Fighting Irish to a 35-35 tie and shooting 39.5 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. Comparatively, the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents just 321-302 and shot just 38.8 percent from the field (115-296) in the first halves of games this year.

Quick Notes

- ASU's loss at Stanford on Friday marked the first time this season that the Sun Devils did not knock down any three-pointers. Prior to the Stanford game, ASU had at least three treys in each contest this year.

- The Sun Devils forced Stanford to commit 26 turnovers, a season high for the Cardinal which had previously had only 21 in a game this year. In the last two games, ASU has forced 27.5 turnovers per game, including 26 at Stanford and 29 at Akron.

- Prior to being outrebounded 43-26 at Stanford, ASU had outrebounded its previous three opponents by an average of 13.3 boards per game and allowed just 5.3 offensive rebounds per contest. Arizona State is leading the Pac-10 in rebounding defense, allowing just 32.0 rebounds per game. The Sun Devils outrebounded Kent State 43-20 on Dec. 18 and held the Golden Flashes to just two offensive boards and no second chance points.

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 65.5 percent of her shots on the year (38-58). She knocked down her first 16 attempts of the season, including a perfect 7-of-7 performance in ASU's season-opening win over Chicago State, 4-of-4 vs. Northern Illinois and her first five shots vs. Portland State. Kovesdy did not miss her first shot until the 11:59 mark of the second half in that game vs. Portland State, ASU's third game of the year.

- Freshman Jill Noe and junior Iman Young each rank in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in assists so far this year. Noe leads the team and ranks seventh in the Pac-10 with 3.6 assists per game, while Young is eighth in the league at 3.5 per game. Young (2.3) and Noe (1.5) also rank second and seventh in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio, respectively, Young has turned in 28 assists and just 12 turnovers so far this season.

- Senior Rainy Crisp has turned in 14 assists to just four turnovers this season. Her 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio would rank second in the Pac-10, but she is four assists shy of the 3.0 assist-per-game minimum needed to appear in the Pac-10 statistics.

- Through ASU's first 10 games, sophomore Kylan Loney has already knocked down 15 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 the honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree had all of last year. Loney is shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc (15-40) this year.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all but one game this year (at Kent State) and is averaging 23.2 points per game (232 points).

- Sophomore guard Kylan Loney earned tournament MVP honors as the Sun Devils won their second straight Wells Fargo Holiday Classic title. Joining Loney on the all-tournament team for the Sun Devils were junior Jen Albert and freshman Amy Denson.

- This year, Arizona State returns just one starter and six letterwinners from its 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament squad (with the losses of junior and two-year starter Betsy Boardman and sophomore forward Alexis Tate to season-ending knee injuries) but has added a recruiting class of five freshmen and one junior college transfer which was ranked in the top 25 in the nation by Blue Star. The 2002-03 Sun Devil active roster is a young one featuring a junior college transfer, three sophomores and six freshmen.

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