Women's Hoops to Play Host to Oregon on Saturday Afternoon

Jan. 3, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 70-58 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils continue their Pac-10 Conference home opening weekend at Wells Fargo Arena, playing host to the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Jan. 4. The matchup with the Ducks will tip off at 3 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net (Bill McDonald and Mary Murphy calling the action). On Thursday night, Arizona State returned home to Wells Fargo Arena for the first time in 24 days and notched the team's first Pac-10 win with a 70-58 victory over Oregon State. The victory over the Beavers also snapped the team's two-game losing streak that included last weekend's losses at No. 6/7 Stanford and unranked California and averted the team's first three-game losing streak since 1999-00. The Sun Devils, who are starting three true freshmen and two sophomores this year, will be looking for their fourth straight win over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday afternoon, which would be the longest winning streak for ASU in the all-time series. A victory on Saturday would also give seventh-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne the 100th win of her ASU career. Oregon brings a 5-7 overall mark and a 1-2 league record to Tempe after falling at No. 20 Arizona 96-65 on Thursday night.

In the SeriesOregon leads the series with Arizona State 25-12, dating back to the first meeting between the two teams in 1980-81, but ASU has won the last three games in the series (all three meetings last year). Oregon also holds an 11-8 advantage in games played in Tempe, however, ASU has won the last two meetings at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU won all three meetings between the two teams last year, including two at Oregon's McArthur Court. It marked just the second season sweep of Oregon for the Sun Devils with the only other one coming in 1992-93. Last year, Arizona State snapped an eight-game losing streak at Mac Court with an 86-72 victory in Eugene on Jan. 6, downed the Ducks 69-58 Jan. 31 in Tempe and capped off the trifecta with a 64-58 victory in Eugene in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 2. In that Pac-10 Tournament victory, the Sun Devils overcame an eight-point second half deficit to advance to the championship game where the team upset second-ranked Stanford to win the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament. The three-game winning streak over the Ducks marks just the second time that ASU has won three straight over the Ducks (1991-92 & 1992-93 seasons), while a victory on Saturday would give ASU its longest winning streak in the all-time series vs. the Ducks.

Oregon ConnectionsThe Sun Devils have four players who hail from the state of Oregon in junior Betsy Boardman (Portland), sophomore Carrie Buckner (Corvallis), freshman Amy Denson (Central Point) and Jill Noe (Tualatin). Boardman, who is sitting out the 2002-03 season after tearing her ACL in preseason practice, came to ASU from Beaverton High School where she was an honorable-mention high school All-American in each of her last three seasons and runner-up for Oregon Player of the Year following her senior season. In 2000, Boardman led her Beavers to the school's first Metro League championship and was selected as the league's MVP. A three-time all-league selection and the 2001 Valley League Player of the Year, Buckner helped her Crescent Valley High School to its eighth straight Valley League title as a senior and earned all-tournament honors at the Oregon 4A state tournament.

Denson was the 2002 Gatorade Player of the Year in Oregon after leading her Crater High School team to its second straight league title. The Oregonian's 4A State Player of the Year, she set the school career scoring record with 1,326 points in just three years and led the state in scoring as a senior with 20.7 points per game. Noe came to ASU from Wilsonville High School where she was named the state 3A Player of the Year in each of her last two years. Noe led her team to back-to-back 3A state titles in her final two seasons and was a three-time Tri-Valley League MVP.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State's victory over Oregon State on Thursday night marked the team's 15th win in 16 home games dating back to last year. The Sun Devils had a school-record 13-game home winning streak snapped by No. 9 Notre Dame on Dec. 7. That streak included the team's last eight Pac-10 home contests of last season and its first five games of the 2002-03 season. The previous school record for consecutive home victories was 12, accomplished over the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. ASU, which played its first seven games of the 2002-03 season at home, has turned in a 42-9 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last four seasons. In the last three years, ASU has gone 16-3 in Pac-10 play at home and is currently on a nine-game Pac-10 home winning streak (last eight of last season, 1-0 this year).

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 (15.3 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (.460), free throw percentage (.843), assists (3.5 apg), steals (2.9 spg) and is third on the team in rebounding (5.1 rpg). She ranks second in steals, second in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, fifth in three-point shooting, seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio, eighth in scoring and tied for 10th in assists. She has scored in double figures 10 times in 12 games this year and has paced the team in scoring in eight of ASU's 12 contests this season, including seven of the last eight. Noe is averaging 16.7 points per game in Pac-10 play and has notched career highs for scoring in each of the last two games, including 21 points at California on Dec. 29 and 23 points on Thursday night vs. Oregon State. In those two games (at Cal, OSU), Noe has turned in 44 points, 14 rebounds, nine steals and six assists. She also shot 54.2 percent from the field (13-24), 50.0 percent from three-point land (6-12) and 85.7 percent from the free throw line.

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. This year, the team is averaging 71.1 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 fifth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and three-point percentage, shooting 43.7 percent from the field (303-693) and 35.6 percent from three-point land (52-146). Arizona State also owns several of the top 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 Jill Noe turned in a career-best 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Arizona State to a 70-58 victory over Oregon State and its first Pac-10 win of the year Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Oregon State took the early lead in the ballgame, going up 7-2 with 16:32 to play after junior Hollye Chapman knocked down a three-pointer. Arizona State took its first lead of the game five minutes later at 12-11 with 11:29 when sophomore Kylan Loney connected on a three-pointer of her own, but the rest of the half continued to be a seesaw battle with seven ties and six lead changes and no team leading by more than four points.

Noe knocked down a three-pointer for the Sun Devils to tie the game at 29 with 30 seconds left in the half. She then grabbed a steal and hit fellow freshman Amy Denson for a layup to put ASU up 31-29 with 10 seconds to play, but OSU sophomore Juleen Smith drove the lane and knocked down a layup of her own at the buzzer to tie the game at 31 at halftime. Noe led all players with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, both squads continued to battle until ASU pulled ahead with a 5-0 run to give the Sun Devils a 45-40 advantage with 9:36 to play, a lead they would not relinquish. Oregon State cut the lead to three points on the next possession, but Loney and Noe answered with a pair of three-pointers to keep the Beavers at bay. The Sun Devils outrebounded the Beavers 22-12 in the second half and knocked down 77.3 percent (17-22) of their free throws en route to the 70-58 win.

Noe turned in the second double-double of her young career with a career-best 23 points and 11 rebounds. The Tualatin, Ore., native went 7-of-12 from the field, knocking down 4-of-8 three-pointers, and added four assists and six steals. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy had 17 points and six rebounds, while Loney turned in 10 points, including a pair of treys, a team-best six assists and two blocks. Denson, a native of Central Point, Ore., finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.

Oregon State freshman Casey Bunn led three Beavers in double figures with 13 points and 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed a team-high five rebounds.

Arizona State dominated the boards 40-24 in the victory, including a 15-8 advantage on the offensive glass.

Ball TheftsThe Sun Devils are ranked second in the Pac-10 in steals this season, averaging 11.7 steals per game. The team had a season-high 20 steals vs. UW-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 least 10 steals in eight of 12 games this year. Freshman Jill Noe leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 with 2.9 thefts per game, including a career-high-tying six steals Thursday night vs. Oregon State. Eight Sun Devils have 10 or more 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 15.3 points and and third in rebounding at 5.1 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in seven of the last eight games, including 21 points at California on Dec. 29 and a career-best 23 points Thursday night vs. Oregon State. Freshman forward Amy Denson paces the squad in rebounding (6.6 rpg) and is second in scoring (12.3 ppg), while freshman forward Kristen Kovesdy ranks second in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and is third on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg). Kovesdy also leads the team and is third in the Pac-10 Conference in field goal percentage at 65.3 percent (47-72).

Double TroubleASU 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 six of ASU's double-doubles this season. Freshman guard Jill Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening victory over Chicago State with 17 points and 10 rebounds, freshman forward Kristen 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 freshman forward Amy 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. ASU has gotten a double-double from a rookie in each of last two games with Denson turning in the second of her career with 17 points and 11 rebounds at Cal on Dec. 29 and Noe accomplishing the same feat on Thursday night with career bests of 23 points and 11 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 70.7 percent on the year (195-276). ASU has gone to the line 276 times (23.0 per game) compared to just 223 times for their opponents (18.6), while ASU has gone to the line more times than its opponent in all but four 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 second in the Pac-10 at 84.3 percent (43-51), while three Sun Devils rank in the top 10 in the league in free throw shooting (Noe-2nd, Kristen Kovesdy-T6th and Amy Denson-T8th). Five Sun Devils are shooting at least 70 percent from the charity stripe this season.

Good StartThe Sun Devils opened this season with a 5-0 record for the first time since the 1991-92 season, while the team's 8-1 non-conference record was the best start since that 1991-92 team turned in a 9-1 non-conference record. This year marked the fifth straight season that ASU has opened the year with back-to-back wins, a streak dating back to 1998-99.

Second-Half SurgesThis year's Sun Devils have shown the ability to kick things up a notch in the second half, outscoring their opponents 463-382 over the final 20 minutes this year. The team has only been outscored in the second half just two games this year (at Stanford and at Cal). ASU has shot 47.4 percent from the field in the second half this year (160-337), 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 390-369 and shot just 40.2 percent from the field (143-356) in the first halves of games this year.

Quick Notes

- ASU's loss at Stanford on Dec. 29 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 four games, ASU has forced 23.5 turnovers per game, including 29 at Akron, 26 at Stanford, 22 at Cal and 17 by Oregon State.

- ASU has allowed just 6.8 offensive rebounds per contest in the last five games, including a season-low two by Kent State on Dec. 18. 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.

- Arizona State is ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 34.7 boards per game, but the team is second in the league in rebounding defense, allowing just 31.8 rebounds per game. ASU has led the league in rebounding defense in each of the last two years (2000-01 and 2001-02).

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 65.3 percent of her shots on the year (47-72). 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. PSU, 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 is tied for 10th in the Pac-10 with 42 assists (3.5 per game), while Young ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.3 assists per game. Young (2.1) and Noe (1.4) also rank second and seventh in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio, respectively. Young has turned in 33 assists and just 16 turnovers so far this season.

- Senior Rainy Crisp has turned in 16 assists to just seven turnovers this season. Her 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio would rank third in the Pac-10, but she is shy of the 3.0 assist-per-game minimum needed to appear in the Pac-10 statistics.

- Through ASU's first 12 games, sophomore Kylan Loney has already knocked down 17 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 the honorable-mention Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree had all of last year. Loney is shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc (17-47) this year.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all but three games this year (at Kent State, at Cal, vs. Oregon State) and is averaging 21.4 points per game (257 points).

- 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.

Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 99-89 record in her seven years at ASU, head coach Charli Turner Thorne holds 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 last year, 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 mark in eight years (1979-87). Since 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. In 2000-01, 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, while her 2001-02 squad tied the school mark for single-season wins with a 25-9 record. 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 six seasons and guided ASU to five consecutive double-digit win seasons.

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