Women's Hoops Plays Host to No. 9 Stanford at 3 p.m. Saturday

Feb. 28, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 61-47 victory over California on Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils (15-11 overall, 7-10 Pac-10) wrap up the regular season Saturday afternoon, playing host to No. 9/9 Stanford at Wells Fargo Arena. AZ-TV will televise Saturday's game at 3 p.m. Saturday is Senior Day for the Sun Devils who will honor guard Rainy Crisp prior to the game. ASU will also have an opportunity to get its fourth win over a ranked opponent this year and the team's first home win over the Cardinal since 1999-00. Thursday night's win over Cal snapped ASU's first three-game losing streak since dropping the last three contests of the 1999-00 season and marked the fourth straight win at Wells Fargo Arena for the Sun Devils. Stanford, which has already clinched the Pac-10 regular-season title, brings a 22-4 overall record and a 14-3 Pac-10 mark to Tempe after falling at Arizona 79-64 on Thursday night. The Cardinal, ranked ninth in this week's Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, had a three-game winning streak snapped by the Wildcats on Thursday, while Stanford has won seven of its last nine games.

In the SeriesStanford holds a 34-9 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona State, including a 13-7 advantage in games played in Tempe. The Cardinal has won the last three games in the series including both regular-season meetings last year and an 80-63 victory on Dec. 27 in Palo Alto. ASU's last victory over Stanford came last year when the Sun Devils downed then No. 2 Stanford 70-63 on March 4 in Eugene, Ore., to win the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament. That win snapped a five-game losing streak to the Cardinal, while ASU's last victory over Stanford in Tempe came during the 1999-00 season when ASU opened Pac-10 play with a 74-68 win over the Cardinal on Jan. 6 at Wells Fargo Arena.

Senior Rainy CrispArizona State will honor its lone senior, guard Rainy Crisp, before Saturday afternoon's game with Stanford. A native of Shiprock, N.M., and a graduate of Navajo Preparatory Academy, Crisp has played in 113 games with three starts in her career since transferring to ASU from New Mexico State four years ago. This season, Crisp regained a year of eligibility after a successful appeal to the NCAA. Despite sitting out the first four regular-season games of the season, Crisp has provided leadership and experience to one of the youngest teams in the country, while turning in one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios on the team this year. In her career at ASU, Crisp has helped the Sun Devils to several of the most successful seasons in school history, including ASU's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Two seasons ago, she was the team's Most Improved Player on ASU's first ever Pac-10 Championship team, while last year, she was an integral part of the squad which tied the school record for wins with a 25-9 mark and won the first ever Pac-10 Tournament Championship.

Stanford ConnectionsArizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne was a four-year letterwinner at Stanford, playing for Cardinal head coach Tara Van Derveer in her last three seasons. Turner Thorne was twice voted the Most Inspirational Player by her Cardinal teammates and was co-captain of the 1987-88 NCAA Sweet Sixteen team. She won Stanford's H-Block Award in 1988, which is awarded to the senior female student-athlete with the highest grade point average, and earned her bachelor's degree in psychology that year.

Pac-10 Tournament PictureFollowing Saturday's game with Stanford, the Sun Devils head to the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament, which will be held March 7-10 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Arizona State is currently tied for seventh place in the Pac-10 with USC with a 7-10 conference record. The Sun Devils could still finish anywhere from a tie for fifth to eighth place in the Pac-10 depending on the outcome of Saturday's games. The Pac-10 Tournament gets underway on Friday, March 7 with the No. 7 vs. the No. 10 seed game at 6:30 p.m. PST and the No. 8 vs. No. 9 seed contest at 8:45 p.m. PST.

Arizona State will be looking to defend its 2002 Pac-10 Conference Tournament Championship after the Sun Devils won the inaugural event held last March at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore.

Home-Court AdvantageArizona State brings a four-game home winning streak into Saturday afternoon's game with Stanford at Wells Fargo Arena, a stretch that has included upsets of then No. 19 Arizona and then No. 20 Washington. ASU has won 19 of its last 22 home games and 13 of its last 15 Pac-10 home games dating back to last year. Earlier this season, the team's losses to UCLA and USC on Jan. 16 and 18 snapped a 10-game Pac-10 home winning streak for the Sun Devils and marked the team's first Pac-10 home losses since ASU fell to then sixth-ranked Stanford 75-66 on Dec. 21, 2001. In the last three seasons, ASU has gone 21-5 in Pac-10 play at Wells Fargo Arena

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 year at home, has turned in a 45-11 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last four seasons.

There's No Place Like HomeIn addition to their 12-3 record at Wells Fargo Arena this year (6-2 in Pac-10 games), the Sun Devils are also turning in some stellar stats in their home games. At home, ASU is averaging 68.8 points a game and shooting 41.6 percent from the field (363-872) and 34.8 percent from three-point land (64-184). In comparison, on the road, the team has turned in a 3-8 record (just 1-8 in Pac-10 play) and is averaging 60.5 points per game and shooting 39.8 percent from the field (246-618) and just 24.6 percent from three-point land (28-114).

Not to Forget the Defense...In addition to the team's improved offensive performance, the Sun Devils still continue to be one of the top defensive teams in the conference. ASU is second in the Pac-10 in rebounding defense, allowing just 33.7 rebounds per game. The Sun Devils are also ranked third in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 62.2 points per contest. Arizona State has led the league in both rebounding and scoring defense in each of the last two years (2000-01 and 2001-02). Last year, the team set a Pac-10 record by giving up just 59.1 points per game, while the team's current average of 33.7 boards allowed per game is just off the school record for rebounding defense, set by last year's team at 33.3 rebounds per game. On Jan. 23, the Sun Devils held then No. 19 Arizona to just 58 points and 28 rebounds, 20.8 points and 13.1 rebounds below the Wildcats' then Pac-10 leading 78.5 points and 41.1 rebounds per contest. ASU also held the Wildcats to just eight offensive rebounds in the game and none in the first half of that contest, while in ASU's Feb. 8 upset of then No. 20/24 Washington, the Sun Devils allowed the Huskies just 56 points, which was UW's second-lowest point total of the season and 21.7 points below the team's Pac-10 leading average of 77.7 points per game.

The Sun Devils also continue to lead the league in three-point shooting defense, a category the team has paced the Pac-10 in three of the last four years. This season, ASU is allowing its opponents to shoot just 28.8 percent from three-point land (67-233), while in the last 10 games, the Sun Devils have held their opponents to just 24.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc (23-93). On Jan. 31 at Oregon, ASU held the Ducks, the league's third-best three-point shooting team, to just 18.2 percent (2-11), down from their then season numbers of 35.7 percent and 6.2 treys per game, while on Feb. 8, Washington, the Pac-10 leader in three-point shooting, knocked down just 23.5 percent of its attempts (4-17), down from the Huskies' then season numbers of 38.1 percent and 8.52 treys per game.

Saturday's game with Stanford will provide an interesting matchup for the Sun Devils as the Cardinal lead the Pac-10 in rebounding (39.8 rpg) and rebounding defense (31.3 rpg), while ASU is third in rebounding (38.0 rpg) and second in rebounding defense (33.7 rpg). Stanford also ranks second in the league in three-point shooting at 35.7 percent, while ASU paces the Pac-10 in three-point defense, allowing its opponents to shoot just 28.8 percent from beyond arc.

Last Time OutFreshman Jill Noe turned in her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead Arizona State to a 61-47 victory over California Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena. With the win, ASU snapped its three-game losing streak and won the team's fourth straight home game.

Arizona State took control of the game midway through the first half, using an 11-2 run to take a 19-10 lead with 8:18 to play, including four points from freshman Jenny Thigpin. ASU held a 23-13 lead with 4:37 remaining in the half, but the Bears forced three ASU turnovers and scored the next eight points to cut the Sun Devil lead to two points, 23-21, with 1:46 left in the half. The Sun Devils, however, knocked down the final four points of the period to take a 27-21 halftime lead. Thigpin had seven points and four rebounds in the first half to lead the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils came out strong in the second half, scoring the first six points of the half on layups by sophomore Carrie Buckner and freshmen Amy Denson and Noe to take a 33-21 lead with 18:20 to play. Cal cut the lead to eight points on four occasions but never got any closer. The Sun Devils took their largest lead of the ball game when sophomore Kylan Loney knocked down a pair of free throws and then hit her second three-pointer of the game to give the Sun Devils a 59-44 lead. ASU held Cal without a basket over the final 6:07 en route to the 61-47 win.

Noe led the Sun Devils in scoring and rebounding with 12 points and 11 rebounds for her team-leading fifth double-double of the year and added four steals. Thigpin finished with nine points and five rebounds, while sophomore Lauren Stagg pulled down a career-best six rebounds. For Cal, sophomore Kiki Williams led all scorers with 16 points, while junior Olga Volkova added eight rebounds. ASU outrebounded Cal 44-34 and held the Bears to a season-low 29.6 percent shooting from the field.

Last Time vs. StanfordFreshman forward Amy Denson scored a career-high 18 points as Arizona State fell to sixth-ranked Stanford 80-63 Dec. 27 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.

The Buck(ner) Stops HereSophomore Carrie Buckner has turned up her game a notch in the last 12 games, averaging 8.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. She has scored at least 12 points in four of the last six games, including a career-high 16 at UCLA on Feb. 16. Buckner turned in the first double-double of her career with 10 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds vs. then 19th-ranked Arizona on Jan. 23, while on Feb. 6 vs. Washington State, she had 12 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals in just 23 minutes. In ASU's upset of No. 20 Washington on Saturday, Buckner scored 10 of her 12 points and had all six of her career-best steals in ASU's second-half comeback. She played 13 minutes in the second half and held UW's Giuliana Mendiola to just four second-half points after Mendiola had 16 in the first half.

Buckner played a career-high 35 minutes in each of ASU's home games vs. UCLA and USC, averaging 10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game and taking the toughest defensive assignment in each contest. She held the Pac-10's scoring leader, UCLA senior Michelle Greco, to just six points, 12.6 points below her then average of 18.6 points per game and added 12 points and six rebounds, while against the Women of Troy, Buckner had eight points and five steals.

Buckner has been one of the most consistent players for the Sun Devils this year, ranking fifth in scoring (7.9 ppg) and tied for third in rebounding (5.5), up from her averages of 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. Buckner leads the team and is fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.15 steals per game, while with 56 takeaways on the year, she has already surpassed her production of 38 steals from last year.

Young GunsThree of ASU's true freshmen continue to lead the team and rank in the top 20 in the Pac-10 in scoring and rebounding. Freshman guard Jill Noe, a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week this season, ranks first on the team and 15th in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 5.8 boards per contest. Noe has led the team in scoring in 12 of the last 22 games, including a career-best 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State and again Jan. 11 at Washington State. Freshman forward Amy Denson leads the team and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding (6.2 rpg), while fellow freshman Kristen Kovesdy is second on the team and 16th in the league in the category (5.8 rpg). In scoring, Denson is second on the team at 10.3 points per game, while Kovesdy is third on the team at 9.7 rpg. Kovesdy also leads the team and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 53.1 percent (95-179).

Double TroubleThe Sun Devil rookies have had 11 of ASU's 12 double-doubles this season, including freshman Jill Noe's fifth of the year Thursday night against Cal (12 points, 11 rebounds). ASU had a true freshman turn in her first career double-double in each of the team's first three games. Freshman guard Jill Noe led the Sun Devils with a double-double in their season-opening win 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. Denson turned in the second of her career with 17 points and 11 rebounds at Cal on Dec. 29 and Noe accomplished the same feat on Jan. 2 with career bests of 23 points and 11 rebounds vs. Oregon State. Both Noe and Kovesdy had their third double-doubles of the season Jan. 16 vs. UCLA with Noe turning in 11 points and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds and Kovesdy adding 13 points and a career-best 13 boards. Noe added her fourth double-double of the year last with 10 points and 10 rebounds in ASU's win over Washington State on Feb. 6.

ASU's Double-DoublesJill Noe (Chicago State, 11/22/02)	17 pts, 10 rbsKristen Kovesdy (Northern Illinois, 11/25/02)	19 pts, 10 rbsAmy Denson (Portland State, 11/29/02)	12 pts, 14 rbsKristen Kovesdy (Kent State, 12/18/02)	12 pts, 12 rbsAmy Denson (at California, 12/29/02)	17 pts, 11 rbsJill Noe (Oregon State, 1/2/03)	23 pts, 11 rbsJill Noe (UCLA, 1/16/03)	11 pts, 11 rbsKristen Kovesdy (UCLA, 1/16/03)	13 pts, 13 rbsCarrie Buckner (Arizona, 1/23/03)	10 pts, 12 rbsJill Noe (Washington State, 2/6/03)	10 pts, 10 rbsAmy Denson (at USC, 2/14/03)	11 pts, 11 rbsJill Noe (California, 2/27/03)	12 pts, 11 rbs

Just Say NoeFreshman Jill Noe earned her second Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week honor of the season on Jan. 6 and became the first true freshman in the Pac-10 to earn two player-of-the-week honors in a season since Stanford's Nicole Powell did it in 2000-01. Noe was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 30-Jan. 5 after averaging 21.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.5 steals in ASU's home wins over Oregon State and Oregon. She turned in a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Oregon State and followed up that effort with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in ASU's win over Oregon. On the weekend, Noe shot 41.7 percent from the field (10-24), 42.9 percent from three-point land (6-14) and 83.3 percent from the free throw line (15-18).

Noe was also named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Dec. 9-15. She 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 in the victory.

Noe, who has been troubled by a hip flexor/groin strain over the last few weeks, has done it all for the Sun Devils this year, pacing the team in scoring (12.7 ppg) and free throw percentage (.800). She also ranks second on the team in three-point field goal percentage (.344), steals (2.0 spg) and assists (2.9 apg) and is tied for second in rebounding (5.8 rpg). She is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting, tied for seventh in steals, 10th in scoring and 15th in rebounding. With 331 points, she is third on the ASU single-season list for scoring by a freshman and is also threatening the school freshman records for steals (fourth with 52), assists (third with 75) and rebounds (fifth with 151).

Noe has scored in double figures 18 times in 26 games this year (with five 20-point games) and has paced the team in scoring 13 times this season. She notched career highs for scoring in back-to-back games with 21 points at California on Dec. 29 and 23 points Jan. 2 vs. Oregon State and matched her career best again with 23 points (including 18 in the second half) at Washington State on Jan. 11. Noe also leads the team with five double-doubles on the year, including 12 points and 11 rebounds Feb. 27 vs. Cal.

Quick Notes

- ASU held Cal to a season-low 29.6 percent shooting on Thursday night, while the Bears' 47 points marked the second-lowest total allowed by the Sun Devils this season. It was also the third time this year that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.

- After turning the ball over just 13.7 times per game in its previous three games, including a season-low 13 times in ASU's upset of then No. 20 Washington on Feb. 8, the Sun Devils have turned the ball over 24.3 times per game in the last four games, including 27 turnovers Feb. 22 at Arizona.

- ASU's Feb. 8 upset of then No. 20 Washington marked ASU's third win over a ranked opponent this year. Earlier this season, ASU knocked off then No. 14 Georgia 74-70 on Dec. 2 and two weeks ago, the Sun Devils got the best of then No. 19 Arizona 73-58 on Jan. 23 at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU has gone 3-3 this year against ranked opponents.

- ASU had 52 rebounds in its Feb. 6 win over Washington State (52-35 advantage), marking the second time this year that ASU has pulled down 50 or more boards in a game. ASU outrebounded UCLA 55-35 on Jan. 16, which marked a season high for the Sun Devils in rebounding and the most boards since the team turned in 55 in a win over Delaware State on Nov. 19, 2001. The last time ASU had 50 or more rebounds against a Pac-10 team came during the 1996-97 season when both Arizona State and Arizona had 50 rebounds in a 66-42 Wildcat win in Tempe. The Sun Devils rank third in the Pac-10 in rebounding this year with 38.0 boards per game.

- A total of four Sun Devils rank in the Pac-10's top 15 in rebounding (Amy Denson-9th, Jill Noe-15th, Kristen Kovesdy-16th and Carrie Buckner-17th).

- The Sun Devils have already blocked 82 shots this season, which surpasses the 51 the team had all of last year and is the most since the 1992-93 team had 89 rejections. Last year, ASU finished ninth in the Pac-10 with just 1.5 blocks per game, while this season, the team ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 3.15 per contest. Freshman Kristen Kovesdy leads the team and is eighth in the Pac-10 in the category with 0.69 blocked shots per game. Her 18 blocked shots also put her into a tie for third on the ASU single-season list for blocks by a freshman and just one rejection out of second place on the list, while Jenny Thigpin is sixth on that list with 14 blocks.

- The Sun Devils continue to lead the Pac-10 with 15.1 offensive boards per game, including a season-high 24 vs. UCLA on Jan. 16 and 21 vs. Washington State on Feb. 6. Sophomore Carrie Buckner is sixth in the Pac-10 with 2.62 offensive rebounds per game, while freshman Kristen Kovesdy is eighth in the league with 2.38 offensive boards per contest.

- ASU's seven new players (including six freshmen) account for 61.6 percent of the team's scoring (1045 of 1697 points) and 57.1 percent of the team's rebounding (565 of 989 boards) this year.

- Freshman Kristen Kovesdy is leading the team and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, knocking down 53.1 percent of her shots on the year (95-179). 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 vs. Portland State, ASU's third game of the year.

- Through ASU's 26 games, sophomore Kylan Loney leads the team with 42 three-pointers, surpassing the total of 14 she had all of last year. Loney leads the team and is tied for seventh in the Pac-10 at 37.2 percent from three-point land this year (42-113), while freshman Jill Noe is second on the team at 34.4 percent (33-96). Loney drilled a career-best and team-high five three-pointers in ASU's Jan. 4 win over Oregon, while Noe knocked down at least three treys in five games this year.

- The Sun Devil bench has outscored their opponents' reserves in all but seven games this year and is averaging 19.3 points per game (501 points), including 30 points Feb. 22 at Arizona. Junior Jen Albert is the team's leading scorer off the bench at 4.9 points per game, including a career-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting Feb. 6 vs. Washington State. Albert has scored an average of 8.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game and shot 60.0 percent from the field (18-30) in the last six games.

- 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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