Women's Hoops Australia Wrap-up
Aug. 25, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -
The Arizona State women's basketball team traveled to Australia August 8-19, playing five games in eight days and visiting the cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. The Sun Devils turned in a 4-1 record during the trip, which saw the team take seven flights (totaling over 35 hours), cross the International Date Line twice and travel nearly 20,000 miles.
HOW THEY DID: With 10 players on the active roster, the Sun Devils turned in a 4-1 record. After losing its first game to the Sydney Flames on the team's second day 'Down Under,' Arizona State went onto win its next four games before returning to the United States.
Game 1 - Sydney Flames 114, ASU 81 - August 11, 2003
Arizona State dropped its first game in Australia, falling to the Sydney Flames of the Women's National Basketball League 114-81. The Sun Devils trailed 56-50 at halftime but couldn't make the comeback in the second half, scoring seven points in the final quarter. Jill Noe led the three Sun Devils in double figures, scoring 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting with three three-pointers. Kristen Kovesdy added 16 points and a team-high six rebounds, while YoVanna Rosenthal dished out four assists and had three steals.
Game 2 - ASU 64, Hills Hornets 57 - August 12, 2003
The Sun Devils captured their first win in Australia a night later with a 64-57 victory over the Hills Hornets of the Australia Basketball Association (ABA). ASU played the Hornets at the State Sports Centre in the Olympic Village, the facility that was home to the basketball games during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The game stayed close throughout with the Sun Devils taking a 29-25 halftime lead. The Hornets made a late charge, but the Sun Devils knocked down 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to earn the 64-57 victory. Kristen Kovesdy led the team with 11 points, while Jenny Thigpin and Carrie Buckner each added 10 points. Thigpin and Kovesdy were also the team's leading rebounders, pulling down six boards apiece.
Game 3 - ASU 93, Southern District Spartans 73 - August 14, 2003
The next city on ASU's itinerary was Brisbane, and the Sun Devils made themselves at home there with a 93-73 victory over the Southern District Spartans of the ABA at Rowland Cowan Stadium. The Spartans had not been beaten at home in two years and played the Sun Devils close in a first quarter that ended up tied at 18. ASU built a seven-point lead in the second quarter and never looked back en route to the 93-73 victory. Kylan Loney led the team in scoring with 26 points including five three-pointers (both of which would have been career highs if it wasn't an exhibition game). Amy Denson added 13 points, while Jen Albert scored 11 points and had a team-best nine rebounds.
Game 4 - ASU 94, Brisbane Capitals 65 - August 15, 2003
Led by Kristen Kovesdy who turned in a game-high 28 points, ASU turned in a 94-65 victory over the Brisbane Capitals of the ABA at the Sleeman Center. After trailing 40-39 at halftime, the Sun Devils pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Capitals 23-12 in the third quarter and 32-12 in the fourth. Kovesdy went 11-of-18 from the field and scored 15 off her 28 points in the first half. Jill Noe finished with 18 points, knocking down seven of her 12 attempts from the field including four three-pointers. Betsy Boardman had 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Kylan Loney had eight assists and four steals.
Game 5 - ASU 76, Kuiyam Pride 72 (OT) - August 17, 2003
The Sun Devils wrapped up their Australian Tour with a 76-72 overtime victory over the Kuiyam Pride of the ABA in Cairns. ASU trailed 60-51 with five minutes left but tied the game up at 62 three minutes later after stepping up the defense and forcing several Pride turnovers. The game was tied at 64 at the end of regulation, but the Sun Devils prevailed 76-72 in overtime. Jill Noe, Betsy Boardman, Carrie Buckner and Kylan Loney each had three points in overtime. Boardman led the team with 17 points and also added six rebounds. Noe had 14 points, six assists and three steals, while Buckner led the team with seven rebounds.
THE STATS: Sophomore-to-be Kristen Kovesdy led the team in scoring and rebounding on the trip to Australia, turning in 15.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. A total of five players averaged in double figures for scoring including Kovesdy (15.4 ppg), sophomore-to-be Jill Noe (13.8), junior-to-be Kylan Loney (11.2), junior-to-be Betsy Boardman (10.4) and sophomore-to-be Amy Denson (10.4). Boardman and Noe were second and third on the team in rebounding at 6.2 and 6.0 rpg, respectively, while Noe paced the Sun Devils with 3.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
BALANCED ATTACK: ASU turned in a balanced attack during their five games in Australia with four different players leading the team in scoring and six players leading or tying for the team lead in rebounding in a game. Kristen Kovesdy scored in double figures in all five games, while nine of the 10 players on the trip reached double figures for scoring in at least one game.
MONEY AT THE LINE: As a team, the Sun Devils shot 91.9 percent from the free throw line during their stay in Australia (103-112). Senior-to-be Jen Albert was the best free throw shooter on the team during the trip at 92.9 percent, missing just once in 14 attempts from the charity stripe (13-14). In all, eight of the 10 players on the squad shot 80 percent or better from the free throw line including five at 88.9 percent or better.
DIFFERENT RULES: The Sun Devils played under international rules during their trip 'Down Under,' meaning that things were a little different. ASU played four 12-minute quarters in four of the five games instead of the usual two 20-minutes halves. In those four games, players got six fouls instead of the usual five. ASU also had to get used to a 24-second shot clock (compared to 30 seconds in the U.S.), a bigger basketball (the size of a men's ball), a longer three-point line and a looser definition of traveling. Players in Australia get an extra half-step before being called for the turnover, something that was hard for ASU's fans to get used to. In addition, there was no alternating possession rule, meaning that every time there was a held ball, there was a jumpball (like in the NBA). That gave the Sun Devils some good practice for the tipoffs at the beginning of games next year and created some entertaining mismatches when a player like 6-3 Kristen Kovesdy had to jump against a 5-6 guard from one of the Australian teams.
AN UNPLANNED TRIP: Sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal and assistant coach Joseph Anders got the unexpected opportunity to experience the medical system of Australia after Rosenthal dove for a loose ball in the first half of ASU's game vs. the Brisbane Capitals. Rosenthal hit her face on the floor, opening up a gash under her chin and chipping one of her front teeth. After being tended to by assistant athletic trainer Jennifer Chu at the arena, Rosenthal, Anders and Jenn Ashby, ASU's tour group leader from Basketball Travelers, went to the emergency room and the dentist's office where Rosenthal got four stitches and got her tooth fixed. She bounced back and played in ASU's next game, turning in two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 11 minutes vs. the Kuiyam Pride.
GOOD TO HAVE HER BACK: ASU's five games in Australia marked the return of junior-to-be Betsy Boardman who missed all of last season after tearing her ACL on the second day of practice. Boardman got a chance to shake a little of the rust off, playing in all five games and averaging 10.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. She had her best game of the trip with 13 points and 14 rebounds vs. the Brisbane Capitals and turned in a team-best 17 points vs. the Kuiyam Pride in the team's final game.
WHAT ELSE THEY DID: In addition to five games in eight days, Basketball Travelers set up a busy sightseeing schedule for the Sun Devils who spent three days each in the cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. That busy schedule started literally the minute the team landed in Sydney at 6 a.m. Australia time (which is 17 hours ahead of Arizona). After clearing customs and boarding the bus, the team got a tour of the city from its bus driver and headed to a park which provided some of the most stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The Sun Devils spent three days in Sydney with the highlights of their trip being a morning at the Sydney Aquarium, a visit to the Taronga Zoo, a tour of the Sydney Opera House (where the team was lucky enough to catch a few minutes of a rehearsal by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and a climb of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Despite being nervous about heights, guards Carrie Buckner and YoVanna Rosenthal overcame their trepidation to participate in the bridge climb which took over three hours and provided breathtaking 360-degree views of the Sydney Harbour.
After seeing much of what Sydney had to offer, the Sun Devils headed north to Brisbane where they also spent three days. First up was a visit to the Australia Woolshed where the team had a chance to feed kangaroos, hold a koala bear and see a genuine sheep shearing show. Jill Noe and Jen Albert got into the act, helping out with the sheep shearing during the show. ASU spent the next two days on the beach at Surfers' Paradise on Australia's beautiful Gold Coast. In addition to a bunch of shopping, all of the Sun Devils had a chance to pull on wet suits and try their hand at boogie-boarding. The team got several sightseeing tips along the way from junior-to-be Lauren Stagg who had visited both Sydney and Brisbane last summer while playing for the Calgary Out West provincial team.
ASU's final stop of the trip was Cairns, a lively city located on the waterfront where the rain forest meets the Great Barrier Reef. Highlights of the stay in Cairns included a sea kayaking excursion and a morning of bungy jumping for the thrill seekers on the team. On their final day in Australia, the Sun Devils headed out for a day at the Great Barrier Reef. There, the team spent the day snorkeling and enjoying the scenery. Besides the great snorkeling, one of the highlights of the afternoon was the semi-submersible boat that allowed everyone to see the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet. Word has it that the Sun Devils saw thousands of fish, beautiful corral, a few sea turtles, a stingray and even a small shark during their day at the reef.
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