Women's Hoops Heads to No. 7 Stanford and Cal This Week

Jan. 6, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off an 81-60 loss at then No. 25 Arizona last weekend which snapped their three-game winning streak, the Arizona State Sun Devils hit the road again this week, traveling to the Bay Area to take on No. 7/7 Stanford and California. This weekend's games end a streak of three straight road contests for the Sun Devils, while ASU is in the middle of a stretch that will see the team play on the road in five of seven games. The Sun Devils have won three of their last four games and six of their last eight. ASU heads to northern California looking for its first Pac-10 road win of the season and to snap a six-game Pac-10 road losing streak. Stanford is 11-2 on the year and 4-0 in the Pac-10. The Cardinal brings a four-game winning streak into Thursday night's game with the Sun Devils after a road sweep of the Washington schools last weekend. California is off to its best start since 1992-93 with a 9-4 overall mark and a 2-2 league record. Most recently, the Golden Bears split with the Washington schools, falling at Washington and winning at Washington State.

In the SeriesStanford holds a 35-9 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona State, including a 21-1 advantage in games played in Palo Alto. The Cardinal earned victories in both regular-season meetings last year, turning in a 83-60 victory on Dec. 27 in Palo Alto and a 63-53 win on March 1 in Tempe. ASU's last victory over Stanford came in 2002 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 lone victory at Stanford came during the 1983-84 season when the Sun Devils came away from Maples Pavilion with an 84-72 victory on March 3, 1984.

California holds a 22-18 edge in the series with Arizona State, including a 13-7 mark in games played in Berkeley. The teams split a pair of regular-season meetings last year with Cal snapping ASU's four-game winning streak in the series with a 72-67 win on Dec. 29 in Berkeley and the Sun Devils earning a 61-47 victory on Feb. 27 in Tempe, while the Bears downed the Devils 46-38 on March 7 in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament. Arizona State has won five of the last seven games in the series and heads to Berkeley looking for its first victory at Haas Pavilion since earning a 56-40 win on Jan. 24, 2002.

Stanford ConnectionArizona 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.

California ConnectionsTurner Thorne and assistant coach Laura Hughes also have connections to 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.

Sophomore forward Amy Denson also has a connection to the Golden Bear squad, playing with Cal sophomore guard Sarah Pool for three years at Crater High School in Central Point, Ore. The pair led Crater to two consecutive league titles, while Denson was the school's career-leading scorer and Pool finished second.

Against Ranked OpponentsThursday night's game against Stanford, which is ranked seventh in this week's Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, respectively, will mark ASU's third straight game against a ranked opponent and its fifth this season. The Sun Devils are 1-3 against ranked opponents this year, downing then No. 24 Washington 84-81 in overtime on Dec. 27 and falling to then No. 9/8 Kansas State 59-50 on Nov. 28, at No. 1/1 UConn 81-55 on Dec. 28 and at No. 25 Arizona 81-60 on Jan. 4. ASU turned in a 3-4 mark against ranked opponents last season, turning in upsets of three ranked teams, including wins over No. 14 Georgia, No. 19 Arizona and No. 20 Washington.

Notes from the Arizona GameArizona's quick scoring outburst after the halftime break led the Wildcats to an 81-60 victory over Arizona State on Friday night at the McKale Center in Tucson, which marked the team's 10th straight win. Dee-Dee Wheeler and Shawntinice Polk scored 23 points apiece to lead the Wildcats, while ASU true freshman Emily Westerberg scored a career-best 21 points.

Arizona broke open a 37-37 halftime tie by going on a 17-5 scoring run in the opening seven minutes of the second period, with Wheeler and Polk combining for 13 of the points.

Polk finished the game with 10 rebounds for her third straight double-double. Arizona State was led by Westerberg who knocked down 9-of-11 shots for 21 points, while sophomore forward Kristen Kovesdy scored 10 points.

The Wildcats led 54-42 before Kovesdy hit two free throws to slow the momentum. Wheeler once again propelled Arizona with a three-point play after converting a steal for a 62-47 lead with 8:21 remaining. After a field goal by ASU freshman Aubree Johnson, the Wildcats scored nine straight to build a 70-51 edge with four minutes left.

Westerberg's WaysTrue freshman forward Emily Westerberg turned in a career-best 21 points at Arizona last week to become the fourth Sun Devil to have at least one 20-point game so far this year (Loney, Boardman and Kovesdy are the others). It also marked the second straight game that Westerberg had turned in a career high in scoring. She knocked down 4-of-7 shots to tie her career best with 11 points in ASU's overtime win over Washington on Dec. 29 and then bested that one game later with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting at Arizona on Jan. 4. In the last two games, Westerberg has averaged 16.0 points. 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and shot 72.2 percent from the field (13-18).

Kovesdy Coming On StrongSophomore forward Kristen Kovesdy turned in a career outing in ASU's overtime victory over No. 24 Washington on Dec. 27. She scored a career-high 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting (also both career bests) and grabbed nine rebounds, just missing the fifth double-double of her career. Kovesdy's 29 points marked the most for a Sun Devil since two-time All-Pac-10 performer Amanda Levens scored 29 in a Nov. 25, 2001 win over Kansas State.

Kovesdy has come on strong of late, averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in the last six contests. She turned in the fourth double-double of her career and her first of the season with a then career-high 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 12 rebounds in ASU's Dec. 10 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She was also just one rebound shy of tying her career best in the category. Kovesdy led the team in both categories at top-ranked UConn, turning in 13 points and five rebounds Dec. 18 against the Huskies and paced the team with 10 rebounds in its Dec. 27 win over Washington State.

After starting the season shooting just 19.0 percent in the first four games (4-21), Kovesdy has made 61.0 percent of her field goals in the last eight (36-59). Kovesdy is now tied for seventh in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 50.0 percent (40-80). She also leads the team and is ranked 12th in the Pac-10 at 6.2 rebounds per game.

Wiping the GlassArizona State currently leads the Pac-10 Conference in rebounding defense and rebounding margin and is second in the league in rebounding offense and offensive rebounds. The Sun Devils are averaging 40.1 boards per game to just 32.1 for their opponents. On the offensive glass, the team is averaging 15.8 rebounds per game, including a season-high 28 against Western Michigan on Dec. 5. Defensively, ASU has held its opponents to just 10.0 offensive rebounds per game, including a season-low seven by George Washington Nov. 29.

Individually, sophomore Kristen Kovesdy is the team's top rebounder and ranks 12th in the Pac-10 at 6.2 rebounds per game, including a team season-high 12 in ASU's win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 10. In the last three games, Kovesdy has averaged 7.0 rebounds, leading the team in the category with 10 vs. Washington State on Dec. 27 and nine vs. Washington on Dec. 29. Sophomore Amy Denson is second on the team at 5.0 boards per game, while juniors Betsy Boardman (4.6) and Carrie Buckner (4.3) trail closely behind.

Hot HandsArizona State has recently found its hot hand from beyond the arc, shooting 41.1 percent (37-90) from three-point land in the last seven games. The Sun Devils are now ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 35.3 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc (53-150). The Sun Devils tied the school record with nine three-pointers (9-22) in their Dec. 27 victory over Washington State, a feat that has been accomplished four other times in school history. ASU turned in then season highs with seven three-pointers and 19 attempts in games against both Binghamton and top-ranked Connecticut, while the team shot a season-high 44.4 percent from beyond the arc (4-9) in its Dec. 20 win at Holy Cross.

Junior Kylan Loney leads the team and is ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 40.0 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc (18-45). She has also recently found her touch, tying her career highs with five treys and nine three-point attempts Dec. 27 vs. Washington State. After starting the season shooting just 15.4 percent from the three-point line (2-13) in the first five games, Loney has shot 50.0 percent in the last seven tilts (16-32).

Loney and junior Betsy Boardman, who is second on the team in three-point shooting (.370, 17-46), have been especially hot in the last four games, shooting a combined 51.6 percent from beyond the arc (Loney 9-17, Boardman 7-14).

Quick Notes

- The Sun Devils will be looking to snap a six-game Pac-10 road losing streak this weekend as they head to the Bay Area. ASU was 1-7 in league road games last year with the Sun Devils' last Pac-10 road win coming on Jan. 11, 2003 when the team turned in a 66-58 victory over Washington State in Pullman, Wash. With their 81-56 win at Holy Cross on Dec. 20, the Sun Devils snapped a seven-game overall road losing streak (dating back to the last six games of last year and a Dec. 18 loss at UConn). Counting its Pac-10 Tournament loss to Cal last year and its two neutral-site games this year in the Bahamas, ASU had lost its last 10 games away from the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena before its win at Holy Cross.

- Arizona State continues to lead the Pac-10 with an average of 18.7 assists per game, including a season-high 27 in its Dec. 20 win at Holy Cross. Junior Kylan Loney leads the team and is 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.1 assists per game, while junior Betsy Boardman is eighth in the league at 3.3 dishes per contest. Loney is already ranked ninth on the ASU career list with 245 assists in her two-plus seasons and tied her career high with eight assists Dec. 20 at Holy Cross.

- ASU is also third in the league in steals with 11.1 thefts per game with junior Carrie Buckner tied for seventh in the Pac-10 at 2.0 spg.

- Junior Betsy Boardman continues to lead the team and is 12th in the league in scoring at 11.3 points per game. In the last four games, Boardman has averaged 12.3 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals per contest. She has also shot 48.5 percent from the field in that span of games (16-33). Boardman led the Sun Devils in scoring for the third time this season with 16 points in ASU's Dec. 20 win at Holy Cross. She knocked down a season-best 75.0 percent of her attempts in the game (6-8), including 2-of-3 from three-point land.

- Boardman and Loney both rank in the Pac-10's top 20 for scoring with Boardman coming in at 12th (11.3 points per game) and Loney at 20th (9.8 ppg).

- The Sun Devils have given up a season-high 81 points in each of their last two games (Washington and Arizona), up from their season average of 63.3 points allowed per game.

- ASU's overtime victory over then No. 24 Washington on Dec. 29 was its first overtime contest since turning in a 70-67 overtime win at Arizona on Feb. 24, 2001. Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne is now 5-3 in overtime games in her career at ASU. Ironically, Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to a 72-69 OT victory over Washington on Feb. 6, 1999, three days before she had her first son, Conor, while this year, she guided her team to an 84-81 OT victory over the Huskies about 11 hours before giving birth to her third son, Quinn, on Tuesday. And for those of you scoring at home, the Sun Devils also went into overtime in Turner Thorne's first game back after having Conor in 1999, losing 76-67 to Arizona at Wells Fargo Arena on Feb. 13, 1999.

- The Sun Devils had a season-low 13 turnovers in their overtime win over Washington on Dec. 29. After having seven turnovers in the first half, ASU had just six in the final 25 minutes of the game (second half and overtime) and went for a stretch of almost eight minutes in the second half without a miscue (11:12 to 3:22).

- ASU's bench continues to produce in every game and has been outscored just three times in 12 games this season. The Sun Devil bench players are turning in an average of 27.5 points per game this year. Sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal and freshman Emily Westerberg lead the scoring off the bench at 6.3 points per game apiece, while true freshmen Emily Westerberg (5.0), Aubree Johnson (4.6) and Alisha Godette (4.2 ppg) are all turning solid scoring efforts in relief as well.

- The Sun Devils have shot 45.1 percent from the field in the last four games (102-226) up from their season effort of 42.1 percent. The team shot a then season-best 55.2 percent (32-58) in its Dec. 10 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and then bested that two games later with a 58.2 percent effort (32-55) in its win at Holy Cross on Dec. 20. The Sun Devils shot a season-best 65.4 percent (17-26) in the first half of that game vs. the Crusaders.

- Sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal continues to make the most of her minutes, averaging 6.3 points, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals in just 13.9 minutes per game. She had two of the best games of her career in the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Dec. 5-6, averaging 9.5 points, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists in just 13.0 minutes per game. She also shot 52.9 percent from the field on the weekend (9-17) en route to being named to the all-tournament team.

Up NextAfter their trip to the Bay Area to take on Stanford and Cal, the Sun Devils return to Wells Fargo Arena Jan. 15 and 17, playing host to UCLA and USC, respectively. The team then completes its stretch of five of seven games on the road, traveling to Oregon State and Oregon on Jan. 22 and 24.

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