Women's Hoops to End Road Trip at Cal Saturday

Jan. 9, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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Coming off a 60-46 loss at No. 7 Stanford on Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils head to Berkeley, Calif., to take on the California Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Saturday's game at Haas Pavilion marks the end of 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, who are looking for their first Pac-10 road win of the year, head into Saturday's game looking to snap just their second two-game losing streak of the season in addition to end a seven-game Pac-10 road losing streak. California is off to its best start since 1992-93 with a 9-5 overall mark and a 2-3 league record. The Golden Bears fell to Arizona 70-68 on Thursday night in Berkeley.

In the SeriesCalifornia 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.

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.

Notes from the Stanford GameNicole Powell scored 18 of her 29 points in the second half to lead No. 7 Stanford to a 60-46 victory over Arizona State Thursday night at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif.

Powell scored 11 straight points in the second half and finished with 29 and nine rebounds as the Cardinal remained undefeated in Pac-10 play (12-2, 5-0), while ASU lost its second straight game and fell to 8-5 and 2-2 in the Pac-10. Powell made back-to-back three-pointers to give Stanford a 48-42 lead with 5:49 left to play. Arizona State junior Kylan Loney made a trey of her own on the other end after Powell hit her first from long range, then Powell came up big again with another three. She converted two free throws with 4:30 left and a three-point play 46 seconds later.

Junior Kristen Kovesdy led the Sun Devils with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and had her own impressive second-half run. She scored three straight baskets to keep Arizona State within a point at 40-39, while junior Betsy Boardman had 13 points.

The Cardinal made 17 of 18 free throws and held a 31-24 rebounding advantage. They committed 13 first-half turnovers but settled down in the second half to finish with 19. ASU's defense held the Cardinal to just 60 points, down from their season average of 73.3 points per game and the lowest output of the season for the team on its home floor.

Stanford missed 10 of its first 15 shots but led 27-21 at halftime. ASU made just 8-of-23 attempts from the field in the first half.

Kovesdy Coming On StrongSophomore forward Kristen Kovesdy has come on strong of late, especially in Pac-10 play. She is averaging 15.5 points per conference game, including a team-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting Thursday night at No. 7 Stanford. Kovesdy is also shooting 60.5 percent from the field in league play (23-38) and averaging a team-best 5.3 rebounds per contest.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 averaged 15.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in the last seven 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 63.2 percent of her field goals in the last eight (43-68). Kovesdy is ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 52.8 percent (47-89). She also leads the team and is ranked 16th in the Pac-10 at 5.7 rebounds per game.

Wiping the GlassArizona State currently leads the Pac-10 Conference in rebounding defense and is ranked in the top five in rebounding margin (second), offensive rebounds (third) and rebounding offense (fourth). The Sun Devils are averaging 38.8 boards per game to just 32.0 for their opponents. On the offensive glass, the team is averaging 15.1 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.

While the Sun Devils rank in the top five in the Pac-10 in many rebounding categories, the team had a season-low 24 rebounds and seven offensive boards Thursday night at Stanford. ASU also held Stanford to just 31 rebounds, down from their Pac-10 leading 40.3 rebounds per game.

Hot HandsArizona State has recently found its hot hand from beyond the arc, shooting 40.2 percent (41-102) from three-point land in the last eight games. The Sun Devils are now ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 35.2 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc (57-162). 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 seventh in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 41.7 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc (20-48). 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 51.4 percent in the last seven tilts (18-35). Loney and junior Betsy Boardman, who is second on the team in three-point shooting (.358, 19-53), have been especially hot in the last five games, shooting a combined 48.8 percent from beyond the arc (Loney 11-20, Boardman 9-21).

Quick Notes

- The Sun Devils will be looking to snap a seven-game Pac-10 road losing streak in Saturday's game against California. ASU is 1-3 in road games this season (0-3 Pac-10) and 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 has led and now ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 18.2 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 248 assists in her two-plus seasons and tied her career high with eight assists Dec. 20 at Holy Cross.

- Junior Betsy Boardman continues to lead the team and is 12th in the league in scoring at 11.4 points per game. In the last five games, Boardman has averaged 12.4 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 steals per contest. She has also shot 46.5 percent from the field in that span of games (20-43). 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.

- True freshman forward Emily Westerberg made the first start of her ASU career Thursday night at No. 7 Stanford. In the last three games, Westerberg has averaged 11.3 points. 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game and shot 63.6 percent from the field (14-22), including a career-best 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting at Arizona on Jan. 2.

- Junior Betsy Boardman and sophomore Kristen Kovesdy both rank in the Pac-10's top 20 for scoring with Boardman coming in at 12th (11.4 points per game) and Kovesdy at 20th (10.1 ppg).

- The Sun Devils have shot 44.1 percent from the field in the last five games (119-270) up from their season effort of 41.9 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.

Up NextAfter their trip to the Bay Area, 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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