Women's Hoops to Wrap Up Homestand with USC at 2 p.m. Saturday

Jan. 16, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Coming off a 73-58 win over UCLA on Thursday night, the Arizona State Sun Devils complete their two-game Pac-10 home stand with USC at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. ASU, which is tied for third in the Pac-10 standings at 4-2, has won nine straight home games, including all eight home contests this season, and bring a two-game winning streak into Saturday's game. Overall, the Sun Devils have won five of their last seven games and eight of their last 11. USC is 7-7 on the year and 4-2 in the league (tied for third). The Women of Troy suffered a 75-64 loss at Arizona on Thursday night, which snapped their two-game winning streak. Overall, USC has won four of its last six games but is only 1-4 on the road this year (1-2 in the Pac-10 season).

In the SeriesUSC leads the series with the Sun Devils 43-8, including a 20-5 advantage in games played in Tempe. USC has won three of the last four games in the series, including a sweep last season with a 58-53 win on Jan. 18 in Tempe and a 64-56 win on Feb. 14 in Los Angeles. In 2000-01, ASU earned its first ever season sweep of the Women of Troy, while in 2001-02, the teams split the two meetings with USC earning a 68-49 victory on Jan. 19 in Los Angeles and ASU getting a 67-60 win on Feb. 14 in Tempe.

USC ConnectionHead coach Charli Turner Thorne was a graduate assistant at the University of Washington for current USC head coach Chris Gobrecht from 1988-90. During Turner Thorne's stint at Washington, the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Tournament both seasons reaching the Elite Eight in 1989-90. Gobrecht left UW following the 1995-96 season and spent a year at Florida State before returning to the Pac-10 to go to USC. A native of southern California, Turner Thorne graduated from Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, Calif., in 1984.

Notes from the UCLA GameSophomore Kristen Kovesdy scored 24 points and junior Betsy Boardman added 16 to give Arizona State a 73-58 win over UCLA Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena, the team's ninth straight home victory.

Kovesdy made 10-of-14 field goals from the field, grabbed six rebounds and tied her career high with three blocked shots.

The Sun Devils outrebounded the Bruins 44-27 in the game and outshot them 54.0 percent (27-50) to 36.7 percent (22-60). Sophomore Amy Denson grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds and freshman Aubree Johnson pulled down nine boards.

Arizona State went on a 14-3 run late in the first half to take a 31-18 lead with 3:05 left and led 35-24 at halftime. Kovesdy made 6-of-8 shots in the first half for 12 points. The Sun Devils then ran off 11 straight points early in the second half to pull away and led by as many as 24 points en route to the 73-58 win.

For UCLA, freshman Noelle Quinn had 15 points and four steals, and freshman Amanda Livingston added 13 points for the Bruin team, which had won three in a row. Arizona State held the conference's eighth-leading scorer, sophomore Nikki Blue, to seven points - seven under her average - on 2-of-11 shooting.

The Sun Devils have won five of their last seven, while UCLA is just 2-5 on the road this season. Junior Carrie Buckner added 13 points, a career-high-tying six assists and three steals for the Sun Devils.

Home-Court AdvantageThe Sun Devils have won all eight of their home games so far this year and a total of nine straight games at Wells Fargo Arena where the team has won a school-record 13 games in each of the last two seasons. Including this year's eight wins, ASU has won 13 of its last 14 home games dating back to a Jan. 23 win over then No. 19 Arizona last season. Last year, ASU turned in a 13-4 record which matched the school-record 13 victories the 2001-02 team had (13-2). The Sun Devils won their first five home games in 2002-03 to set a school record with 13 straight home wins, a streak that dated back to the last eight home games of the 2001-02 season. Arizona State has turned in a 57-13 record (.814) at Wells Fargo Arena in the last five seasons (1999-00 to present).

More on the Friendly Confines of Wells Fargo ArenaIn addition to its nine-game home winning streak, ASU is averaging 78.6 points and 44.9 rebounds per game and shooting 45.1 percent (223-494) in home games this year. In comparison, ASU has turned in 59.6 points, 32.2 rebounds and 40.7 percent shooting (109-268) in road games this season. The team has shot 50 percent or better from the field at home three times this season and has outrebounded six of the eight opponents it has faced at Wells Fargo Arena, including a 44-27 advantage over UCLA in Thursday night's victory.

Kovesdy Coming On StrongSophomore forward Kristen Kovesdy turned her third 20-point game of the season with 24 points to lead ASU to its win over UCLA on Thursday night. She knocked down 10-of-14 attempts from the field and all four of her attempts from the free throw line and added six rebounds, three blocked shots (tying her career high) and one steal. In Pac-10 play, Kovesdy leads the Sun Devils in scoring and field goal percentage. She leads the league in field goal percentage in league play, knocking down 62.5 percent of her attempts (35-56) and ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring in conference games with 15.0 points per game.

Kovesdy turned in a career outing in ASU's overtime victory over then 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 14.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in the last nine contests. She is second on the squad and 17th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 10.6 points per game and has led the team in scoring five times this year. Kovesdy 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 65.4 percent of her field goals in the last 10 (55-84). Kovesdy now ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage at 55.1 percent (59-107). She also leads the team and is 18th in the Pac-10 at 5.4 rebounds per game.

Scoring DefenseArizona State has allowed just 56.7 points per game in its last two games (UCLA and Cal) after giving up a season-high 81 points in each of the team's previous two games (Washington and Arizona). On Thursday, ASU allowed UCLA just 58 points, while last weekend, ASU held No. 7 Stanford to 60 points, 13.1 points below the Cardinal's season average of 73.1 points per game and the lowest total for Stanford this season at Maples Pavilion. The Sun Devils also held California to its lowest scoring output of the season in ASU's 56-52 win last weekend. On the season, ASU ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 62.0 points allowed per game.

On Board with BoardmanJunior Betsy Boardman continues to lead the team and is ranked 12th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.8 points per game. In the last seven games, Boardman has averaged 12.9 points, 4.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest. She has also shot 48.9 percent from the field in that span of games (22-45). In Thursday night's win over UCLA, she turned in 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and tied her career high with four three-pointers (4-of-7 from beyond the arc).

Boardman has led the team in scoring four times and scored in double figures 10 times in 14 games this season, including a career-best 20 points against Western Michigan on Dec. 5, when she knocked down 4-of-7 attempts from three-point land, and 16 points in ASU's Dec. 20 win at Holy Cross. She knocked down a season-best 75.0 percent of her attempts against the Crusaders (6-8), including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

Boardman leads the squad in assists with 45 and three-pointers with 25 treys and is third on the team in rebounding at 4.6 boards per game. She Boardman also ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in assists (3.2), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.391) sixth in three-pointers made (1.79) and seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22).

Wiping the GlassArizona State currently leads the Pac-10 in rebounding defense and rebounding margin, is tied for first in rebounding offense and ranks second in offensive rebounds. The team outrebounded UCLA 44-27 on Thursday night and outboarded California 40-30 on Jan. 10, snapping a streak of four straight games where the Sun Devils had been outrebounded. The Sun Devils are averaging a league-best 39.3 boards per game to just 31.5 for their opponents. On the offensive glass, the team is averaging 15.4 rebounds per game, including a season-high 28 against Western Michigan on Dec. 5. Defensively, ASU has held its opponents to just 10.1 offensive rebounds per game, including a season-low six by California on Jan. 10. ASU outrebounded Cal 19-6 on the offensive glass in that game, including a 12-4 margin in the second half.

Individually, sophomore Kristen Kovesdy is the team's top rebounder and ranks 18th in the Pac-10 at 5.4 rebounds per game, including a team season-high 12 in ASU's win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 10, 10 vs. Washington State on Dec. 27 and nine vs. Washington on Dec. 29. Sophomore Amy Denson is second on the team and 20th in the Pac-10 with 5.2 boards per game. She paces the team in rebounding in Pac-10 play, averaging 5.7 rebounds per league contest (T11th in the Pac-10), including a game- and season-high 12 on Thursday night vs. UCLA. Juniors Betsy Boardman (4.6 rpg) and Carrie Buckner (4.4) trail closely behind. Buckner pulled down a season-high nine (five offensive boards) Jan. 10 at Cal.

Hot HandsArizona State has recently found its hot hand from beyond the arc, shooting 40.0 percent (48-120) from three-point land in the last 10 games. The Sun Devils are now ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 35.6 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc (64-180). 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 Betsy Boardman leads the team and is eighth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting, knocking down 39.1 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc (25-64) including 4-of-7 attempts in Thursday's win over UCLA. Junior Kylan Loney ranks second on the team and ninth in the league in three-point shooting at 38.9 percent (21-54). Loney tied 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 46.3 percent in the last 10 tilts (19-41). In Pac-10 play, Loney is ranked sixth in the league at 45.5 percent (10-22) and Boardman is seventh at 44.8 percent (13-29). Boardman has knocked down two or more treys in seven games and has had at least one three-pointer in all but one game this season.

Quick Notes

- The Sun Devils have held their opponents to just 18.2 percent from three-point land in the last four games (6-33), including no three-pointers by then No. 25 Arizona on Jan. 4 (0-3) and by Cal on Jan. 10 (0-6). UCLA shot just 12.5 percent from beyond the arc (1-8) on Thursday night.

- USC is second in the Pac-10 at 12.0 steals per game and ASU ranks third at 10.7 thefts per contest. ASU junior Carrie Buckner paces the Sun Devils and is eighth in the Pac-10 at 2.1 thefts per game.

- Arizona State had a season-high 29 turnovers in Thursday night's win over UCLA but also blocked a season-high seven shots in the game, including three by sophomore Kristen Kovesdy who tied her career best in that category.

- The Sun Devils shot 54.0 percent from the field in Thursday's victory over the Bruins (27-50), marking the fourth time this year that ASU has topped 50 percent. ASU is 4-0 on the year when shooting 50 percent or better from the field. The team sealed its victory over UCLA with a 63.6 percent second-half shooting effort (14-22).

- Arizona State's 73 points in the UCLA game snapped a streak of three games with 60 points or less for the team. ASU had averaged just 54.0 points per game in its previous three games, down from the team's average of 68.1 ppg.

- Two Sun Devils are averaging in double figures for scoring in Pac-10 play, led by sophomore Kristen Kovesdy who is eighth at 15.0 points per game and junior Betsy Boardman who is tied for 12th at 12.3 ppg. Junior Kylan Loney trails just behind at 9.3 points per contest in league action.

- Arizona State has led the league and now ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 18.0 assists per game, including a season-high 27 in its Dec. 20 win at Holy Cross. Junior Betsy Boardman is eighth in the league at 3.2 dishes per contest (45 assists). Juniors Kylan Loney and Carrie Buckner are just out of the league rankings at 2.9 assists per game each (44 assists). Loney is already ranked ninth on the ASU career list with 252 assists in her three seasons and tied her career high with eight assists Dec. 20 at Holy Cross. Buckner tied her career best with six assists to lead ASU in the category on Thursday vs. UCLA.

- ASU's bench continues to produce in every game and has been outscored just five times in 15 games this season. The Sun Devil bench players are turning in an average of 25.0 points per game this year. Freshman Emily Westerberg (5.8 points per game) and sophomore YoVanna Rosenthal (5.1) are leading the scoring off the bench, while true freshmen Alisha Godette (4.2) and Aubree Johnson (4.1) are also turning solid scoring efforts in relief.

- After starting three true freshmen and two sophomores last year, the 2003-04 Sun Devil active roster is still a very young one featuring just four juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. ASU's only senior, Jen Albert, is out for the rest of the season with an ACL tear suffered on Dec. 27. Sophomore Jill Noe, a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection and ASU's leading scorer last year, has also been out all season with an ACL tear in the preseason.

March Madness in TempeArizona State and Wells Fargo Arena have been selected as one of 16 host sites for the first and second rounds of the 2004 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. ASU will play host to games on March 20 and 22 in Tempe. If the Sun Devils qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 2003-04, they will get the opportunity to play at home for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. It will mark the first NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament games at Wells Fargo Arena since the Sun Devils hosted first-round games in both 1982 and 1983. Arizona State and Wells Fargo Arena have also been selected as the host of the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball West Regional.

Tickets for the 2004 NCAA Tournament are on sale now by calling the ASU ticket office at (480) 965-2381.

Up NextAfter Saturday's game with USC, the Sun Devils complete a stretch of five of seven games on the road with a trip to the Pacific Northwest, traveling to Oregon State and Oregon on Jan. 22 and 24, respectively. The team then returns to Tempe for a stretch of three straight home games including Arizona (Jan. 31), California (Feb. 5) and Stanford (Feb. 7).

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