No. 23/25 Women's Hoops Travels to New Mexico Saturday
Dec. 15, 2004
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Winners of six consecutive games, the No. 23/25 Arizona State Sun Devils hit the road again after taking a week off for finals, traveling to Albuquerque, N.M., to take on the New Mexico Lobos (6-1) on Saturday, Dec. 18. The game is the second of four of five games on the road for the Sun Devils who have turned in a 4-1 record away from the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena this season and are ranked for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Arizona State heads into Saturday's game at 'The Pit' with a 7-1 overall record and is riding a six-game winning streak, which is ASU's longest winning stretch since the 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament championship squad turned in seven straight victories. The Sun Devils head to Albuquerque after turning in their first win over a ranked team this season with their Dec. 7 upset of then No. 11/14 Georgia.
Following Saturday's game at New Mexico, the Sun Devils will take on three-time defending NCAA champion and eighth-ranked Connecticut (4-1) on Dec. 21 at Wells Fargo Arena to wrap up non-conference play. The Sun Devils open Pac-10 Conference play on the road, traveling to Washington State and Washington on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively.
In the SeriesThe series between Arizona State and New Mexico is tied 6-6 all time with ASU winning four of the last five games in the series. The Lobos turned in a 67-39 victory in Albuquerque on Dec. 10, 1997 in the last meeting between the two teams. The series is tied 2-2 in games played in 'The Pit,' where New Mexico is averaging more than 10,000 fans this year and has won over 81 percent of the team's games over the last nine seasons.
New Mexico brings a 6-1 mark into Saturday's tilt, winning two games at its own Southwest Airlines Lobo Shootout last weekend. The Lobos downed Bowling Green 73-43 and San Diego 58-50 to capture the tournament title. Senior forward Lindsey Arndt is leading the team with 11.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, while senior guard Mandi Moore is averaging 7.4 assists per game.
ExposureAll of Arizona State's games will be broadcast live or on tape delay on NBC 1190 AM with 28-year Valley broadcaster Jeff Munn (play-by-play) and Phoenix Mercury general manager Seth Sulka (color) calling the action. Munn, who is a fill-in radio play-by-play announcer for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the club's public address announcer, is in the first year of his second stint as ASU's play-by-play voice. All of ASU's radio broadcasts are also available live on the internet at www.thesundevils.com.
Tough SlateArizona State has put together one of the toughest schedules in the nation this season. The Sun Devils will take on eight teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year, including a Dec. 21 match-up with three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut. Including a Nov. 12 game at then No. 3/2 (and now top-ranked) LSU, the Sun Devils will take on six teams ranked in the most recent polls, including three of the preseason top five squads in the country during the non-conference slate. The team upset then No. 11/14 Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Dec. 7 and will then play host to No. 8/8 Connecticut on Dec. 21 at Wells Fargo Arena.
In the RankingsArizona State is ranked 23rd in this week's Associated Press poll and 25th in the latest USA Today/ESPN/WBCA coaches' poll. It marks the first time that the Sun Devils are ranked in the national top 25 since Jan. 14, 2002 (23rd in AP poll that week). During the 2001-02 season, ASU was ranked in three weeks. That year, the Sun Devils won a school-record 25 games, captured the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Four Pac-10 teams are ranked in the national polls this week, including No. 2/2 Stanford, No. 16/17 UCLA, No. 23/25 ASU and No. -/24 Oregon, while Arizona and Washington are receiving votes.
Loney Named U.S. Bank Pac-10 Player of the WeekSenior guard Kylan Loney has been named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Dec. 6-12, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced this week. The Player-of-the-Week honor is the second for Loney and ASU's 25th all-time selection.
Loney led the Sun Devils with a season- and game-high 23 points in ASU's 67-57 win at No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec. 7. She tied her career bests with five three-pointers made, nine field goals made and nine three-point attempts. Loney shot 56.3 percent from the field (9-of-16) and 55.6 percent from three-point land in the upset of the Lady Bulldogs. She also added three assists.
Last Time OutSenior Kylan Loney drained five three-pointers to lead Arizona State to a 67-57 upset of then No. 11/14 Georgia on Dec.7 in Athens, Ga. It marked the team's first victory over a ranked team on the road since the Sun Devils defeated then No. 15 USC 64-55 on March 11, 1993.
After taking an 11-10 lead early, the Sun Devils fell behind 24-13 with 6:04 to play in the first half after allowing the Lady Bulldogs to go on a 14-3 run. ASU narrowed the gap to just one point over the final six minutes of the half, beginning a comeback with a long-range three-pointer by senior Betsy Boardman and a jumper by sophomore Alisha Godette. The Sun Devils went into the locker room down 26-25 at halftime after scoring the final four points of the period. ASU shot just 30.3 percent in the first half but forced Georgia into 14 turnovers.
In the second half, Loney knocked down a three-pointer on ASU's opening possession to give the Sun Devils a two-point lead, but Georgia scored the next six points to take a 32-28 advantage two minutes in the half. Loney and the Sun Devils, however, scored the next 12 points of the half to take a 40-32 lead with 13:27 to play. Loney drained two treys in that stretch to give Arizona State a lead the team would not relinquish.
ASU knocked down 5-of-7 three-pointers and shot 50.0 percent from the field in the second half en route to the 67-57 victory, the team's sixth straight win.
Loney scored a season-high 23 points in the victory, draining 5-of-9 three-point attempts, while senior Carrie Buckner and sophomore Emily Westerberg each had 10 points. Buckner led the team with seven rebounds, while Loney and sophomore Aubree Johnson each had three assists. The Sun Devils scored 30 points off 24 Georgia turnovers to overcome 58.5 shooting by the Lady Bulldogs.
Keeping Up with KovesdyJunior forward Kristen Kovesdy leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this season, shooting a blazing 63.9 percent from the field (39-61). She finished second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage last year at 55.7 percent, the seventh-best season effort by a Sun Devil. Kovesdy already ranks second on the Arizona State career field goal percentage chart at 54.6 percent (248-454).
Kovesdy ranks second on the team and 17th in the Pac-10 in scoring at 11.3 points per game this season. She paced the team with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in ASU's season-opening victory over Virginia on Nov. 11 and tied freshman Reagan Pariseau for the team lead with 14 points in ASU's win over Prairie View A&M on Nov. 27 in San Antonio. She turned in a season-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the win against Gonzaga in the championship game of the Wells Fargo Holiday Classic on Dec. 4.
Loney Lights It UpIn addition to leading the Sun Devils and ranking in a tie for eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 13.8 points per game, senior guard Kylan Loney is lighting it up from three-point land. She ranks third in the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage, knocking down 46.3 percent of her long-range attempts (19-41). In last week's upset of No. 11/14 Georgia, Loney tied her career bests with five three-pointers and nine three-point attempts.
Loney, who ranked sixth in the Pac-10 last year at 37.8 percent, was shooting just 16.7 percent from three-point range (2-12) in the first three games of the season. In the last five games, however, she has knocked down 58.6 percent of her attempts (17-29) and has climbed to 46.3 percent for the season (third in the Pac-10). Loney had a similar start last year, shooting 15.4 percent in the first five games and lighting it up for 41.0 percent in the last 24 contests (41-100).
Loney has climbed to second on the ASU career list for three-pointers made with 122 and needs just 12 more this season to tie the school record, held by Crystal Cobb who had 134 three-pointers from 1989-94.
Getting It Done on DefenseArizona State has established itself as one of the top defensive teams in the Pac-10 Conference. The Sun Devils have led the league in at least one defensive category in each of the last seven seasons (1998-99 to present). Last year, ASU paced the Pac-10 in rebounding defense (32.2 rpg) and three-point field goal defense (30.4 percent allowed) and finished second in scoring defense (61.1 ppg). By allowing just 32.2 rebounds per game, ASU set a school record for rebounding defense in 2003-04, besting the previous low of 33.3 by the 2001-02 Pac-10 Tournament champion squad. ASU also led the Pac-10 in three-point defense for the third straight year and the fifth time in six seasons.
This season, the Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in rebounding defense (27.3 rebounds per game) and rank second in the league in scoring defense (48.6 points per game) and three-point percentage defense (25.6 percent). ASU has held seven of its eight opponents under 60 points and tied the school record for fewest points allowed after holding Prairie View A&M to just 30 points on Nov. 27. The very next game, ASU almost tied the school record again with a 71-31 victory over Alabama State. ASU also outrebounded Prairie View by a margin of 43-9 in the victory.
In the last seven seasons (since the start of the 1998-99 season to present), the Sun Devils have allowed opponents to just 62.2 points and 33.7 rebounds per game and 29.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc (11,633 points, 6,307 rebounds, 512-1745 three-pointers, 187 games).
A Little Help From Their FriendsArizona State ranks second in the Pac-10 with an average of 18.0 assists per game. In the last four games, the Sun Devils have averaged 21.3 assists per contest, including a season-high 30 Nov. Prairie View A&M. In those four games, ASU has had an assist on 72.6 percent of its field goals made (30 of 38 vs. Prairie View, 15 of 22 vs. Alabama State and 25 of 32 vs. Gonzaga, 15 of 25 at No. 11/14 Georgia).
Junior forward Amy Denson is leading the team and ranked 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.1 assists per game, including a career-best seven in ASU's Nov. 27 win over Prairie View. Denson has continued to improve her passing in each of her three seasons at ASU. Last year, she nearly doubled her assists total from her freshman year, averaging 1.5 assists per game compared to 0.8 in her rookie season. Senior Kylan Loney is second on the team with 2.9 assists per game, including a season-high six Dec. 4 against Gonzaga. With 319 assists in her four years at ASU, she is ranked eighth on the ASU career lists and should finish her career in the top five.
Balanced ScoringThe Sun Devils have gotten balanced scoring so far this year with five different players leading the team in scoring in the team's eight games. Two Sun Devils are ranked in the top 20 in the Pac-10 in scoring including senior Kylan Loney at 13.8 points per game (T8th) and junior Kristen Kovesdy at 11.4 ppg (17th). Sophomore Emily Westerberg is just out of the Pac-10 rankings at 10.5 ppg. In ASU's Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M, all 13 Sun Devils scored two or more points, while ASU has nine players averaging at least 3.0 points per game this year,
ASU's Leading Scorers in 2004-05Date Opponent Leading ScorerN 11 vs. Virginia Kristen Kovesdy (16 points)N 12 at #3/2 LSU Kylan Loney (12 points)N 20 San Diego Emily Westerberg (17 points)N 26 Seton Hall Betsy Boardman (14 points)N 27 Prairie View A&M Reagan Pariseau (14 points) Kristen Kovesdy (14 points)D 3 Alabama State Kylan Loney (16 points)D 4 Gonzaga Kristen Kovesdy (21 points)D 7 at #11/14 Georgia Kylan Loney (23 points)
Against Ranked OpponentsArizona State holds a 1-1 record against ranked opponents this season with its only loss coming at then No. 3/2 (and now top-ranked) LSU on Nov. 12. The team's win at No. 11/14 Georgia marked the team's first victory over a ranked team on the road since the Sun Devils defeated then No. 15 USC 64-55 on March 11, 1993. The team will get a chance to play its third ranked opponent of the year next week, playing host to eighth-ranked Connecticut on Dec. 21 at Wells Fargo Arena.
Last year, the Sun Devils went 2-4 against ranked opponents last year, upsetting then No. 24 Washington 84-81 in overtime on Dec. 27 and No. 7 Stanford 73-53 on Feb. 7, both at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. ASU's last win over a team ranked in the top five came against then No. 2 Stanford when the Sun Devils upset the Cardinal 70-63 on March 4, 2002 in the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament championship game.
Home-Court AdvantageThe Sun Devils turned in a 13-1 record at Wells Fargo Arena last year, tying the school record for home wins for the third consecutive year and setting the school mark for home winning percentage in a season (.929). Including a 3-0 mark this year, ASU has won its last eight home games and 21 of its last 23 home games. The Sun Devils hold a 65-14 record at Wells Fargo Arena in the last five-plus seasons (.823) and a 42-7 mark over the last three-plus campaigns (.857). In 2002-03, ASU turned in a 13-4 record which matched the school-record 13 victories the 2001-02 team had (13-2).
Early-Season Quick Hits
... Arizona State has won its last six games, which is the longest winning streak since the team turned in seven straight non-conference victories during the 2001-02 season. ASU has opened this season with a 7-1 record, which is the best start to the year since the 2002-03 Sun Devil squad turned in an 8-1 mark.
... ASU has won its last six games by an average of 31.0 points per game and has unofficial RPI rankings of seventh (WBCA) and eighth (collegerpi.com) as of Wednesday, Dec. 15.
... The Sun Devils have also averaged 76.7 points and 35.8 rebounds and shot 48.3 percent from the field during their six-game winning streak, while holding opponents to 45.7 points and 26.2 rebounds per game in that stretch.
... The team is leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage this year at 47.0 percent. In the last four games, ASU has shot 49.4 percent from the field, including a season-high 62.3 percent (38-61) Nov. 27 against Prairie View A&M.
... Sophomore Emily Westerberg continues to be outstanding from the charity stripe and is leading the team and ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting at 88.9 percent (24-27).
... Seniors Kylan Loney and Betsy Boardman rank second (122) and third (119) on the Arizona State career list for three-pointers made. On Dec. 7 at No. 11/14 Georgia, the pair passed honorable-mention All-American Amanda Levens who is now fourth on the list with 117 three-pointers in her career (2000-02). Crystal Cobb holds the ASU career record with 134 treys (1990-94).
... In the last five games, the Sun Devils have shot 53.6 percent from three-point land (30-56), including a season-high 60.0 percent in their Nov. 27 win over Prairie View A&M. ASU tied the school record with nine three-pointers made in the game vs. the Lady Panthers. Last week against No. 11/14 Georgia, ASU knocked down 50.0 percent of its three-pointers (7-14).
... The Sun Devils have now climbed to second in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting at 40.9 percent (36-88). Last year, the team finished fifth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting (33.8 percent) but shot just 20.0 percent from beyond the arc in their first three games this year (6-30).
... Freshman Reagan Pariseau would rank second in the Pac-10 at 54.5 percent (6-11) from three-point land, including a 4-of-5 effort Nov. 27 against Prairie View, but falls short of the league minimum of 1.0 made per game.
... After averaging 25.0 turnovers per game in its first three contests, Arizona State has turned the ball over just 16.6 times in its last five, including a season-low 13 Nov. 26 against Seton Hall.
... ASU ranks third in the Pac-10 with 13.1 steals per game after finishing third in the Pac-10 in the category last season (10.0 steals per game). The Sun Devils reached double figures for steals in 19 of 29 games last year with a season high of 17. Arizona State has been in double figures for steals in seven of its eight games this year and turned in a season-high 19 steals in its Nov. 20 win over San Diego with four Sun Devils turning in three steals apiece in the victory.
... Senior Carrie Buckner is leading the team and ranked fourth in the Pac-10 with 2.8 steals per game. She has averaged 3.7 steals per game in the last three games, including a season-high five in ASU's Dec. 4 win over Gonzaga. At only 5-9, Buckner is also leading Arizona State with 4.1 rebounds per contest.
... ASU's Nov. 11 game with Virginia tied for the earliest start in school history. The Sun Devils also opened the season on Nov. 11 in 1978-79. The contest against the Cavaliers also marked the first time that ASU had begun a campaign on the road since the 1995-96 Sun Devil squad went to Ames, Iowa for the Cyclone Classic.
Turner Thorne Second in All-Time Wins at ASUWith a 130-113 record in eight seasons at ASU, Turner Thorne needs just four wins to tie the school record for victories. Juliene Simpson is currently the all-time winningest coach in Arizona State women's basketball history, notching a 134-92 mark in eight seasons in Tempe (1979-87).
Turner Thorne has led her Sun Devils to a school-record five consecutive postseason bids including WNIT appearances in 2000, 2003 and 2004 and ASU's first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 20 years in 2001 and 2002. ASU previously had advanced to postseason play in three straight seasons (NWIT runner-up in 1981, NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1982 and 1983). After a 17-12 mark in 2003-04, Turner Thorne became only the second coach in school history to lead the Sun Devils to four consecutive winning seasons. The last time ASU had four straight winning campaigns was under Juliene Simpson from 1980-81 to 1983-84.
Since Turner Thorne took over the reins of the program in 1996-97, the Sun Devils have regained the national prominence the team enjoyed in the early 1990s. In 2000-01, Turner Thorne's Sun Devils captured ASU's first Pac-10 Championship, an NCAA berth, a return to the national rankings and the team's first 20-win season in nine years, while her 2001-02 squad tied the school mark for single-season wins with a 25-9 record, advanced to the NCAA Tournament and won the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament Championship.
ASU Picked Fourth in Preseason Pac-10 PollsArizona State has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 Conference by the media and the league's coaches. It marks the fourth time in five years that ASU has been picked to finish in the upper half of the Pac-10. Last year, ASU was picked fourth by the media and fifth by the coaches and ended up in a tie for third place in the final league standings.
March MadnessArizona State University and Wells Fargo Arena have been selected to host the Tempe Regional of the 2005 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship. ASU will play host to games on March 26 and 28 in Tempe. Tickets for the NCAA Tempe Regional are on sale now at the ASU ticket office, by calling (480) 965-2381 or by logging on to www.thesundevils.com.
Up NextAfter Saturday's game at New Mexico, the Sun Devils wrap up nonconference play on Tuesday, Dec. 21 against No. 8/8 Connecticut (4-1) at Wells Fargo Arena before hitting the road to open Pac-10 play at Washington State and Washington on Dec. 27 and 29, respectively.
ASU holds a 3-15 all-time record in Pac-10 Conference openers. Last year, the Sun Devils opened the Pac-10 season with a 2-0 mark for just the second time since joining the league in 1986-87. ASU defeated Washington State and Washington at Wells Fargo Arena to start conference play last season.