No. 11 ASU Women's Basketball Hosts Arizona in Final Home Game of 2005-06
Feb. 23, 2006
Currently riding an eight-game winning streak, the No. 11 Arizona State women's basketball team (22-5, 13-4 Pac-10) closes out the regular season portion of its 2005-06 schedule when it hosts Arizona (7-20, 3-14) on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Sun Devils won the first meeting between the two schools 83-59 in Tucson on Dec. 22.
RADIO: Saturday's game vs. Arizona can be heard live both on KDUS 1060 AM and on the Internet (SunDevilSportsNetwork.com). Coverage will begin with 'Countdown to Tip-Off' at 3:30 p.m. Jeff Munn is in his second year as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined on the broadcast by Seth Sulka, General Manager of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR Saturday's game will be the final home contest for seniors Amy Denson, Kristen Kovesdy and YoVanna Rosenthal. The three have helped lead ASU to a 79-41 record over the last four years, including a 46-15 record the last two seasons. The Sun Devils come into Saturday's game having clinched at least a second-place finish in the 2005-06 Pac-10 regular season standings. With a win against Arizona, the Sun Devils would ... Tie the longest winning streak in school history (1982-83) for the second time this season ... Have an undefeated record at home (currently 14-0) for the first time in school history ... Sweep the season series against Arizona for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Sun Devils have won their last 21 regular season games at home and are 39-2 since the 2003-04 season. During ASU's current eight-game winning streak ... Three Sun Devils have been averaging double figures in points -- Denson (10.8 ppg), Kovesdy (10.5 ppg) and junior Emily Westerberg (10.3 ppg) ... ASU's average margin of victory has been 10.3 points ... The Sun Devils are +28 in turnovers ... Freshman G Briann January has had 28 assists and only nine turnovers while tying for the team lead in steals (12). The Pac-10 leader in FG pct. (.596), Kovesdy enters Saturday's game No. 5 on ASU's all-time scoring list with 1,286 points. She needs 85 more points to pass former Sun Devil Sherry Poole (1,370 points, 1984-87) for No. 4 on ASU's all-time scoring list.
ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne: The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (169-127) and No. 6 in the Pac-10 in most career wins, Turner Thorne has led the Sun Devils to a school record six consecutive post season appearances (NCAA Tournament in 2001-02 and 2005, WNIT in 2000, 2003-04) ... Earlier this season guided ASU on a nine-game winning streak which tied the school record for most consecutive wins. (Also led ASU to its first Top 10 ranking in 22 years and tied the highest ranking in school history (No. 9) ... In the last two seasons (2004-05, 2005-06), has led ASU to a 13-2 record when coming off a loss ... Last season, guided ASU to a 24-10 overall record and its first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 22 years ... Led her 2001-02 team to a 25-9 record, tying the ASU record for wins in a single season ... Guided ASU to a share of the Pac-10 title in 2001 and the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title in 2002, the first league championships in school history ... Led Northern Arizona University to consecutive winning seasons in 1994-95 and 1995-96, the first coach in school history to accomplish that feat ... As a player, lettered four years at Stanford under Tara VanDerveer ... Graduated from Stanford in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and later earned her master's degree in education from Washington in 1990. Career Record: 209-167
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS ARIZONA: Arizona State holds a 37-25 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona, including a 20-11 advantage in games played in Tempe. ASU's 83-59 win in Tucson on Dec. 22 snapped an eight-game winning streak by the home team. In that game, the Sun Devils had four players in double figures led by senior Kristen Kovesdy and redshirt junior Jill Noe, who both had 13.
The series with Arizona is the longest for the Sun Devils and dates back to the 1975-76 season, the first year of varsity women's basketball at Arizona State (although the teams played another seven games before that first varsity season with UA winning five of seven). ASU snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Wildcats in 2000-01 with its first season sweep of the U-of-A since 1991-92. The Sun Devils won 18 of the first 20 meetings, including a streak of 16 games that encompassed eight full seasons (1978-79 to 1985-86).
HOME SWEET HOME: With their 62-43 victory over California on last Saturday, the Sun Devils extended their regular season home court winning streak to 21 games. The Sun Devils are now 39-2 in regular season home games going back to the 2003-04 season. In those 41 games the Sun Devils are out-scoring their opponents by almost 16 points (70.6 - 54.9) and are shooting almost six percentage points higher (44.4 - 38.7).
TEAM NOTES ASU's nine-game winning streak earlier this season tied the longest winning streak in school history (1982-83). ASU's current eight-game winning streak in Pac-10 play is the longest conference winning streak in school history. The Sun Devils were ranked No. 9 in both of the major polls the first week in January, tying the highest ranking in school history (January 1983). ASU's 7-4 road record is its best mark in such games since the 2000-01 season when it went 7-5. With 22 wins this season, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games four times in the last six seasons. ASU's 46 wins the last two seasons (2004-05 & 2005-06) are the second-most wins in a two-season span in school history. The 1981-82 & 1982-83 squads combined to win 48 games. ASU's 67-61 win at Washington (Jan. 28) represented its first win against the Huskies in Seattle since the 1995-96 season. ASU has out-rebounded its opponent 19 times in 27 games this season. ASU tied both Vanderbilt (33-33) and UCLA (35-35) in rebounds. North Carolina (38-28), Oregon (twice, 44-42 & 39-36), California (45-35), Washington State (37-35) and USC (51-41) are the only teams who have out-rebounded ASU this season. Four times this season ASU has limited its opponent to 21 or fewer rebounds, including only 20 by Stanford (Jan. 21). ASU has had fewer turnovers than its opponent 18 times in 27 games this season. The Sun Devils have won 17 of those games. The only exception came in ASU's 66-64 loss at California (Jan. 19). ASU is averaging 20.6 points off turnovers per game, compared to 15.5 for its opponents. ASU's bench has outscored the opposition's bench 758-363 this season, an average of 28.1-13.4 per game.
OFFENSIVE NOTES ASU has shot 50 percent or better nine times this season, including a season-best .565 (26-46) in its 69-51 win vs. Oregon State (Jan. 14). Senior F Kristen Kovesdy has either led or tied for the team lead in scoring 11 times this season. Kovesdy's 27 points (23 in the second half) vs. Washington (Dec. 29) are the most for a Sun Devil this season. Junior F Emily Westerberg has led or tied for the team lead in scoring seven times this season. She tied her career-best with 26 points in ASU's 79-72 win over USC (Feb. 4). Coming of the bench, senior F Amy Denson has led or tied for the team lead in scoring four times this season. Freshman G Briann January leads ASU with 70 assists. During ASU's eight-game winning streak she has had 28 assists and only nine turnovers. Redshirt junior G Jill Noe leads ASU in three-point FGs with 27. Noe had a career-best 5 three-pointers at Stanford (Jan. 21) and also recorded four three-pointers in back-to-back games earlier this season -- vs. North Carolina (Nov. 25) and vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 26). The Sun Devils have made 20 or more free throws seven times this season, including a season-best 28 made free throws vs. Western Kentucky (Dec. 3) and vs. USC (Feb. 4). ASU has had more assists than its opponent in all but two games this season (vs. North Carolina, Nov. 25, at Washington, Jan. 28). ASU has had more offensive rebounds than its opponent 21 times in 27 games this season.
DEFENSIVE NOTES ASU has forced 20 or more turnovers 15 times this season, including a season-high 32 turnovers in its season opening victory vs. Vanderbilt (Nov. 11). The Sun Devils have held their opponents under 40 percent shooting 11 times this season. The Sun Devils have allowed two or fewer three-point field goals 12 times this season and have held their opponents to 25 percent or less shooting from three-point range 10 times this season. ASU's best defensive performance to date came in its 44-43 win over Oregon in which ASU allowed the Ducks to hit only one FG in the final eight-plus minutes of the game. The Sun Devils won despite shooting 25.8 percent for the game.
KOVESDY NAMED ONE OF 30 FINALISTS FOR BAYER ADVANTAGE SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Earlier this season, ASU senior F Kristen Kovesdy was named one of 30 finalists for the Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award, which is presented annually to the nation's senior player-of-the-year for NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball. From the list of 30 nominees, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award later this month as the conference season hits its peak. Those ten names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide voting process during the NCAA Tournament in March. Fan balloting will be coupled with results from voting by coaches and media to determine the winner. ASU's all-time leader in field goal percentage and currently No. 5 on the school's all-time scoring list, Kovesdy currently leads the Sun Devils in scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg) and is No. 1 in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (59.6 percent). Earlier this season against Washington (Dec. 29), Kovesdy scored 23 of her season-best 27 points in the second half and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Sun Devils to a 64-51 victory over the Huskies. Kovesdy has turned in a double-double performance five times this season.
KOVESDY CLIMBS THE CHARTS: With 14 points in ASU's 62-43 victory vs. California last Saturday, senior F Kristen Kovesdy continued to moved closer to moving up another spot on ASU's all-time scoring list. Currently with 1,286 career points. She needs 85 more points to move past former Sun Devil Sherry Poole (1984-87) for the No. 4 spot on ASU's all-time scoring list.
Kovesdy is also among ASU's all-time leaders in the rebounding department. With 627 career rebounds Kovesdy currently sits No. 5 on ASU's all-time rebounding list. She needs 30 more rebounds to pass former Sun Devil Jovonne Smith (656 rebounds, 1984-86) for No. 4 on ASU's all-time rebounding list.
FREE THROWS: ASU has nine players who are averaging 10 or more minutes per game ... Kristen Kovesdy's 27 points against Washington (Dec. 29) are the most by a Sun Devil in any game this season ... ASU has had the same starting five in all but three games this season: Reagan Pariseau (G), Jill Noe (G), Emily Westerberg (F), Aubree Johnson (F) and Kristen Kovesdy (F/C). The only exceptions came in ASU's 77-69 loss at UCLA (Jan. 8), when freshman G Danielle Orsillo started for Jill Noe (bruised hand); in ASU's 84-78 loss at Stanford (Jan. 21) when Orsillo started for Noe and senior Amy Denson started for Johnson; and in ASU's 62-59 win over Stanford (Feb. 16), when Orsillo started for Noe ... Westerberg leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game, averaging 26.7 ... Among players coming off the bench, freshman G Briann January currently leads the Sun Devils in minutes per game (19.0), followed by Amy Denson (18.4) ... In their 27 games the Sun Devils have been led in scoring by eight different players -- Denson, January, Johnson, Kovesdy, Noe, Orsillo, Kirsten Thompson and Westerberg ... Four times this season -- vs. Memphis 12/2, vs. Western Kentucky 12/3, vs. UCLA 2/2 and at Oregon State 2/9 -- the Sun Devils have had five players score in double figures. On two other occasions -- vs. North Carolina 11/25 and at Arizona 12/22 -- four players have scored in double figures ... The Sun Devils are currently No. 11 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings (RPI is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule).
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI? Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne added another great accomplishment to her coaching dossier earlier this season when it was revealed that ASU was ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll (ASU would eventually ascend to No. 9, which tied its highest ever ranking). For the Sun Devils it was their first appearance in the top 10 of a major poll in 22 years. If the figure `22 years' sounds familiar it's because last season Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 22 years.
Currently in the midst of her 10th season in Tempe, Turner Thorne has more than established the Sun Devils as one of the teams to watch on an annual basis not only in the Pac-10 Conference, but also across the country. In fact, since the 2000-01 season, the Sun Devils have won the second-highest number of overall games (124) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 6 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 169.