Sun Devils Dominate Stephen F. Austin in NCAA Tournament, 80-61

March 18, 2006

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State was too big and too deep for Stephen F. Austin on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament.

Playing on the home court of arch-rival Arizona, the fourth-seeded Sun Devils routed the Ladyjacks 80-61 to advance to a matchup Monday night against No. 5 seed Utah in the second round of the Albuquerque Regional.

Kristen Kovesdy, the Sun Devils' 6-foot-3 senior center, scored 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Her backup, 6-6 freshman Kirsten Thompson, added 12 points. Aubree Johnson was the only other Arizona State player in double figures with 10. Amy Denson added nine points and 10 rebounds.

Eleven players scored for the Sun Devils (25-6), all in the first half.

LaToya Mills had 24 points and 12 rebounds for Stephen F. Austin (23-8). Anitria Mosley added 16 points for the Southland Conference regular season and tournament champions, making their 18th NCAA tournament appearance but first since 2002.

Arizona State, ranked 15th nationally, never trailed in winning for the 11th time in its last 12 outings. The lone loss came to UCLA in the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament on March 5.

The Sun Devils, who advanced to the regional semifinals a year ago, shot out to a 19-4 lead behind the inside dominance of Kovesdy and Thompson. The Ladyjacks never got closer than 13 again.

Kovesdy's inside basket on a pass from Briann January put Arizona State ahead 33-12 with 5:55 to go in the half.

Mills' driving basket 4:13 before halftime capped a 7-0 Stephen F. Austin spurt that cut it to 33-19, but Arizona State outscored the Ladyjacks 13-4 the rest of the half. Johnson's 3-pointer at the buzzer put the Sun Devils ahead 46-23 at the break.

Kovesdy scored 12 in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting, all from close range. Thompson and YoVanna Rosenthal added eight first-half points apiece.

The overmatched Ladyjacks shot 28 percent in the first half (9-for-32) and were outrebounded 30-13.

Arizona State led by as many as 28 in the second half and finished with a 52-26 rebounding advantage.

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