Shona Thorburn celebrates hitting a shot while drawing a foul in Saturday's comeback win over Middle Tennessee State. (AP Photo/Khampha Bouaphanh)
March 19, 2006
University of Utah (25-6) vs. Arizona State (25-6)
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 20, 2006 - McKale Center (14,545)
Radio: Hot Ticket 700 AM
Audio Stream - www.UtahUtes.com
Utes, Sun Devils to Meet in Second Round
The University of Utah women's basketball team has now won four consecutive NCAA Tournament games. The 5th-seeded Utes will advance to the second round of the 2006 tournament Monday evening, facing No. 4 seed Arizona State.
Utah has not won a second-round contest since 2001. The 2001 run to the Sweet 16 was Utah's deepest-ever run into the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona State enters Monday night's game with a 25-6 record on the season. The Sun Devils defeated Stephen F. Austin by a tally of 80-61 Saturday afternoon. Kristen Kovesdy led the way for Arizona State in that contest. The 6-foot 3-inch forward tallied a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds en route to the Sun Devils' rout of SFA.
For the season, Arizona State has two players averaging in double figures. Kovesdy scores 12.8 points per contest and is also the Sun Devils' top rebounder at 6.7 boards per game. Emily Westerberg is scoring 10.8 points per game. ASU has six players averaging more than six points per contest.
The last meeting between Utah and ASU was back in 1988, a 74-62 Ute win.
Utah Fast Breaks
Utah is making its 14th appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship tournament.
This is the Utes' second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament second round and their third in the past four seasons.
Utah is 1-3 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Utah is 2-1 this season against teams from the Pacific-10 Conference.
Utah's No. 5 seed matches its highest seeding ever. The Utes were a No. 5 seed in 2001 and 1997.
Utah is currently the No. 1 scoring team in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 69.2 points per game. The Utes have topped the 70-point mark in 11 of their last 18 outings. Utah is 16-0 this season when scoring 70 points or more.
Utah's scoring average of 69.2 points per game is 0.9 per game better than second-place TCU. Utah has never led the Mountain West Conference or the Western Athletic Conference in scoring, covering a span of 15 previous seasons.
The Utes ranked No. 64 in the nation in scoring offense in the latest report.
Senior forward Kim Smith ranks in the top 15 in 10 of 12 statistical categories released by the Mountain West Conference. She is the only MWC player to rank in 10 categories. Smith leads the league in scoring (19.5 ppg) and is second in rebounding (8.0 rpg).
Smith's 29-point effort against Air Force on March 8 marked the 16th time this season she has scored more than 20 points. For her career, Smith has reached 20 points or more 39 times. She also tallied her seventh double-double of the season against Air Force at the MWC Tournament, grabbing 13 rebounds.
With nine assists against UNLV on Feb. 22, Shona Thorburn shattered Alli Bills' record for career assists at Utah. After recording 11 helpers against BYU last Saturday, Thorburn shattered the Mountain West Conference record for career assists. After tallying eight assists Saturday against Middle Tennessee, she now has a total of 669 helpers. Thorburn ranked No. 2 in assists in the nation last week.
Bills' Utah record stood at 612 before Thorburn broke it. The Mountain West record was held by New Mexico's Mandi Moore, who had 651 from 2001 through 2005. Thorburn's ability to break the Utah and Mountain West Conference records is even more impressive when considering that she played the shooting guard position as a freshman and sophomore.