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Sun Devils slay Mac Court dragon with surprising ease.

Byline: CHRIS HANSEN The Register-Guard

Arizona State's next trip to McArthur Court will come the first weekend of March, and this time the Sun Devils will be leaving the monkey at home.

ASU, which shared the Pac-10 Conference women's basketball championship last season with Stanford and Washington, finally won at Mac Court after coming up empty the last eight seasons, defeating Oregon in surprisingly easy fashion Sunday, 86-72.

It was only the third time Arizona State left the 75-year-old gym with a win in the books, and it was only the third victory anywhere against the Ducks in 17 games.

"Finally," six-year Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne said to a group of reporters, before anyone had even asked a question.

The win was important for the Sun Devils on many levels, but maybe most importantly it proved they could rebound after a miserable showing against Oregon State on Friday to win in a gym that hasn't been kind over the years.

They allowed a season-high 77 points in their loss in Corvallis while shooting a season-low 36 percent from the field.

"(This win was) huge, absolutely huge," said Betsy Boardman, who had 17 points and seven rebounds against Oregon. "It's nice to win at home, but it's even nicer to win on the road. We were not about to take two losses on this road trip. We regrouped, came back and knew we were going to be the aggressor."

Four players scored in double figures for ASU, which shot 57 percent.

At one point late in the first half, the Sun Devils' shooting percentage was hovering near 76 before dropping to 68 by halftime.

"We have some really great shooters on this team and people just ... took it upon themselves to hit their shot," Boardman said.

Particularly Amanda Levens, who made only 4-of-21 against the Beavers but scored a team-high 22 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 10-for-11 from the free-throw line. All of that came after she had to leave the game for eight minutes in the first half following a hard collision under the Oregon basket with the Ducks' Jamie Craighead.

"I think she knocked some sense into me," joked Levens, before addressing the importance of finally winning in Eugene.

"I don't think Charli likes to focus on that because it's just added pressure," she said. "I think it's fun to play here because it's like playing in a movie almost with the old-time atmosphere. But the last thing you can allow to happen is to get swept on a road trip, especially if you want to compete for a Pac-10 championship."

And this season, the championship will be won at the Pac-10 tournament at Mac Court, where the Sun Devils now know they can win.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 7, 2002
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