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Kovesdy, Sun Devils knock off Wildcats in Pac-10 opener

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Arizona State had the hunger -- and the
strength in the paint -- to end five seasons' worth of losses at
McKale Center.

Kristen Kovesdy had 13 points and eight rebounds, helping the
Sun Devils (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) beat Arizona 83-59 in the Pac-10 opener for
both teams Thursday night.

Jill Noe added 13 points, and Reagan Pariseau and Kate
Engelbrecht each had 10 points for the Sun Devils (10-1), who won
their seventh in a row.

"It's a gift for this to happen in my last year," Kovesdy
said. "It's been a while since we won down here, but I could feel
how much we wanted this game coming into it. And we played like
that."

Kovesdy led Arizona State to a 33-26 rebounding edge on the
Wildcats (4-6), who lost their fourth straight in a season tinged
by the death of 6-foot-5 center Shawntinice Polk, who collapsed and
died in September while working out for her senior season.

Arizona's Ashley Whisonant scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting,
and Linda Pace added 10 and six rebounds.

"We're going to come back and work, because this is not OK,"
Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini said. "It's not OK to lose, and its
not OK to lose like this."

The Sun Devils, off to their best start since 1990-91, led 10-2
early. Arizona responded with a 19-7 run, taking a 21-19 lead on
Che Oh's jumper with 8:07 left in the first half.

But Arizona State outscored the Wildcats 18-6 to close out the
half, capped by Briann January's fadeaway in the final seconds. The
Sun Devils took the suspense out of the game with a 12-0 run in the
first 3:53 of the second half after Arizona's Natalie Jones made
the first basket. That gave them an insurmountable 49-29 lead.

"They're never easy," Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne
said. "We still obviously had to work to get the victory. But we
played strong on both ends of the court, and that's the result."