9:00 PM ET, December 22, 2005
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."