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ASU women's basketball faces Arizona on Saturday in Tucson

January 11, 2008

The No. 25 Arizona State women's basketball team will play its third consecutive game on the road this Saturday when it travels to Tucson to take on in-state rival Arizona. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. from McKale Center. Currently on a four-game winning streak, the Sun Devils (10-5, 4-0) Pac-10 will look to maintain their first-place standing in the Pac-10. They started the week tied with No. 9 Cal (also unbeaten in league play) atop the standings.

The Sun Devils tied their best ever start in the Pac-10 and would then surpass that mark with a pair of wins last weekend over Oregon (63-50) and Oregon State (69-60). Junior forward Lauren Lacey averaged 18.0 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 67 percent from the field in the two wins. Against Oregon, Lacey scored a career-best 23 points, including nine points during a 13-0 ASU run that occurred in the game's final five minutes to help clinch the win. In the win at Oregon State, the Sun Devils overcame a 14-point second half deficit to secure their ninth consecutive Pac-10 win on the road. Leading ASU in the win were sophomore guard Dymond Simon, who had a season-best 20 points, Lacey (13 points) and senior guard Reagan Pariseau, who also had a season best with 12 points. The trio combined to shoot 60.7 percent (17-28) from the field, including 75 percent (6-8) from three-point range. ASU outscored the Beavers 41-22 in the second half to erase a double-digit deficit for the second time in their last three games (also came back from 11 down against USC on Dec. 30).

Arizona has lost five straight games since starting the season 6-4. Despite their 0-4 Pac-10 record, the Wildcats have been one of the most competitive teams in the Pac-10. All four of their losses in league play have been by single digits, including a double-overtime loss last week at Oregon State. The Wildcats are led by senior Ashley Whisonant, who entered this week's action fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring (15.8 ppg).


ASU's game at Arizona can be heard live on KDUS 1060 AM and on the (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.


• ASU is 29-2 in its last 31 regular season Pac-10 games going back to the 2004-05 season. The Sun Devils closed the 2005-06 season by winning their final nine Pac-10 games. ASU set a school record last season by winning 16 of 18 Pac-10 games (two losses came vs. Stanford). ASU's current 4-0 Pac-10 record is its best ever start in league play.

• The Sun Devils have won 14 of their last 15 Pac-10 contests away from home, including the last nine in a row. The only blemish during that stretch was a 77-71 setback at Stanford last season (Dec. 30, 2006).

• Junior Lauren Lacey has averaged 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds during ASU's current four-game winning streak. Lacey, who has also shot 55.6 percent (30-54) during the winning streak, has scored in double figures in ASU's last 11 contests, including a career-high 23 points at Oregon (Jan. 3).

• ASU has won six of its last seven games against Arizona, including the last four in a row. ASU's only loss during that span came in 2005 when it fell to the Wildcats 56-49 in Tucson (Jan. 26, 2005).

• In the second half of their last three games the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents by an average of more than 14 points (39.0-24.7), have twice as many steals (16-8) while forcing 16 more turnovers (34-18) and have allowed the opposition to shoot only 36.8 percent (28-76) from the field, including 12.5 percent (2-16) from three-point range.

• Currently with 1,077 career points, Jill Noe needs 58 points to move past Jovonne Smith (1989-92) for 11th place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Also one of ASU's all-time top three-point threats Noe (125 career three-point FGs) Noe needs nine three-point FGs to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for third on ASU's all-time list.


Arizona State leads the all-time series with Arizona 40-25, including a 17-14 advantage in games played in Tucson. ASU has won six of the last seven meetings against Arizona. ASU's only loss during that span came in 2005 when it fell to the Wildcats 56-49 in Tucson. ASU's 83-59 win in Tucson on Dec. 22, 2005 snapped an eight-game winning streak by the home team. In the most recent meeting last February, seniors Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg scored 16 points each as the Sun Devils hung on for a 59-54 win. Trailing by 10 with under four minutes left the Wildcats used an 11-2 run to get within a point (53-52) with 1:04 remaining. A jumper by Reagan Pariseau and four free throws by Westerberg in the final 14 seconds helped the Sun Devils avoid the upset. For ASU, the win broke the single-season school record for most wins (26 before eventually winning 31).

The series with Arizona is the longest for the Sun Devils and dates back to the 1975-76 season, the first year of varsity women's basketball at Arizona State (although the teams played another seven games before that first varsity season with UA winning five of seven). ASU snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Wildcats in 2000-01 with its first season sweep of the U-of-A since 1991-92. The Sun Devils won 18 of the first 20 meetings, including a streak of 16 games that encompassed eight full seasons (1978-79 to 1985-86).


• The Sun Devils have already had two players named Pac-10 Player of the Week -- juniors posts Kirsten Thompson (Dec. 10) and Sybil Dosty (Dec. 31).

• The 49 points Fresno State scored on Dec. 17 represented the 11th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.

• Eight of ASU's 15 opponents have shot below 22 percent from three-point range.

• Guards Briann January and Jill Noe and forward Lauren Lacey have started every game for ASU this season.

• The Sun Devils have had four games this season in which four players have scored in double figures.

• In ASU's 66-42 win over UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 17), Jill Noe tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and narrowly missed becoming the first Sun Devil to record a triple-double since Ryneldi Becenti in 1992. For Noe, it is the third such time she has flirted with the feat. Last season she recorded 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a win over Northern Arizona and during her freshman season she posted 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in a win over Denver.

Sybil Dosty's 15 rebounds vs. UCLA were the most for a Sun Devil player since Kirsten Thompson had 15 vs. Nicholls State on Nov. 15, 2006.

• Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 28-1 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exception came earlier this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic. In that game ASU held a slight 40-39 edge on the boards.

• Through ASU's first 15 games junior Lauren Lacey is first on the team in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg); Briann January is second on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and first in assists per game (4.9 apg), steals per game (2.7 spg), made free throws (56) and attempts (65) and free throw percent (.862).


When the announcement came down on Dec. 26 that junior guard Danielle Orsillo would miss the remainder of the 2007-08 season because of a knee injury, it represented the latest injury-related setback the Sun Devils have encountered in the first two months of the season. Sun Devil players have already missed a combined 20 games this season.

Dymond Simon, a member of the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team last season, was limited early in the season as she returned from a torn ACL she suffered in January. She was having a strong outing against Texas Tech on Dec. 13, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes before being forced to leave the game after aggravating her knee injury. She would return to the game for two minutes before leaving again. Simon would go on to miss ASU's next two games, including the Sun Devils' 62-51 loss to Texas (Dec. 20). Simon returned in time for the start of conference play and her presence on the floor has had a big impact. In last week's wins over Oregon (Jan. 3) and Oregon State (Jan. 5) Simon averaged 15.5 points, including a season-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting at Oregon State.

Junior post Sybil Dosty injured her knee earlier this fall and was forced to miss all of ASU's preseason practices. She averaged only 12 minutes in the first four games as she was slowly worked into the rotation. Since then, Dosty has played 21.0 minutes a game and has averaged 9.0 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent from the field. She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30).

Junior guard Kate Engelbrecht suffered a hand injury during the first preseason practice and was forced to miss the rest of ASU's preseason workouts and its first two games. She scored a season-high eight points in ASU's win over Fresno State on Dec. 17.

Senior guard Reagan Pariseau missed ASU's games against Auburn (Dec. 2) and UC Davis (Dec. 9) after injuring her ankle early in ASU's win over Gonzaga on Nov. 30. She returned to action on Dec. 13 at Texas Tech and made an immediate impact, scoring nine points on 4-4 shooting. Although she was healthy for ASU's contest vs. Texas (Dec. 20), Pariseau would only play 22 minutes and was limited for much of that time after absorbing a blow to the head early in the game. Then, midway through the second half, Jill Noe, who came into the Texas game averaging 14 points in her previous five games, was forced to leave the game because of an ankle injury.


Arizona State junior guard Danielle Orsillo was featured in "The Year in Sports" issue (Dec. 31-Jan. 7) of Sports Illustrated for her community involvement. Orsillo, among other community endeavors, has spent more than 150 hours of her time the last two years at The Arc of Tempe, a recreation center for mentally disabled adults. Orsillo, whose brother Mark has Down syndrome, engages in various activities with others at The Arc, including cooking, playing video games and shooting hoops. The story touched on the friendship that has developed between Danielle and one of The Arc's regular attendees, Daniel Strelitz, who also has Down syndrome. Orsillo is currently sidelined for the season with a knee injury she sustained during the first week of the season.


Arizona State junior center Sybil Dosty was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent from the field in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30). The Tucson, Ariz., native averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the second half of both games in helping the Sun Devils overcome an eight-point deficit against the Bruins and an 11-point deficit against USC. Dosty is the second ASU player to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors this season. Last month junior center Kirsten Thompson was recognized following her performance in ASU's win over UC Davis.


Arizona State junior guard Briann January was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team. The team was chosen by members of the conference's women's basketball media. January is coming off a season in which she earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors in helping lead ASU to a school record 31 wins and its first Elite Eight appearance in school history. In 2006-07, the 5-8, Spokane, Wash., product finished third in the Pac-10 in steals (2.1 per game), fourth in assists (4.0 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67), and sixth in free throw percentage (81.7). A starter in 34 games, January concluded her sophomore campaign first on the team in both assists and steals and second in both scoring (10.2 points per game) and free throw percentage. Thus far in 2007-08, January has wasted no time in picking up where she left off last season. She is second on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and first in assists per game (4.9 apg, 2nd in Pac-10), steals per game (2.7 spg, 1st in Pac-10), made free throws (56) and attempts (65) and free throw percent (.862, first in Pac-10). January has scored in double figures in 11 of 15 games this season, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best.


Without question, one of the biggest challenges facing ASU coming into the 2007-08 season was figuring out how it would compensate for the loss of All-Pac-10 performers Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg. In addition to being responsible for a combined 23.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in 2006-07 the duo also gave ASU a strong inside presence on both ends of the floor.

Enter junior transfers Sybil Dosty and Lauren Lacey. Biding their time since they last played a meaningful game in the spring of 2006, Dosty and Lacey were two players who were very eager to get on the floor and help the Sun Devils ascend to the top. Both players got to take a bit of a test drive with their teammates in real competition during ASU's trip to Italy last May in which the Sun Devils squared off against four different teams from around the country.

Originally a native of Tucson, Dosty spent her first two collegiate seasons at the University of Tennessee where she was part of a Final Four team her freshman year. Lacey, who transferred from the University of Minnesota, was also part of two squads that went to the NCAA Tournament. Thus far in 2007-08, Lacey is first on ASU in scoring (12.6 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.9 rpg). She led ASU with a career-best 19 points in its win over Iowa on Nov. 23 and would surpass that total with 20 against Auburn (Dec. 2). She would once again exceed her single-game career-best with a 23-point performance at Oregon (Jan. 3). The 23 points represent the most points scored by a Sun Devils this season. Lacey has scored in double figures in ASU's last 11 games and has grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds three times during that span.

The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty is currently shooting 50.6 percent from the field . Two weeks ago Dosty averaged 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA and USC (66-63). The Tucson, Ariz., native averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the second half of both games in helping the Sun Devils overcome an eight-point deficit against the Bruins and an 11-point deficit against USC. Dosty was recognized for her performances against the Bruins and Trojans in being named the Pac-10's Player of the Week.


This season Arizona State University elected to participate in the NCAA/Pac-10 "Pack the House" challenge whereby member schools compete nationally with their conference rivals to set attendance records, win great prizes, and grow the sport of Women's Basketball within their communities. Sun Devil fans can make history by setting an attendance record at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday, January 20th when the ASU women's basketball team takes on No. 7 Stanford at 2 p.m. The first 500 fans to enter Wells Fargo Arena on January 20th will receive a FREE gold t-shirt.

Tickets for this game can be purchased online now at a discounted price of $2 general admission or $6 reserved seating by using the promotional code STANWBB. Purchase of online tickets through Saturday, January 19th guarantees eligibility to win prizes such as autographed basketballs, posters, Gordon Biersch restaurant coupons, and four (4) women's basketball tickets to any remaining home game this season. Tickets purchased online prior to this promotional offer have already been entered into the drawing for the aforementioned prizes.

Fans who purchased tickets to the game but are unable to attend may donate their tickets back to ASU Women's Basketball for distribution to local youth organizations by completing the online ticket donation form or by calling ASU Women's Basketball at (480) 965-6086. Fans interested in purchasing tickets solely for donation to local youth groups are welcome to do so and may follow the same procedure. Every ticket donated will allow youth, many of whom cannot afford to purchase tickets, the opportunity to attend a Sun Devil Women's Basketball game and help ASU win the NCAA/Pac-10 "Pack the House" challenge.


With its 67-49 win over Bowling Green in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2007 NCAA Tournament the Arizona State women's basketball team clinched its first ever appearance in the Elite Eight of the "The Big Dance." It was the latest `first time ...' for the Sun Devils under head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who continues to build on what is the most successful period in the program's history. Since the 2004-05 season the Sun Devils are 90-28, including a 6-3 record in NCAA Tournament games the last three seasons.

In 2005-06 Turner Thorne had the Sun Devils in the Top 10 of both polls for the first time in 22 years. If the figure `22 years' sounds familiar it's because in 2004-05 Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 22 years. After leading the Sun Devils to a 25-7 in 2005-06 Turner Thorne was recognized being named the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region 8 Coach of the Year.

Now in her 12th season in Tempe, Turner Thorne has more than established the Sun Devils as one of the teams to watch on an annual basis not only in the Pac-10 Conference, but also across the country. In fact, since the 2000-01 season the Sun Devils have won the second-highest number of overall games (167) in the Pac-10 Conference.


The Sun Devils return home next Thursday (Jan. 17) to host the No. 9 California Golden Bears. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. All Sun Devil fans are encouraged wear Gold and make it a "Gold Out." Fans wearing gold can purchase a general admission ticket to the game for only $2.