ASU women's basketball faces Arizona in Tucson

<p>UP NEXT<br />Currently on a school record 11-game winning streak, the No. 25 Arizona State women’s basketball team will look to continue its recent success on Saturday (2 p.m. MT) when it travels to Tucson, Ariz., to take on the Arizona Wildcats.</p><separator></separator><p>The Sun Devils (19-6, 11-2 Pac-10) tied and surpassed the old school record of 10 straight wins with road victories at USC (72-69) and at UCLA (69-66) last weekend. For ASU, the two three-point wins represented the only games that have been decided by single digits during its current winning streak. ASU’s average margin of victory in the nine games prior to last weekend was 20.4 points.</p><separator></separator><p><a href="">D… Simon</a> (17.0 ppg) and <a href=""… January</a> (15.5 ppg) combined to average 32.5 points in the two wins. January made 53 percent of her shots during the weekend, including 60 percent (6-10) from long distance. Sophomore <a href="">Be… Tobin</a> averaged nine rebounds in the two games, including 13 at USC, which tied her career high. With the two wins the Sun Devils have now won 25 of their last 28 Pac-10 road games.</p><separator></separator><p>Saturday’s game is a rematch of last month’s contest in Tempe, which was won by the Sun Devils 75-38. Simon (19 points, six assists) and January (16 points, seven assists) combined for 35 points and 13 assists in the win. Also coming through with a strong outing was senior center <a href="">Sy… Dosty</a> who posted her fourth double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) of the season in addition to tying her career high with four blocks.</p><separator></separator><p> Arizona (10-14, 3-10 Pac-10) has won two of its last three games, including a 74-61 victory at USC last Sunday. The Wildcats are 3-3 since their last meeting with the Sun Devils on January 24 in Tempe. The Wildcats have been paced throughout the season by sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe, who is averaging a double-double (15.8 points, 11.2 rebounds) for the season. Ibekwe scored a career-best 27 points in Arizona’s win at USC.</p><separator></separator><p>ON THE AIR<br />Arizona State’s game at Arizona can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060 and on the Sun Devil Sports Network (subscription-based service that can be accessed via Pre-game coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women’s basketball. </p><separator></separator><p>SERIES NOTES<br />Arizona State leads the all-time series with Arizona 43-25, including an 18-14 advantage in games played in Tucson. The Sun Devils have won nine of the last 10 meetings, including last month’s 75-38 win in Tempe. ASU’s only loss during that span came in 2005 when it fell to the Wildcats 56-49 in Tucson. Last season the Sun Devils swept both contests for the third consecutive season, winning 75-65 in Tucson and 67-64 in Tempe. <a href=""… January</a> averaged 16.5 points and 5.5 assists in the two contests.</p><separator></separator><p>WHAT TO LOOK FOR<br />• ASU is currently on a school record 11-game winning streak. Last weekend the Sun Devils tied and surpassed the old record of 10 consecutive wins with victories at USC and at UCLA.</p><separator></separator><p>• With their next win the Sun Devils will clinch their seventh 20-win season in the last nine years, including the last five in a row. ASU head coach <a href="… Turner Thorne</a> would join former Washington head coach Chris Gobrecht and current Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer as the only other coaches in Pac-10 history (since the 1986-87 season) to have led their respective schools to five (or more) consecutive 20-win seasons.</p><separator></separator><p>• ASU has won 82 percent (56-12) of its Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. On Saturday the Sun Devils are on the road where they are a combined 25-3 in their last 28 Pac-10 road contests. </p><separator></separator><p>• In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 17), ASU was fifth in the nation in assists per game (17.3), sixth in three-point FG percentage (.394), eighth in field goal percentage (.460) and 23rd in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0). The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percentage (.394), rebounds allowed per game (31.0), steals per game (11.0) and turnover margin (+4.3) and are second in field goal percentage (.460), free throw percentage (.734), assists per game (17.3), blocked shots per game (4.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).  </p><separator></separator><p>• During ASU’s current 11-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 54.4 points per game and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 17.3 points. Last weekend’s victories at USC (72-69) and at UCLA (69-66) represented the only times during ASU’s current winning streak in which it did not have a winning margin of 11 or more points.</p><separator></separator><p>• The Sun Devils are allowing an average of only 22.8 points in the first half of their last 11 games. In addition the Sun Devils have forced an average of 22.4 turnovers per game and are averaging nearly double the number of assists as their opponents (17.0-8.7).</p><separator></separator><p>• Post players <a href="">Be… Tobin</a> (19-26, .731), <a href="… Thompson</a> (7-11, .636), Sybil Dosty  (18-33, .545) and <a href="">K… Murphy</a> (10-19, .526) are shooting a combined 61 percent (54-89) in ASU’s last six games.</p><separator></separator><p>• <a href="">D… Simon</a>, who was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week on Feb. 9, has led the Sun Devils in scoring during their current winning streak (15.5 ppg). </p><separator></separator><p>• In Pac-10 play ASU has three of the top eight leaders – <a href=""… January</a> (third), <a href="… Orsillo</a> (fourth) and <a href="">D… Simon</a> (eighth) – in assist-to-turnover ratio. </p><separator></separator><p>• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, January became ASU’s all-time assists leader. She currently has 489 assists in her career. With 252 career steals January is currently second on ASU’s all-time list. Entering Saturday’s game at Arizona, January is fifth in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.474) and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio. She leads the Pac-10 in assists (4.7 apg) and 3-point FG percentage (.463), is second in steals (2.4 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio, third in free throw percentage (.835) and 13th in scoring (12.6 ppg). </p><separator></separator><p>• Currently with 54 3-point field goals, January needs seven more triples to break ASU’s single-season record of 60 set by <a href="">… Levens</a> in 2000-01. She has made exactly 50 percent of her 3-point field goals (21-42) during ASU’s current 11-game winning streak.</p><separator></separator><p>• Sophomore forward <a href="">Be… Tobin</a> has connected on 67 percent (26-39) of her shot attempts during ASU’s current 11-game winning streak. In last Thursday’s win at USC, Tobin tied her career best in rebounding with 13 (also the highest number of rebounds by a Sun Devil this season).</p><separator></separator><p>• In their win over Oregon State on Feb. 7, the Sun Devils broke the school’s single-season record for most blocks (102). ASU currently has 112 rejections on the season. Currently with 128 3-point field goals this season, the Sun Devils need eight more to break the school record of 135 which was set in 2000-01.</p><separator></separator><p>• ASU’s leading rebounder last season, senior <a href="">Sy… Dosty</a> has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently sixth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 78 career blocks, Dosty needs two blocks to pass <a href="">Ra… Holt</a> (1997-00) for third place on the list.</p><separator></separator><p>• Five of ASU’s six losses this season have come to teams currently ranked in the top 15 of the current Associated Press poll – No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 California, No. 12 Texas and No. 15 Florida – including three of the current AP Top 10. Three of those five losses – Florida (65-60), Stanford (64-61) and California (54-53) – came by a combined nine points.</p><separator></separator><p>RESERVATIONS FOR THREE<br />Coming into the 2008-09 season, ASU head coach <a href="… Turner Thorne</a> said she expected the Sun Devils to have an improved perimeter game from last season when they shot slightly more than 33 percent from beyond the arc. “We were an ok perimeter shooting team last year; but not great,” Turner Thorne said before the season. “I think this might be one of the best perimeter shooting teams we have had in my tenure at ASU.” Thus far it would appear the Sun Devils have proven Turner Thorne right as they are currently first in the Pac-10 and No. 6 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.394). Currently with 128 3-point FGs this season the Sun Devils are on pace to shatter the school’s single-season record of 135 triples set by the 2004-05 team. Leading the way are guards <a href=""… January</a> (54), <a href="">D… Simon</a> (31) and <a href="… Orsillo</a> (20), who have combined for 105 of ASU’s 128 triples. Earlier this season the Sun Devils hit a school record 14 3-pointers in a 73-59 win at UC Davis. Leading the way was January, who tied the school record with seven makes from downtown. </p><separator></separator><p>YOU CAN’T SPELL DEVILS WITHOUT ‘D’<br />If there is one thing ASU head coach Charli Turner Throrne’s teams have become known for over the years it is defense. The Sun Devils offered another reminder of their excellence in defending on Dec. 6 when they defeated UC Irvine 75-23 to set the single-game Pac-10 record for the fewest points ever allowed by a Pac-10 team. It’s the second time in as many seasons that the Sun Devils have set a conference record for fewest points in a game. Last season the Sun Devils set the standard for the fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game in their 59-30 win over Washington State. Since the 2005-06 season the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points 25 times. This season the Sun Devils have accounted for several single-game defensive superlatives in the Pac-10, including fewest points (23), lowest field goal percentage (.209), fewest field goals (9 - tied with Oregon State), fewest field goal attempts (38), fewest three-point field goals made (0 - twice) and attempted (2 - twice), most blocks (10 - tied with Arizona) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice - tied with Oregon State). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half 10 times this season, including their win over Oregon State (Jan. 8) in which the Sun Devils held the Beavers to 14 points in the second half to turn a four-point halftime lead (26-22) into a 25-point win (61-36).</p><separator></separator><p>IT’S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE<br />Finishing 12th in the country in any statistical category would usually be considered great by most standards. That is unless of course a team is used to higher standards. After finishing among the nation’s top 5 in assists in 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Sun Devils slipped to 12th last season. If the season’s first 25 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation’s elite in the category. Currently ASU is fifth in the country averaging 17.3 assists per game. The Sun Devils have dished out 20 or more assists seven times this season, including a season-best 30 assists vs. Northern Arizona (Dec. 7), the second-highest single-game total in the Pac-10 this season.</p><separator></separator><p>SUN DEVILS SIGN THREE<br />Two local standouts who have achieved exceptional success and a top-notch guard from California highlighted the 2008 women’s basketball signing class for Arizona State announced by Sun Devil head coach <a href="… Turner Thorne</a> in November. Joy Burke, Deja Mann and Markisha Patterson all signed letters of intent to study and play basketball at ASU. </p><separator></separator><p> A 6-foot-5 post player, Burke was named to The Arizona Republic’s All-Arizona team in 2008 in addition to earning second-team All-Tribune honors from the East Valley Tribune following a season in which she led Tempe Marcos de Niza to the state quarterfinals. During her decorated junior season, Burke averaged 19.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game. </p><separator></separator><p> A 5-foot-8 combo guard, Mann will be joining the Sun Devils from Merced High School in Merced, Calif. Mann, who was sidelined because of injury her junior season, had an outstanding sophomore campaign in which she averaged nearly 16 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists per game on her way to being named the Central California Conference MVP. Mann, who averaged 14.1 points per game as a freshman, also starred on the Modesto Magic club team this past summer. An outstanding shooter, Mann ranked No. 25 on’s best “Gunners” of the summer. </p><separator></separator><p> A 5-foot-8 guard, Patterson will be coming to ASU from Central Arizona College where last season she helped lead her team to a runner-up finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association championships. Known as a defensive specialist at Central Arizona, Patterson is very familiar with what it takes to win championships. In 2007, she helped lead Tolleson High School to the Class 5A Division II state title after she scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the championship game.</p><separator></separator><p>JANUARY CONTINUES TO DISTINGUISH HERSELF AS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY<br />Undoubtedly one of the integral components of ASU’s success in recent years has been the play of senior <a href=""… January</a>. Since she arrived in Tempe in 2005, the 5-8 guard from Spokane, Wash., has proven time and again to be one of the most explosive players in the nation on both ends of the floor. Last season January was named the first ever Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in addition to earning Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors for a campaign in which she finished first in the Pac-10 in steals (2.18 spg) and free throw percentage (.864), third in assists (4.39 apg), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio and 15th in scoring. Earlier this season January was recognized for her outstanding play in being one of six women’s college basketball players around the country to share (along with All-America candidate sophomore <a href="">J… Harden</a> from the Arizona State men’s basketball team) a regional cover on Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Preview. Thus far in 2008-09 January has experienced anything but an SI jinx as she currently leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (4.7) and 3-point FG percentage (.474), is second in assist to turnover ratio and steals per game (2.4), third in free throw percent (.835) and fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.2). Already ASU’s all-time leader in career assists (489), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU’s all-time leaders in steals, free throws, points. Currently she is second in steals (252, needs 39 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander), third in free throws (71, needs 17 to pass Kym Hampton for second place) and 10th in scoring (needs eight points to pass <a href="">Jill Noe</a> for ninth place). Currently with 54 3-point field goals, January needs seven more triples to break ASU’s single-season record of 60 set by <a href="">… Levens</a> in 2000-01. She has made exactly 50 percent of her 3-point field goals (21-42) during ASU’s current 11-game winning streak.</p><separator></separator><p>SIMON SAYS ...<br />Like fellow guard <a href="… Orsillo</a>, junior <a href="">D… Simon</a> knows the experience of having to rebound from a season ending injury. In 2006-07, Simon quickly made a name for herself as one of the top freshman in the Pac-10 before a knee injury ended her season midway through the conference season. In 2007-08 Simon played in 30 games, as she tirelessly worked to regain her high level of play while at the same time still enduring effects from the injury. By the time last March rolled around Simon was once again at the top of her game, earning All-Pac-10 Tournament recognition after averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists in ASU’s two tournament games, including a season-best 22 points in the semifinals against Cal. Fast forward to this season and Simon, who has averaged 17.1 points and 4.0 assists in ASU’s last eight games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 21 times in 24 games this season, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). On Feb. 2 Simon was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week after averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in wins at Washington State and at Washington. She is currently first on the team in scoring (14.1 ppg), is second to fellow guard <a href=""… January</a> in three-point FGs (31) and assists (3.5 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.889).</p><separator></separator><p>THE CENTER OF ATTENTION<br />One of the central figures in the success of ASU’s interior game has been center <a href="">Sy… Dosty</a>. The senior from Tucson, Ariz., transferred to ASU in 2005 after spending her first two seasons at the University of Tennessee. In her first season as a Sun Devil in 2007-08 Dosty finished first on the team in both rebounding (6.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.540) while at the same time accumulating the fourth-highest single-season block total (40) in school history. This season Dosty has continued to build on last year’s success as she currently leads the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg), is second in field goal percent (.544) and third in scoring (8.8 ppg). At her current rebounding pace Dosty would become only the third Sun Devil since 1996 to average more than seven rebounds per game. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 78 career blocks, Dosty needs two blocks to pass <a href="">Ra… Holt</a> (1997-00) for third place on the list. Dosty’s 38 blocks this season currently rank fifth in ASU’s single-season annals. She needs three blocks to move into fourth place.</p>