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ASU women's basketball faces Washington State

January 28, 2009

After a three-game homestand, the Arizona State women’s basketball team goes back on the road this week when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Washington State Cougars on Thursday (7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and the Washington Huskies on Saturday (noon PT/1 p.m. MT).

Thursday’s game at Washington State begins a stretch in which the Sun Devils will play five of their next seven contests on the road, where they have won 21 of their last 24 games in conference play.

The Sun Devils extended their current winning streak to five after a 75-38 win over Arizona on Saturday. Guards Dymond Simon (19 points, six assists) and Briann 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 Sybil Dosty who posted her fourth double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) of the season in addition to tying her career high with four blocks. 

This weekend’s trip to the state of Washington will be the last as Sun Devils for seniors Briann January (Spokane) and Kirsten Thompson (Monroe), who are both originally from the Evergreen State.

Washington State (8-10, 1-6 Pac-10) has dropped eight of its last nine contests since starting the season 7-2. The Cougars have actually played more games on the road up to this point in the season (11) than they have at home (6). Offensively the Cougar attack is led by guards Jazmine Perkins (14.2 ppg) and April Cook (13.4 ppg), who have combined to average 27.6 points per game.


Arizona State’s game at Washington State 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 7:30 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women’s basketball. 


ASU holds a 32-12 advantage in the all-time series with Washington State and has won 21 of the last 22 meetings with the Cougars. ASU has won 12 of the 21 games played in Pullman. Washington State’s only win in the last 22 meetings was a 75-72 win in Pullman on February 28, 2004. Lauren Lacey (11.5 ppg), Sybil Dosty (10.0 ppg) and Kirsten Thompson (7.5 ppg) combined to average 28.5 points in both of ASU’s wins over Washington State last season. The Sun Devils also held big advantages in average rebounds per game (+16.0, 40.0-24.0) and average assists per game (+13.0, 18.5-5.5) in the two wins.


• The Sun Devils have won 80 percent (49-12) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. This week the Sun Devils are back on the road where they are a combined 17-3 in Pac-10 play since the 2006-07 season.

• ASU is currently on a season-best five game winning streak, which matches their longest streak of the 2007-08 season (accomplished three times last season). The Sun Devils won nine straight in 2006-07 and set a school record with 10 straight wins in 2005-06.

• In the most recent NCAA statistics (Jan. 25), ASU was second in the nation three-point FG percentage (.409), third in assists per game (18.2) and 15th in both field goal percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio. The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percent (.409), rebounds allowed per game (30.3) and turnover margin (+4.5) and are second in field goal percentage (.453), scoring defense (55.4 ppg), assists (18.2 apg), blocked shots (4.3 bpg), steals (11.1 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).  

• During ASU’s current five-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 48.4 points per game and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 25.2 points. In fact, the Sun Devils are allowing an average of only 19.8 points in the first half of their last five games. In addition, the opposition has shot only 20.0 percent from three-point range (7-35). The Sun Devils have also forced an average of 22.8 turnovers per game and averaged more than double the number of assists as their opponents (20.0-7.6).

Dymond Simon has led the Sun Devils in scoring during their current winning streak (14.8 ppg). In her last three games Simon has averaged 18.3 points and 5.3 assists.

• In Pac-10 play ASU has three of the top six leaders -- Danielle Orsillo (first), Briann January (second) and Dymond Simon (sixth) -- in assist-to-turnover ratio. During ASU’s winning streak the trio has combined for 71 assists and only 23 turnovers. January has 28 assists and only five turnovers during that span.

• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, senior guard Briann January became ASU’s all-time assists leader. January currently has 473 assists in her career. With 239 career steals January is currently second on ASU’s all-time list. Entering Thursday’s game, January is sixth in the nation in both three-point FG percentage (.461) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5). She leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.4 apg, No. 27 in the nation), steals (2.5 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio and is second in 3-point FG pct.  

• Senior forward Lauren Lacey is currently No. 2 in the Pac-10 in FG percentage in conference games (.591).

• As a team the Sun Devils need only 21 more blocks to break the school record of 102, which was set last season. The Sun Devils also need 28 more 3-point field goals to break the school record of 135 which was set in 2000-01.

• ASU’s leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently fifth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.7 rebounds per game. In her most recent outing, Dosty had her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds in ASU’s 75-38 win over Arizona (Jan. 24). Currently tied for fifth place on ASU’s all-time list with 66 career blocks, Dosty needs four blocks to pass Aubree Johnson (2004-07) for fourth place on the list.


One characteristic of ASU’s current five-game winning streak has been its ability to start fast. The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 51-17 in the opening five minutes of their last five games. On two occasions (at Oregon State and vs. Arizona) the Sun Devils did not allow a single point in the first five minutes and on another (vs. UCLA) they had allowed only two points. Overall the Sun Devils have averaged a 12-point lead (31.8-19.8) at the half of their last five games.


Coming into the 2008-09 season, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne 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. 2 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.409). Currently with 108 three-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 Briann January (41), Dymond Simon (28) and Danielle Orsillo (16), who have combined for 85 of ASU’s 108 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. 


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 24 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) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half nine 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).


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 19 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation’s elite in the category. Currently ASU is third in the country averaging 18.2 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.


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 Charli Turner Thorne in November. Joy Burke, Deja Mann and Markisha Patterson all signed letters of intent to study and play basketball at ASU. 

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. 

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. 

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.


Undoubtedly one of the integral components of ASU’s success in recent years has been the play of senior Briann January. 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 James Harden 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 (5.4), steals per game (2.5) and assist to turnover ratio, is second in three-point FG pct (.446), fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.2) and free throw pct. (.844) and 12th in scoring (12.4 ppg). Already ASU’s all-time leader in career assists (473), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU’s all-time leaders in steals and free throws. Currently she is second in steals (239, needs 52 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander) and third in free throws (354, needs 34 to pass Kym Hampton for second place). 


Like fellow guard Danielle Orsillo, junior Dymond Simon 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 18.3 points and 5.3 assists in ASU’s last three games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 15 times in 18 games this season, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). She is currently first on the team in scoring (13.5 ppg), is second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (28) and assists (3.4 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage (.900).


One of the central figures in the success of ASU’s interior game has been center Sybil Dosty. 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 (7.7 rpg), field goal percent (.544) and blocks (1.4 bpg) and is third in scoring (9.2 ppg). At her current rebounding pace Dosty would become only the third Sun Devil to average more than seven rebounds since 1996. Currently in fifth place on ASU’s all-time list with 66 career blocks, Dosty needs four blocks to pass Aubree Johnson (2004-07) for fourth place on the list.