ASU women's basketball hosts Oregon State on Thursday night
The Arizona State women's basketball team begins the second round of Pac-10 play on Thursday night when the Oregon State Beavers come to Tempe. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
ASU (13-7, 7-2 Pac-10) begins the second half of conference play tied for second place with Stanford (7-2 Pac-10) and one game behind California (8-1 Pac-10) for the top spot. The Sun Devils got off to their best ever start in Pac-10 play by winning their first five games before falling in successive games to California and Stanford, currently the Nos. 10 and 7 teams in the nation, respectively. ASU bounced back with a pair of wins at Washington (68-62) and Washington State (59-40). Lauren Lacey led the Sun Devils last week averaging 15.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. Also having a very successful weekend was Kayli Murphy who averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists while connecting on 70 percent of her field goals (7-10). Murphy, who made the first two starts of her career last weekend, had a career-best 11 points in ASU's win over Washington. Murphy has paced ASU's rebounding effort of late, averaging 7.5 in her last four outings.
In addition to determining the regular season championship, the next nine games will also determine seeding for the 2008 Pac-10 Tournament which is scheduled to take place Mar. 7-10 at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Although they have finished in second place in the regular season Pac-10 standings the last two seasons, the Sun Devils have been in contention through the final weekend of action on each occasion due in large part to the success they have had in the second round of Pac-10 play. In the last two seasons ASU has accumulated an aggregate record of 17-1 during the second half of Pac-10 action, including a 9-0 record on the road.
The Beavers (10-10, 3-6 Pac-10) have won two of their six contests since the last time they faced ASU on Jan. 5 in Corvallis, a contest won by the Sun Devils 69-60. The Beavers are among the top three-point shooting teams in the Pac-10. They are currently second in the conference in both three-point field goal percentage (.358) and three-point field goals per game (5.8). In addition they have two of the top scorers in the Pac-10 in the form of senior Ashley Allen (16.9 ppg) and junior Brittney Davis (13.4 ppg). In the Beavers' first meeting with ASU, Allen (22 points) and Davis (12 points) combined to score 34 of OSU's 60 points while connecting on a combined 53.8 percent of their shots (14-26).
Sun Devil Women's Basketball fans who attended the ASU vs. Stanford game on Sunday, January 20th can show their ticket stub from that game (ASU vs. Stanford) at the door and receive $2 general admission to this Thursday night's game. This offer is good for one $2 general admission ticket only on 1/31/2008.
ASU's game vs. Oregon State can be heard live on KDUS 1060 AM. Coverage of the game will begin at 6 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU is 32-4 in its last 36 regular season Pac-10 games going back to the second round of Pac-10 play in 2005-06. 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. Prior to its losses against California (Jan. 17) and Stanford (Jan. 20), ASU was off to its best ever conference start after winning its first five Pac-10 games.
• The Sun Devils are 35-5 in Pac-10 home games since the 2003-04 season.
• ASU has won 12 of the last 13 meetings against Oregon State, including the last 10 in succession.
• The Sun Devils are ranked in the top 3 of the Pac-10 in three-point FG pct. defense (1st, .228), assists (2nd, 16.75 apg), rebounding defense (2nd, 33.3 rpg), scoring defense (3rd, 59.0 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +6.9), free throw percentage (3rd, .710), field goal percentage (3rd, .437) and steals (3rd, 9.15 spg).
• In the first half of their last three games the Sun Devils have held the opposition to a shooting percentage of 32 percent, including only 17 percent from beyond the arc.
• ASU has outrebounded seven of its nine opponents in conference play.
• Briann January has had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 18-4 in ASU's last four games. January currently has the best assist-to-turnover ration in the Pac-10 (1.78).
• Junior post Sybil Dosty (23 blocks this season) needs two more blocks to move into ASU's top 10 list for most blocks in a single season.
• Jill Noe (1,111 career points) needs 24 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 (129 career three-point FGs) Noe needs five three-point FGs to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for third on ASU's all-time list. Noe has connected on 88.9 percent (16-18) of her free throw attempts in ASU's last six games.
• Noe (322 assists) and January (322 assists) are currently tied for ninth place on ASU's all-time assists list. Former Sun Devil Cassandra Lander (1980-83) currently occupies eighth place with 339 assists.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS OREGON STATE
Arizona State holds a 27-19 lead (16-6 advantage in home games) in the all-time series with Oregon State dating back to the 1983-84 season. The Sun Devils have won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two schools, including the last 10 in succession.
In the first meeting earlier this month Dymond Simon scored 14 of her season-best 20 points in the second half to help ASU overcome a 14-point second-half deficit in a 69-60 win in Corvallis. Simon was one of three Sun Devils who scored in double figures. Fellow guard Reagan Pariseau scored a season-best 12 points on 4-6 shooting, including 2-2 from three-point range and forward Lauren Lacey added 13 points.
Leading by 10 at halftime, the Beavers came out and scored six of the first eight points in the second half to lead 44-30 with 17:12 remaining. Following an ASU timeout Simon hit a three, which began a 22-6 run for the Sun Devils to put them ahead (52-50) for the first time since a 3-2 lead in the opening minutes of the game. Simon scored eight during the ASU run and put the Sun Devils ahead for good, 54-52, with a pair of free throws with 7:22 remaining. Those free throws began a 17-8 ASU scoring run to close out the game.
NOTES FROM THE SEASON
• The 40 points Washington State scored against ASU on Jan. 26 represented the 12th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
•Fourteen of ASU's 20 opponents have shot 25 percent or less from three-point range.
• Guard Jill Noe is the only ASU player to have started every game this season.
• ASU's 10 blocks against California (Jan. 17) not only tied the single-game high in the Pac-10 this season, but also fell one block short of tying the program record which was accomplished by the 1992 squad.
• 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.
• Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 31-2 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exceptions came this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic (held a 40-39 edge in rebounding) and when it lost to Stanford 60-56 (ASU held 39-35 rebounding advantage).
• While there really is no such thing as a "good loss" the Sun Devils can take some solace in the fact that the seven teams they have lost to this season have won more than 80 percent of their games and are all teams that have been ranked in the top 25 this season, including four Top-10 teams. ASU's five losses last season came to the national champion (Tennessee), the national runner-up (Rutgers) and the Pac-10 champions (Stanford).
HELP IS ON THE WAY
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 Pac-10 play Lacey and Dosty have combined for 23.4 points and 12.7 rebounds per game.
Lacey is currently leading the team in both scoring (12.6 ppg, 14.8 ppg in Pac-10 games) and rebounding (6.3 rpg). She led ASU with a (then) 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, who earlier this season had a streak of 13 consecutive games in which she scored in double figures, led ASU with 20 points in its win over Washington (Jan. 24), her third game with 20 or more points this season.
The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty is currently shooting 52.6 percent from the field. In late December Dosty averaged 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent 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 was recognized for her performances against the Bruins and Trojans in being named the Pac-10's Player of the Week. In Pac-10 games Dosty is third on the team in scoring (8.6 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (6.7 rpg). Currently with 23 blocked shots this season, Dosty needs two more blocks to move into ASU's top 10 list for most blocks in a single season.
JANUARY PLAYS WITH MARCH STATE OF MIND
This season ASU junior guard Briann January has shown time and again the type of play that has made her one of the top players in the Pac-10 Conference. January, who was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team, currently leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.78) and free throw percentage (.864), is tied for first in steals (2.3 spg) and is second in assists (4.8 apg) while ranking 15th in the Pac-10 and second on ASU in scoring (11.6 ppg).
Last season January 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.
This season January has scored in double figures in 14 times in 20 games, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best. In ASU's 75-65 win at Arizona (Jan. 12), January turned in a performance that was nothing short of remarkable. After sitting out the entire week of practice with a knee injury January came off the bench to lead ASU with 19 points while connecting on all seven of her field goal attempts and both free throws, while also adding five assists, one block and one steal.
January has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 18-4 in ASU's last four games in addition to averaging 12 points per game and making nearly 86 percent (18-21) of her free throws during that span.
SUN DEVILS WORK THROUGH EARLY SEASON INJURIES
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 capped an unlucky first two months of the season in which Sun Devil players missed a combined 17 games because of injuries.
Orsillo was originally diagnosed with a bone bruise in her left knee one week after scoring a career-best 21 points in ASU's season opener at North Carolina (Nov. 11). She would go on to miss ASU's next 10 regular season games before it was determined that she would miss the rest of the season. In 2006-07 Orsillo scored in double figures 16 times and was one of four Sun Devils to play in all 36 games.
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, 2007. 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 ASU's last seven games Simon has averaged 9.0 points. She scored a season-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in ASU's 69-60 win at Oregon State (Jan. 5).
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. Through nine games of Pac-10 play Dosty is third on the team in scoring (8.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.7 rpg). 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 and had a career-best seven rebounds in ASU's win over Washington State on Jan. 26.
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.
ORSILLO FEATURED IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
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.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?
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 93-29, 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 (170) in the Pac-10 Conference.
WHAT'S COMING UP?
The Sun Devils face Oregon on Saturday (11 a.m. MT). The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net.