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Women's basketball hosts ‘healthy' outdoor game


December 15, 2006

The ASU women's basketball team is bringing health awareness out in the open this month – the outdoors, to be exact.

The Fit Bones Hot Shot Classic, hosted by the ASU Women's Basketball team, including senior Aubree Johnson (left), and the Arizona Osteoporosis Coalition brought community members to campus to talk about hoops and health.

Giving it their all
Team focuses on service, success

When players step into the women's basketball locker room at ASU, they are immediately met with a list of the program's priorities. At the top of the list are three simple words: “Be a giver.”

It is that kind of spirit that surrounds the women's basketball team. Led by their coach, Charli Turner Thorne, the team seeks out ways to serve others as readily as it seeks success on the court.

“We feel it's our job,” Turner Thorne says. “I believe strongly our coaching staff and our team are very privileged to be doing what we are doing. Not only as representatives of Arizona State , but by virtue of all the opportunities we are given. For better or worse, for right or wrong, we are held up as role models and we welcome that.”

Turner Thorne says the primary outreach for the team comes in schools and classrooms across the Valley. To help spread positive messages, the team even has developed its own program, called Star POWER, which focuses on pride, self-image and healthy choices.

“Besides working at the crisis nursery, the diabetes walk or all other sorts of things, we schedule ourselves out,” she says. “We do it because we feel it is part of our mission. We have an opportunity for people to listen to us, and we should take advantage of that.”

During the 2000-2001 season, the team gained national prominence for playing against Tennessee in the nation's first college outdoor basketball game, held at Chase Field. Aside from the spectacle of the location, the game went to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The team is doing it again this year, this time as part of the Hoops for Health Classic, which takes place Dec. 18 at Chase Field against Texas Tech. The event will include a health expo, with educational material aimed at giving families tools to make healthy choices.

In January, when the team hosts UCLA, the game will be held at 11 a.m., so that school children will be able to attend as part of field trip day. More than 4,500 children in the fourth through eighth grades are expected to attend. UCLA agreed to the event, only if they could hold a similar day when ASU visits.

All of these events come while the team is having tremendous, unprecedented success on the court. The Sun Devils are in the midst of a school record seven consecutive postseason appearances, with invitations to the NCAA Tournament four times in the last six years; a first Pac-10 conference title in 2001; the Pac-10 Tournament championship in 2002; and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in more than 20 years.

“From day one, when our kids get to the program, they know they have not only given themselves over to this team to be successful and win championships,” she says. “They know they are giving of themselves to this community.”

 

The No. 10 Sun Devils will host the second-ever outdoor college basketball game Dec. 18 against the Texas Tech Lady Raiders in the “Hoops for Health Classic” at Chase Field in Phoenix .

As a part of the game, the event will offer a health expo around the stadium concourse for adults and interactive exhibits for children on the on the field before the 7 p.m. tipoff.

“This game will be promoting healthy life choices,” says ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne. “We're going to host an extensive health expo. We're really excited to connect our community with numerous health agencies, so they can educate them, do some evaluating at the game – and, of course, entertain them.”

The “Hoops for Health Classic” will be the second outdoor college basketball game played at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On Dec. 27, 2000, ASU and Tennessee played in the first-ever outdoor college basketball game (“Hoops for the Cure Classic”), in which Tennessee prevailed 67-63. That game drew a crowd of 16,282, the highest attendance recorded by ASU and Pac-10 for a women's basketball game.

“The original ‘Hoops for the Cure Classic' game in 2000 was a huge success and fundraiser for breast cancer research, treatment and education in our greater Phoenix community,” says Turner Thorne.

In the years since, the team has played host to a “Hoops for the Caus” game each year, raising money for various health causes. Turner Thorne says the team decided to again take it to another level this year.

“We're hoping to have the largest health expo in the state of Arizona , have some fun and help people make better choices about their long-term health,” she says.

The “Hoops for Health Classic” will be managed and promoted by Select Artists Associates (SAA), which has been involved in staging events in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years.

Along with the health focus, the event will feature a strong basketball matchup. ASU has been nationally ranked throughout the season, and Texas Tech is a traditional power in women's basketball.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at (www.ticketmaster.com) or by contacting the Sun Devil Ticket Office at (480) 727-0000.