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Women's basketball hosts ASU Classic

December 03, 2009

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After trips to Connecticut, Ohio and Hawaii, the Arizona State women's basketball team (No. 15 AP/No. 13 ESPN/USA Today) returns home this weekend to host the 2009 ASU Classic, which also includes Idaho State, Pepperdine and Utah State.

The Sun Devils will kick off play in the two-day tournament on Friday when they host Idaho State at 6 p.m. MT. Later that evening (8:30 p.m. MT), Pepperdine and Utah State will meet in the second preliminary matchup. Then on Saturday, Idaho State will face Pepperdine/Utah State at 1 p.m. and ASU will face Pepperdine/Utah State at 4 p.m. (Note: While times for ASU's and Idaho State's games are set regardless of Friday's outcomes, Saturday's games will still feature a `consolation game' and a `championship game' in which the two winners from Friday's games will meet).

ASU comes into this week's action having won its last two contests following victories last week at Hawaii (65-53) and vs. East Tennessee (80-67) at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. Leading ASU's attack was RS-sophomore center Kali Bennett, who earned tournament MVP honors after averaging 15.0 points and 12.5 rebounds. Bennett accounted for a double-double in both games. Against Hawaii she collected a career-high 15 rebounds. Also providing the Sun Devils with important contributions were senior guard Danielle Orsillo (16.5 ppg) and senior forward Kayli Murphy (10.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg), who were both named to the Rainbow Wahine Classic All-Tournament Team.

After being on the road for the last four games, Friday's contest begins a stretch of three consecutive home games for the Sun Devils. After this weekend's Sun Devil Classic, the Sun Devils will next host North Dakota on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the annual Sparky's Kids to College Field Trip game.

ASU Student Athletes Gathering Canned Food for Holiday Season
Arizona State University student athletes are partnering with St. Mary's Food Bank to gather food donations during the Holiday Season. There will be collection sites at the Women's Basketball game on December 4th and the Men's Basketball game on December 12th. We need your help! We ask that you please donate any canned or non-perishable items to help us in the fight against hunger this winter. Click here for more information.

On the Air
Arizona State's game vs. Idaho State can be heard live on Pre-game coverage will begin at 5:45 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his sixth season as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined on the broadcast by former Arizona State women's basketball coach Maura McHugh.

In the Polls
With its two victories in Hawaii last week, the Sun Devils moved up two spots (from 17th to 15th) in the AP poll while remaining 13th in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 coaches' poll.  ASU began the season ranked 16th in the AP poll and 11th in the coaches' poll. In November the Sun Devils were ranked 7th in the coaches' poll which represented its highest ranking in school history in either poll.

What to Look for
• ASU returns six players, including two starters - forward Kayli Murphy and guard Danielle Orsillo - from last year's active roster that went 26-9 and earned the program's second Elite Eight berth in the last three years.

• The Sun Devils will be without last season's leading scorer Dymond Simon as she spends the season rehabbing from the knee injury she suffered in the 2009 regular-season finale at Stanford. Also missing for the 2009-10 season because of injury will be guard Markisha Patterson, who transferred to ASU from Central Arizona where she was a teammate of guard Tenaya Watson, who also transferred to ASU.

• ASU is 22-4 in its last 26 games going back to last season. The record includes a school record 15-game winning streak during the 2009 Pac-10 season.

• ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs five more wins (has 295 with Northern Arizona and ASU) to reach 300 for her career. Her 255 wins at ASU rank fourth all-time among Pac-10 head coaches.

• The Sun Devils have won the ASU Classic seven times in the last eight years with the exception coming in 2007 when ASU was defeated by Auburn 63-57 in the finals.

• This will be the second all-time meeting between ASU and Idaho State. The Sun Devils were victorious in the only prior meeting, 98-71, in the preliminary round of the 1982 ASU Classic.

• Senior guard Danielle Orsillo needs 7 points to reach 1,000 for her career.

• This weekend the Sun Devils are at home where they are 67-10 (.870) since the 2004-05 season, including a 28-4 (.875) record against non-conference opponents.

• A potential ASU-Pepperdine matchup on Saturday would reunite ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne and Pepperdine head coach Julie Rousseau. Earlier this year Turner Thorne (head coach) and Rousseau (assistant coach) helped lead the USA Women's World University Games Team to a gold medal at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. Also serving as an assistant on Turner Thorne's staff was current Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant.

• ASU has outrebounded its opponent 4 times in 5 games this season.

Sun Devils Look to Remain Among the Best
During ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne's stint leading the Sun Devil program, ASU has developed into one of the most successful programs not only in the Pac-10, but around the country as well. Since 2000, the Sun Devils have finished first or second in the Pac-10 a combined six times, and have finished lower than third only once. Nationally, ASU is one of 20 schools whose current streak of NCAA appearances is 5 or more, one of 15 schools that has qualified for the Sweet 16 three or more times in the last five seasons and one of 9 schools that has qualified for the Elite Eight at least two times in the last three years.

Always Feeling at Home
Something else the Sun Devils have come to be known for under Turner Thorne is having one of the best success rates in the country when they play on their home floor. Since 2004 the Sun Devils have won 87 percent (67-10) of the games they have played at Wells Fargo Arena. In addition, under Turner Thorne ASU has also proven to be nearly as effective when it is playing away from home. In the last three seasons the Sun Devils have won nearly 73 percent of their games when they were the visiting team or made a trip to a neutral site.

Who is Returning?
#13 Danielle Orsillo - Sr. - G - Returns as ASU's most experienced player in the backcourt... Started all 35 games last season after missing all but one game of the 2007-08 season with a knee injury... Scored in double figures 17 times last season, including 11 times in ASU's last 15 games... Named to the 2009 Trenton Regional All-Tournament Team after she averaged 12.5 points and 2.5 assists while making all 10 of her free throws in ASU's four NCAA Tournament games... Has scored in double figures in 4 of 5 games this season, including a season-best 18 points in win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28)... Has led or tied for the team lead in scoring 3 times this season... Lead the team at Xavier (Nov. 21) with 11 points... Was named to the Rainbow Wahine Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.5 points in ASU's wins over Hawaii (Nov. 27) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 28)... Needs 7 more points to reach 1,000 for her career.

#21 Kayli Murphy - Sr. - F/C - Returns as ASU's most experienced player in the frontcourt... Played in every game her first two years before a hand injury caused her to miss the first six games last season... Would go on to start in 27 of the 29 games in 2009-09... Made 58 percent of her field goal attempts in Pac-10 play and was successful on 64 percent of her shots (32-50) in ASU's last nine games of 2008-09... Has started all five games in 2009-10 and is averaging 9.0 points and 7.2 rebounds while connecting on 51.4 percent of her shots... Had the second double-double of her career in the 2009-10 season opener against South Dakota State in which she tied her career best in scoring with 12 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds... Matched her career high with 3 steals at Yale (Nov. 19)... Was named to the Rainbow Wahine Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in ASU's wins over Hawaii (Nov. 27) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 28)

#30 Gabby Fage - Sr. - G - Reserve guard who has played in 72 career games... Will look to pick up where she left off at the end of the 2008-09 season as she played a big role in helping the Sun Devils qualify for the Elite Eight for the second time in three years... After averaging 5.8 minutes in her first 24 games of the season, averaged 22.8 minutes in ASU's four NCAA Tournament contests... Came through with clutch effort in ASU's 63-58 win over Florida State to help send the Sun Devils to the Sweet 16 as she played a career-high 26 minutes and tied her career high in points (6) and set a new career best with six rebounds. Hit back-to-back 3-pointers over a 31-second span to cut Florida State's once nine-point lead to a single point, 46-45, with 6:12 left in the game... Has played in five games in 2009-10... Has grabbed a season-best five rebounds on two occasions... Scored 4 points, dished out 2 assists and had 2 rebounds in win at Hawaii (Nov. 27). 

#32 Becca Tobin - Jr. - F/C - Skilled post who will have a more prominent role in 2009-10... Came into the 2009-10 season having played in 66 games her first two seasons... In 2008-09 led or tied for the team lead in rebounds nine times and blocks 10 times... Was successful on 55.4 percent of her shot attempts (67-121) and 72 percent of her free throws (33-46) last season... Connected on 62 percent (31-50) of her shot attempts during ASU's school record 15-game winning streak last season and hit 53 percent of her shots (10-19) in ASU's four NCAA Tournament games... Has started 4 of 5 games in 2009-10 and is currently 3rd on the team in scoring (9.0 ppg) and tied for 2nd with Kayli Murphy in rebounding (7.2 rpg)... Made the first start of her career in ASU's 2009-10 season opening win against South Dakota State and scored a career-best 18 points to go along with six rebounds... Scored a game-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with nine rebounds at Yale (Nov. 19)... Blocked a season-best three shots at Xavier (Nov. 21)... Has made 9-10 FTs.

#25 Kimberly Brandon - So. - G/F - Had a tremendous offseason and figures to play an even bigger role in 2009-10 after playing in 30 games last season (5.8 minutes per game)... Sister Gennifer is a freshman on the California women's basketball team... Has started all fives games in 2009-10 and is currently averaging 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds... Is tied for 2nd on the team in free throws made (9)... Made the first start of her career in ASU's 2009-10 season opener against South Dakota State (Nov. 15)... Had career-best numbers in points (12) and assists (4) in win at Yale (Nov. 19).

#12 Alex Earl - So. - G - Will have a much bigger role this season following the graduation of three guards from last year's team when she played in 23 games (4.3 minutes per game)... Has excellent perimeter shooting skills... Has played in 4 games this season (9.3 mpg)... Missed ASU's 2009-10 season opener and she recovered from a foot injury... Made all four of her field goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers, and scored a career-high 12 points in ASU's win over Yale (Nov. 19).

New Cast Members
#35 Tenaya Watson - Jr. - G - Transfer from Central Arizona who has started all five games this season... At Central Arizona was part of NJCAA national runner-up (2008) and NJCAA champion (2009) where she was a teammate of fellow ASU newcomer Markisha Patterson... As a freshman in 2008 was named a NJCAA Division I First Team All-American following a freshman campaign in which she averaged 16.6 points and finished first in the nation in field goal percentage (.646), second in assists (8.4 apg) and 11th in steals (3.8 spg)... Turned in another outstanding campaign in 2009 as she averaged 13.8 points, 5.4 assists (13th in the nation) and 3.9 steals (fourth in the nation) per game in helping lead Central Arizona to a perfect 35-0 season and the NJCAA title.. Was named the MVP of the 2009 NJCAA Tournament after averaging 16.8 points in Central Arizona's four tournament games. In the NJCAA championship game she scored a career-best 30 points and grabbed six rebounds to help Central Arizona defeat Missouri Jefferson College 78-77... Currently leads the team in assists (3.6 apg) and is third in steals (1.2 spg)... Scored 8 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished out 7 assists and blocked 2 shots in her Sun Devil debut against South Dakota State (Nov. 15)... Scored a career-high 10 points (3-5 FGs, 4-4 FTs) in ASU's win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).

#11 Kali Bennett - So. - F/C - Transfer from the University of Washington who figures to play a big role this season after sitting out the 2008-09 season because of NCAA transfer rules... Averaged 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Huskies while tying for the team lead in blocked shots with 15... Currently leads the team in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and blocks (1.6 bpg) and is 2nd in scoring (10.4 ppg)... Scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds in season opener vs. South Dakota State (Nov. 19), her first official game as a Sun Devil... Solid outing at Yale (Nov. 19) included 6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks... Was named the MVP of the Rainbow Wahine Classic after averaging 15.0 points and 12.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in wins over Hawaii (Nov. 27) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 28)... The win over Hawaii included a career-best 15 rebounds.

#22 Janae Fulcher - RS-Fr. - F/C - Redshirted last year... Will have a big role this season after ASU graduated three post players from last year's team... Helped lead her high school basketball team, La Jolla Country Day, to four league championships... Has played in every games this season and is Is currently averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while connecting on 55.6 percent of her shots (10-18)... Scored two points and grabbed a pair of rebounds in her Sun Devil debut vs. South Dakota State (Nov. 15)... Had the first double-double of her career with 11 points (5-6 FGs) and 10 rebounds in 12 minutes of play at Yale (Nov. 19)... Scored 7 points (3-4 FGs) in win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).

#4 Haley Parsons - RS-Fr. - G - Redshirted last season... Has been slowed by injury in preseason.

#3 Joy Burke - Fr. - F/C - Extremely talented post who has outstanding range and versatility... Local product (Tempe Marco de Niza), who was McDonald's All-American nominee and was also named to the Arizona Republic's All-Arizona Team and earned all-city accolades three times... Connected on 63 percent of her field goal attempts as a senior while averaging 23.3 points, 17.8 rebounds, 7.5 blocks and 3.9 steals per game... Has played in every game this season... Scored 4 points and had 5 rebounds in ASU's win at Yale (Nov. 19)... Scored 5 points (2-2 FGs, 1-1 FT) in win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).

#5 Deja Mann - Fr. - G - A 2009 graduate of Merced High School in Merced, Calif., where she earned first-team All-Central California Conference honors each of her first two seasons, including being named the conference's MVP her sophomore season... Savvy, hardworking, and dynamic combo guard who is both a prolific shooter and great decision-maker... Has played in every game this season (12.8 mpg)... Scored 5 points (2-3 FGs) in her Sun Devil debut vs. South Dakota State (Nov. 15)... Scored a season-best 6 points in ASU's win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).

#2 Sabrina McKinney - Fr. - G - Outstanding defender who was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year for Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas... Has played in every game this season and although she comes off the bench is still fourth on the team in minutes per game (19.8)... Is currently second on the team in assists (3.0 apg)... Scored a career-best 7 points at Xavier (Nov. 21)... Dished out a career-high 6 assists in ASU's win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).

Adrianne Thomas Signs with ASU
Charli Turner Thorne
today announced on November 11 that Adrianne Thomas signed a national letter of intent to study and play basketball at Arizona State.

"I could not be more excited about the addition of Adrianne Thomas," Turner Thorne said. "She is a powerful, explosive scoring combo guard who will fit in perfectly with our up-tempo offense and aggressive pressuring defense.

"Adrianne is an extremely tough and smart competitor who has had outstanding coaching through her high school and club programs. I predict she will adapt to the college game very quickly. Besides being one of the top guards in the country, Adrianne comes from an amazing family who has instilled in her great core values including impeccable character and strong leadership. She will be a great Sun Devil."

A 5-9 guard, Thomas will be coming to ASU from Summit High School in Fontana, Calif., where she has earned Sunkist League MVP honors three times. In 2009 Thomas, who has scored in double figures 32 times the last two seasons, earned All-Sunkist League First-Team and All-CIF Southern Section First-Team recognition after leading her team to the state semifinals.

As a sophomore in 2008, Thomas helped Summit to its first CIF sectional championship game and the state quarterfinals. With her FBC club team she was named to the All-Tournament Teams of the adidas Womanhood National Championships, Summertime Invitational and adidas Super 64.

"Adrianne is a superstar on the court, off the court, in the classroom and in the community," said Summit girls basketball coach Alexis Barile. "On the court she's the type of player that won't allow our team to lose. In crunch situations she's the one that pulls us together and makes sure we win. She has a refuse-to-lose mentally. She's going to fit into the ASU program very well as a person first and then as a basketball player."