Women's basketball hosts Furman
After a week-long layoff for the holidays, the Arizona State women's basketball (No. 18 AP/No. 17 ESPN/USA Today) returns to action on Monday night (6:30 p.m. MT) when it hosts Furman at Wells Fargo Arena. Monday's contest will be ASU's last non-conference game before it opens up Pac-10 play later in the week when it hosts USC and UCLA.
Prior to the holiday break, the Sun Devils had their five-game winning streak snapped at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic where they lost a pair of hard-fought contests to current No. 10/10 Texas A&M (62-52) current No. 5/5 Baylor (70-66).
In both games the Sun Devils found themselves in position to pull off the upset. In the first contest of the weekend, Texas A&M closed the game with a 15-5 run after the Sun Devils tied the score at 57-57 with 4:14 remaining. The following night against Baylor, ASU fought back from a 12-point first-half deficit to eventually take a 3-point lead early in the second half. The final 20 minutes included 10 leads changes and seven ties, the last of which came with 5:51 left when a layup by junior guard Tenaya Watson tied the game at 60-60. A 7-1 run by Baylor over the next 2:40 combined with a sudden offensive dry spell by the Sun Devils (0-6 FGs over last 5-plus minutes) enabled the Bears to hold on for the 4-point win.
Junior Becca Tobin was named to the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic's All-Tournament Team after averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. Tobin made 57 percent of her field goal attempts (8-14) and 86 percent of her free throws (12-14) for the weekend. Also averaging double figures in scoring for the Sun Devils were senior guard Danielle Orsillo (14.0 ppg), who made all 12 of her free throws for the weekend; junior guard Tenaya Watson (11.0 ppg), who made 50 percent of her field goal attempts (7-14) and scored a season/career-best 13 points against Texas A&M; and redshirt freshman forward Janae Fulcher (10.5 ppg), who scored a season/career-best 12 points against Baylor.
On the air
Arizona State's game vs. Furman can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6 p.m. 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
Following their losses in Las Vegas the Sun Devils dropped four places in both polls (from 14th to 18th in the AP poll and from 13th to 17th 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 are 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 25-6 in its last 31 games going back to last season. The record includes a school record 15-game winning streak during the 2009 Pac-10 season. Included among the opponents who have defeated the Sun Devils during that 31-game stretch are Stanford and UConn last March (two of the eventual participants in the 2009 Final Four) and Xavier, Texas A&M and Baylor this season, who are currently ranked 15th, 10th and 5th, respectively in the most recent AP poll. ASU also fell to USC in the quarterfinals of last season's Pac-10 Tournament, a game in which the Sun Devils were playing without scoring leader Dymond Simon who suffered a season ending injury in ASU's previous contest at Stanford.
• On Monday the Sun Devils will be at home where they are 70-10 (.875) since the 2004-05 season, including a 31-4 (.886) record against non-conference opponents.
• ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs two more wins (has 298 with Northern Arizona and ASU) to reach 300 for her career. Her 258 wins at ASU rank fourth all-time among Pac-10 head coaches.
• This will be the first all-time meeting between Arizona State and Furman.
• During the summer of 2007 Charli Turner Thorne and Furman head coach Sam Dixon served as assistants on the gold-medal winning USA Basketball U21 World Championship team that was led by current Duke University head coach Joanne P. McCallie.
• ASU's current two-game losing streak marks only the seventh time the Sun Devils have dropped back-to-back games since the 2004-05 season a span of 180 games.
• ASU has outrebounded its opponent 8 times in 10 games this season.
• Danielle Orsillo (.929) and Becca Tobin (.906) are currently ranked first and third, respectively in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage. As a team, ASU made nearly 82 percent of its free throws in its two games in Las Vegas. Prior to that the Sun Devils had made just over 66 percent of their free throw attempts in their first eight games.
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 87.5 percent (70-10) 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. Since the 2006-07 season the Sun Devils have won more than 70 percent of their games when they were the visiting team or made a trip to a neutral site.
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."