Women's hoops faces Florida State in NCAA second round
For the fifth consecutive year the Arizona State women's basketball team will play for a spot in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament when it faces the Florida State Seminoles out of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Monday night. Tip-off at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. in Arizona). With a win the Sun Devils would advance to the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons.
Arizona State (24-8, 15-3 Pac-10) improved to 6-1 in NCAA Tournament first round games under head coach Charli Turner Thorne with a 58-47 win over Georgia on Saturday. Four Sun Devils scored in double figures led by senior F Lauren Lacey (5-7 FGs), junior F Kayli Murphy (6-6 FGs) and sophomore F Becca Tobin (5-7 FGs), who scored 12 points each while combining to make 80 percent of their shots (16-20). Murphy also collected 11 rebounds to account for the first double-double of her career. Also coming through with a tremendous all-around effort was senior G Briann January who scored seven of her 10 points (3-5 FGs) and had six of her nine assists in the second half.
While ASU's offensive success was a critical component of the victory, the real storyline of the game was the Sun Devils' defense and its ability to disarm the Georgia attack and never let the Lady Bulldogs feel comfortable offensively. ASU's defensive performance was so dominant that it held Georgia to its lowest point total in NCAA play and for the first time in 74 NCAA Tournament games the Lady Bulldogs did not have a player score in double figures.
Like ASU, Florida State (26-7, 12-2 ACC) is also making its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Seminoles' No. 3 seed is their highest ever and came following a regular season in which they tied for first place in the ACC with a school record 12 conference wins. The Seminoles are led by All-ACC players junior F Jacinta Monroe (13.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and senior G guards Mara Freshour (10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Tanae Davis-Cain (13.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg).
The winner of Monday night's game will return to action on Saturday when it competes in a regional semifinal game in Trenton, N.J. Potential opponents are second-seeded Texas A&M, seventh-seeded Notre Dame, 10th-seeded Minnesota and 15th-seeded Evansville.
ASU's game vs. Florida State can be seen live on ESPN2. Mark Jones (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (analysis) will call the game. The game can also be heard live on The Fan AM 1060 and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
During their time in the Atlanta area the Sun Devils will be staying at the Marriott Atlanta Norcross (475 Technology Parkway, Norcross, GA 30092, 770/263-8558). Associate Media Relations Director Steve Rodriguez (cell: 480/254-2489) will be with the team throughout its stay and should be contacted for any media requests outside of those already organized by the NCAA.
ASU IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
• Arizona State is making its 10th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and its seventh in the last nine seasons.
• ASU's overall record in the NCAA Tournament is 11-9, including an 9-6 record under Charli Turner Thorne.
• This is the third time that ASU has been a No. 6 seed. The Sun Devils were the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region in 1992 when they lost to host school DePaul in the first round, 67-65 and again last season in the Oklahoma City Regional. In 2008 they were sent to College Park, Md., for the first two rounds where they defeated 11th-seeded Temple 61-54 in the first round before falling to third-seeded Duke 67-59 in the second round.
• ASU's highest NCAA seed in school history is No. 3, which came in 2007 when it was placed in the Greensboro Regional.
• Prior to its Elite Eight berth in 2007, the furthest ASU had reached was the round of 16 (1982, 1983 and 2005). In both 1982 and `83, the fourth-seeded Sun Devils lost to the eventual national champion in the round of 16 (Louisiana Tech in 1982 and USC in 1983).
• As a No. 4 seed in 2006 ASU defeated Stephen F. Austin in the first round in Tucson (80-61) before falling to Utah in the second round (65-86).
• As the No. 5 seed in the Tempe Regional in 2005 the Sun Devils advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 22 years after upsetting fourth-seeded Notre Dame, 70-61. In that game the Sun Devils overcame a 13-point first half deficit. In the Sweet 16 against UNC, the Sun Devils led by as many as 10 points and were within two points, 62-60, with 9:29 remaining before the Tar Heels closed out the game with a 17-12 run.
• ASU's first NCAA appearance in the Turner Thorne era came in 2001. As the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region, the Sun Devils fell to sixth-seeded LSU in the first round. Turner Thorne earned her first victory in the NCAA Tournament the following year after the ninth-seeded Sun Devils defeated eighth-seeded Wisconsin in the first round of the Midwest sub-regional, 73-70. ASU would fall to top-seeded Vanderbilt in the second round, 61-35.
2008 NCAA Tournament RECAP - COLLEGE PARK, MD.
After an injury-plagued preseason combined with one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country led to a 6-5 start, the Sun Devils responded with a trio of five-game winning streaks over the next two months to secure their fourth consecutive 20-win season. As a result the Sun Devils were rewarded with their fourth straight NCAA Tournament berth, earning a No. 6 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional. For the first two rounds the Sun Devils were assigned to the College Park, Md. subregional. Their first tournament assignment came in the form of the Temple Owls. After playing Temple on even terms for the first 20 minutes (26-26), the Sun Devils opened the second half with a 13-0 run to take command of the game on their way to a 61-54 win. Lauren Lacey led ASU with 14 points while Jill Noe had 12 and Briann January had 10. In the second round game the Sun Devils met third-seeded Duke. An 18-5 Duke run in the second half put the Blue Devils up 47-34 with 11:19 remaining. No sooner was it that the Sun Devils countered with a 12-4 run of their own to close to 56-53 and eventually 59-57. However ASU could pull no closer as the Blue Devils advanced with a 67-59 win. Three Sun Devils scored in double figures led by January, who had 17 points. Lacey added 13 and Dymond Simon had 11.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• The active players on ASU's current roster have combined to play in 64 NCAA Tournament games.
• ASU is 2-3 in NCAA second round games under Charli Turner Thorne.
• This will be only the second time that ASU and FSU have met. The Sun Devils won the only previous meeting, an 85-70 victory in the 1983-84 season opener.
• This will be the second consecutive season that the Sun Devils will find themselves opposite an ACC opponent in the second round. Last season the sixth-seeded Sun Devils dropped a hard-fought 67-59 decision to the third-seeded Duke Blue Devils at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md.
• ASU began the NCAA Tournament without junior guard and leading scorer Dymond Simon, who suffered a season ending injury in ASU's regular season finale at Stanford (Mar. 7). Monday's game against Florida State will be only the fourth time the Sun Devils have played without Simon this season. ASU defeated Xaiver 75-57 in December in a game which Simon had to sit out after injuring her foot in practice the day before the game. The Sun Devils lost their first contest after Simon's season ending injury to USC 70-65 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. On Saturday they defeated Georgia 58-47 in the first round of NCAA Tournament play. Simon, who earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors earlier this month, scored in double figures 24 times in 29 games.
• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, senior guard Briann January became ASU's all-time assists leader. She currently has 524 assists in her career. With 261 career steals January is currently second on ASU's all-time list. January concluded the regular season ranked second in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.469) and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.09). She led the Pac-10 in assists per game (4.7), 3-point FG percentage (.469) and assist to turnover ratio, was second in steals per game (2.3), fourth in free throw percent (.840) and 3-point FGs per game (2.0) and 14th in scoring (12.1 ppg). In ASU's Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinal against USC (Mar. 13), January broke the school's single-season record for most 3-pointers (60), set by Amanda Levens in 2000-01). January currently has 62 3-pointers this season. Last week January was named first-team All-Pac-10 and the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She has averaged 14.0 points and 6.0 assists (18-6 assist-to-TO ratio) in ASU's last three games.
• ASU's leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season. The Tucson, Ariz., native concluded the regular season ranked sixth in the Pac-10 in rebounding (7.0 rpg). Currently third on ASU's all-time list with 80 career blocks, Dosty needs 18 blocks to pass Fran Ciak (1987-90) for second place on the list.
• Eight of junior guard Danille Orsillo's 14 double-figure scoring games have come in ASU's last 12 contests.
• Junior F Kayli Murphy has scored a career-best 12 points in each of ASU's last two contests. She made 75 percent of her field goal attempts (12-16) in those two contests. In Saturday's win over Georgia Murphy also had 11 rebounds to account for the first double-double of her career.
• Senior F Lauren Lacey has averaged 13.0 points and has made 61 percent of her field goal attempts (11-18) in ASU's last two games.
RESERVATIONS FOR THREE
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." The Sun Devils would prove Turner Thorne's prediction to be correct as they concluded the regular season first in the Pac-10 and No. 2 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.403). Currently with 161 3-point FGs this season the Sun Devils have already broken the previous school record of 135 triples set by the 2004-05 team. Leading the way are guards Briann January (62), Dymond Simon (37) and Danielle Orsillo (30), who have combined for 129 of ASU's 161 triples. Earlier this season the Sun Devils hit a school record 14 3-pointers in a 73-59 win at UC Davis. January paced the Sun Devils as she tied the school record with seven makes from downtown. Her 61 treys this season are an ASU single-season record.
YOU CAN'T SPELL DEVILS WITHOUT `D'
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 27 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 - 3x) and attempted (2 - twice), most blocks (10 - tied with Arizona) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice - tied with Oregon State). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half 15 times this season, including their win over Washington (Feb. 26) in which the Sun Devils held the Huskies to eight points in the first half, setting the school record for the fewest points ever allowed in a half. Six of ASU's nine Pac-10 opponents either scored their fewest points of the season against ASU or tied for their lowest point total of the season: Arizona (38), California (41), Oregon State (36), UCLA (44), Washington (32) and Washington State (35). In Pac-10 play the Sun Devils led the league allowing only 53.0 points per game. In their first round NCAA Tournament win over Georgia (Mar. 21), the Sun Devils held Georgia to its lowest point total in NCAA play and for the first time in 74 NCAA Tournament games the Lady Bulldogs did not have a player score in double figures.
IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE
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. This season the Sun Devils would return to the nation's elite in the category as they concluded the regular season ranked No. 5 in the country (17.0 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.
JANUARY CONTINUES TO DISTINGUISH HERSELF AS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY
Undoubtedly one of the integral components of ASU's success in recent years has been the play of senior guard 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 (was featured 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.
In 2008-09 January experienced anything but an SI jinx as she repeated as the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Year and was named first-team All-Pac-10. She concluded the regular season first in the Pac-10 in assists per game (4.7), 3-point FG percentage (.469) and assist to turnover ratio, second in steals per game (2.3), fourth in free throw percent (.840) and 3-point FGs per game (2.0). Already ASU's all-time leader in career assists (515), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU's all-time leaders in steals, free throws and points. Currently she is second in steals (261), second in free throws (389, needs 22 more free throws to pass Jodi Rathbun for first place) and seventh in scoring. In ASU's Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinal against USC (Mar. 13), January broke the school's single-season record for most 3-pointers (60, set by Amanda Levens in 2000-01). January currently has 62 3-pointers this season.
January has averaged 14.3 points and connected on 52 percent of her field goal attempts in the six NCAA Tournament games she has played in the last two-plus seasons (missed ASU's Regional Semifinal contest in 2007 because of a concussion).
SIMON TO MISS REMAINDER OF THE SEASON
In addition to losing their first game in more than two months against Stanford on March 7, the Sun Devils had to deal with an even tougher loss as junior guard Dymond Simon left the game in the first half with what was eventually diagnosed as a season ending knee injury. For Simon, who was named second-team All-Pac-10 in 2009, it's the second time in three years that she has had to deal with a season ending knee 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 helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. She scored in double figures 24 times in 29 games, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). On Feb. 2 Simon was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week after averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in wins at Washington State and at Washington. At the time of her injury she was first on the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) and second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (37), assists (3.7 apg) and steals (1.3. spg). Her 88.2 free throw percentage set a new school single-season record.
THE CENTER OF ATTENTION
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, who was named Pac-10 honorable mention and Pac-10 Defensive honorable mention earlier this month, has continued to build on last year's success as she currently leads the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and blocks (1.3 bpg) and is fourth in scoring (8.1 ppg). Currently third on ASU's all-time list with 802career blocks, Dosty needs 18 blocks to pass Fran Ciak (1987-90) for second place on the list. Dosty's 42 blocks this season currently rank fourth in ASU's single-season annals. She needs three blocks to move into third place. Dosty's success on the court extends into the classroom as well. Recently she was named the Pac-10's Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Dosty, who last spring earned her undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies, is currently working towards her Master's degree in liberal arts. Her graduate GPA is 4.00.
ORSILLO STEADILY REGAINING HER GAME
Junior guard Danielle Orsillo has steadily started returning to the form that had so many excited last season before her season ending knee injury. A starter in every game thus far in 2008, Orsillo averaged 7.9 points (20.3 minutes per game) and 2.3 assists while shooting 42.1 percent from the field, including 35.6 percent from 3-point range in ASU's first 20 games. In her last 11 games, however, she averaged 10.6 points (24.4 minutes per game) and 2.8 assists per game while connecting on 45 percent of her field goal attempts, including 38 percent of her 3-pointers. Eight of Orsillo's 14 double-figure scoring games have come in ASU's last 11 contests.
SUN DEVILS SIGN THREE
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 hoopgurlz.com'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.