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Women's hoops hosts Oregon State for Pink Zone Game

February 06, 2009

The Arizona State women's basketball team will attempt to tie the second-longest winning streak in school history on Saturday (4 p.m.) when it hosts the Oregon State Beavers in its annual `Pink Zone' game to help raise breast cancer awareness.

The Sun Devils (16-6, 8-2 Pac-10) won their eighth consecutive game on Thursday, defeating the Oregon Ducks 68-56. Briann January scored 12 of her team-high 14 points in the second half to help ASU maintain its current third-place standing in the Pac-10 behind California (18-2, 9-0 Pac-10) and Stanford  (17-4, 8-1 Pac-10). Danielle Orsillo added 13 points, Dymond Simon had 12 and Becca Tobin contributed 11 on a perfect 5-of-5 night from the field.

Oregon State (13-7, 4-6 Pac-10) has won its last two contests, both coming on the road at Oregon (61-42) and at Arizona (63-55). On Thursday night senior guard Brittney Davis (20 points), sophomore center Alex Mitchell (15 points) and sophomore guard Talisa Rhea (13 points) combined for 48 of the Beavers' 63 points in the win. Rhea (14.4 ppg) and Davis (13.2 ppg) are Oregon State's leading scorers, combining to average 27.6 points per game.

In conjunction with the `Pink Zone' game the Sun Devils will be wearing pink uniforms on Saturday. The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.

The WBCA began the WBCA Pink Zone, formerly known as "Think Pink", in 2007 as an initiative to raise breast cancer awareness in women's basketball, on campuses and in communities. In 2007, more than 120 schools unified for this effort and helped make the inaugural year a success. In 2008, more than 1,200 teams and organizations participated, reaching over 830,000 fans and raising over $930,000 for breast cancer awareness and research.

ASU's game vs. Oregon State can be seen live on Fox Sports Arizona. Daron Sutton (play-play-play) and Joan Bonvicini (analysis) will call the game The contest can also be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.

Saturday's game marks the 3rd annual Sun Devil Women's Basketball Pink-Zone game to spread breast cancer awareness. Started in 2007, ASU Women's Basketball made a commitment to the community to spread awareness about this vicious disease by inviting the campus of Arizona State University, as well as the surrounding community, to attend a women's basketball game as a way to support breast cancer survivors and celebrate the gains in treatment and research. 

Fans who wear "PINK" in support of this cause or bring Yoplait Yogurt lids will receive $3 admission to the ASU/Oregon State game Saturday, February 7th at 4:00 PM. Fans will also have the opportunity to show their support against breast cancer by being the best dressed in pink. The best dressed fan in "pink" will receive a prize. The first 500 fans who enter Wells Fargo Arena will receive pink pom poms. 

In addition to wearing pink, drop off your "Pink-Zone Piggy Banks" at either the EAST or WEST entrances. Tables will be marked to bank returns. All funds donated will help benefit the WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Foundation. We challenge you to gather your friends, families and colleagues to make a night of this event and come together to support this worthy cause. 

No matter how large or small the effort, the importance comes in the awareness you create. For more information about this event, what you can do to support the Pink-Zone cause, or how to pledge a donation to the WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Foundation please visit the Sun Devil Women's Basketball Pink-Zone page.

All ASU Faculty and Staff receive FREE Admission to both Women's Basketball games this weekend against Oregon and Oregon State. Click here to find out more information on how you can receive free tickets to the games. 

Arizona State holds a 29-19 lead in the all-time series with Oregon State, including a 17-6 advantage in games played in Tempe. The Sun Devils have won 14 of the last 15 meetings between the two schools, including the last 12 in succession. In the previous meeting this season Sybil DostyDymond Simon and Lauren Lacey both added 10 points for the Sun Devils, who outscored the Beavers 35-14 in the second half to turn a four-point halftime lead into a 25-point win. scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half as Arizona State began its current eight-game winning streak with a 61-36 win over the Beavers in Corvallis.

• The Sun Devils have won 81 percent (53-12) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. On Saturday the Sun Devils are at home where they are a combined 36-6 since the 2004-05 season.

• ASU is currently on a season-best eight-game winning streak, which is its longest streak since it won nine straight during the second half of the 2006-07 season.  The Sun Devils set a school record with 10 straight wins in 2005-06.

• In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 1), ASU was fourth in the nation three-point FG percentage, fourth in assists per game, 14th in field goal percentage and 18th in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percent (.394), rebounds allowed per game (31.0), turnover margin (+4.9) and steals (11.0 spg) and are second in field goal percentage (.456), scoring margin (+15.7), assists (17.8 apg), blocked shots (4.6 bpg), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).  

• During ASU's current eight-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 51.1 points per game and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 21.6 points. In fact, the Sun Devils are allowing an average of only 22.1 points in the first half of their last eight games. In addition the Sun Devils have also forced an average of 23.3 turnovers per game and are averaging more than double the number of assists as their opponents (18.1-8.6).

Dymond Simon, the current Pac-10 Player of the Week, has led the Sun Devils in scoring during their current winning streak (14.6 ppg). In her last six games Simon has averaged 16.3 points and 5.0 assists.

• In Pac-10 play ASU has three of the top five leaders - Briann January (second), Danielle Orsillo (third) and Dymond Simon (fifth) - in assist-to-turnover ratio. During ASU's winning streak the trio has combined for 101 assists and only 45 turnovers. January has 35 assists and only 13 turnovers during that span.

• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, January became ASU's all-time assists leader. January currently has 480 assists in her career. With 246 career steals January is currently second on ASU's all-time list. Entering Saturday's game, January is sixth in the nation in both three-point FG percentage (.461) and assist-to-turnover ratio. She leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.0 apg), steals (2.5 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio and is second in 3-point FG pct.  

• Sophomore forward Becca Tobin has connected on 69 percent (18-26) of her shot attempts during ASU's current eight-game winning streak, including nearly 85 percent (11-13) in ASU's last three games.

• Senior forward Lauren Lacey is currently No. 2 in the Pac-10 in FG percentage in conference games (.557).

• As a team the Sun Devils need only one more block to break the school record of 102, which was set last season. The Sun Devils also need 19 more 3-point field goals to break the school record of 135 which was set in 2000-01.

• ASU's leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently sixth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game. Currently fourth on ASU's all-time list with 75 career blocks, Dosty needs five blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list.

• Five of ASU's six losses this season have come to teams currently ranked in the top 16 of the current Associated Press poll - No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 California, No. 7 Stanford, No. 11 Florida and No. 16 Texas. Three of those five losses - Florida (65-60), Stanford (64-61) and California (54-53) - came by a combined nine points.

One characteristic of ASU's current eight-game winning streak has been its ability to start fast. The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 72-35 in the opening five minutes of their last eight games. On two occasions (at Oregon State and vs. Arizona) the Sun Devils did not allow a single point in the first five minutes and on two others (vs. UCLA and at Washington State) they had allowed only two points. Overall the Sun Devils have averaged an 11.3-point lead (33.4-22.1) at the half of their last eight games.

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." Thus far it would appear the Sun Devils have proven Turner Thorne right as they are currently first in the Pac-10 and No. 4 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.394). Currently with 117 three-point FGs this season the Sun Devils are on pace to shatter the school's single-season record of 135 triples set by the 2004-05 team. Leading the way are guards Briann January (47), Dymond Simon (30) and Danielle Orsillo (17), who have combined for 94 of ASU's 117 triples. Earlier this season the Sun Devils hit a school record 14 3-pointers in a 73-59 win at UC Davis. Leading the way was January, who tied the school record with seven makes from downtown. 

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 25 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 - twice) and attempted (2), 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 nine times this season, including their win over Oregon State (Jan. 8) in which the Sun Devils held the Beavers to 14 points in the second half to turn a four-point halftime lead (26-22) into a 25-point win (61-36).

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. If the season's first 22 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation's elite in the category. Currently ASU is fourth in the country averaging 17.8 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.

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'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.

Undoubtedly one of the integral components of ASU's success in recent years has been the play of senior 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 (along 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. Thus far in 2008-09 January has experienced anything but an SI jinx as she currently leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (5.0), steals per game (2.5) and assist to turnover ratio, is second in three-point FG pct (.461), second in free throw percent (.861) and fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.1). Already ASU's all-time leader in career assists (480), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU's all-time leaders in steals and free throws. Currently she is second in steals (246, needs 45 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander) and third in free throws (362, needs 26 to pass Kym Hampton for second place). 

Like fellow guard Danielle Orsillo, junior Dymond Simon knows the experience of having to rebound from a season ending 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, who has averaged 16.3 points and 5.0 assists in ASU's last six games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 18 times in 21 games this season, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). Earlier this week 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. She is currently first on the team in scoring (13.6 ppg), is second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (30) and assists (3.6 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage (.897).

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 has continued to build on last year's success as she currently leads the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and blocks (1.6 bpg), is second in field goal percent (.539) and third in scoring (9.2 ppg). At her current rebounding pace Dosty would become only the third Sun Devil to average more than seven rebounds since 1996. Currently fourth on ASU's all-time list with 75 career blocks, Dosty needs five blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list. Dosty's 35 blocks this season currently rank fifth in ASU's single-season annals. She needs six blocks to move into fourth place.