Women's basketball faces Duke in NCAA second round
The Arizona State women's basketball team (22-10, 14-4 Pac-10) will look to advance to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four seasons when it faces the Duke Blue Devils (24-9, 10-4 ACC) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday. Tip-off at the Comcast Center is scheduled for approximately 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
The Sun Devils advanced to Tuesday's second round game after a hard-fought 61-54 win over Temple on Sunday night. Three Sun Devils scored in double figures led by junior Lauren Lacey, who had 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Also scoring in double digits for ASU were Jill NoeBriann January (10 points). The game's deciding sequence came in the opening stages of the second half when the Sun Devils used a 13-0 run over the first 4:22 to break open what was a tie game at the half (26-26). Five different Sun Devils scored during the run, starting what would be one of ASU's most productive halves of the season as it shot 62 percent in the second half. (12 points) and
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.
Last season ASU had its best ever showing in the NCAA Tournament, concluding its run with its first appearance in the Elite Eight. The Sun Devils fell one step short of reaching the Final Four after falling to Rutgers 64-45 in the Greensboro Regional final.
ASU's current run of fourth straight NCAA Tournament berths and four straight 20-win seasons are the longest such streaks in program history. All of the success has come under 12th-year head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who is No. 5 in the Pac-10 in most career wins with 225.
The No. 3 seed in the Oklahoma City Region, Duke defeated Murray State 78-57 in its first round game on Sunday. The Blue Devils are led by junior C/F Chante Black (13.7 ppg/6.8 rpg) and junior G Abby Waner (10.3 ppg, 3.9 apg), who were both named All-ACC earlier this month. Duke is coached by Joanne P. McCallie, who is in her first season at Duke after spending the prior seven seasons at Michigan State.
The winner of Tuesday night's game will face the winner of the game between No. 2 seed Texas A&M vs. No. 10 seed Hartford in the regional semifinals next Sunday in Oklahoma City.
ASU's game vs. Duke can be seen live on ESPN2. Pam Ward (play-by-play) and Nancy Lieberman (analysis) will call the game and Holly Rowe will report from the sidelines. The game can also be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM 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 fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
During their time in Maryland the Sun Devils will be staying at the Sheraton Washington North (4095 Powder Mill Road, Beltsville, MD 20705, 301-937-4422). Assistant 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
• This marks ASU's ninth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and its sixth in the last eight seasons.
• ASU is making its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
• This is the second 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. The highest seed ASU has ever had is No. 3, which came last season in the Greensboro Region.
• ASU's overall record in the NCAA Tournament is 10-8, including a 8-5 record under Charli Turner Thorne.
• Prior to last year's berth in the Elite Eight, the furthest ASU had ever 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, falling to Louisiana Tech in 1982 and USC in 1983.
• As a No. 4 seed in 2006 the Sun Devils defeated Stephen F. Austin in the first round in Tucson (80-61) before falling to Utah in the second round (65-86). The Utes would eventually advance to the Albuquerque Regional final where they nearly upset eventual national champion Maryland before falling in overtime.
• Three years ago as the No. 5 seed the Sun Devils advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 22 years before falling to North Carolina, 79-72. The tourney began with an 87-65 victory over No. 12 seeded Eastern Kentucky at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The Sun Devils then advanced to the Sweet Sixteen after upsetting No. 5 seeded Notre Dame, 70-61. In that game the Sun Devils overcame a 13-point first half deficit. In the Sweet Sixteen against UNC, the Sun Devils led by as many as 10 points and were within two points, 60-62, 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 No. 6 seeded LSU in the first round, 83-66.
• Turner Thorne earned her first victory in the NCAA Tournament the following year after the No. 9 seeded Sun Devils defeated No. 8 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.
This will be the first ever meeting between ASU and Duke. The two squads were on track to meet in the Greensboro Regional final last year after the Sun Devils defeated Bowling Green in the regional semifinal before the top-seeded Blue Devils were upset in their regional semifinal by Rutgers.
2007 NCAA TOURNAMENT RECAP
The Arizona State women's basketball team, riding the success of the best season in school history, earned a third consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament and a spot in the Elite Eight. The eighth-ranked Sun Devils received a No. 3 seed in the Greensboro Region, their highest-ever placement in the NCAA Tournament.
In the first round, ASU was able to overcome a lackluster shooting effort with tough defense to defeat a pesky UC Riverside team, 57-50. ASU secured the win by outscoring the Highlanders 19-2 with just under eight minutes to go in the game. Briann January scored 15 points and Danielle Orsillo added 13 points and four assists.
In the second round ASU once again showed its tenacity in overcoming another slow start against Louisville. Down by 12 with eight minutes remaining, the Sun Devils used a 25-4 run to clinch their second Sweet Sixteen appearance in three years with a 67-58 win. January again lead the Sun Devils in scoring, matching her career high with 22 points.
In its two first round games, ASU outscored its two opponents by a combined 44-6 in the final eight minutes to turn near season-ending losses into season-saving wins.
The third round provided little challenge for ASU, as the Sun Devils, who were playing more than 2,000 miles away from home in Greensboro, N.C., defeated the upstart Bowling Green Falcons 67-49. With the win, the Sun Devils punched their ticket for their first ever Elite Eight appearance.
Orsillo, who replaced January as a starter due to a concussion she suffered in the final moments against Louisville, scored 16 points on 7-12 shooting to go along with three rebounds and two assists all while playing a career-high 34 minutes. The Sun Devils, who shot 61 percent in the first half to take a 16-point halftime lead, also racked up 16 points off turnovers. Bowling Green made the first basket of the game but would not lead again. ASU answered Bowling Green's points with a 14-2 run, capped off by consecutive 3-pointers from Orsillo.
In the Elite Eight, ASU took on a determined Rutgers team which used tough defense to muddle the Sun Devils' offensive efforts. The Scarlet Knights held Arizona State to one field goal in the first eight and a half minutes of the second half. For the game, ASU shot 32.7 percent from the field. Kirsten Thompson's jumper pulled Arizona State within nine in the second half, but the basket was answered by seven straight Rutgers points which put the game out of reach. The Sun Devils ended the season one game shy of the Final Four, losing to the Scarlet Knights 64-45. January scored 12 points for ASU, helping the Sun Devils advance farther than any other team in school history. At the end of the season, Arizona State also accumulated the most wins in school history with 31.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• A win on Tuesday would advance the Sun Devils to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last fives seasons.
• ASU has averaged only 10 turnovers in its last two games, almost nine below its season average of 18.6.
• Last summer ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne served as an assistant coach on the gold-medal winning USA Basketball U21 World Championship Team, which was led by Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie.
• In the final regular season Pac-10 rankings ASU was ranked in the top three in three-point FG pct. defense (1st, .260), assists (1st, 17.1 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (2nd, 0.89), rebounding defense (2nd, 32.7 rpg), field goal percentage (2nd, .443), steals (2nd, 9.34 spg), scoring defense (3rd, 58.4 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +6.7) and three-point FG pct (3rd, .339).
• Jill Noe (32-13) and Briann January (20-6) have combined for a nearly 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (52-19) in ASU's last six games. Reagan Pariseau has had similar success with a 28-10 assist-to-turnover ratio over ASU's last 13 games.
• Noe (1,207 career points) needs 18 points to pass Karen O'Connor (1988-91) for eighth place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Also one of ASU's all-time top three-point threats Noe is second on ASU's all-time list with 137 three-point FGs. Noe is also one assist ahead of teammate Briann January for seventh on ASU's all-time assists list with 369. She needs two assists to move past former Sun Devil O'Connor (1988-91) for sixth place on ASU's all-time list and five assists to move past Carolyn DeHoff (1987-90) for fifth place.
• Currently with 192 career steals, Briann January needs seven more to pass Karen O'Connor for fifth place.
• Sophomore guard Dymond Simon has averaged 10.7 points in ASU's last seven games, more than three points above her average in her first 22 games of the season. Simon was named to the Pac-10 All Tournament Team after averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists in ASU's games vs. Washington (Mar. 8) and Cal (Mar. 9). She scored a season-best 22 points against Cal, 12 of which came in the final five minutes (5-6 FGs) during an 18-6 ASU rally which came up four points short of sending the game into overtime.
JANUARY NAMED PAC-10 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
There are many words which have come to be synonymous with the Sun Devil women's basketball program since Charli Turner Thorne arrived on the scene in 1996. At the top of the list would be the word defense. With that in mind it was fitting that it was an ASU player - Briann January - who was named as the first ever recipient of the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Year award as voted on by the league's 10 head coaches. While she is one of the most explosive offensive players in the conference, January is equally effective on the defensive end of the floor where she is often disrupting the flow of opposing offenses. Often handed the assignment of defending the opposing team's top scorer, January always rises to the challenge. After finishing third in steals last season, January rose to the top of the thefts list in the Pac-10 this season, averaging 2.4 during the regular season. Eight times this season January has had four or more steals, including a career-best five steals vs. Oregon on Feb. 2. Currently sixth place on ASU's all-time steals list with 192, January needs seven more steals to pass Karen O'Connor for fifth place.
JANUARY AND LACEY EARN ALL-PAC-10 HONORS
Juniors Briann January and Lauren Lacey were both named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team, headlining a list of five Sun Devils who were recognized by the conference. Also earning recognition from the league were seniors Jill Noe (honorable mention) and Reagan PariseauSybil Dosty (honorable mention/defense). (honorable mention/defense) and junior
January, who was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team as voted on by the league's media, concluded the regular season as the Pac-10 leader in free throw percentage (.864) and steals (2.38 spg), second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71), third in assists (4.66 apg) and 16th in scoring (11.0 ppg). This season January, who was also named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Year, has scored in double figures in 22 times, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best.
After sitting out a year following her transfer in 2006 from the University of Minnesota, Lacey burst onto the scene to become ASU's most productive offensive player this season. She has scored in double figures 24 times in 32 games and concluded the regular season No. 8 in the Pac-10 in scoring (12.9 ppg) and No. 7 in field goal percentage (.495). Lacey has three of the four highest single-game point totals by a Sun Devil this season. She was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week after averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals while connecting on nearly 73 percent (16-22) of her field goal attempts in ASU's wins over Washington State (Feb. 21) and Washington (Feb. 24).
NOTES FROM THE SEASON
• The 30 points Washington State scored against ASU (Feb. 21) represented the fewest number of points ever scored by a team in a Pac-10 game. It was also the 14th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
• The Sun Devils had 21 assists in their win over Washington on Mar. 8. It's the 19th time going back to the start of last season that ASU has recorded 20 or more assists in a single game. ASU came into the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 11 in the nation in assists (16.9 apg).
• ASU has held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half 11 times this season.
• Nineteen of ASU's 32 opponents have shot 25 percent or less from three-point range.
• Guard Jill Noe is the only ASU player to have started every game this season.
• ASU's 10 blocks against California (Jan. 17) not only tied the (then) single-game high in the Pac-10 this season, but also fell one block short of tying the program record which was accomplished by the 1992 squad. Currently with 101 blocks this season the Sun Devils have already broken the school single-season record of 99 set by last year's squad.
• The Sun Devils have had six games this season in which four players or more players have scored in double figures, most recently vs. Washington on Mar. 8 when all five starters had double-digit point totals.
• In ASU's 66-42 win over UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 17), Jill Noe tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and narrowly missed becoming the first Sun Devil to record a triple-double since Ryneldi Becenti in 1992. For Noe, it is the third such time she has flirted with the feat. Last season she recorded 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a win over Northern Arizona and during her freshman season she posted 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in a win over Denver.
• Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 37-2 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exceptions came this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic (held a 40-39 edge in rebounding) and when it lost to Stanford 60-56 (ASU held 39-35 rebounding advantage).
• ASU's seven turnovers against California in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals were one more than the tournament record of six for fewest turnovers in a single game.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?
When Arizona State had its named called on Selection Monday it marked the fourth consecutive season that the Sun Devils had earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, the longest such streak in program history. It was the latest `first time ...' for the Sun Devils under head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who continues to build on what is the most successful period in the program's history. Earlier this season Turner Thorne led ASU to its fourth consecutive 20-win season, also a `first' in school history. Last season Turner Thorne led ASU to its first ever appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Since the 2004-05 season the Sun Devils are 102-32, including a 7-3 record in NCAA Tournament games.
In 2005-06 Turner Thorne had the Sun Devils in the Top 10 of both polls for the first time in 22 years. If the figure `22 years' sounds familiar it's because in 2004-05 Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 22 years. After leading the Sun Devils to a 25-7 in 2005-06 Turner Thorne was recognized being named the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region 8 Coach of the Year.
Now in her 12th season in Tempe, Turner Thorne has more than established the Sun Devils as one of the teams to watch on an annual basis not only in the Pac-10 Conference, but also across the country. In fact, since the 2000-01 season the Sun Devils have won the second-highest number of overall games (180) in the Pac-10 Conference.
JANUARY PLAYS WITH MARCH STATE OF MIND
This season ASU junior guard Briann January has shown time and again the type of play that has made her one of the top players in the Pac-10 Conference. January, who was recently named the Pac-10's first ever Defensive Player of the Year in addition to the All-Pac-10 Second Team, finished the regular season as the conference leader in free throw percentage (.864) and steals (2.38 spg), third in assists (4.66 apg) and 16th in scoring (11.0 ppg).
Last season January earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors in helping lead ASU to a school record 31 wins and its first Elite Eight appearance in school history. In 2006-07, the 5-8, Spokane, Wash., product finished third in the Pac-10 in steals (2.1 per game), fourth in assists (4.0 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67), and sixth in free throw percentage (81.7). A starter in 34 games, January concluded her sophomore campaign first on the team in both assists and steals and second in both scoring (10.2 points per game) and free throw percentage.
This season January has scored in double figures in 21 times, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best. In ASU's 75-65 win at Arizona (Jan. 12), January turned in a performance that was nothing short of remarkable. After sitting out the entire week of practice with a knee injury January came off the bench to lead ASU with 19 points while connecting on all seven of her field goal attempts and both free throws, while also adding five assists, one block and one steal.