No. 11 Sun Devils host No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols on Sunday

Nov. 18, 2006

UP NEXT

A game usually reserved for the month of March will take place on Sunday (noon MT) at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, when the No. 11/11 Arizona State Sun Devils host the No. 5/4 Tennessee Lady Vols.

Both the Sun Devils (4-0) and the Lady Vols (2-0) come into Sunday's game undefeated. The will be ASU's fifth game in the span of 10 days. The Sun Devils played their first four games over a six-day period, defeating Nebraska (Nov. 10), then No. 18 New Mexico (Nov. 12) and Florida Atlantic (Nov. 13) in the season opening Veterans Day Classic before knocking off Nicholls State this past Wednesday. ASU has won its first four games by an average of 31.5 points.

Tennessee enters Sunday's game coming off an 83-60 win against UCLA on Thursday in Knoxville. The Lady Vols opened their season with a 102-72 win over Chattanooga last Sunday. The Sun Devils will be the second of three consecutive Pac-10 opponents who the Lady Vols out of the Southeastern Conference will be facing. Following Sunday's game, Tennessee will return home to face Stanford on Friday in Knoxville.

This will be the second ever meeting between the Sun Devils and the Lady Vols. Six years ago (Dec. 27, 2000) the two schools competed against one another in the first ever outdoor women's basketball game at (then) Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. The Lady Vols prevailed in that game 67-63 in front of 16,282 fans.

RADIO

Arizona State's game against Tennessee can be heard live on KXAM 1310 AM. The game can also be heard live on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his third year as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined on the broadcast by longtime basketball executive Seth Sulka.

ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne

The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (176-129) and No. 6 in the Pac-10 in most career wins, Turner Thorne has led the Sun Devils to a school record seven consecutive post season appearances (NCAA Tournament in 2001-02 and 2005-06, WNIT in 2000, 2003-04) ... During the second half of last season Turner Thorne led ASU on a school record 10-game winning streak after leading the Sun Devils to a school record-tying nine-game winning streak earlier in the same season (also led ASU to its first Top 10 ranking in 22 years and tied the highest ranking in school history -- No. 9 -- in 2005-06) ... Last season led ASU to a 25-7 record, which tied the school's standard for most wins in a season and also led ASU to its seventh consecutive postseason berth ... In 2004-05, guided ASU to a 24-10 overall record and its first NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 22 years ... Led her 2001-02 team to a 25-9 record, tying the ASU record for wins in a single season ... Guided ASU to a share of the Pac-10 title in 2001 and the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title in 2002, the first league championships in school history ... In the last three seasons, has led ASU to a 14-2 record when coming off a loss ... Led Northern Arizona University to consecutive winning seasons in 1994-95 and 1995-96, the first coach in school history to accomplish that feat ... As a player, lettered four years at Stanford under Tara VanDerveer ... Graduated from Stanford in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and later earned her master's degree in education from Washington in 1990. Career Record: 216-169.

EARLY SEASON RECAP

• Sun Devils opened season defeating Nebraska (87-60), New Mexico (67-49) and Florida Atlantic (96-60) to win the Veterans Day Classic (Nov. 10, 12 &13) with a 3-0 mark. They followed that with a 91-46 win over Nicholls State (Nov. 15).

• Sun Devil senior G Jill Noe (11.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and G Briann January (8.7 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.0 spg) were named to the Veterans Day Classic All-Tournament Team while senior F Emily Westerberg (16.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) was named the MVP.

• ASU has won its first four games by an average of 31.5 points per game. Using a relentless full-court attack, the Sun Devils have outscored their first four opponents 30-6 in fast break points.

• ASU's bench had more than three times the production of its first four opponents, outscoring them 155-43, an average of 38.8-10.8 per game.

• The Sun Devils have shot .529 from the field, including .395 from three-point range.

• The Sun Devils have been led in scoring by four different players in their first four wins of the season. Senior F Emily Westerberg had 20 points vs. Nebraska; sophomore G Briann January had a career-best 14 points vs. New Mexico; freshman G Dymond Simon had 19 points vs. Florida Atlantic and senior F Aubree Johnson had 16 points vs. Nicholls State. Noe led the Sun Devils in rebounds in their first three games. She tied her career best with 11 rebounds against Florida Atlantic.

NUMBERS GAME

• ASU has won its last 13 regular season contests dating back to 2005-06. ASU won its last nine regular season games of 2005-06 and has won its first four this season.

• The Sun Devils have won their last 26 regular season games at home. ASU is 43-2 in Wells Fargo Arena since the 2003-04 season.

• Since 2004-05, the Sun Devils are 21-3 in their pre-conference regular season games. They have defeated five ranked teams in that span, including No. 11 Georgia and No. 8 UConn in 2004, No. 17 Vanderbilt and No. 18 New Mexico in 2005 and No. 18 New Mexico in 2006. ASU's only losses in that span came at No. 3 LSU in 2004 (54-65), at New Mexico in 2004 (45-61) and vs. No. 8 North Carolina in last year's Caribbean Classic in Cancun (72-79)

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS TENNESSEE

This will be the second time that the Sun Devils and Lady Vols have met. Six years ago (Dec. 27, 2000) the two schools competed against one another in the first ever outdoor women's basketball game at (then) Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. The Lady Vols prevailed in that game 67-63 in front of 16,282 fans.

SUN DEVILS EARN HIGHEST RANKINGS EVER IN PRESEASON POLLS

The Arizona State women's basketball team opened the 2006-07 season ranked No. 13 in the country, according to the Associated Press (AP) Poll and No. 12 according to the USA TODAY/ESPN Preseason Coaches Poll. Both rankings were the highest ASU ever received in each of the major polls to start the season.

The Sun Devils have since moved to No. 11 in both polls. The highest ranking ASU has ever held is No. 9 which came occurred in 1983 (AP) and gain last season (AP and USA Today/ESPN Polls).

WESTERBERG NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PAC-10 TEAM

Arizona State senior F Emily Westerberg was named to the 2006-07 Preseason All-Pac-10 Team, announced earlier this month during the annual Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Day held at HP Pavilion in San Jose on Tuesday.

Last season Westerberg became the first Sun Devil since 1992-93 to earn First-Team All-Pac-10 honors in back-to-back seasons after a year in which she finished second on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg), rebounding (5.1 rpg), assists (80) and blocks (9) and third in both steals (34) and three-point field goals (18).

Thus far in 2006-07, Westerberg has more than lived up to the preseason honor after being named Most Valuable Player of the season opening Veterans Day Classic. Westerberg averaged 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in helping the Sun Devils open their season with a perfect 3-0 mark. One of ASU's 2006-07 co-captains along with senior F Aubree Johnson, Westerberg needs 39 points to become the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.

HOME SWEET HOME

With their 91-46 victory over Nicholls State on Wedneday night, the Sun Devils extended their regular season home court winning streak to 26 games. In 2005-06 the Sun Devils set the school record for most home wins (15) while also going undefeated on their home floor for the first time in school history. Since the 2003-04 season, the Sun Devils are 43-2 at Wells Fargo Arena.

NOE PROVIDING SUN DEVILS WITH EARLY SEASON SPARKOne of the top performances from the recent Veterans Day Classic came from Sun Devil G Jill Noe. A member of the team since the 2003-04 season, Noe is in her third full season with the Sun Devils. Last season, Noe returned to the floor after missing the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons with ACL injuries incurred prior to the start of each respective campaigns. Noe started 29 of 32 gamed for ASU last season and finished tied for third on the team with 7.8 points per game. Though a great accomplishment for most players considering she had missed the prior two seasons, Noe wanted more from herself, according to head coach Charli Turner Thorne.

'She was a very good player last year, but she was very unsatisfied with her season last year. She wanted more from herself,' Turner Thorne said. 'She had an amazing offseason, and she's so focused right now.'

Through the first three games Noe's great offseason has translated into big things for the Sun Devils, The senior from Tualatin, Ore., is currently second on the team in scoring (11.7 points per game) and leads the team in rebounding (8.7 per game), three-point field goals (6) and field goal percent (.632).

LOCAL PLAYERS TURN IN GREAT DEBUTSLast weekend's games marked the debut of local products F Kayli Murphy and G Dymond Simon. Prior to this season, the two were teammates for Phoenix St. Mary's where they helped lead the Lady Knights to a pair of state championships and one runner-up finish.

A 2006 McDonald's All-American, Symon overcame an injury in the first game against Nebraska to average 8.3 points for the tournament, including a game-high 19 points in ASU's 96-60 win over Nebraska. She added 15 points, five assists and only one turnover in 21 minutes of play in ASU's 91-46 win over Nicholls State on Wednesday.

Murphy has hit 57 percent of her field goal attempts thus far (12-21) and has emerged as ASU's third-leading rebounder with an average of 4.8 per game. She also added a trio of blocked shots. Murphy has averaged 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in ASU's last two games.

SUN DEVILS SIGN TWO FOR 2007

A local standout who led her team to a state championship and a multi-faceted talent from the Pacific Northwest highlight the 2006 recruiting class for the Arizona State University women's basketball program. Rebecca Tobin and Stephanie Wilber signed letters of intent on November 8 to study and compete at Arizona State.

The Arizona Republic's Northwest Valley Girls Basketball Player of the year in 2006, Tobin is coming off a season in which she helped lead Glendale Cactus to the 4A Division I state title. Tobin proved to be a dominant inside presence for the Cobras, setting the girls single-season state record for blocks with 191, far surpassing the previous record of 167. Tobin was every bit as effective on the offensive side as well in leading Cactus with 16.3 points per game. In addition, she also averaged 10.3 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.1 assists. In the 2006 4A state championship game against top-seeded Scottsdale Saguaro, Tobin scored a game-high 26 points in helping the Cobras secure their second state title in three years.

A 6-1 guard, Wilber will be coming to ASU from Auburn Riverside in Auburn, Wash. Wilber helped lead Riverside to a 22-7 record and a sixth-place finish in the 2006 Washington state 4A state tournament. During the 2005-06 season, Wilber averaged 16.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Wilber earned several honors along the way including being named first-team All-South Puget Sound League North Division; First-Team All-League; Second Team All Area by the News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.); and Honorable Mention All Area by the Seattle P-I. In addition to her accomplishments for Riverside, Wilber also had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Team Concept in the 2006 Arizona Elite Classic championship.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?

Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne added another great accomplishment to her coaching dossier last season when it was revealed that ASU was ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll (ASU would eventually ascend to No. 9, which tied its highest ever ranking). For the Sun Devils it was their first appearance in the top 10 of a major poll 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. Turner Thorne was recognized for the job she has done with ASU last season when she was named the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region 8 Coach of the Year.

Currently in the midst of her 11th 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 (131) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 6 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 176.

ASU HOSTING HOOPS FOR HEALTH CLASSIC ON DECEMBER 18

The Arizona State women's basketball program announced IN September that it will take on the Texas Tech Lady Raiders in the Hoops for Health Classic Dec. 18, 2006 at Chase Field in Phoenix. In addition to showcasing women's college basketball at the highest level, the game will be used as a vehicle to promote health awareness by giving fans the opportunity to participate in a Health Expo around the stadium's concourse and on the field prior to the game.

The Hoops for Health Classic will be the second outdoor college basketball game played at Chase Field, home of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks. On December 27, 2000, Arizona State and Tennessee played in the first ever outdoor college basketball game (Hoops for the Cure Classic) in which Tennessee prevailed 67-63. That game produced Arizona State and Pac-10 records for the highest attendance at a women's basketball game (16,282).

Texas Tech returns three starters from last year's team which finished the season 15-14. The Lady Raiders are coach by Kristy Curry, who is in her first year at Texas Tech after spending seven seasons at Purdue where she led the Boilermakers to a pair of Big Ten regular season and three Big Ten Tournament championships.

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