ASU Women's Basketball Prepares to Face Western Kentucky in 2006 Paradise Jam
Nov. 23, 2006
The No. 13/12 Arizona State women's basketball team returns to action on Friday when it takes on the Western Kentucky Lady Toppers in the first round of the 2006 Paradise Jam being held in St. Thomas on the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. Arizona time).
For ASU the game against the Lady Toppers will come after a much-needed four-day hiatus from game action. The Sun Devils opened the 2006-07 season playing five games in 10 days culminating in a hard-fought 83-74 loss against the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols last Sunday.
The Sun Devils will be looking for their second Paradise Jam title after winning the tournament in 2001. That season the Sun Devils went 2-1 in the tournament, defeating Kansas State and Richmond and falling to Western Michigan. The winner of Friday's contest between the Sun Devils and Lady Toppers will meet the winner of the game between Penn State and Rutgers in the championship game on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. Arizona time). The losing team of each contest will meet in a third-place game on Saturday at 7 p.m. (4 p.m. Arizona time).
PARADISE JAM ON THE INTERNET
XOS Technologies, Inc. will be carrying a live video stream of ASU's game vs. Western Kentucky as well as all of the Paradise Jam games. For more information please visit http://www.collegesportsdirect.com/ParadiseJam.
Arizona State's game against Western Kentucky will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on KXAM 1310 AM. Coverage will begin at 6 p.m.
ASU HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne
The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (176-130) 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: 216-170.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR The Sun Devils will be looking to get back on a winning track after falling to the Tennessee Lady Vols on Sunday. In addition to it being ASU's first loss of the season, it also snapped ASU's 26-game regular season home-winning streak and its streak of wins in 13 consecutive regular season games going back to last season. Since the 2004-05 season, the Sun Devils are 14-2 contests in which they are coming off a loss. This will be the second straight season that ASU and Western Kentucky have met. ASU defeated the Lady Toppers 78-64 in the championship game of the ASU/Wells Fargo Classic last December. Senior F Emily Westerberg needs 18 more points to reach 1,000 for her career. Westerberg would be the 17th Sun Devil to accomplish the feat. The most recent ASU player to go over the 1,000-point mark was Kristen Kovesdy, who ended her career last season as the No. 5 all-time scorer in Sun Devil history. Westerberg has scored 18 or more points three times this season, including a season-best 21 vs. Tennessee on Sunday. Westerberg is currently shooting .615 for the season. The Sun Devils have been led in scoring by four different players in their first five games.
EARLY SEASON RECAP The Sun Devils opened their season winning their first four games by an average of 31.5 points. ASU won the season-opening Veterans Day Classic (Nov. 10, 12 & 13) with a perfect 3-0 mark after capturing wins over Nebraska (87-60), New Mexico (67-49) and Florida Atlantic (96-60). 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. The Sun Devils encountered their first loss of the season to the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols (Nov. 19). ASU had a season-high 25 turnovers while allowing Tennessee to shoot 54.8 percent in the 83-74 loss. The loss to Tennessee snapped ASU's 26-game regular season home-winning streak and its streak of wins in 13 consecutive regular season games going back to last season. ASU's bench had almost three times the production of its first five opponents, outscoring them 174-62, an average of 34.8-10.8 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.
ASU has won 13 of its last 14 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 before falling in its most recent outing to the No. 5/4 Tennessee Lady Vols, 83-74. Since 2004-05, the Sun Devils are 21-4 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), vs. No. 8 North Carolina in last year's Caribbean Classic in Cancun (72-79) and vs. Tennessee (74-83) earlier this month in Tempe. The Sun Devils entered this week No. 1 in the Pac-10 in scoring offense (83.0 points per game), field goal percentage (.520) and assists (22.4 per game). Senior Aubree Johnson has made all 13 of her free throw attempts this season.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS WESTERN KENTUCKY
After never having faced one another prior to last December, ASU and Western Kentucky will be squaring off for the second time in as many seasons. Last December the two squads met in the championship game of the ASU/Wells Fargo Holiday Classic at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils had five players in double figures led by tournament MVP Amy Denson's 18 points in ASU's 78-64 win. ASU used a 10-2 run in the final three minutes of the first half to break open a one-point game. The Lady Toppers would get no closer than six points the rest of the game.
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.
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. She was named Most Valuable Player of the season opening Veterans Day Classic. Westerberg averaged 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in wins over Nebraska, New Mexico and Florida Atlantic.
One of ASU's 2006-07 co-captains along with senior F Aubree Johnson, Westerberg needs 18 points to become the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
LOCAL PLAYERS TURN IN GREAT DEBUTSThis season 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, Simon 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.
Murphy has hit 57 percent of her field goal attempts thus far (12-21) and has emerged as ASU's fourth-leading rebounder with an average of 4.2 per game. She has also added a trio of blocked shots.
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.