No. 10 ASU Women's Basketball Faces No. 14 Stanford on Saturday in Palo Alto
Dec. 29, 2006
Currently on an eight-game winning streak, the No. 10/11 Arizona State women's basketball team concludes its first Pac-10 road trip of the season on Saturday (5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. in Arizona) when it takes on the No. 14/15 Stanford Cardinal at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif.
ASU (12-1, 2-0 Pac-10) enters Saturday's game coming off a hard-fought 74-58 win at No. 18/19 Cal on Thursday night. Trailing by six points (41-35) three minutes into the second half, the Sun Devils used a 24-5 run over a seven-plus minute span to take control of the game. After shooting 12-31 (38.7 percent) in the first half, the Sun Devils warmed up in the second half, making 57.6 percent of their shots (19-33) while also out-rebounding the Golden Bears by 10 (20-10) after being out-rebounded 16-13 in the first half. Junior guard Jill Noe led the way scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting while also grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists. Senior Emily Westerberg added 14 points and five rebounds for the Sun Devils, who won their 11th consecutive Pac-10 regular season game and seventh consecutive road game (both streaks date back to last season).
The Cardinal (8-3, 3-0 Pac-10) comes into Saturday's contest with a lengthy win streak of its own, having won its last six games (average margin of victory has been 22.6 points). During its winning streak, the Cardinal has allowed its opponents to shoot only 33 percent from the field. In addition to its six-game winning streak, Stanford has also won its last 47 Pac-10 home games. The Sun Devils have been victorious once in their 25 previous visits to Palo Alto (1984).
ASU's game at Stanford can be seen live on Fox Sports Net. Jim Watson (play-play-play) and Mary Murphy (analysis) will call the game.
Arizona State's game at Stanford can be heard live on KXAM 1310 AM. It can also be heard live on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 6 p.m. in Arizona. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his third year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Saturday's contest will be a matchup of the two most successful Pac-10 programs this decade. The Cardinal (171 wins) and the Sun Devils (139 wins) are first and second, respectively, in wins by Pac-10 teams since 2000.
Currently ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN Poll, the Sun Devils are the highest ranked team in the Pac-10.
ASU has won its last eight games. A win at Stanford would tie the second-longest winning streak in school history. The Sun Devils also won nine straight games in 1982-83, 1991-92 and again last season. In addition to their nine-game winning streak last season (November-December), the Sun Devils also set the school record for consecutive victories with 10 (late January - early March).
The Sun Devils have won their last 11 conference games and their last seven road games (both streaks date back to last season).
During ASU's eight-game winning streak, sophomore G Danielle Orsillo has averaged 13.0 points while shooting .506 (43-85) from the field. Orsillo has led the team in scoring on three occasions during that streak, including a pair of career-best 19-point efforts vs. Boston (Dec. 1) and vs. NAU (Dec. 2). Orsillo was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week earlier this week after coming through with a pair of brilliant performances in helping the Sun Devils defeat Texas Tech (61-45 on Dec. 18) and Arizona (89-62 on Dec. 22). In the two games, the Oroville, Calif., native hit 77.8 percent of her shots (14-18), while averaging 16.5 points, five rebounds, one assist and 2.5 steals.
Junior guard Reagan Pariseau (22 assists, seven turnovers) and sophomore guard Briann January (40 assists, 11 turnovers) have combined for 62 assists and only 18 turnovers during ASU's current eight-game winning streak.
ASU will be looking for its second ever win at Stanford. The Sun Devils have won once in their previous 25 trips to Palo Alto. Their lone victory (84-72) came on March 3, 1984.
Only two teams (Tennessee and Western Kentucky) have shot better than 50 percent against ASU.
In its 13 games, ASU has been led in scoring by six different players. Senior F Emily Westerberg has led the team in scoring six of those times (most on the team).
Currently with 1,069 career points, Westerberg needs 66 points to pass former Sun Devil Jovonne Smith (1989-93) for 10th on ASU's all-time scoring list. In her last six games, Westerberg has averaged 14.5 points while hitting .534 percent of her shots (31-58) and .923 percent of her free throws (24-26).
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS STANFORD
Stanford holds a 39-11 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona State, including a 24-1 advantage in games played in Palo Alto. Last season the two schools split the season series with each team winning on its respective home court. In the first meeting of the season in Palo Alto, the Sun Devils put up a game effort, leading by as many as 13 points before eventually falling 84-78. In the rematch in Tempe, Briann January scored a (then) career-high 12 points to go along with six assists in leading ASU to a 62-59 win over the Cardinal. January hit four free throws in the final 32 seconds of the game to help seal the win. ASU's lone victory at Stanford came during the 1983-84 season when the Sun Devils came away from Maples Pavilion with an 84-72 victory on March 3, 1984.
ORSILLO NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Arizona State sophomore guard Danielle Orsillo was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player in late December following a pair of brilliant performances in helping the Sun Devils defeat Texas Tech (Dec. 18) and Arizona (Dec. 22). In the two games, the Oroville, Calif., native hit 77.8 percent of her shots (14-18), while averaging 16.5 points, five rebounds, one assist and 2.5 steals.
In the win over Texas Tech in the Hoops for Health Classic presented by Shaklee, which was the second ever women's college basketball game to be played outdoors, Orsillo led ASU in scoring with 16 points on 7-of-8 (.875) shooting. She also added a career-best six rebounds and tied a career best with three steals against the Lady Raiders.
In ASU's Pac-10 opener against Arizona, Orsillo was ASU's second-leading scorer with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting (.700) while also adding four rebounds and two steals.
SUN DEVILS MADE GOOD ON TURNER THORNE'S PREDICTION
Following ASU's 84-78 loss at Stanford last January, the Sun Devils found themselves at something of a crossroads. They started the season 12-1, including a 3-0 start in Pac-10 play, however would then go on to lose four of their next six contests, culminating in the loss at Stanford.
Sitting with a 14-5 record and a 5-4 record in conference play, Sun Devils head coach Charli Turner Thorne made a bold prediction following the loss to Stanford when asked in so many words where her team went after the recent slump. 'We go 9-0,' said Turner Thorne, predicting that the Sun Devils would win their final nine Pac-10 games, which included a trip to Washington where the Sun Devils had not won since the 1995-96 season. 'We've seen everybody and we know what we can do ... We haven't shown it in the first round (of conference play), but we showed it in the preseason, and we'll be showing it again in the second half (of conference play).'
After the loss to the Cardinal, the Sun Devils would go on to win their next 10 games before losing in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament to UCLA, 60-59. Included in ASU's school record 10-game winning streak was a 67-61 win at Washington, which ended ASU's nine-game losing streak to the Huskies in Seattle; a 62-59 victory over (then) No. 11 Stanford in Tempe; and a 74-66 win over Oregon State in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament in which the Sun Devils had to overcome a 16-point first half deficit.
ASU has won 21 of its last 22 regular season contests dating back to 2005-06. ASU won its last nine regular season games of 2005-06 and had won its first four this season before falling to the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Vols, 83-74 on Nov. 19. Since losing to Tennessee, the Sun Devils have won their last eight games.
The Sun Devils have won their last 11 regular season Pac-10 Conference games dating back to last season.
Since 2004-05, the Sun Devils are now 26-4 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) last month in Tempe.
ASU has won 29 of its last 30 regular season home games. The Sun Devils are 47-3 at home since the 2003-04 season.
The Sun Devils have 11 players who are averaging at least 10.5 minutes per game. Leading the way is sophomore G Briann January, who is averaging 24.0 minutes per game.
ASU's Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is currently No. 7, according to CollegeRPI.com while its strength of schedule is 29th in the country.
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) 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 got back on the winning track, defeating Western Kentucky 67-63 in the first round of the Paradise Jam held in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Sun Devils forced 35 turnovers, however had to hold off a furious rally by the Lady Toppers in the game's closing minutes.
The Sun Devils won their home tournament, the Verizon ASU Classic, defeating both Boston University (75-53) and Northern Arizona (85-72). ASU defeated Boston despite not having its regular starting posts - seniors Emily Westerberg and Aubree Johnson - in the lineup. The Sun Devils overcame even more adversity in their win against NAU, overtaking the Lumberjacks despite not having Johnson, Westerberg and starting point guard Reagan Pariseau in the lineup. Sophomore G Danielle Orsillo earned tournament MVP honors by scoring a career-best 19 points in both contests. Also coming through with key performances were sophomore guard Briann January (averaged 14.5 pts, 3.5 rebs and 3.0 asts), sophomore center Kirsten Thompson (averaged 16.5 pts and 7.0 rebs) and senior guard Jill Noe, who came up just short of securing ASU's first triple-double since 1992 after contributing 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the championship game. Both January and Thompson were named to the All-Tourney Team.
ASU knocked off Gonzaga 81-66 to extend its winning streak four games, In that game, Westerberg scored 20 points, putting her over the 1,000-point mark for her career. She became the 17th Sun Devil to achieve such status.
ASU ran its unbeaten streak to five consecutive following its 75-46 win over UC Irvine. In that game the Sun Devils recorded season bests in field goal pct (56.4) and field goal pct. allowed (29.5).
The Sun Devils won their sixth straight game, defeating Texas Tech (61-45) in the second ever outdoor women's basketball game, which was held at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. The game came to an abrupt end when rain began to fall with 4:18 remaining in the game. ASU was declared the victor following a conference between the officials and the coaches from both schools.
The Sun Devils defeated in-state rival Arizona 89-62 for their seventh consecutive win. The Sun Devils forced 31 turnovers (resulting in 33 points) in the win, the second time in 2006-07 that they forced 30 or more turnovers in a game. ASU led by as many as 31.
ASU earned a hard-fought 74-58 win at No. 18/19 Cal (Dec. 28). Trailing by six points (41-35) three minutes into the second half, the Sun Devils used a 24-5 run over a seven-plus minute span to take control of the game. After shooting 12-31 (38.7 percent) in the first half, the Sun Devils warmed up in the second half, making 57.6 percent of their shots (19-33) while also out-rebounding the Golden Bears by 10 (20-10) after being out-rebounded 16-13 in the first half.
WESTERBERG NAMED TO NAISMITH AWARD LIST
Arizona State senior F Emily Westerberg was named to the watch list for the 2007 Naismith Award, which is presented annually to the men's and women's college basketball players of the year.
The Top 50 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its pre-season criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2006-07 season. In January, the Board of Selectors will narrow its pre-season list to the Top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March.
Westerberg has already been named to the Preseason All-Pac-10 Team, announced last month during the annual Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Day in November.
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. She added a season-best 21 points in ASU's 83-74 loss to No. 4 Tennessee (Nov. 19). Westerberg's play against the Lady Vols was so impressive that Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt singled her out in her post-game remarks following the game. Said Summitt, 'We didn't have an answer [for Emily Westerberg]. I went over and told her, `You are a heck of a player.' I knew that from just watching tape. She is very efficient. She is just a very skilled player. She plays hard. She gets open. We had a hard time keeping the ball out of her hands. We talked about it at halftime: You have to limit her touches or the numbers are going to mount.'
One of ASU's 2006-07 co-captains along with senior F Aubree Johnson, Westerberg recently became the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points following her 20-point outing in ASU's 81-66 win at Gonzaga. Currently with 1,069 career points, Westerberg needs 66 points to pass former Sun Devil Jovonne Smith (1989-93) for 10th on ASU's all-time scoring list. In her last six games, Westerberg has averaged 14.5 points while hitting .534 percent of her shots (31-58) and .923 percent of her free throws (24-26).
SUN DEVILS SIGN TWO FOR 2006-07
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.
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 climbed to as high as No. 10 in the AP poll (currently No. 10 in AP and No. 11 in USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll). The highest ranking ASU has ever held is No. 9 which occurred in 1983 (AP) and again last season (AP and USA Today/ESPN Polls).
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 (139) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 5 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 184.
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