No. 10/10 ASU Women's Basketball Hosts UCLA on Thursday Morning
Jan. 17, 2007
The No. 10/10 Arizona State women's basketball team begins a four-game homestand on Thursday morning when it hosts the UCLA Bruins at 11 a.m. The game is the centerpiece of 'Sparky's Kids to College Field Trip Presented by Wells Fargo,' a community initiative designed to educate grade-school children on the importance of a college education. More than 5,000 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from around Maricopa County have been invited to the event.
The Sun Devils have won their last four games, including a pair of wins this past weekend in the state of Oregon where they defeated Oregon State (59-43) and Oregon (80-70). Senior co-captains Emily Westerberg and Aubree Johnson led the Sun Devils last weekend, averaging 17.0 and 13.0 points, respectively, in the two games. Johnson also averaged 9.0 rebounds last weekend and tied her single-game career high in points with 16 at Oregon.
ASU (16-2, 6-1 Pac-10) dominated the boards last week, allowing an average of 22.0 rebounds in the two games (11.0 rebounds fewer than what opponents averaged coming into last weekend). The Sun Devils limited Oregon to 21 rebounds, the lowest single-game total allowed by ASU this season and the lowest total by any Pac-10 school in a conference game this season.
UCLA (9-10, 3-4 Pac-10) enters Thursday's game, having lost three of its last four games. UCLA's average margin of defeat in the three losses was only four points, including a 75-72 setback in its most recent outing vs. USC last Saturday. Thursday's game against ASU will mark the fourth time this season that the Bruins have faced a team in the top-10.
Arizona State's game vs. UCLA can be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM. It can also be heard live on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 10:30 a.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his third year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Sun Devils have won 12 of their last 13 games, 15 of their last 16 Pac-10 games and their last 19 Pac-10 home games. Overall, the Sun Devils are 49-3 at home since the 2003-04 season.
During their current four-game winning streak the Sun Devils ... have been shooting 50.7 percent from the field, including 40.7 percent from three-point range; have made more than twice the number of free throws of their opponents (93-43) and have out-rebounded their opponents by an average of more than 13 boards (39.0-25.8) per game.
Sun Devils entered this week ranked No. 2 in the nation in assists per game (20.1), No. 6 in field goal percentage (49.1) and 12th in scoring offense (78.3 points per game). ASU leads the Pac-10 in all those categories in addition to scoring margin (+18.3), three-point defense (.296), rebounds allowed per game (31.8), turnover margin (+5.28) and steals (10.17 per game).
ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs four more Pac-10 wins to reach 100 for her career. She needs 12 more wins for her 200th win at ASU. Last season Turner Thorne won the 200th game of her career (includes 40-40 record in three seasons at NAU from 1994-96).
Currently with 1,152 career points, senior F Emily Westerberg needs 43 points to pass former Sun Devil Jodi Rathbun (1983-86) for eighth on ASU's all-time scoring list. During ASU's four-game winning streak Westerberg has been averaging 18.8 points per game and has connected on 65.7 percent of her field goal attempts (23-35) during that span.
ASU has won four of its last six meetings against the Bruins.
Senior F Aubree Johnson has averaged 13.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in ASU's last three games. In last week's win at Oregon State, Johnson had 11 rebounds which was one short of her career high. Two days later at Oregon (Jan. 13), Johnson matched her single-game career high in scoring with 16 points.
Senior G Jill Noe (88 career three-point FGs) needs two three-point FGs to tie former Sun Devil Ryneldi Becenti (1992-93) for No. 7 on ASU's all-time list. She needs three more to tie former Sun Devil Kristine Sand (1997-2000) for No. 6 on the list.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS UCLA
UCLA holds a 41-18 advantage in the series with the Sun Devils. Although ASU has won four of the last six meetings, UCLA took two of three from ASU last season, winning 77-69 in the first meeting in Los Angeles, and again by a single point (60-59) in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament (UCLA would go on to defeat Stanford in the Pac-10 title game). ASU defeated the Bruins in Tempe last season 87-70.
In 2004-05, the Sun Devils swept the regular season series - 44-42 in Los Angeles and 80-59 in Tempe - and then defeated the Bruins again in the Pac-10 Tournament (73-71) in San Jose. In 2003-04, each team won on its home floor with ASU earning a 73-58 victory in Tempe and UCLA getting a 74-63 in Los Angeles. The Bruins won the rubber match, earning a 70-50 victory in the Pac-10 Tournament.
ORSILLO AND SIMON EARN PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARDS
Arizona State sophomore G Danielle Orsillo and freshman G Dymond Simon were both named Pac-10 Player of the Week earlier this season for their performances the weeks of December 18 and January 1, respectively.
Orsillo was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week 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.
Simon earned the honor following her outings in conference victories over Washington State (Jan. 4) and Washington (Jan. 7) in which she averaged 20 points, three assists and 1.5 steals for the two games. Simon's shooting precision may have been her most impressive stat of the weekend as she connected on 78.9 percent of her shots, including 4-of-5 from three-point range (80 percent).
ASU is 25-2 in its last 27 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. After falling to the Lady Vols, the Sun Devils won their next eight games before falling to Stanford (77-71) in Palo Alto on Dec. 30. Since the loss to Stanford, the Sun Devils have been victorious in their last four games.
The Sun Devils have won 15 of their last 16 regular season Pac-10 Conference games dating back to last season.
Since 2004-05, the Sun Devils are 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) earlier this season in Tempe.
ASU has won 31 of its last 32 regular season home games, including its last 19 Pac-10 home games, going back to the 2004-05 season The Sun Devils are 49-3 at home since the 2003-04 season.
The Sun Devils have 10 players who are averaging at least 12.8 minutes per game. Leading the way is sophomore G Briann January, who is averaging 23.8 minutes per game.
ASU is 12-0 this season in games in which it out-rebounds the opposition.
The Sun Devils are 31-2 the last two seasons when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents.
ASU's Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is currently No. 13, according to CollegeRPI.com while its strength of schedule is 34th 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) to win its eighth straight game. 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.
The Sun Devils had their winning streaks (eight straight overall, 11 consecutive Pac-10 games and seven straight road games) end in Palo Alto at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal (77-71). The Sun Devils led by seven at the half (35-28). The Cardinal opened the half with a 17-3 run to take a seven-point lead of its own (45-38). ASU would counter with a 9-0 run to re-claim the lead, 47-45. The contest would go back-and-forth the rest of the way. ASU would take its final lead, 67-66, with just under three minutes left. A layup on Stanford's ensuing possession gave the Cardinal the lead for good (68-67). Down 74-71 in the game's waning moments, the Sun Devils had a chance to tie the game, however were unable to hit a three.
The Sun Devils rebounded from their loss at Stanford with an 89-44 win at home over Washington State in which they tallied a season-best 28 assists while holding the Cougars to Sun Devil opponent season lows for points (44) and field goal percentage (.304). Freshman G Dymond Simon led the way with a career-best 24 points, the highest single-game point total of any Sun Devil this season.
ASU overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat the University of Washington 88-83 and end the Huskies' nine-game winning streak. The Sun Devils trailed for most of the game before taking the lead for good with 51 seconds remaining. Senior F Emily Westerberg led ASU with 22 points while freshman G Dymond Simon added 16 points. Also coming through with key contributions were senior F Aubree Johnson (15 points, seven rebounds), sophomore G Danielle Orsillo (13 points and tied a career best with six rebounds) and freshman F Kayli Murphy (tied a career best with eight rebounds for the second consecutive game).
For the second time in three games the Sun Devils gave up their fewest points of the season as they defeated Oregon State 59-43 to win their third straight game. The Beavers' 43 points were one point less than Washington State scored one week earlier in the Sun Devils' 89-44 win. Westerberg led the way with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Senior F Aubree Johnson added 10 points and a season-best 11 rebounds.
Emily Westerberg scored 14 of her 19 points in the second half as ASU extended its winning streak to four with an 80-70 win at Oregon. Aubree Johnson tied a career-best with 16 points as the Sun Devils held Oregon to only 21 rebounds, the fewest they have allowed this season.
WESTERBERG NAMED TO NAISMITH AWARD LIST
Earlier this season 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 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 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 (Dec. 6). Currently with 1,152 career points, Westerberg needs 43 points to pass former Sun Devil Jodi Rathbun (1983-86) for eighth on ASU's all-time scoring list. During ASU's current four-game winning streak Westerberg has been averaging 18.8 points per game and has connected on 65.7 percent of her field goal attempts (23-35) during that span.
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. 10 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 (143) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 5 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 188. She needs four more Pac-10 wins to reach 100 for her career and 12 more wins to reach her 200th as ASU's head coach.