No. 10/10 ASU Women's Basketball Faces No. 20 Cal on Thursday Night

Jan. 24, 2007

UP NEXT

The No. 10/10 Arizona State women's basketball team begins the second half of Pac-10 play this week with a pair of contests against Top 25 teams. First up for the Sun Devils will be a matchup against the No. 20/22 California Golden Bears on Thursday night (6:30 p.m.) at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will then close the week and its current four-game homestand on Saturday (noon) when it faces the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal.

The Sun Devils (18-2, 8-1 Pac-10) come into this week's action riding a six-game winning streak. They won eight of nine games in the first round of Pac-10 play with their only setback coming in a 77-71 loss against Stanford last month in Palo Alto. In its most recent outing on Sunday ASU came through with a gritty effort in a hard-fought 62-54 win over USC, which came into the game on a five-game winning streak. Although they came through with the win the Sun Devils were not without a feeling of loss. In the first half of Sunday's game freshman G Dymond Simon suffered a season-ending knee injury (ACL). One of the top freshmen in the country this season, Simon was third on the team in scoring and second in steals.

The Golden Bears (15-4, 6-3 Pac-10) will be bringing a four-game winning streak into Thursday's game. They are 6-1 since falling to the Sun Devils (74-58) in late December. Their only loss since then came to Stanford, which currently owns the longest winning streak in the Pac-10 at 14.

The Sun Devils have won their last 21 Pac-10 games played at home and are 51-3 at Wells Fargo Arena since 2003-04. After this weekend's contests the Sun Devils will play five of their final seven regular season games on the road.

PROMOTIONS

Sun Devil Trading Cards - The first 500 fans attending Thursday night's game will receive the second of three sets of 2006-07 ASU Women's Basketball trading cards.

RADIO

Arizona State's game vs. California 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. 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 14 of their last 15 games, 17 of their last 18 Pac-10 games and their last 21 Pac-10 home games. Overall, the Sun Devils are 51-3 at home since the 2003-04 season.

• Sun Devils entered this week ranked No. 3 in the nation in assists per game (20.1 per game), No. 6 in field goal percentage (49.3), No. 11 in scoring offense (79.0 points per game) and No. 14 in scoring margin (+18.9). ASU leads the Pac-10 in all those categories in addition to three-point field goal percent defense (.289), turnover margin (+5.6) and steals (10.55 per game).

• During their current six-game winning streak the Sun Devils ... Have been outscoring their opponents by an average of 20.7 points per game; have been shooting 51.1 percent from the field, including a season-best 58.6 percent vs. UCLA on Jan. 18; have made 75 more free throws than their opponents (178-103) and have out-rebounded their opponents by an average of almost seven (38.2.-31.3) per game.

• Individually speaking during ASU's current six-game winning streak, four Sun Devils have been averaging double figures in points AND three of the four have been shooting 50 percent or better from the field: Senior F Emily Westerberg (15.3 ppg, 63.0 FG pct.), senior F Aubree Johnson (11.0 ppg, 52.3 FG pct.), sophomore G Briann January (10.3 ppg, 50.0 FG pct.) and sophomore G Danielle Orsillo (10.9 ppg, 49.0 FG pct.).

• Junior G Reagan Pariseau and sophomore G Briann January currently rank first and fourth, respectively, in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio.

• ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs two more Pac-10 wins to reach 100 for her career. She needs 10 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).

• The Sun Devils need two more wins to clinch their third consecutive 20-win season and their fifth in the last seven seasons. Only one other time in the program's history (1980-81, 1981-82, 1982-83) have the Sun Devils had three consecutive 20-win seasons.

• Currently with 1,169 career points, senior F Emily Westerberg needs 26 points to pass former Sun Devil Jodi Rathbun (1983-86) for eighth on ASU's all-time scoring list.

• ASU has won six of its last seven meetings vs. Cal, including the last two in succession.

• Senior G Jill Noe (89 career three-point FGs) needs one three-point FG to tie former Sun Devil Ryneldi Becenti (1992-93) for No. 7 on ASU's all-time list. She needs two more to tie former Sun Devil Kristine Sand (1997-2000) for No. 6 on the list.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CAL

ASU leads the all-time series with Cal 24-23. In the first game between the two schools earlier this season, ASU earned a hard-fought 74-58 win in Berkeley. 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.

Last season each school won on its home court with the Golden Bears taking the first meeting (66-64) and the Sun Devils returning the favor with a 62-43 win in Tempe. Cal's win last season snapped ASU's four-game winning streak in the series.

ASU has dominated the series recently, having won 11 of the last 14 meetings in the series. ASU has won 13 of the 21 games played in Tempe.

NOE RECEIVES SIXTH YEAR

Jill Noe has been granted an extension to her athletic eligibility by the NCAA and will return to the Sun Devils for the 2007-08 season.

Noe earned All-Freshman honors in 2002-03 after leading the Sun Devils and finishing 11th in the Pac-10 in scoring (12.6 points per game). She would miss the next two seasons after suffering anterior crucitate ligament injuries prior to the start of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns.

Noe returned to action for the first time since her freshman year last season and started 29 of 32 games for the Sun Devils. She finished first on the team in three-point field goals (29), tied for third on the team in scoring (7.8 points per game), assists (79) and steals (34).

Noe was initially granted an extra year of eligibility following her first ACL injury. Because of NCAA legislation that states a student-athlete has five years from initial full-time enrollment to compete in four seasons of competition, ASU had to submit on Noe's behalf a request for an extra year of eligibility to the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee.

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).

NUMBERS GAME

• ASU is 27-2 in its last 29 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 six games.

• The Sun Devils have won 17 of their last 18 regular season Pac-10 Conference games dating back to last season.

• ASU has won 33 of its last 34 regular season home games, including its last 21 Pac-10 home games going back to the 2004-05 season The Sun Devils are 51-3 at home since the 2003-04 season.

• Since 2004-05, the Sun Devils are 26-4 in non-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.

• The Sun Devils have nine active players who are averaging at least 12.7 minutes per game. Leading the way is sophomore G Briann January, who is averaging 23.4 minutes per game. At the time of her injury, freshman G Dymond Simon was averaging 17.1 minutes per game.

• ASU is 12-0 this season in games in which it out-rebounds the opposition.

• The Sun Devils are 33-2 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 46th in the country.

• ASU currently leads the Pac-10 in home attendance, averaging 3,508 fans per game.

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) 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.

• Five players scored in double figures and the Sun Devils shot a season-best 58.6 percent in a 92-52 win over UCLA. Orsillo led ASU with 16 points. The Sun Devils held the Bruins to an anemic 32.7 from the field while also forcing them into 25 turnovers.

• ASU came through with a gritty effort in a hard-fought 62-54 win over USC (Jan. 21), which came into the game on a five-game winning streak. Although they came through with the win the Sun Devils were not without a feeling of loss. In the first half of their win over USC freshman G Dymond Simon suffered a season-ending knee injury (ACL). One of the top freshmen in the country this season, Simon was third on the team in scoring and second in steals at the time of her injury. January (12 pts), Westerberg (10 pts, 9 rebs) and Johnson (tied career best in rebouns with 12) led ASU, which was out-rebounded in the game 46-36.

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 1,169 career points, Westerberg needs 26 points to pass former Sun Devil Jodi Rathbun (1983-86) for eighth on ASU's all-time scoring list. During ASU's current six-game winning streak Westerberg has been averaging 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and has connected on 63.0 percent of her field goal attempts (24-39) 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 (145) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 5 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 190. She needs two more Pac-10 wins to reach 100 for her career and 10 more wins to reach her 200th as ASU's head coach.

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