No. 10/8 ASU Women's Basketball Hosts Oregon State in Home Finale on Saturday
Feb. 9, 2007
The No. 10/8 Arizona State women's basketball team closes out the home portion of its schedule on Saturday when it hosts the Oregon State Beavers at 4 p.m. Saturday's contest will be the final home game in the careers of ASU seniors Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg, who have helped lead the Sun Devils to three consecutive 20-win seasons.
The Sun Devils (22-3, 12-2 Pac-10) are coming into Saturday's game having won three consecutive games and nine of their last 10 overall. On Thursday ASU needed a come-from-behind effort to extend its winning streak in a 61-48 win over the Oregon Ducks. For ASU, Thursday's win was a tale of two halves. In the first half the Sun Devils scored a season-low 18 points, shot just below 26 percent (8-31) and trailed by as many as 12 points before cutting the deficit to eight at the half. In the second half the ASU defense turned its level of play up a notch which led to an inspired offensive effort on the opposite side of the floor. The final 20 minutes saw the Sun Devils nearly outscore Oregon 2-1 (43-22) as they shot 67 percent (14-21) for the half, including 62.5 percent from three-point range (5-8). Leading ASU were senior co-captains Johnson and Westerberg as the two combined to score 31 points, including a career-best 17 by Johnson.
The Beavers (8-14, 3-10 Pac-10) come into Saturday's game having lost six of their last seven games. Four of those six losses during that span have been by single digits. The Beavers are led by senior Casey Nash, who comes into Saturday's game as the Pac-10's leading scorer, averaging 20.4 points per game. Oregon State also has the Pac-10's field goal percent leader in freshman Judie Lomax, who is currently shooting 68.7 percent from the field.
Following today's game the Sun Devils will play their final three regular season games on the road - at USC (Feb. 15), at UCLA (Feb. 18) and at Arizona (Feb. 24) - before traveling to San Jose, Calif., for the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament (Mar. 2-5).
Sun Devil Trading Cards - The first 500 fans attending Saturday's game will receive the third of three sets of 2006-07 ASU Women's Basketball trading cards.
Arizona State's vs. Oregon State can be heard on a tape-delayed basis at 6:30 p.m. on KXAM 1310 AM. It can also be heard live on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game on KXAM will begin at 6 p.m. and live at 3:30 p.m. on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his third year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
ARIZONA STATE HEAD COACH Charli Turner Thorne
The winningest coach in Sun Devil history (194-132) and No. 5 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). Earlier this season became the seventh coach in Pac-10 history to earn 100 conference wins.
This season led ASU to its third consecutive 20-win season marking only the second time that has happened in the program's history. In addition has led ASU to its highest ranking in the program's history (No. 8).
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 (then) 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 16-2 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 where she played 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: 234-172
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Sun Devils are 31-3 in their last 34 regular season games (includes 21-2 mark in their last 23 Pac-10 games) going back to the 2005-06 season. The Sun Devils are 53-4 at home since the 2003-04 season.
Currently 22-3, the Sun Devils are two wins away for tying the school record for most regular season wins set by the 1981-82 squad. Last season's squad, which tied the school record for most overall wins in a season with 25, won 23 regular season games.
Sun Devils entered this week ranked No. 2 in the nation in assists per game (19.12), No. 6 in field goal percentage (48.03), No. 13 in scoring offense (75.8) and No. 12 in scoring margin (+17.2). ASU leads the Pac-10 in all those categories in addition to free throw percentage (.741), three-point field goal percent defense (.277), rebounds allowed per game (32.9) and turnover margin (4.96).
This week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll had ASU ranked No. 8, which is the program's highest ever ranking in either of the major polls. Prior to this week the highest ASU ever climbed was No. 9 (one week in 1983 - AP, one week last season - AP and USA Today).
ASU has won 10 of its last 11 meetings against Oregon State, including the last eight in succession.
With ASU's 61-48 win over Oregon on Thursday ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne earned her 194th victory at ASU. She needs six 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).
With their 75-64 win at Washington on February 1, the Sun Devils clinched 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 1,224 career points, senior F Emily Westerberg is tied with former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1988-91) for seventh on ASU's all-time scoring list. After passing O'Connor, Westerberg will need 24 points to pass former Sun Devil Robin Conolly (1,248 points from 1984-87) for No. 6 on the scoring list. Westerberg is also currently No. 5 on ASU's all-time list for most career free throws (314) and No. 10 for most field goals (429).
Senior G Jill Noe (99 career three-point FGs) needs 17 three-point FGs to tie former Sun Devil Molly Tuter for No. 5 on ASU's all-time list.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS OREGON STATE
Arizona State holds a 25-19 lead (15-6 advantage in games played in Tempe) in the series with Oregon State dating back to the 1983-84 season. The Sun Devils have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two schools, including the last eight in succession.
In the first meeting of the season senior Emily Westerberg (15 points) and Aubree Johnson (11 points) combined for 26 points in a 59-43 win over the Beavers in Corvallis. At the time Oregon State's 43 points were the fewest given up by the Sun Devils this season (Washington State scored 41 last week). ASU's final point total at Oregon State was its lowest of the season.
Last season the Sun Devils swept the season series. In the first meeting ASU defeated the Beavers 69-51 in Tempe. The Sun Devils were led by Kirsten Thompson, who had (then) career bests in both points (15) and rebounds (8). Westerberg added 13 points for the Sun Devils, who shot a season-best 56.5 percent from the field. In the second meeting former Sun Devil Kristen Kovesdy had 14 points while Westerberg added 12 in a 77-67 win in Corvalis. The two teams would meet once more in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament. In that game the Sun Devils overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat the Beavers 74-66. Danielle Orsillo, one of four Sun Devils to score in double figures, led ASU with 15 points.
ASU is 31-3 in its last 34 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. Following the loss to Stanford, the Sun Devils won their next seven games before falling to the Cardinal in Tempe (65-73 in OT). The Sun Devils have won their last three since the late January loss against Stanford.
The Sun Devils have won 21 of their last 23 regular season Pac-10 Conference games dating back to last season.
ASU has won 35 of its last 37 regular season home games. The Sun Devils are 53-4 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 11.5 minutes per game. Leading the way is junior G Reagan Pariseau, who is averaging 24.5 minutes per game. At the time of her injury, freshman G Dymond Simon was averaging 17.1 minutes per game.
ASU is 15-0 this season in games in which it out-rebounds the opposition.
The Sun Devils are 35-3 the last two seasons when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents.
ASU's Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is currently No. 11, according to CollegeRPI.com while its strength of schedule is 37th in the country.
ASU currently leads the Pac-10 in home attendance, averaging 3,459 fans per game.
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, 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.
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. ASU 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 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 a seven-game win streak, which started with an 89-44 win at home over Washington State (Jan. 4) in which they tallied a season-best 28 assists while holding the Cougars to 44 points and a shooting percentage of only .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 Washington 88-83 and end the Huskies' nine-game winning streak. ASU trailed for most of the game before taking the lead for good with 51 seconds remaining. Westerberg led ASU with 22 points while freshman 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 the 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 at the time of her injury. January (12 pts), Westerberg (10 pts, 9 rebs) and Johnson (tied career best in rebounds with 12) led ASU, which was out-rebounded in the game 46-36.
The Sun Devils came through with what head coach Charli Turner Thorne called '...a good old-fashioned grind-it-out Sun Devil win with our defense,' in ASU's 66-54 win over No. 20/22 California. The Sun Devils won despite shooting 40.0 percent for the game. Senior G Jill Noe led the Sun Devils with a season-best 19 points while senior F Emily Westerberg added her second double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Sun Devils held Cal to only two points the final five-plus minutes of the game.
The Sun Devils came up on the losing end for only the third time this season following a 73-65 overtime loss to Stanford in Tempe. The Sun Devils shot a season-low 33.3 percent in the loss to the Cardinal.
ASU rebounded from the loss to Stanford by completing a season sweep of the Washington schools for the second consecutive season with a 75-64 win at Washington (Feb. 1) and a 66-41 win at Washington State (Feb. 3). ASU extended its winning streak to three games with a come-from-behind 61-48 win over Oregon (Feb. 8).
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 1,224 career points, Westerberg is tied with former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1988-91) for seventh on ASU's all-time scoring list. After passing O'Connor, Westerberg will need 24 points to pass former Sun Devil Robin Conolly (1,248 points from 1984-87) for No. 6 on the scoring list. Westerberg is also currently No. 5 on ASU's all-time list for most career free throws (314) and No. 10 for most field goals (429).
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.
SIMON OUT FOR THE SEASON
Arizona State lost one of the top freshman players in the country and one of the favorites for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year when guard Dymond Simon suffered a torn ACL in the Sun Devils' 62-54 win over Southern California on Jan. 21 in Tempe. A local product, who along with current Sun Devil Kayli Murphy helped lead Phoenix St. Mary's to a pair of state championships and one runner-up finish, Simon was a 2006 McDonald's All-American. At the time of her injury, Simon was third on the team in scoring (9.7 points per game) and second on the team in steals (1.6 per game). Simon was named Pac-10 Player of the Week earlier this season after averaging 20 points, three assists and 1.5 steals in wins over Washington State (Jan. 4) and Washington (Jan. 7). The 24 points Simon scored against Washington State remain the single-game high for a Sun Devil this season.
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.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?
Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne added another great accomplishment to her coaching dossier earlier this week when the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll revealed that the Sun Devils were ranked No. 8 in the nation, the program's highest ever placement in either of the major polls. Last season Turner Thorne had the Sun Devils in the Top 10 of both polls for the first time 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. After leading the Sun Devils to a 25-7 record last season Turner Thorne was recognized for the job she has done with ASU in being 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 (149) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 5 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 194. On Feb. 1 she earned the 100th Pac-10 win of her career with the Sun Devils' 75-64 win at Washington. She needs six more wins to reach her 200th as ASU's head coach.
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).
SPARKY'S KIDS TO COLLEGE FIELD TRIP BRINGS KIDS ONE STEP CLOSER TO COLLEGE
On January 18, 2007 the Arizona State women's basketball team hosted 'Sparky's Kids to College Field Trip Presented by Wells Fargo.' The event brought more than 5,000 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students from around Maricopa County to Arizona State's game against UCLA, which had a special 11 a.m. start time in order to host the event. The purpose of the 'Field Trip' was to expose elementary-aged children to a university campus and intercollegiate athletics.
'A lot of these kids would not have otherwise been able to come to the game, probably never been on a college campus,' ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said after the Sun Devi's 92-52 win over the Bruins. 'So it really was a wonderful opportunity for a lot of these kids who might think more about college and maybe they think more about supporting the Sun Devils, too.'
Students who attended the game were provided with a curriculum workbook, which was put together by Dr. Raul Cardenas and Natalie Nailor of Access ASU. The workbook included age-appropriate lessons, covering the range of grade levels. During timeouts and at halftime students were informed of the importance of a college education and the abundance of career opportunities that are available to college graduates. Following the game, ASU players interacted with the students and shared tips for success both on the court and in the classroom.
In addition to Wells Fargo, several sponsors joined together to make the event possible, including Verizon Wireless, Arizona Department of Health Services and Valley Metro.
Last year the Sun Devil softball team hosted a similar event and attracted more than 800 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students to its game against UNLV.
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