No. 10/8 ASU Women's Basketball Closes Out Regular Season at Arizona on Saturday
Feb. 22, 2007
Currently on a six-game winning streak the No. 10/8 Arizona State women's basketball team closes out the regular season portion of its schedule this Saturday when it faces in-state rival Arizona. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at McKale Center in Tucson.
ASU (25-3, 15-2 Pac-10) enters this weekend's game one win shy of setting the single-season school record for most wins after tying the record in its most recent outing, an 80-69 win at UCLA last Sunday. In addition to tying the school record for most overall wins (the 1981-82 and 2005-06 squads also won 25 games), the win over the Bruins gave the Sun Devils their 15th Pac-10 win, which set a new single-season school record, surpassing the previous benchmark of 14 wins set by last year's team. Although a win on Saturday would also tie the school record for most road wins in a season with nine, it would be by far ASU's best ever season in road games. The 1980-81 team, which also won nine games on the road, had a .643 success rate (9-5), while this year's team, if successful on Saturday, will have a road winning percentage of .900 (9-1).
Leading the Sun Devils in their win at UCLA was sophomore G Briann January, who posted career-best numbers in points (22) and field goals (6) while also tying her career-best marks in steals (6) and three-point field goals (2).
The Wildcats (10-19, 4-13 Pac-10) have split their last six games. Last week they came away with a 66-63 win on the road at UCLA before falling in the second half of the Los Angles road trip to USC (66-42). Arizona is led by senior Joy Hollingsworth, who is seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per game.
Both the Wildcats and Sun Devils will be coming into Saturday's game well rested having most recently played last Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Arizona State's game at Arizona can be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM. It can also be heard live on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. 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 (197-132) 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: 237-172
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Currently 25-3 and 15-2 in the Pac-10, the Sun Devils are one win away from setting the school single-season record for most wins. ASU has already set the school single-season benchmark for most conference wins.
ASU entered this week ranked No. 1 in the nation in assists per game (19.1), No. 5 in field goal percentage (.483), No. 11 in scoring margin (+16.7) and No. 13 in scoring offense (75.8). ASU leads the Pac-10 in all those categories in addition to free throw percentage (.737), three-point field goal percent defense (.279), turnover margin (+4.75) and steals per game (10.3).
The current USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll has ASU ranked No. 8, which is the program's highest ever ranking in either of the major polls. Prior to its current No. 8 ranking the highest ASU ever climbed was No. 9 (one week in 1983 - AP, one week last season - AP and USA Today).
ASU has won five of the last six meetings against Arizona. ASU's only loss during that span came in 2005 when it fell to the Wildcats 56-49 in Tucson.
With ASU's 80-69 win at UCLA on Sunday ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne earned her 197th victory at ASU. She needs three 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).
Opponents are shooting 36.6 percent during ASU's current six-game winning streak. The Sun Devils are shooting 49.1 percent during the same span.
Senior F Aubree Johnson is averaging 18.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in ASU's last four games. She is shooting 64.4 percent during that span. Johnson's career-best point total prior to ASU's 61-48 win over Oregon on Feb. 8 was 16 points. Since then she has scored 17 or more points three times, including a career-best 27 points in the Sun Devils' 78-63 win vs. Oregon State (Feb. 10). She needs six rebounds to move into ninth place on ASU's all-time rebounding list.
Also coming through with impressive numbers recently is Briann January. The sophomore guard is averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 assists and three steals in ASU's last four games. During that span she has also shot 50 percent from three-point range (.7-14) and 81.8 percent from the free throw line (18-22).
Currently with 1,246 career points, senior F Emily Westerberg needs three 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 (318) and No. 8 for most field goals (438).
Senior G Jill Noe (100 career three-point FGs) needs 16 three-point FGs to tie former Sun Devil Molly Tuter for No. 5 on ASU's all-time list.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS ARIZONA
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Arizona 39-25, including a 16-14 advantage in games played in Tucson. ASU has won five of the last six meetings against Arizona. ASU's only loss during that span came in 2005 when it fell to the Wildcats 56-49 in Tucson. ASU's 83-59 win in Tucson last season snapped an eight-game winning streak by the home team. The Sun Devils would resume the successful trend of the home team with their 81-45 win over Arizona in the rematch last March. In the most recent meeting in late December, three Sun Devils scored in double figures - Emily Westerberg (20 points), Danielle Orsillo (17 points) and Jill Noe (16 points) - in ASU's 89-62 win in Tempe.
The series with Arizona is the longest for the Sun Devils and dates back to the 1975-76 season, the first year of varsity women's basketball at Arizona State (although the teams played another seven games before that first varsity season with UA winning five of seven). ASU snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Wildcats in 2000-01 with its first season sweep of the U-of-A since 1991-92. The Sun Devils won 18 of the first 20 meetings, including a streak of 16 games that encompassed eight full seasons (1978-79 to 1985-86).
Aubree Johnson NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Arizona State senior forward Aubree Johnson was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week two weeks ago following ASU's wins over Oregon State and Oregon.
Playing in her final two home games as a Sun Devil, Johnson came through with two of the best performances of her career, averaging 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.0 steals and 2.0 assists in ASU's wins over Oregon (61-48) and Oregon State (78-63). At the conclusion of the remarkable weekend the Post Falls, Id., native set or tied single-game career bests for points (twice - 17, 27), field goals (12), steals (4) and blocks (4). In the two games she connected on 72 percent (18-25) of her field goal attempts and nearly 89 percent of her free throws (8-9)
Johnson scored 13 of her game-high 17 points in ASU's come-from-behind 61-48 win over Oregon on Thursday. Her second half performance on the offensive end was instrumental in helping the Sun Devils overcome an eight-point halftime deficit (26-18).The 17 points were a (then) single-game career best. She also set a career best with four blocks and tied a career best with four steals while also adding eight rebounds and two assists.
Johnson culminated the weekend with the best single-game offensive effort by a Sun Devil this season in ASU's 78-63 win over Oregon State on Saturday. For the second time in as many games Johnson set a new career standard in scoring with 27 points, the majority of which came courtesy of a career-best 12 field goals. The rest of Johnson's points came from the free throw line where she made all three of her attempts in addition to adding four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists. Johnson's 27 points and 12 field goals were the most by a Sun Devil in either category since former Sun Devil Kristen Kovesdy also had 27 points and 12 field goals in a 64-51 win vs. Washington on December 29, 2005.
Earlier this season fellow Sun Devils Danielle Orsillo and Dymond Simon earned the honor. While Johnson's award ties ASU's school record for most Pac-10 Player of the Week awards in one season (1992 - Ryneldi Becenti earned the award twice and Jovonne Smith once) it is the first time ASU has ever have had three different players earn the award in the same season.
The Sun Devils are 34-3 in their last 37 regular season games (includes 24-2 mark in their last 26 Pac-10 games) going back to the 2005-06 season. Included during the 37-game span is a 13-1 record on the road. 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 six games since the late January loss against Stanford.
The Sun Devils have had 11 games this season in which at least four players have scored in double figures, most recently their 80-69 win over UCLA on Feb. 18. ASU has also had one game (vs. UCLA on Jan. 18) in which five players scored in double figures
The school record for field goal percentage is .481. ASU is currently shooting .483
Of the teams with at least one loss who are currently ranked in the AP Top 25, ASU, UConn, LSU and Bowling Green are the only schools that have not dropped a game by a double-digit margin. The last time ASU dropped a regular season game by more than nine points was on February 5, 2005 when it lost 67-53 at Stanford.
The Sun Devils have nine active players who are averaging at least 11.9 minutes per game. Leading the way is junior G Reagan Pariseau, who is averaging 24.7 minutes per game. At the time of her injury, freshman G Dymond Simon was averaging 17.1 minutes per game.
ASU is 16-0 this season in games in which it out-rebounds the opposition.
The Sun Devils are 37-3 the last two seasons when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents.
ASU's Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is currently No. 15, according to CollegeRPI.com while its strength of schedule is 47th in the country.
ASU currently leads the Pac-10 in home attendance, averaging 3,502 fans per game.
ASU has won 36 of its last 38 regular season home games. After finishing with a 14-2 mark at home this season, the Sun Devils are now 54-4 in Wells Fargo Arena 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 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 winning its next six games, including a 68-57 win at USC on Feb. 15 in which the Sun Devils played without leading scorer Emily Westerberg, who was nursing an injured ankle. Johnson has led the Sun Devils on their current six-game winning streak, averaging 14.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 61.4 percent from the field during the streak.
WESTERBERG NAMED TO NAISMITH AWARD WATCH 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 1,246 career points, Westerberg is No. 7 on ASU's all-time scoring list. She needs three 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 (318) and No. 8 for most field goals (438).
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 month 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 (152) in the Pac-10 Conference. Turner Thorne is currently No. 5 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 197. On Feb. 1 she earned the 100th Pac-10 win of her career with the Sun Devils' 75-64 win at Washington. She needs three more wins to reach her 200th as ASU's head coach.
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.