ASU Women's Basketball Opens Up NCAA Tournament on Saturday Night Against UC Riverside
March 15, 2007
The No. 10/8 Arizona State women's basketball team will open up NCAA Tournament play Saturday when it faces the UC Riverside Highlanders at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California.
The recipients of their highest NCAA seeding ever (No. 3), the Sun Devils are making their eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their third in succession, the first time in program history they have had such a run. ASU's 77 wins and .786 winning percentage are also its best ever marks over a three-year span.
The resume that ASU will carry into this year's 'Big Dance' is the best it has ever brought into the postseason. Single-season school records for overall (28), Pac-10 (16) and road wins (10) as well as their third appearance in the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament have punctuated the season up to this point. The Sun Devils will now set their sights on venturing further into the NCAAs than any ASU squad has before. Although the 1981-82 and 1982-83 squads both made it to the Round of 16 (32-team NCAA fields), the 2004-05 squad under Charli Turner Thorne had more relative NCAA success than any other Sun Devil squad winning two games in the tournament before falling to top-seeded North Carolina in the Round of 16.
The winner of Saturday's game - the first ever meeting between the Sun Devils and Highlanders - will face the winner of the contest between No. 6 Louisville and No. 11 BYU on Monday at either 5 or 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game will then move on to Greensboro, N.C., for next week's third round.
TELEVISION AND RADIO
ASU's game vs. UC Riverside can be seen live on ESPN2. Bob Wischusen (play-by-play) and Lisa Leslie (analyst) will call the game and Krista Blunk will be on the sidelines. The game can also be heard live on KXAM 1310 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 7 p.m. in Arizona. 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 (200-133) and No. 5 in the Pac-10 in most career wins, Turner Thorne has led the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament five times in the last seven years, including the last three seasons in succession. The five NCAA appearances are two more than what ASU had in the 15 years prior to Turner Thorne's arrival in Tempe.
This season has led the Sun Devils to a school record 28 wins (including a school record 16 Pac-10 wins) against only four defeats with the NCAA Tournament still having yet to be played.
With the aforementioned 28 wins, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games three years in a row, something that has happened only one other time in the program's history.
Including this season, the Sun Devils are 77-21 since 2004-05.
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 what at the time was the highest ranking in school history - No. 9 - in 2005-06).
Last season led ASU to a 25-7 record 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.
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: 240-173
2006-07 TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS
For the first time in school history ASU will be making its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils' No. 3 seed in the Greensboro Region is their highest ever placement in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to this season ASU was seeded as high as fourth (1982, 1983, 2006).
Currently 28-4 the Sun Devils have already set the school record for most wins, eclipsing the previous record of 25, which was done three other times (1981-82, 2001-02, 2005-06).
With 28 wins this season, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games three straight years and five times 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.
For the second consecutive season the Sun Devils set the single-season school record for most Pac-10 wins with 16. Last season ASU won 14 Pac-10 games.
ASU also set a new standard for most road wins in a season with 10. In fact, ASU is 14-1 in its last 15 road games going back to the 2005-06 season.
ASU's No. 7 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll last month was its highest ever ranking in either of the major polls. The Sun Devils will be entering the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the USA Today/ESPN poll.
The Sun Devils advanced to the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament for the third time in the event's six-year history. Senior F Emily Westerberg was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in ASU's three tournament games.
With 594 assists this season the Sun Devils set a school record for the third consecutive season. ASU enters the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation, averaging 18.6 assists per game. Last season ASU finished No. 4 nationally with 18.4 assists per game. In addition, ASU also finished the regular season (prior to the Pac-10 Tournament) ranked No. 5 in the nation in field goal percentage (.483), No. 11 in scoring margin (+16.3) and No. 14 in scoring offense (75.2). The Sun Devils finished the regular season atop all those categories in the Pac-10 in addition to free throw percentage (.737), three-point field goal percent defense (.276) and steals per game (10.17). They finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.9 points allowed per game), rebounding defense (33.4 rebounds allowed per game), turnover margin (+4.62) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.07).
Senior Emily Westerberg became the first Sun Devil in school history to be named to the All-Pac-10 Team three times. Also earning All-Pac-10 First-Team Honors was senior Aubree Johnson. Sophomore Briann January earned Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors and Dymond Simon was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team despite being sidelined the second half of the Pac-10 season due to an ACL injury.
Including this season, the Sun Devils are 77-21 since 2004-05.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne achieved a pair of milestones this season, earning her 100th Pac-10 win and her 200th ASU win.
ASU VERSUS THE GREENSBORO REGIONAL
The Sun Devils have met eight of the schools - Brigham Young (3-4), Delaware St. (1-0), Holy Cross (2-0), Louisville (1-0), Nebraska (3-3), Rutgers (2-1), Temple (2-0), Vanderbilt (1-1) - in the Greensboro Regional at least one time in school history. Of those eight schools the only ones the Sun Devils have had any recent history (last four years) with are Nebraska (W, 87-60 - 11/10/06), Vanderbilt (W, 69-60 - 11/11/05) and Holy Cross (W, 81-56 - 12/20/03).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Sun Devils are 1-0 in the Galen Center. ASU defeated USC 68-57 last month in the Women of Troy's new home arena. In that game the Sun Devils were without three-time All-Pac-10 standout Emily Westerberg, who sprained her ankle in practice earlier in the week. Picking up the slack was fellow senior co-captain Aubree Johnson, who had 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks while playing a career-high 37 minutes.
ASU is shooting 85 percent from the free throw line (57-67) in its last four games. As a team the Sun Devils have six players - Emily Westerberg (.859), Briann January (.806), Aubree Johnson (.789), Kirsten Thompson (.767), Danielle Orsillo (.767) and Reagan Pariseau (.761) - who are shooting better than 75 percent from the line.
Although they have beaten their opponents by an average of 15.1 points per game, the Sun Devils have been involved in several close games recently. In their last four games the scoring difference between ASU and its respective opponents has been four points or less - at Arizona +1, vs. UCLA +4, vs. California +2, vs. Stanford -3 - at some point in the game's final five minutes. With that in mind it should be noted that the Sun Devils have shown an ability to rise to the occasion when it has mattered most. In the final five minutes of their last four games the Sun Devils have ... shot 52 percent (13-25) compared to 33 percent (10-30) for their opponents while also allowing only one three-point FG ... have made 91.3 percent of their free throws (21-23) ... have outrebounded the opposition 22-13 and have outscored their opponents 49-35. Although they were unable to come through with the win against Stanford, it was this style of play that enabled the Sun Devils to cut a 16-point deficit at the five-minute mark to only three points in the span of 3:48. In fact, the Cardinal did not register a field goal in the final 6:14 of the game.
Three Sun Devils - Johnson (12.5 ppg), Westerberg (11.9) and sophomore Briann January (11.0) - are averaging double figures in scoring in ASU's last 10 games. Johnson's career-best point total prior to ASU's 61-48 win over Oregon on Feb. 8 was 16. 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 seven rebounds to move into sixth place on ASU's all-time rebounding list.
Currently with 1,299 career points, senior F Emily Westerberg needs 65 points to pass former Sun Devil Kristen Kovesdy (1,363 points from 2003-06) for No. 5 on ASU's all-time scoring list. Westerberg is also currently No. 5 on ASU's all-time list for most career free throws (335) and No. 7 for most field goals (456).
Senior G Jill Noe (104 career three-point FGs) needs 12 three-point FGs to tie former Sun Devil Molly Tuter for No. 5 on ASU's all-time list. She also needs 82 points to become the 18th player in Sun Devil history to score 1,000 career points.
Current UC Riverside head coach John Margaritis was an assistant on ASU associate head coach Meg Sanders' coaching staff at Northern Arizona from 1997 to 2003. Sanders took over the head job at NAU after Charli Turner Thorne left Flagstaff to become ASU's head coach.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
One of the biggest factors that has influenced the success of ASU women's basketball in recent years has been the Sun Devils' ability to defend their home court in Wells Fargo Arena where they are 54-4 in regular season games since the 2003-04 season. However what may not be as well know is the kind of success the Sun Devils have enjoyed of late when they are on the road. In addition to setting the single-season school records for most wins (27) and most Pac-10 wins (16), the Sun Devils also set a new standard for most road wins in a season with 10 against only one defeat. In fact, the Sun Devils are now 14-1 in their last 15 road games going back to the 2005-06 season.
FOUR SUN DEVILS EARN ALL-PAC-10 HONORS
Arizona State senior forwards Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg were named to the All-Pacific-10 Team, leading a group of four Sun Devils who received all-league honors. With the honor, Westerberg is the first Sun Devil to be named to the All-Pac-10 Team three times.
In addition to Johnson and Westerberg's accolades, sophomore guard Briann January was named All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention and guard Dymond Simon was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. The All-Pac-10 and All-Freshman Teams were determined by a vote of the league's 10 head coaches.
One of the Pac-10's most accurate shooters, Johnson led the team and finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.554). Johnson's play was one of the most important factors in helping the Sun Devils win a school record 16 Pac-10 games this season. During ASU's recent nine-game winning streak Johnson led the team in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game. Last month Johnson was named the Pac-10's Player of the Week after 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). She had career-bests in points (27) and field goals (12) in the Oregon State win, the most by a Sun Devil in either category since December of 2005.
The team leader in points per game (13.7) and second in rebounds per game (5.2), Westerberg's steady play has helped the Sun Devils to a school record 28 wins this season. One of ASU's 2006-07 co-captains along with Johnson, Westerberg has led or tied for the team lead in scoring 11 times this season and has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding five times. She has scored in double figures in 22 of the 28 games she played in. Named to the Naismith Award Watch List earlier this season and currently a finalist for Kodak All-America honors, Westerberg finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.852) and No. 8 in field goal percentage (.526).
One of the Pac-10's top defenders, who is also known for her outstanding playmaking ability, January picked up right where she left off last season when she was named to the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team. During the regular season January led the Sun Devils in both assists (4.2 apg, fourth in the Pac-10) and steals (2.2 spg, second in the Pac-10). She also finished fifth in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio and ninth in free throw percentage (.789). January has had two or fewer turnovers 18 times this season, and had one or zero turnovers 12 times. In addition, January has scored in double figures 14 times this season, including 10 times in ASU's last 15 games. Her best offensive performance of the year came in ASU's 80-69 win at UCLA, when she 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).
One of ASU's top newcomers entering the 2006-07 season, Simon was having a stellar season before suffering a torn ACL in ASU's 62-54 win vs. USC (Jan. 21). At the time of her injury, Simon, who averaged 17.1 minutes in 20 games, was third on the team in scoring (9.7 points per game) and second on the team in steals (1.6 per game). Simon, who scored in double figures seven times this season, earned Pac-10 Player of the Week kudos after averaging 20 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in ASU wins vs. Washington State (Jan. 4) and Washington (Jan. 7). In the two games Simon connected on 78.9 percent of her shots, including 4-of-5 from three-point range (80 percent). She scored a career-best 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting (.818) and tied her career-best with five assists in ASU's victory over the Cougars. Against the Huskies, Simon was equally efficient scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting (.800) to go along with one assist and one steal.
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). Simon was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team despite being sidelined the second half of the Pac-10 season.
WESTERBERG BECOMES FIRST SUN DEVIL TO EARN ALL-PAC-10 HONORS THREE TIMES
Last week Arizona State senior F Emily Westerberg was named a finalist for Kodak All-America honors. For Westerberg the honor was the latest in a career that has been one of the most decorated in school annals. Earlier this month Westerberg made history when she became the first ASU player ever to earn All-Pac-10 honors three times.
Earlier in the season 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.
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).
Throughout the 2006-07 season Westerberg's steady play has been instrumental in leading the Sun Devils to a single-season school record for most wins. She was named Most Valuable Player of the season opening Veterans Day Classic after averaging 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in wins over Nebraska, New Mexico and Florida Atlantic. She added 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 has put up double figures in points 23 times in 29 games this season. She has led or tied for the team lead in scoring 11 times this season and has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding five times. Westerberg finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.852) and No. 8 in field goal percentage (.526).Earlier this season she 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 1,299 career points, needs 65 points to pass former Sun Devil Kristen Kovesdy (1,263 points from 2003-06) for No. 5 on the school's all-time scoring list. Is also currently No. 5 on ASU's all-time list in free throw percentage (.792), No. 5 in career free throws (335) and tied for No. 7 in field goals (456).
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.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?
Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne added another great accomplishment to her coaching dossier earlier this season when the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll revealed that the Sun Devils were ranked No. 7 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 (155) in the Pac-10 Conference. On Feb. 24 at Arizona, Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to their 26th win of the season and their 16th Pac-10 win of the season (both school records). Turner Thorne is currently No. 5 among Pac-10 coaches in all-time victories with 200. On Feb. 1 she earned the 100th Pac-10 win of her career with the Sun Devils' 75-64 win at Washington. She reached another milestone on Mar. 4 when the Sun Devils defeated California 60-53 in the Pac-10 semifinals. The win was the 200th for Turner Thorne at ASU.
The Sun Devils are 35-3 in their last 38 regular season games (includes 25-2 mark in their last 27 regular season Pac-10 games) going back to the 2005-06 season. Included during the 38-game span is a 14-1 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 won their last seven regular season games after 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
Of the teams with at least one loss who are currently ranked in the AP Top 25, ASU, Duke, UConn, Bowling Green and Wisconsin-Green Bay are the only schools that did not lose a game by double digits in 2006-07. The last time ASU dropped a regular season game by more than nine points was on Feb. 5, 2005 when it lost 67-53 at Stanford.
The Sun Devils have nine active players who are averaging at least 12.1 minutes per game. Leading the way is junior G Reagan Pariseau who is averaging 25.1 minutes per game. At the time of her injury, freshman G Dymond Simon was averaging 17.1 minutes per game.
ASU is 18-0 this season in games in which it out-rebounds the opposition.
The Sun Devils are 39-4 the last two seasons when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents.
ASU led the Pac-10 in home attendance this season, 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 completing a sweep of the Washington schools for the second consecutive season. The Sun Devils went on the road and defeated Washington (75-64 on Feb. 1) and Washington State (66-41 on Feb. 3). Jill Noe averaged 16.5 points and six rebounds while also hitting 73 percent of her shots (11-15) in the two wins.
The Sun Devils' winning streak reached four games after defeating Oregon (61-48) and Oregon State (78-63) in the final two home games for seniors Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg. Johnson would go on to be named the Pac-10's Player of the Week after averaging 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 3.0 steals and 2.0 assists in the two wins. She had career-bests in points (27) and field goals (12) in the Oregon State win, the most by a Sun Devil in either category since December of 2005.
Despite not having Westerberg in the lineup (sprained ankle), ASU won its fifth straight game, by defeating USC 68-57 (Feb. 15) in Los Angeles. Johnson was once again the spark plug for the Sun Devils as she scored 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds and three blocks while playing a career-high 37 minutes.
The Sun Devils completed their second ever sweep of the Los Angeles schools by defeating UCLA 80-69. 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).
ASU closed out the regular season by setting a new school record with its 26th win of the season, which came over Arizona, 59-54 in Tucson. The Sun Devils needed four free throws by Westerberg in the final 14 seconds to clinch the win. Westerberg was a perfect 10-10 from the foul line against the Wildcats and she tied Johnson with a team-high 16 points.
The Sun Devils advanced to the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament for the third time in the six-year history of the event, falling to Stanford 62-55. The Sun Devils, who trailed by as many as 20 points, were down by 16 points with five minutes left when they went on a 13-0 run to cut the lead to three points with 1:12 remaining. That's as close as the Sun Devils would get as Stanford, which did not register a field goal in the final 6:14 of the game, converted its free throws in the end to take the game 62-55. Westerberg was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in the three games.
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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