No. 14 ASU Women's Basketball Team Faces No. 10 Oklahoma on Thursday
Nov. 21, 2007
Coming off a pair of double-digit victories, the No. 14/13 Arizona State women's basketball team (2-1) returns to action on Thanksgiving Day when it takes on the No. 10/11 Oklahoma Sooners in the 2007 Caribbean Challenge, taking place at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT/2 p.m. in Arizona.
ASU enters this week's Turkey Day contest on a two-game winning streak since falling to current No. 5/6 North Carolina in the season opening State Farm Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. The Sun Devils have won their last two games - vs. UC Santa Barbara (66-42) and vs. Yale (84-38) - by an average of 35 points.
Arizona State's game vs. Oklahoma can be heard live on KDUS 1060 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Sun Devils are 37-4 in their last 41 regular season games (includes 25-2 mark in their last 27 regular season Pac-10 games and 21-3 record in regular season non-conference games) going back to the 2005-06 season.
Thursday's game will be only the second ever meeting between ASU and Oklahoma. The Sun Devils defeated the Sooners 87-76 in 1997, Charli Turner Thorne's second season as ASU's head coach. Oklahoma will be the second Top-10 team ASU has faced in its first three games. The Sun Devils dropped a 75-60 decision to then-No. 8 North Carolina in the State Farm Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 11).
This is the second time that ASU has appeared in the Caribbean Challenge in the last three seasons. Two years ago the Sun Devils split games against against North Carolina (L, 79-72) and Mississippi State (W, 70-48).
Currently with 968 career points, senior guard Jill Noe needs 32 points to become the 18th player in Sun Devil history to score 1,000 career points. In addition, Noe needs seven three-point field goals (currently has 110) to pass former Sun Devil Molly Tuter (1994-97) for No. 5 on ASU's all-time list and eight more to pass former Sun Devil Amanda Levens (2000-02).
Since dropping their season opener against No. 8 North Carolina, the Sun Devils have bounced back in a big way with consecutive wins over UC Santa Barbara and Yale. In those two contests ASU ...
Outscored its opponents by an average of 75-40.
Shot 50 percent from the field while allowing its opponents to shoot an anemic 28.2 percent.
Outrebounded its opponents by an average of 25.5.
Had more than two times the number of assists as its opponents (43-18)
Individually speaking (last two games) ...
EARLY SEASON NOTES
The 38 points Yale scored in Monday's game represented the 10th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
In ASU's 66-42 win over UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 17), senior Jill Noe tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and narrowly missed becoming the first Sun Devil to record a triple-double since Ryneldi Becenti in 1992. For Noe, it is the third such time she has flirted with the feat. Last season she recorded 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a win over Northern Arizona and during her freshman season she posted 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in a win over Denver.
Through ASU's first three games junior Briann January is first on the team in assists per game (6.0), steals per game (2.7), made free throws (13) and free throw percent (92.9) and second in scoring (10.0 ppg).
Junior Lauren Lacey leads ASU in rebounding, averaging 7.7 per game. Her eight offensive rebounds are the most on the team.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced on Nov. 19 that junior guard Danille Orsillo will be out at least one month because of a bone bruise on her knee. Orsillo, who averaged 9.9 points per game last season, recorded a career-high 21 points in ASU's season-opening loss at North Carolina.
JANUARY NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PAC-10 TEAM
Arizona State junior guard Briann January was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team. The team was chosen by members of the conference's women's basketball media. January is coming off a season in which she earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors in helping lead ASU to a school record 31 wins and its first Elite Eight appearance in school history. In 2006-07, the 5-8, Spokane, Wash., product finished third in the Pac-10 in steals (2.1 per game), fourth in assists (4.0 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67), and sixth in free throw percentage (81.7). A starter in 34 games, January concluded her sophomore campaign first on the team in both assists and steals and second in both scoring (10.2 points per game) and free throw percentage.
HELP IS ON THE WAY
Without question, one of the biggest challenges facing ASU coming into the 2007-08 season is figuring out how it will compensate for the loss of All-Pac-10 performers Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg. In addition to being responsible for a combined 23.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in 2006-07 the duo also gave ASU a strong inside presence on both ends of the floor.
Enter junior transfers Sybil Dosty and Lauren Lacey. Biding their time since they last played a meaningful game in the spring of 2006, Dosty and Lacey are two players who are very eager to get on the floor and help the Sun Devils ascend to the top.
Both players got to take a bit of a test drive with their teammates in real competition during ASU's trip to Italy last May in which the Sun Devils squared off against four different teams from around the country.
Originally a native of Tucson, Dosty spent her first two collegiate seasons at the University of Tennessee where she was part of a Final Four team her freshman year. Lacey, who transferred from the University of Minnesota, was also part of two squads that went to the NCAA Tournament.
In ASU's first three games Lacey has led ASU in rebounding, averaging 7.7 per game. Dosty has seen brief action in ASU's first three games as she works her way back from a preseason knee injury. The leader in field goal percent age during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty has coonected on 50 percent of her shots (5-10).
SUN DEVILS WELCOME THE RETURN OF SIMON
In addition to gaining the services of Dosty and Lacey, the Sun Devils will also be benefiting from the return of sophomore Dymond Simon, who was named to the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team last season despite missing the second half of the Pac-10 season with a torn ACL.
'Dymond is a very special player who is critical in terms of our desires to take the next step as a program,' says ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'I think one of the strongest testaments to her ability as a player is the fact that the conference coaches still voted her onto the All-Freshman Team despite her missing the entire second half of the Pac-10 season.'
Prior to getting injured last season, Simon showed flashes of the brilliance that she used to helped lead her high school team to a pair of state championships. 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). Two weeks before getting injured, Simon was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after averaging 20 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in ASU's wins vs. Washington State and Washington.
According to Turner Thorne, Simon has found ways to improve her game even while recovering from the injury.
'We always challenge players when they are out to work on something more than maybe they otherwise would be able to. True to Dymond and her amazing commitment to be the best basketball player she can be, she worked tirelessly on her shot and that is what people are going to notice right away. Her shot is fluid and it looks great.'
Simon's return has already paid big dividends for the Sun Devils this season. In ASU's last two games (both wins), Simon led the Sun Devils in scoring (13.0 ppg).
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?
With its 67-49 win over Bowling Green in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2007 NCAA Tournament the Arizona State women's basketball team clinched its first ever appearance in the Elite Eight of the 'The Big Dance.' It was the latest `first time ...' for the Sun Devils under head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who continues to build on what is the most successful period in the program's history. Since the 2004-05 season the Sun Devils are 81-23, including a 6-3 record in NCAA Tournament games the last three seasons.
In 2005-06 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 in 2005-06 Turner Thorne was recognized being named the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region 8 Coach of the Year.
Now in her 12th 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 (160) in the Pac-10 Conference.
SUN DEVILS SIGN THREE
A pair of explosive posts from Southern California and a top guard from the Pacific Northwest, highlight the 2008 Arizona State women's basketball signing class announced by head coach Charli Turner Thorne.
Kimberly Brandon, Alex Earl and Janae Fulcher signed letters of intent to study and compete at Arizona State.
A 6-2 forward, Brandon is an exceptional talent, whose versatility and explosiveness will benefit the Sun Devils right away in 2008-09. Brandon, who is ranked the No. 92 overall player in the country (No. 22 at her position) by hoopgurlz.com, will be coming to ASU from Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, Calif., where in 2006-07 she averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in leading her team to the City Section title while earning all-league honors along the way.
A 5-10 guard, Earl has been a four-year member of the varsity squad at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore. The team leader in assists, steals and three-point field goals, Earl was named third-team all-state and first team all-league in 2007 following a season in which she helped lead the Skyhawks to their third consecutive 6A state title. A 2006-07 Street & Smith's Prep All-American Honorable Mention selection, Earl also earned all-league notice in 2005 and 2006, was named to the Oregon City `End of the Trail' All-Tournament Team in 2005 and 2006 (also earned MVP honors in '06), and played on Team Concept during the 2007 Nike Elite Regional Camp. In addition to her ability on the hardwood, Earl was also a four-year starter on Southridge's soccer team, earning second-team all-state honors in 2005 and first-team all-league honors in 2005 and 2007. Earl, whose father has coached basketball, was also a U.S. National Team member in 2004 and was on the Olympic Development Team for the state of Oregon for three years.
Fulcher will be coming to Tempe from Country Day High School in La Jolla, Calif., where the 6-3 post has averaged 9.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during her first three years on the varsity squad. Named team captain for the 2007-08 season, Fulcher is ranked the No. 15 post player by Girls Basketball Report in addition to being named an honorable mention All-American by The Sporting News and a McDonald's All-American nominee. Last season Fulcher averaged 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on her way to a bevy of honors, including All-CIF Div. IV First Team, UT All-San Diego Section First Team, Hall of Champions All-County First Team and Street & Smith's All-American Honorable Mention. Country Day would go on to be Coastal League champions and CIF SD Section Div. IV champions. In 2005-06, Fulcher nearly averaged a double-double every game with 9.9 points and 9.5 rebounds every time she stepped on the floor. She would go on to be named All-League First Team Coastal South, All-CIF Div. IV First Team and UT All-San Diego Section First Team in helping lead Country Day to Coastal League and CIF SD Section Div. IV titles before finishing as a Southern Regional runner-up.
The Sun Devils close out the 2007 Caribbean Challenge on Friday when they take on Iowa at 3:30 p.m. CT (2:30 p.m. in Arizona).