No. 14/15 ASU Women's Basketball Hosts No. 18/20 Auburn in Verizon Wireless ASU Classic Championship Game

Dec. 2, 2007

UP NEXT

The No. 14/15 Arizona State women's basketball team will go for its third consecutive win on Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m.) when it hosts the No. 18/20 Auburn Tigers in the championship game of the 2007 Verizon Wireless ASU Classic. The game will be preceded by the consolation game of the tournament between UC Riverside and Gonzaga, which is scheduled to begin at noon MT.

ASU reached the championship game with a 78-60 win over Gonzaga on Friday night. Senior Jill Noe and junior Sybil Dosty scored 16 points apiece to lead the Sun Devils. In the second half of the doubleheader, the Tigers came through with a dominating performance of their own in a 64-47 win over UC Riverside.

Auburn will be the third ranked team the Sun Devils have faced this season. ASU opened its season with a 75-60 setback at then No. 8/7 (current No. 4) North Carolina and last week fell to then No. 10/11 (currently No. 9) Oklahoma. Auburn will also be the second unbeaten team ASU has faced in as many weeks. Last week the Sun Devils pulled out a 60-58 win over Iowa, which came into the game with a 4-0 record.

The Sun Devils have won the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic the last six years. Last season the Sun Devils defeated Boston University and Northern Arizona for the championship. Danielle Orsillo (currently sidelined because of injury) earned tournament MVP honors by scoring a career-best 19 points in both contests. Also coming through with key performances were guard Briann January (averaged 14.5 pts, 3.5 rebs and 3.0 asts), center Kirsten Thompson (averaged 16.5 pts and 7.0 rebs) and Noe, who came up just short of a triple-double with 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the championship game against NAU. Both January and Thompson were named to the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic All-Tourney Team.

RADIO

Arizona State's game vs. Auburn can be heard live on KDUS 1060 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 2 p.m. Craig Grialou will call the action.

Game No. 7No. 14/15 Arizona State(4-2)vsNo. 18/20 Auburn(7-0)Sunday, December 2, 20072:30 p.m. • Wells Fargo Arena • Tempe, Ariz.

UP NEXT The No. 14/15 Arizona State women's basketball team will go for its third consecutive win on Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m.) when it hosts the No. 18/20 Auburn Tigers in the championship game of the 2007 Verizon Wireless ASU Classic. The game will be preceded by the consolation game of the tournament between UC Riverside and Gonzaga, which is scheduled to begin at noon MT. ASU reached the championship game with a 78-60 win over Gonzaga on Friday night. Senior Jill Noe and junior Sybil Dosty scored 16 points apiece to lead the Sun Devils. In the second half of the doubleheader, the Tigers came through with a dominating performance of their own in a 64-47 win over UC Riverside. Auburn will be the third ranked team the Sun Devils have faced this season. ASU opened its season with a 75-60 setback at then No. 8/7 (current No. 4) North Carolina and last week fell to then No. 10/11 (currently No. 9) Oklahoma. Auburn will also be the second unbeaten team ASU has faced in as many weeks. Last week the Sun Devils pulled out a 60-58 win over Iowa, which came into the game with a 4-0 record. The Sun Devils have won the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic the last six years. Last season the Sun Devils defeated Boston University and Northern Arizona for the championship. Danielle Orsillo (currently sidelined because of injury) earned tournament MVP honors by scoring a career-best 19 points in both contests. Also coming through with key performances were guard Briann January (averaged 14.5 pts, 3.5 rebs and 3.0 asts), center Kirsten Thompson (averaged 16.5 pts and 7.0 rebs) and Noe, who came up just short of a triple-double with 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the championship game against NAU. Both January and Thompson were named to the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic All-Tourney Team.

RADIO

Arizona State's game vs. Auburn can be heard live on KDUS 1060 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 2 p.m. Craig Grialou will call the action.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• Currently with 991 career points, senior guard Jill Noe needs nine points to become the 18th player in Sun Devil history to score 1,000 career points. In addition, Noe needs three three-point field goals (currently has 114) to pass former Sun Devil Molly Tuter (1994-97) for No. 5 on ASU's all-time list and five more to pass former Sun Devil Amanda Levens (2000-02) for No. 4 on the all-time list.

• This will be only the second ever meeting between ASU and Auburn. Coincidentally, the only other time the two teams played was in the very same tournament 10 years ago (Dec. 21, 1997) when the Tigers defeated the Sun Devils 56-52 in the championship game of the tourney.

• In ASU's last two games, junior guard Briann January has hit 66.7 percent of her shots, including 50 percent (3-6) from three-point range and hit 87 percent of her free throws (13-15).

• Junior posts Lauren Lacey (16.0) and Sybil Dosty (14.0) have averaged a combined 30 points in each of ASU's last two games. Lacey scored a career-best 19 points (8-12 FGs) in ASU's 60-58 win over Iowa. She followed that with 13 points (6-10 FGs) in the Sun Devils' 78-60 victory against Gonzaga on Friday night. Dosty tied her career best with 12 points against Iowa (5-7 FGs) and would surpass that mark with 16 points (6-9 FGs) against Gonzaga. The duo has combined to shoot 65.7 percent (25-38) in those two games.

EARLY SEASON NOTES

• The 38 points Yale scored on Nov. 19 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 six games junior Briann January is first on the team in scoring (10.7 ppg) assists per game (4.3 apg), steals per game (2.7 spg), made free throws (21) and free throw percent (.875).

• Junior Lauren Lacey leads ASU in rebounding, averaging 5.8 per game. Her 15 offensive rebounds are the most on the team.

• Head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced on Nov. 19 that junior guard Danielle 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.

• Junior Kate Engelbrecht missed the first two games of the season because of a hand injury suffered on the team's first official day of practice in October.

• Senior guard Reagan Pariseau was forced to leave ASU's game against Gonzaga (Nov. 30) because of an ankle injury. According to Turner Thorne, Pariseau's status is 'day-to-day.' Her availability for Sunday's game against Auburn is questionable.

IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE

The Sun Devils had a season-best 26 assists in Friday's win over Gonzaga. It's the 13th time going back to the start of last season that ASU has recorded 20 or more assists in a single game. The Sun Devils have finished in the nation's top five in assists each of the last two seasons, finishing second last season (18.1 apg) and fourth in 2005-06 (18.4 apg).

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.

Thus far in 2007-08, January has wasted no time in picking up where she left off last season. She is currently first on the team in scoring (10.7 ppg) assists per game (4.3 apg), steals per game (2.7 spg), made free throws (21) and free throw percent (.875).

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 six games, Lacey has led ASU in rebounding, averaging 5.8 per game. She led ASU with a career-best 19 points in the Sun Devils' win over Iowa on Nov. 23. The leader in field goal percent age during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty has connected on 54.8 percent of her shots (17-31). She tied her career-best with 12 points in ASU's 60-58 win over Iowa on Nov. 30 and then would surpass that mark with 16 points in ASU's 78-60 win over Gonzaga on Nov. 30. Lacey (16.0) and Dosty (14.0) have averaged a combined 30 points in each of ASU's last two games. The duo has combined to shoot 65.7 percent (25-38) in those two games.

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. She is currently averaging 8.3 points per game.

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 (162) 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.

UP NEXT

The Sun Devils will take a few days off for finals before resuming action next Sunday (Dec. 9) when it hosts UC Davis at 1 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.

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