Sun Devils Host No. 7 Stanford on Sunday
Jan. 19, 2008
For the second time in as many games the Arizona State women's basketball team will be hosting on one of the of the top 10 teams in the country when the No, 7/6 Stanford Cardinal comes into Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday (2 p.m. MT) to take on the Sun Devils. The two dominant teams in the Pac-10 in recent years, Stanford and ASU have both been in the top two spots in the final conference standings six times in the last seven seasons and have squared in the final of the Pac-10 Tournament three times in the event's six-year history.
The Sun Devils (11-6, 5-1 Pac-10) will look to maintain their second-place standing in the Pac-10. They had their five-game winning streak snapped on Thursday as No. 8/9 California defeated ASU 64-51. Trailing by as many as 23 points (33-10), the Sun Devils nearly pulled off an improbable comeback getting as close as four points (40-36) with 13:21 remaining. After the Golden Bears scored five straight to increase their lead to nine points the Sun Devils could get no closer than five points the rest of the way. Briann January led the Sun Devils with 16 points. ASU registered 10 blocked shots against Cal, coming within one block of tying the school record.
Stanford (15-3, 5-2 Pac-10) has won three straight games since dropping back-to-back contests at UCLA (69-56) and at USC (73-72) the first week in January. Included among Stanford's 15 wins are victories over No. 5/5 Rutgers, previously top-ranked (current No. 2) Tennessee and No. 6/7 Baylor. The Cardinal is led by two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year Candice Wiggins, who is No. 2 in the Pac-10 in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game.
Sunday's game will be a part of the NCAA's 'Pack the House Challenge,' in which member schools compete nationally with their conference rivals to set attendance records, win great prizes, and grow the sport of women's basketball within their communities. The all-time attendance mark for an ASU women's basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena came on Dec. 21, 2004, when 8,927 fans saw ASU defeat then-No. 8 Connecticut 61-50.
ASU's game vs. Stanford can be seen live on Fox Sports Net. Ted Robinson (play-play-play) and Mary Murphy (analysis) will call the game. The game can also be heard live on KDUS 1060 and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 1:30 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ASU is 30-3 in its last 33 regular season Pac-10 games going back to the 2004-05 season. The Sun Devils closed the 2005-06 season by winning their final nine Pac-10 games. ASU set a school record last season by winning 16 of 18 Pac-10 games. Prior to Thursday's loss against California, ASU was off to its best ever start in Pac-10 play after winning its first five games. The Sun Devils are 35-4 in home Pac-10 games since the 2003-04 season.
The Sun Devils are ranked in the top 3 of the Pac-10 in assists (t-1st, 17.0 apg), three-point FG pct. defense (1st, .244), blocked shots (t-2nd, 3.4 bpg), free throw percentage (2nd, .708), steals (3rd, 9.41 spg), field goal percentage (3rd, .441), scoring defense (3rd, 59.9 ppg) and scoring margin (3rd, +6.9).
Although this is her first season in an ASU uniform, this will not be the first time that junior Lauren Lacey has faced Stanford. As a member of the University of Minnesota basketball team in 2005-06, Lacey scored 14 points in an 84-77 Minnesota victory.
In the five games that ASU and Stanford have played the last two seasons the average margin of victory has been six points.
In their last two games the Sun Devils have connected on nearly 91 percent of their free throw attempts (90.9).
In the second half of Pac-10 games the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents by an average of almost seven points (35.5-28.8). Defensively speaking, they have 11 more steals (31-20), five more blocks (10-5), have forced 15 more turnovers (67-52) and have allowed the opposition to shoot only 20 percent (5-25) from three-point range.
The Sun Devils are 23-2 when coming off a loss since the start of the 2004-05 season.
Currently with 1,088 career points, Jill Noe needs 47 points to move past Jovonne Smith (1989-92) for 11th place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Also one of ASU's all-time top three-point threats Noe (126 career three-point FGs) Noe needs eight three-point FGs to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for third on ASU's all-time list.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS STANFORD
Stanford holds a 43-11 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona State. The Cardinal has won the last three meetings and seven of the last eight overall. The average margin of victory in the last five meetings has been 6.0 points. Last season the Cardinal won all three meetings, defeating ASU 77-71 in Palo Alto, 73-65 (OT) in Tempe and 62-55 in the championship game of the Pac-10 Tournament.
In the Pac-10 Tournament game the Sun Devils nearly pulled off a brilliant comeback. Trailing by 16, 56-40, at the five-minute mark, the Sun Devils went on a 13-0 run to get within three points. Briann January led the furious rally with nine of the 13 points. The Sun Devils couldd get no closer as the Cardinal hit all six of its free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
The Cardinal won the front end of the 2006-07 series 77-71 win in Palo Alto. Kirsten Thompson (17 points) and Jill Noe (12 points) led the Sun Devils in scoring. Although they only turned the ball over a season-low eight times, the Sun Devils shot 37.3 percent in a game which they led 35-28 at halftime.
In the second meeting in Tempe the two teams combined for 10 ties and seven lead changes in the first 40 minutes of play which concluded with both teams tied at 59-59. The Cardinal would outscore the Sun Devils 14-6 in the extra session to grab a 73-65 victory.
The Sun Devils defeated the Cardinal 70-63 in the final of the inaugural Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament in 2002. ASU's lone victory at Stanford came during the 1983-84 season when the Sun Devils came away from Maples Pavilion with an 84-72 victory on March 3, 1984.
NOTES FROM THE SEASON
The 49 points Fresno State scored on Dec. 17 represented the 11th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
Twelve of ASU's 17 opponents have shot 25 percent or less from three-point range.
ASU's 10 blocks against California (Jan. 17) not only tied the single-game high in the Pac-10 this season, but also fell one block short of tying the program record which was accomplished by the 1992 squad.
The Sun Devils have had four games this season in which four players have scored in double figures.
In ASU's 66-42 win over UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 17), 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.
Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 29-1 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exception came earlier this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic. In that game ASU held a slight 40-39 edge on the boards.
While there really is no such thing as a 'good loss' the Sun Devils can take some solace in the fact that the six teams they have lost to this season have a combined record of 81-19 (.810) and an average RPI of 31.3 (according to CollegeRPI.com). ASU's five losses last season came to the national champion (Tennessee), the national runner-up (Rutgers) and the Pac-10 champions (Stanford).
HELP IS ON THE WAY
Without question, one of the biggest challenges facing ASU coming into the 2007-08 season was figuring out how it would 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 were two players who were 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.
Thus far in Pac-10 play Lacey and Dosty have combined for 25.2 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.
Lacey currently paces the Sun Devils in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). She led ASU with a (then) career-best 19 points in its win over Iowa on Nov. 23 and would surpass that total with 20 against Auburn (Dec. 2). She would once again exceed her single-game career-best with a 23-point performance at Oregon (Jan. 3). The 23 points represent the most points scored by a Sun Devils this season. Lacey has scored in double figures in ASU's last 13 games and has grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds three times during that span.
The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty is currently shooting 53.3 percent from the field. In late December Dosty averaged 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA and USC (66-63). The Tucson, Ariz., native averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the second half of both games in helping the Sun Devils overcome an eight-point deficit against the Bruins and an 11-point deficit against USC. Dosty was recognized for her performances against the Bruins and Trojans in being named the Pac-10's Player of the Week. In Pac-10 games Dosty is tied for third on the team in scoring (9.2 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (6.8 rpg). Currently with 21 blocked shots this season, Dosty needs four more blocks to move into ASU's top 10 list for most blocks in a single season.
JANUARY PLAYS WITH MARCH STATE OF MIND
This season ASU junior guard Briann January has shown time and again the type of play that has made her one of the top players in the Pac-10 Conference. January, who was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team, currently leads the conference in steals (2.59 spg) and free throw percentage (.865) and is second in assists (4.82 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64) while ranking second on ASU in scoring (11.8 ppg).
Last season January 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.
This season January has scored in double figures in 13 times in 17 games, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best. In ASU's 75-65 win at Arizona (Jan. 12), January turned in a performance that was nothing short of remarkable. After sitting out the entire week of practice with a knee injury January came off the bench to lead ASU with 19 points while connecting on all seven of her field goal attempts and both free throws, while also adding five assists, one block and one steal.
January has averaged 17.5 points (12-21 FGs, .571) and 4.5 assists in ASU's last two games.
SUN DEVILS WORK THROUGH EARLY SEASON INJURIES
When the announcement came down on Dec. 26 that junior guard Danielle Orsillo would miss the remainder of the 2007-08 season because of a knee injury, it capped an unlucky first two months of the season in which Sun Devil players missed a combined 17 games because of injuries.
Orsillo was originally diagnosed with a bone bruise in her left knee one week after scoring a career-best 21 points in ASU's season opener at North Carolina (Nov. 11). She would go on to miss ASU's next 10 regular season games before it was determined that she would miss the rest of the season. In 2006-07 Orsillo scored in double figures 16 times and was one of four Sun Devils to play in all 36 games.
Dymond Simon, a member of the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team last season, was limited early in the season as she returned from a torn ACL she suffered in January, 2007. She was having a strong outing against Texas Tech on Dec. 13, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes before being forced to leave the game after aggravating her knee injury. She would return to the game for two minutes before leaving again. Simon would go on to miss ASU's next two games, including the Sun Devils' 62-51 loss to Texas (Dec. 20). Simon returned in time for the start of conference play and her presence on the floor has had a big impact. In ASU's last four games Simon has averaged 12.0 points. Simon scored a season-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in ASU's 69-60 win at Oregon State (Jan. 5).
Junior post Sybil Dosty injured her knee earlier this fall and was forced to miss all of ASU's preseason practices. She averaged only 12 minutes in the first four games as she was slowly worked into the rotation. Through six games of Pac-10 play Dosty is tied for third on the team in scoring (9.2 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.8 rpg). She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30).
Junior guard Kate Engelbrecht suffered a hand injury during the first preseason practice and was forced to miss the rest of ASU's preseason workouts and its first two games. She scored a season-high eight points in ASU's win over Fresno State on Dec. 17.
Senior guard Reagan Pariseau missed ASU's games against Auburn (Dec. 2) and UC Davis (Dec. 9) after injuring her ankle early in ASU's win over Gonzaga on Nov. 30. She returned to action on Dec. 13 at Texas Tech and made an immediate impact, scoring nine points on 4-4 shooting. Although she was healthy for ASU's contest vs. Texas (Dec. 20), Pariseau would only play 22 minutes and was limited for much of that time after absorbing a blow to the head early in the game. Then, midway through the second half, Jill Noe, who came into the Texas game averaging 14 points in her previous five games, was forced to leave the game because of an ankle injury.
ORSILLO FEATURED IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Arizona State junior guard Danielle Orsillo was featured in 'The Year in Sports' issue (Dec. 31-Jan. 7) of Sports Illustrated for her community involvement. Orsillo, among other community endeavors, has spent more than 150 hours of her time the last two years at The Arc of Tempe, a recreation center for mentally disabled adults. Orsillo, whose brother Mark has Down syndrome, engages in various activities with others at The Arc, including cooking, playing video games and shooting hoops. The story touched on the friendship that has developed between Danielle and one of The Arc's regular attendees, Daniel Strelitz, who also has Down syndrome. Orsillo is currently sidelined for the season with a knee injury she sustained during the first week of the season.
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 91-29, 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 (168) in the Pac-10 Conference.
WHAT'S COMING UP?
The Sun Devils travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Washington (Thurs., Jan. 24, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and Washington State (Sat., Jan. 26, 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT).)
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