ASU Women's Basketball Faces No. 9 Cal in Berkeley on Thursday

Feb. 13, 2008

UP NEXT Currently on a five-game winning streak, the Arizona State women's basketball team travels to the Bay area this week to take on a pair of top 10 teams in the form of No. 9 California (Thurs., 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and No. 6 Stanford (Sat., 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT).

The Sun Devils (16-7, 10-2 Pac-10) are currently in third place in the Pac-10, one-half game behind Stanford (22-3, 11-2 Pac-10) and one and one-half games behind front running Cal (21-3, 12-1 Pac-10). This week's games will both be rematches of games played last month in Tempe. In those games the Sun Devils came up short, falling to Cal 64-51 and Stanford 60-56.

In the game against Cal, the Sun Devils got off to a slow start, as the Golden Bears scored the first 16 and 33 of the first 43 points to build a 23-point, 33-10, lead with 2:54 left in the first half. A furious ASU rally over the next 10 minutes of game time saw the Sun Devils get within four points, 40-36, with more than 13 minutes remaining in the game. However the Golden Bears answered ASU's comeback effort by scoring seven of the next eight points to reclaim a double-digit lead. The Sun Devils would get no closer than five points the rest of the way as the Golden Bears snapped ASU's four-game winning streak in the series.

Cal is currently on a four-game winning streak and is off to its best start in school history after winning 21 of its first 24 games. The Golden Bears have won 14 of their last 15 games with their only loss over that span coming to Stanford, 72-52 in Palo Alto.

Thursday's game features two of the top defensive teams in the Pac-10 as the Golden Bears and Sun Devils are ranked first (52.8 ppg) and third (58.1 ppg), respectively in points allowed per game and first (32.5 rpg) and second (33.1 rpg), respectively, in rebounds allowed per game.

This week begins a stretch for the Sun Devils in which they will play four of their final six regular season games on the road. After this weekend the Sun Devils will return home to face the Washington schools (Feb. 21 & 24) and will conclude the Pac-10 season in Los Angeles when they face UCLA (Feb. 28) and USC (Mar.1).

RADIO

ASU's game at California can heard live on KXAM 1310 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 7:30 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

• ASU is 35-4 in its last 39 regular season Pac-10 games going back to the middle of Pac-10 play in 2005-06. 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. The Sun Devils were off to their best ever conference start after winning their first five Pac-10 games before losing to Cal (Jan. 17) and Stanford (Jan. 20) at home. They have since won their last five games.

• ASU is 20-1 in the second half of Pac-10 play since the 2005-06 season.

• The Sun Devils have won 17 of their last 18 Pac-10 contests away from home, including the last 12 in a row. The only blemish during that stretch was a 77-71 setback at Stanford last season (Dec. 30, 2006).

• Overall ASU has won 13 of the last 17 meetings against Cal since the 2000-01 season. Cal's 64-51 win over ASU last month snapped ASU's four-game winning streak. ASU swept the regular season series last season, winning 74-58 in Berkeley (Dec. 28) and 66-54 in Tempe (Jan. 25) and defeated the Golden Bears a third time in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament 60-53.

• The Sun Devils are ranked in the top 3 of the Pac-10 in three-point FG pct. defense (1st, .219), assists (1st, 17.13 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (2nd, 0.88), rebounding defense (2nd, 33.1 rpg), field goal percentage (2nd, .440), steals (2nd, 9.70 spg), scoring defense (3rd, 58.1 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +7.3), rebounding margin (3rd, +3.0), blocked shots and (3rd, 3.48 bpg).

• In the first half of their last six games the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents by an average of more than six points (28.5-22.3) compared to their first six games of Pac-10 play when they were outscored 31.3-28.8. While games are almost never won in the first half, a good start has certainly not hurt the Sun Devils this season as they have won 11 of the 12 games in which they have led at the half.

• ASU has outrebounded nine of its 12 opponents in conference play. In its last five games ASU has had an average rebounding margin of +6.6.

• Briann January has had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 33-14 in ASU's last seven games. January is currently second in the Pac-10 in assists (4.83 apg).

• Currently with 337 career assists, January needs three more assists to move past former Sun Devil Cassandra Lander (1980-83) for eighth place on ASU's all-time list. In the steals category (currently 10th place with 178) she needs five more to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for ninth place.

• Junior center Sybil Dosty (28 blocks this season) needs four more blocks to move past Rachel Holt (31 blocks in 1997-98) for eighth place on ASU's all-time list for most blocks in a single season.

• Jill Noe (1,128 career points) needs seven 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 (130 career three-point FGs) Noe needs five three-point FGs to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for third on ASU's all-time list. Noe is also currently 10th on ASU's all-time assists list with 330.

SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CALIFORNIA

ASU leads the all-time series with Cal 26-24. ASU has dominated the series recently, having won 13 of the last 17 meetings. ASU had taken four straight from Cal prior to last month 64-51 Golden Bear victory in Tempe.

The Sun Devils swept the regular season series last season, defeating the Golden Bears 74-58 in Berkeley (Dec. 28) and 66-54 in Tempe (Jan. 25). ASU also defeated the Golden Bears 60-53 in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament.

NOTES FROM THE SEASON

• The Sun Devils have already had two players named Pac-10 Player of the Week -- juniors posts Kirsten Thompson (Dec. 10) and Sybil Dosty (Dec. 31).

• The 42 points Oregon State scored against ASU on Jan. 31 represented the 13th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.

• The Sun Devils had 24 assists in their win over Oregon State on Jan. 31. It's the 17th time going back to the start of last season that ASU has recorded 20 or more assists in a single game. ASU is currently ranked No. 11 in the nation in assists (17.1 apg).

• ASU has held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half nine times this season.

• Seventeen of ASU's 23 opponents have shot 25 percent or less from three-point range.

• Guard Jill Noe is the only ASU player to have started every game this season.

• 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. As a team, the Sun Devils need 20 more blocks to break the school single-season record of 99 set by last year's 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.

• Sybil Dosty's 15 rebounds vs. UCLA were the most for a Sun Devil player since Kirsten Thompson had 15 vs. Nicholls State on Nov. 15, 2006.

• Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 33-2 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exceptions came this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic (held a 40-39 edge in rebounding) and when it lost to Stanford 60-56 (ASU held 39-35 rebounding advantage).

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 22.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.

Lacey is currently leading the team in scoring (12.7 ppg, 14.5 ppg in Pac-10 games) and is second in rebounding (6.0 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, who earlier this season had a streak of 13 consecutive games in which she scored in double figures, led ASU with 21 points in its win over Oregon State (Jan. 31), her fourth game with 20 or more points this season. Lacey has averaged 14.4 points while shooting 49.1 percent from the field during ASU's current five-game winning streak.

The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty is currently shooting 52.6 percent from the field (third in the Pac-10). 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 (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30). 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 third on the team in scoring (8.8 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (6.9 rpg). Currently with 28 blocked shots this season, Dosty needs four more blocks to move past Rachel Holt (31 blocks in 1997-98) for eighth place on ASU's all-time 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 free throw percentage (.864) and steals (2.52 spg), is second in assists (4.83 apg) while ranking 16th in the Pac-10 and second on ASU in scoring (11.6 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 16 times in 23 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 an assist-to-turnover ratio of 33-14 in ASU's last seven games in addition to averaging 11.9 points per game and making nearly 86 percent (24-28) of her free throws during that span.

Currently with 337 career assists, January needs three more assists to move past former Sun Devil Cassandra Lander (1980-83) for eighth place on ASU's all-time list. In the steals category (currently 10th place with 178) she needs five more steals to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for ninth place.

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. She scored a season-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in ASU's 69-60 come-from-behind win at Oregon State (Jan. 5). She added a career-high six assists in the rematch with the Beavers on Jan. 31.

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 12 games of Pac-10 play Dosty is third on the team in scoring (8.4 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 and had a career-best seven rebounds in ASU's win over Washington State on Jan. 26. She has connected on 57 percent of her shots (8-14) in ASU's last five games.

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 96-29, 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 (173) in the Pac-10 Conference.

WHAT'S COMING UP?

The Sun Devils face the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto on Saturday (1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT). The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net.

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