ASU Women's Basketball Faces USC on Saturday in Los Angeles
Feb. 29, 2008
The Arizona State women's basketball team closes out the regular season portion of the 2007-08 schedule on Saturday when it faces USC on Saturday (11 a.m. PT/noon MT) at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Winners of their last three contests, the Sun Devils have already clinched the No. 3 seed in next week's Pac-10 Tournament after defeating UCLA 73-67 on Thursday night. Briann January led ASU in its win over the Bruins as she scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half while Dymond Simon scored all 13 of her points in the first half. The Sun Devils shot 44 percent for the game while scoring 20 points off of UCLA's 19 turnovers. Led by juniors Lauren Lacey (11 points) and Sybil Dosty (10 points), ASU also had a 30-20 advantage in points in the paint.
USC (17-11, 10-7 Pac-10) has dropped its last two contests by a combined three points. The Women of Troy were defeated by a single point, 55-54, last Saturday in Corvallis and on Thursday night Arizona handed USC only its second home loss of the season, 64-62. USC played most of Thursday's loss against Arizona without its top scorer and rebounder Nadia Parker, who played only eight minutes after leaving the game with an injury.
This will be the second meeting between ASU and USC this season. In the first game way back on Dec. 30, the Sun Devils overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to top the Women of Troy 66-63 in Tempe. ASU scored the first 10 points of the second half and followed that with an 11-2 run to take a 50-42 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game. USC battled back and eventually got within two at 62-60 with 1:05 left, however the Sun Devils hit four free throws in the final 65 seconds to snap USC's four-game winning streak. Juniors Lauren Lacey (16 points) and Sybil Dosty (15 points) combined for 31 points to lead the Sun Devils.
ASU will look to remain unbeaten in the Galen Center, which opened in the fall of 2006. The Sun Devils defeated USC there 68-57 last February and then a month later defeated UC Riverside and Louisville in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
ASU's game at USC can be seen live on Fox Sports Net. Jim Watson (play-play-play) and Mary Murphy (analysis) will call the game. The game can also be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 11:30 a.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
A win on Saturday would mark the first time in program history that ASU has won 20 or more games four consecutive seasons.
ASU is 38-6 in its last 44 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. This season 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 eight of their last 10 games.
ASU is 25-3 in the second half of Pac-10 play since the 2005-06 season.
ASU has won 18 of its last 21 Pac-10 contests away from home. Its program record of 12 straight Pac-10 wins on the road was snapped following a 70-60 loss at Cal on Feb. 14. The only other losses during the current stretch have been at Stanford (Dec. 30, 2006) last season and again this season (Feb. 16).
As of February 29, ASU is ranked in the top 3 of the Pac-10 in three-point FG pct. defense (1st, .252), assists (1st, 17.11 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (2nd, 0.88), rebounding defense (2nd, 32.8 rpg), field goal percentage (2nd, .444), steals (2nd, 9.43 spg), scoring defense (3rd, 58.4 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +6.6) and three-point FG pct (3rd, .336).
In the first half of their last three games the Sun Devils have outscored their opponents by an average of 15 points (37.0-22.0). Helping their cause has been a 52.3-36.1 advantage in shooting percentage.
Although USC has won 47 of the 60 all-time meetings, ASU has won five of the last six times the teams have met, including the last four in a row.
Junior post players Lauren Lacey and Sybil Dosty have combined to average 23.8 points and 12.6 rebounds in ASU's last five games. They have combined to make 58 percent of their shots during that span.
Dosty has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding seven times in ASU's last nine games, a span during which she has averaged 7.2 rebounds including 11 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2) and 11 at Cal (Feb. 14) ... Dosty (37 blocks this season) needs eight more blocks to pass Kym Hampton (1989-90 season) for third place on ASU's all-time list for most blocks in a season.
Reagan Pariseau has had a 25-9 assist-to-turnover ratio in ASU's last nine games. She has made nearly 60 percent (9-15) of her three-point field goal attempts in ASU's last five contests.
Jill Noe (1,162 career points) needs 32 points to tie Jodi Rathbun (1983-86) for ninth place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Also one of ASU's all-time top three-point threats (133 career three-point FGs) Noe needs one three-point FG to tie Crystal Cobb (1989-94) for second on ASU's all-time list. Noe is also currently eighth on ASU's all-time assists list with 352.
Currently with 355 career assists, Briann January needs 16 assists to move past former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1988-91) for sixth place on ASU's all-time list. In the steals category (currently ninth place with 189) she needs one more to pass Sandra Hamilton (1981-82) for sixth place and 10 more to move past O'Connor for fifth.
LACEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ASU junior forward Lauren Lacey was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week according to an announcement by Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen on Monday. Lacey averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals while connecting on nearly 73 percent (16-22) of her field goal attempts in ASU's wins over Washington State (Feb. 21) and Washington (Feb. 24). In the win against Washington State, Lacey scored 12 points (5-9 FGs) while recording four rebounds, one assist and one steal in addition to helping the Sun Devils limit the Cougars to the fewest points ever scored in a Pac-10 game (30). Against Washington, Lacey turned in a brilliant performance, recording career-best marks in field goals (11), points (25) and rebounds (11) in helping the Sun Devils defeat the Huskies 69-53. Fourteen of Lacey's points came in the first 20 minutes as the Sun Devils took a 38-23 lead at the half. The 11 field goals and 25 points are the most by a Sun Devil in both categories this season. Lacey now has three of the four highest single-game point totals by a Sun Devil this season. She also had 23 points at Oregon (Jan. 3) and 21 points vs. Oregon State (Jan. 31).
NOTES FROM THE SEASON
The 30 points Washington State scored against ASU (Feb. 21) represented the fewest number of points ever scored by a team in a Pac-10 game. It was also the 14th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
The Sun Devils had 22 assists in their win over Washington on Feb 24. It's the 18th 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 11 times this season.
Eighteen of ASU's 28 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 (then) 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 eight more blocks to break the school single-season record of 99 set by last year's squad.
The Sun Devils have had six games this season in which four players have scored in double figures, most recently at UCLA on Feb. 28.
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 35-2 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 contributed 23.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game while in ASU's last five contests they have made a combined 58 percent of their shots.
Lacey is currently leading the team in scoring (12.8 ppg, 14.2 ppg in Pac-10 games) and is second in rebounding (5.9 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 again exceed her single-game career-best with a 23-point performance at Oregon (Jan. 3). Lacey would top her career best for the fourth time this season with 25 points to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds in ASU's 69-53 win over Washington (Feb. 25). The 11 field goals and 25 points are the most by a Sun Devil in both categories this season. Lacey now has three of the four highest single-game point totals by a Sun Devil this season. She would go on to be named the Pac-10's Player of the Week the day following her performance against the Huskies.
The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty is currently shooting 55.0 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 (8.9 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (6.8 rpg). She has averaged 10.4 points and made 63 percent (24-38) of her field goal attempts in ASU's last five games. In addition Dosty has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding seven times in ASU's last nine games, a span during which she has averaged 7.2 rebounds including 11 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2) and 11 at Cal (Feb. 14)
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 (2.46 spg), is third in assists (4.61 apg) while ranking 15th in the Pac-10 and second on ASU in scoring (11.3 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 18 times, 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.
Currently with 355 career assists, Briann January needs 16 assists to move past former Sun Devil Karen O'Connor (1988-91) for sixth place on ASU's all-time list. In the steals category (currently ninth place with 189) she needs one more to pass Sandra Hamilton (1981-82) for sixth place and 10 more to move past O'Connor for fifth.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. At Stanford (Feb. 16) Simon scored 13 points in only 14 minutes of action before being forced to leave the game with a head injury. She remained sidelined for ASU's win against Washington State (Feb. 21) before returning for ASU's following game against Washington (Feb. 24).
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. In Pac-10 play Dosty is third on the team in scoring (9.0 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.9 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). Dosty (37 blocks this season) needs eight more blocks to pass Kym Hampton (1982-83 season) for third place on ASU's all-time list for most blocks in a season.
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 53 percent of her shots (10-19) during a recent seven-game stretch.
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 99-31, 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 (175) in the Pac-10 Conference.
WHAT'S COMING UP?
The Sun Devils will open up the 2008 Pac-10 Tournament at HP Pavilion in San Jose next Saturday (Mar. 8). As the No. 3 seed the Sun Devils will play at 11 a.m. PT/noon MT against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.