No. 25 ASU Women's Basketball Hosts UC Irvine in Saturday's First Day of ASU Classic
Dec. 6, 2008
Coming off a record-setting 73-59 win at UC Davis on Wednesday night, the Arizona State women's basketball team (4-2) returns to action this weekend when it hosts the ASU Classic. The Sun Devils kick off the weekend on Saturday when they host UC Irvine at 2 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. In the second game (approx. 4:30 p.m.) Hawaii will face Northern Arizona.
Saturday's game against UC Irvine will be ASU's first game at home since Nov. 16 when it defeated Tulane in the second round of the WNIT. Since then, the Sun Devils have traveled to Norman, Okla., for a game against then-second-ranked Oklahoma (Nov. 21) before traveling to The Bahamas for contests against Hofstra (Nov. 28) and Florida (Nov. 29) and finally Wednesday's win at UC Davis.
In the victory over UC Davis the Sun Devils hit a school record 14 3-pointers, including seven by senior guard Briann January, which tied the school record. January, who scored a career-best 25 points against the Aggies, scored ASU's first 12 points of the second half to help ignite a 17-4 run during which the Sun Devils broke open the game. Junior guards Dymond Simon (20 points) and Danielle Orsillo (10 points) also tallied season bests in scoring for the Sun Devils, who shot 50 percent from the field, including 61 percent (14-23) from beyond the arc.
For UC Irvine (3-2), Saturday's game will be the third of five consecutive which the Anteaters are playing on the road. Thus far they have won the first two games of the road swing defeating San Diego (58-53) and most recently Sacramento State on Wednesday (54-53). Playing a big part in the Anteaters' recent success is senior forward and 2008 All-Big West honorable mention selection Kelly Cochran, who missed the first three games of the season with a knee injury. Cochran has averaged 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in the two games since her return, including a team-high 15 points in UC Irvine's win over Sacramento State on Wednesday.
Regardless of Saturday's outcome, the Sun Devils will be playing at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday when they face either Hawaii or Northern Arizona. The Anteaters will then face either Hawaii or Northern Arizona at approximately 5 p.m.
ON THE AIR
Arizona State's game against UC Irvine can be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM and on the Sun Devil Sports Network (subscription-based service that can be accessed via www.thesundevils.com). Pre-game coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday's game can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ASU returns 11 players, including three starters -- guards Briann January and senior posts Sybil Dosty and Lauren Lacey -- from last season's team which went 22-11 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Sun Devils were ranked No. 17 and No. 18 in the preseason polls for the Associated Press and ESPN/WBCA Coaches, respectively. Now 4-2 the Sun Devils have slipped to No. 25 in both polls.
Senior guard Briann January is steadily making her way up ASU's lists of all-time leaders in assists, steals and free throws. Currently January is second in assists (405, needs 37 assists to pass Jodi Rathbun as ASU's all-time assists leader), fifth in steals (211, needs 11 to pass Molly Tuter for fourth place) and free throws (320, needs 17 to pass Karen O'Connor for fifth place). January also needs 19 points to reach 1,000 points for her career. January currently leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.7 apg) and steals (3.2 spg), is second in assist-to-turnover ratio and fifth in scoring (15.7 ppg).
In ASU's last three games, January has averaged 20 points, 6.0 assists and 3.3 steals. She has connected on 79 percent of her field goal attempts, including nearly 77 percent (13-17) of her 3-point field goal attempts.
As a team the Sun Devils come into this weekend's games leading the Pac-10 in 3-point FG pct. (.427), rebounds allowed (29.2 rpg), turnover margin (+5.2) and steals (13.3 spg - tied with Washington) and were second in free throw percentage (.750), assists per game (17.5) and blocked shots per game (4.3).
Junior Kayli Murphy, one of ASU's top performers during the offseason is expected to see her first action of the season this weekend. Murphy, who played in every game for the Sun Devils each of the last two seasons, missed ASU's first six games because of a hand injury incurred during the first week of practice in October.
Going back to the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 40-4 when they outrebound their opponent, including a 3-1 record this season.
ASU's leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently tied for seventh in the Pac-10, averaging 7.0 rebounds per game. Dosty was named to the WNIT's All-Tournament Team after averaging 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in ASU's three WNIT games. Last week against Florida, Dosty pulled down a season-best 12 rebounds.