ASU Women's Basketball Faces Oregon on Saturday in Eugene

Jan. 9, 2009

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The Arizona State women's basketball team will look to even its record in Pac-10 play when it completes its trip to the state of Oregon with a Saturday matinee (2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT) against the Oregon Ducks.

After dropping their first two Pac-10 games by a combined four points to Stanford (64-61) and California (54-53) the Sun Devils (9-6, 1-2 Pac-10) bounced back with an impressive performance in a 61-36 win over Oregon State on Thursday night. Senior center Sybil Dosty scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half as the Sun Devils outscored the Beavers 35-14 in the final 20 minutes to turn a four-point halftime lead (26-22) into a 25-point win. Dymond Simon and Lauren Lacey both added 10 points for ASU, which had a plus-16 advantage in rebounding (47-31).

Oregon (5-8, 2-1 Pac-10) snapped a six-game losing streak last week with a 73-56 win over UCLA in Los Angeles. The Ducks made it two in a row with a 68-55 win over Arizona on Thursday. Junior guard Taylor Lilley scored 14 points to lead the Ducks, who closed the game on a 13-2 run in the final 2:22 after Arizona got within two points, 55-53, with 2:51 remaining.

Following Saturday's game the Sun Devils will return home for a three-game homestand beginning with Thursday's Field Trip Day contest against UCLA, which will begin at 11 a.m. MT.

ON THE AIR

Arizona State's game at Oregon can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060 and on the Sun Devil Sports Network (subscription-based service that can be accessed via www.thesundevils.com). Pre-game coverage will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.

SERIES HISTORY

Oregon leads the all-time series with ASU 27-23 (including a 16-8 advantage in games played in Eugene) dating back to the first meeting between the two teams in 1980-81. The Sun Devils have had more success of late, having won 15 of the 18 meetings between the two schools since the 2000-01 season. ASU's win in the first meeting of the 2000-01 season snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Ducks.Last season the Sun Devils swept the season series for the fifth time in the last seven years, winning 63-50 in Eugene and 53-52 in Tempe. Lauren Lacey averaged 18.0 points (15-27 FGs/.555) in the two wins. Lacey scored 14 of her 23 points in the second half of the first meeting in Eugene in which the Sun Devils used a 13-0 run in the final five minutes to break open a two-point game. The Sun Devils needed a last-second block by Sybil Dosty to hold off the Ducks, 52-51, in the rematch in Tempe. Briann January came through with a remarkable all-around performance, scoring 14 points to go along with four assists and five steals.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• The Sun Devils have won 79 percent (45-12) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. This week the Sun Devils are hitting the road for the first time in Pac-10 play where they are a combined 16-3 since the 2006-07 season.

• The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percent (.398) and rebounds allowed per game (29.7) and are second in field goal percentage (.447), assists per game (17.7), blocks per game (4.2), turnover margin (+3.7), steals per game (11.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio. In the most recent NCAA statistics (Jan. 5), ASU was fifth in three-point field goal percentage and 10th in assists per game.

• With five assists against California last Sunday, senior guard Briann January became ASU's all-time assists leader. January now has 450 assists in her career. With 232 career steals January is currently third on ASU's all-time list. She needs two more steals to pass Carrie Buckner (2001-05) for second place. January leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.3 apg) and steals (2.7).

• Currently with 35 three-point field goals this season, January has already surpassed her single-season best of 32 set last season. January is currently No. 15 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.467).

• Junior guard Dymond Simon has averaged 14.2 points in her last five games.

• Senior forward Lauren Lacey has made 54 percent of her shots in ASU's last six games, including 63 percent (5-8) from beyond the arc. In her most recent outing at Oregon State on Thursday, Lacey scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

• ASU's leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently fifth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.9 rebounds per game. Dosty had her sixth double-digit rebounding performance of the season with 11 against Stanford on Jan. 2 Dosty is averaging 8.8 rebounds in ASU's last six games. Five of Dosty's six double-digit scoring performances this season have come in ASU's last nine games, including a 12-point outing at Oregon State on Thursday in which she scored 10 points in the second half.

RESERVATIONS FOR THREE

Coming into the 2008-09 season, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said she expected the Sun Devils to have an improved perimeter game from last season when they shot slightly more than 33 percent from beyond the arc. 'We were an ok perimeter shooting team last year; but not great,' Turner Thorne said before the season. 'I think this might be one of the best perimeter shooting teams we have had in my tenure at ASU.' Thus far it would appear the Sun Devils have proven Turner Thorne right as they are currently first in the Pac-10 and No. 5 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.398). Currently with 86 three-point FGs this season the Sun Devils are on pace to shatter the school's single-season record of 135 triples set by the 2004-05 team. Leading the way are guards Briann January (35), Dymond Simon (21) and Danielle Orsillo (12), who have combined for 68 of ASU's 86 triples.

YOU CAN'T SPELL DEVILS WITHOUT `D'

If there is one thing ASU head coach Charli Turner Throrne's teams have become known for over the years it is defense. The Sun Devils offered another reminder of their excellence in defending on Dec. 6 when they defeated UC Irvine 75-23 to set the single-game Pac-10 record for the fewest points ever allowed by a Pac-10 team. It's the second time in as many seasons that the Sun Devils have set a conference record for fewest points in a game. Last season the Sun Devils set the standard for the fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game in their 59-30 win over Washington State. Since the 2005-06 season the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points 22 times. This season the Sun Devils have accounted for several single-game defensive superlatives in the Pac-10, including fewest points (23), lowest field goal percentage (.209), fewest field goals (9 - tied with Oregon State), fewest field goal attempts (38), blocks (9 - tied with Stanford) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half six times this season, most recently in their win over Oregon State (Jan. 8) in which the Sun Devils held the Beavers to 14 points in the second half to turn a four-point halftime lead (26-22) into a 25-point win (61-36).

IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE

Finishing 12th in the country in any statistical category would usually be considered great by most standards. That is unless of course a team is used to higher standards. After finishing among the nation's top 5 in assists in 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Sun Devils slipped to 12th last season. If the season's first 15 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation's elite in the category. At the start of the week ASU led the Pac-10 and was 10th in the country averaging 17.7 assists per game. The Sun Devils have dished out 20 or more assists four times this season, including a season-best 30 assists vs. Northern Arizona (Dec. 7), the second-highest single-game total in the Pac-10 this season.

SIMON SAYS ...

Like fellow guard Danielle Orsillo, junior Dymond Simon knows the experience of having to rebound from a season ending injury. In 2006-07, Simon quickly made a name for herself as one of the top freshman in the Pac-10 before a knee injury ended her season midway through the conference season. In 2007-08 Simon played in 30 games, as she tirelessly worked to regain her high level of play while at the same time still enduring effects from the injury. By the time last March rolled around Simon was once again at the top of her game, earning All-Pac-10 Tournament recognition after averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists in ASU's two tournament games, including a season-best 22 points in the semifinals against Cal. Fast forward to this season and Simon, who has averaged 14.2 points in her last five games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 12 times in 14 games this season, including a season-best 21 points at Texas (Dec. 18). She is currently second on the team to Briann January in scoring (12.8 ppg), three-point FGs (21) and assists (2.8) and is first in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage (.933).

JANUARY CONTINUES TO DISTINGUISH HERSELF AS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY

Undoubtedly one of the integral components of ASU's success in recent years has been the play of senior Briann January. Since she arrived in Tempe in 2005, the 5-8 guard from Spokane, Wash., has proven time and again to be one of the most explosive players in the nation on both ends of the floor. Last season January was named the first ever Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in addition to earning Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors for a campaign in which she finished first in the Pac-10 in steals (2.18 spg) and free throw percentage (.864), third in assists (4.39 apg), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio and 15th in scoring. Earlier this season January was recognized for her outstanding play in being one of six women's college basketball players around the country to share (along with All-America candidate sophomore James Harden from the Arizona State men's basketball team) a regional cover on Sports Illustrated's College Basketball Preview. Thus far in 2008 January has experienced anything but an SI jinx as she currently leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (5.1), steals per game (2.7) and assist to turnover ratio, is second in three-point FG pct (.467), third in 3-point FGs per game (2.3), seventh in free throw pct. (.800) and ninth in scoring (13.0 ppg). Already ASU's all-time leader in career assists (450), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU's all-time leaders in steals and free throws. Currently she is third in steals (232, needs two to pass Carrie Buckner for second place) and tied for fourth in free throws (340, needs 13 to pass Emily Westerberg for third place).

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