ASU Women's Basketball Hosts Oregon on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 4, 2009

UP NEXT

After a pair of wins in the state of Washington last week, the Arizona State women’s basketball team begins the second half of Pac-10 play this week when it hosts the Oregon Ducks on Thursday (6:30 p.m. MT) and the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday (4 p.m. MT).

The Sun Devils (15-6, 7-2 Pac-10) have won their last seven games since dropping the first two games of the conference season to Stanford (64-61) and California (54-53) by a combined four points. 

The Sun Devils extended their winning streak last week with wins at Washington State (66-47) and at Washington (80-64). Junior guard Dymond Simon earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in the two wins. Also averaging double figures in points (10.0 ppg) was senior Briann January, who also added seven assists and six steals in the two games. Other big contributions came from Sybil Dosty (9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.0 bpg) and Becca Tobin, who had a career-best 13 points in the win over Washington State.

Oregon (8-19, 4-5 Pac-10) has dropped its last three games in league play after starting 4-2. The Ducks have won three of their four Pac-10 road games this season. Leading the Ducks in conference play have been junior guards Micaela Cocks (13.0) and Taylor Liley (12.2) who have combined to average 25.2 points in Pac-10 games.

ON THE AIR

Arizona State’s game vs. Oregon can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 6 p.m. Craig Grialou will be on hand to call the play by play. 

SERIES NOTES

While Oregon leads the all-time series with ASU 27-24, the Sun Devils have had more success of late, having won 16 of the 19 meetings between the two schools since the 2000-01 season, including the last eight in a row. ASU’s win in the first meeting of the 2000-01 season snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Ducks. 

In the first meeting earlier this season in Eugene, Lauren Lacey came off the bench to score a season-best 19 points as ASU defeated Oregon 81-53 for what was then its second straight victory during its current seven-game winning streak. Lacey was one of four Sun Devils who scored in double figures for Arizona State, which never trailed and never relinquished the double-digit lead it gained after Danielle Orsillo’s 3-pointer put the Sun Devils up 20-9 with 12:26 left in the first half. Also scoring in double figures for the Sun Devils were freshman Kimberly Brandon, who scored a career-best 11 points to go along with career-best numbers in rebounds (6) and steals (2), and Kayli Murphy and Orsillo, who added 10 points each. 

Last season the Sun Devils swept the season series for the fifth time in the last seven years, winning 63-50 in Eugene and 52-51 in Tempe. Lacey averaged 18.0 points (15-27 FGs/.555) in the two wins. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• The Sun Devils have won 81 percent (52-12) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. This weekend the Sun Devils are at home where they are a combined 35-6 since the 2004-05 season.

• ASU-Oregon in Tempe the last three years: Two times in the last three seasons the Sun Devils have needed a defensive stop on the final possession of the game to escape with a one-point win (44-43 in 2006 and 52-51 last season). Although it was not a last-second win, the Sun Devils had to overcome a 12-point deficit to win 61-48 in 2007.  

• ASU is currently on a season-best seven-game winning streak, which is its longest streak since it won nine straight during the second half of the 2006-07 season.  The Sun Devils set a school record with 10 straight wins in 2005-06.

• In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 1), ASU was fourth in the nation three-point FG percentage (.401), fourth in assists per game (17.9), 14th in field goal percentage (.455) and 18th in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percent, rebounds allowed per game (31.0), turnover margin (+4.7) and steals (11.0 spg - tied w/UCLA) and are second in field goal percentage, scoring margin (+15.9), scoring defense (55.4 ppg), assists (17.9 apg), blocked shots (4.6 bpg), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).  

• During ASU’s current seven-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 50.4 points per game and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 23.0 points. In fact, the Sun Devils are allowing an average of only 21.6 points in the first half of their last seven games. In addition, the opposition has shot only 26 percent from three-point range (16-62). The Sun Devils have also forced an average of 22.9 turnovers per game and averaged more than double the number of assists as their opponents (18.6-7.7).

Dymond Simon, the current Pac-10 Player of the Week, has led the Sun Devils in scoring during their current winning streak (15.0 ppg). In her last five games Simon has averaged 17.2 points and 5.0 assists.

• In Pac-10 play ASU has three of the top five leaders -- Briann January (second), Danielle Orsillo (third) and Dymond Simon (fifth) -- in assist-to-turnover ratio. During ASU’s winning streak the trio has combined for 91 assists and only 36 turnovers. January has 35 assists and only nine turnovers during that span.

• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, senior guard Briann January became ASU’s all-time assists leader. January currently has 480 assists in her career. With 245 career steals January is currently second on ASU’s all-time list. Entering Thursday’s game, January is sixth in the nation in both three-point FG percentage (.459) and assist-to-turnover ratio. She leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.2 apg), steals (2.5 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio and is second in 3-point FG pct.  

• Senior forward Lauren Lacey is currently No. 2 in the Pac-10 in FG percentage in conference games (.559).

• As a team the Sun Devils need only seven more blocks to break the school record of 102, which was set last season. The Sun Devils also need 21 more 3-point field goals to break the school record of 135 which was set in 2000-01.

• ASU’s leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently sixth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.6 rebounds per game. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 72 career blocks, Dosty needs eight blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list.

NO WAKE UP CALL NEEDED

One characteristic of ASU’s current seven-game winning streak has been its ability to start fast. The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 63-27 in the opening five minutes of their last seven games. On two occasions (at Oregon State and vs. Arizona) the Sun Devils did not allow a single point in the first five minutes and on two others (vs. UCLA and at Washington State) they had allowed only two points. Overall the Sun Devils have averaged an 11.0-point lead (32.5-21.5) at the half of their last seven games.

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. 4 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.401). Currently with 115 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 (45), Dymond Simon (30) and Danielle Orsillo (17), who have combined for 92 of ASU’s 115 triples. Earlier this season the Sun Devils hit a school record 14 3-pointers in a 73-59 win at UC Davis. Leading the way was January, who tied the school record with seven makes from downtown. 

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 25 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), fewest three-point field goals made (0 - twice) and attempted (2), most blocks 10 - tied with Arizona) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice - tied with Oregon State). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half nine times this season, including 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 21 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation’s elite in the category. Currently ASU is fourth in the country averaging 17.9 assists per game. The Sun Devils have dished out 20 or more assists seven 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.

SUN DEVILS SIGN THREE

Two local standouts who have achieved exceptional success and a top-notch guard from California highlighted the 2008 women’s basketball signing class for Arizona State announced by Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne in November. Joy Burke, Deja Mann and Markisha Patterson all signed letters of intent to study and play basketball at ASU. 

A 6-foot-5 post player, Burke was named to The Arizona Republic’s All-Arizona team in 2008 in addition to earning second-team All-Tribune honors from the East Valley Tribune following a season in which she led Tempe Marcos de Niza to the state quarterfinals. During her decorated junior season, Burke averaged 19.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game. 

A 5-foot-8 combo guard, Mann will be joining the Sun Devils from Merced High School in Merced, Calif. Mann, who was sidelined because of injury her junior season, had an outstanding sophomore campaign in which she averaged nearly 16 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists per game on her way to being named the Central California Conference MVP. Mann, who averaged 14.1 points per game as a freshman, also starred on the Modesto Magic club team this past summer. An outstanding shooter, Mann ranked No. 25 on hoopgurlz.com’s best “Gunners” of the summer. 

A 5-foot-8 guard, Patterson will be coming to ASU from Central Arizona College where last season she helped lead her team to a runner-up finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association championships. Known as a defensive specialist at Central Arizona, Patterson is very familiar with what it takes to win championships. In 2007, she helped lead Tolleson High School to the Class 5A Division II state title after she scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the championship game.

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 2008-09 January has experienced anything but an SI jinx as she currently leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (5.2), steals per game (2.5) and assist to turnover ratio, is second in three-point FG pct (.459), third in free throw percent (.853) and fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.1). Already ASU’s all-time leader in career assists (480), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU’s all-time leaders in steals and free throws. Currently she is second in steals (245, needs 46 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander) and third in free throws (358, needs 30 to pass Kym Hampton for second place). 

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 17.2 points and 5.0 assists in ASU’s last five games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 17 times in 20 games this season, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). Earlier this week Simon was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week after averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in wins at Washington State and at Washington. She is currently first on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg), is second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (30) and assists (3.5 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage (.893).

THE CENTER OF ATTENTION

One of the central figures in the success of ASU’s interior game has been center Sybil Dosty. The senior from Tucson, Ariz., transferred to ASU in 2005 after spending her first two seasons at the University of Tennessee. In her first season as a Sun Devil in 2007-08 Dosty finished first on the team in both rebounding (6.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.540) while at the same time accumulating the fourth-highest single-season block total (40) in school history. This season Dosty has continued to build on last year’s success as she currently leads the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg), field goal percent (.534) and blocks (1.5 bpg) and is third in scoring (9.2 ppg). At her current rebounding pace Dosty would become only the third Sun Devil to average more than seven rebounds since 1996. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 72 career blocks, Dosty needs eight blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list.

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