ASU Women's Basketball Hosts Washington on Thursday
Feb. 25, 2009
The No. 24 Arizona State women’s basketball team concludes the home portion of its 2008-09 schedule this week when it hosts Washington on Thursday (6:30 p.m. MT) and Washington State on Saturday (4 p.m. MT).
The Sun Devils (20-6, 12-2 Pac-10) extended their current school record winning streak to 12 games last week following their 60-53 win at Arizona. Dymond Simon scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half to lead ASU. The Sun Devils trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and by nine points with 15 minutes left in the game before going on a 23-4 run over the next 10 minutes.
Washington (6-19, 2-13 Pac-10) is coming off a split against the Los Angeles schools last weekend, beating UCLA 59-49 and falling to USC 77-53. The Huskies are led offensively by junior G/F Sami Whitcomb, who scored a career-best 29 points against the Sun Devils last month in Seattle in a game won by ASU 80-64.
This weekend’s contests will be the final home games for Sun Devil seniors Sybil Dosty, Kate Engelbrecht, Nia Fanaika, Briann January, Lauren Lacey and Kirsten Thompson. Over the last three-plus seasons they have combined to help the Sun Devils win 98 games and have been a part of the most successful era in Sun Devil women’s basketball history, which includes ASU’s current string of four consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and the school’s only appearance in the Elite Eight in 2007. Each of ASU’s six seniors will be honored in a ceremony following Saturday’s game against Washington State.
ON THE AIR
Arizona State’s game vs. Washington 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 6 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women’s basketball.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL DADS AND DAUGHTERS GAME NIGHT
The Sun Devil Women’s Basketball team is proud to introduce Dads and Daughters Game Night to the 2008-2009 season. All Dads and Daughters are invited to attend the ASU vs. Washington game on Thursday, February 26th at 6:30 pm.
For $25 dollars Dads and Daughter will receive 2 general admission tickets and 2 “I HEART ASU BASKETBALL” shirts. An $8 dollar option is available and only includes tickets. For additional daughters or guests, tickets can be purchased for $3 dollars and shirts for $10 dollars. For more information and registration click here.
Although Washington leads the all-time series with ASU 26-22, the Sun Devils have dominated the series of late having won 11 of the last 13 meetings, including the last nine in a row. In the most recent meeting last month in Seattle, Dymond Simon led ASU with 17 points and tied her career high with six assists in ASU’s 80-64 win.
Last season the Sun Devils swept the season series for the third consecutive season after defeating the Huskies 68-62 in Seattle, 69-53 in Tempe and 83-64 in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals in San Jose, Calif. Lauren Lacey (19.0), Briann January (11.3) and Sybil Dosty (11.0) combined to average 41.3 points in the three wins. Lacey, who shot 67 percent and averaged 7.7 rebounds in the three games, had career bests in points (25), field goals (11) and rebounds (11) in the win in Tempe.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU is currently on a school record 12-game winning streak. Among teams ranked in this week’s AP Top 25, only No. 1 Connecticut (27) and No. 13 Xavier (15) have won more consecutive games than ASU. No. 21 South Dakota State is also on a 12-game winning streak.
• Currently 20-6, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games seven times in the last nine seasons, including the last five in a row. ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne joins former Washington head coach Chris Gobrecht and current Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer as the only other coaches in Pac-10 history (since the 1986-87 season) to have led their respective schools to five (or more) consecutive 20-win seasons.
• ASU has won 82 percent (56-12) of its Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. This weekend the Sun Devils are at home where they are a combined 37-6 since the 2004-05 season.
• In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 23), ASU was fourth in the nation in three-point FG percentage (.397), sixth in the nation in assists per game (17.2), 10th in field goal percentage (.457), 20th in scoring margin (+14.2) and 23rd in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.98). The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.743), three-point FG percentage (.397) and turnover margin (+4.0) and are second in field goal percentage (.457), rebounds allowed per game (31.2), assists per game (17.2), blocked shots per game (4.4), steals per game (19.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.98).
• During ASU’s current 12-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 54.2 points per game and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 16.4 points. In addition, ASU is allowing an average of only 23.2 points in the first half of their last 12 games. ASU’s last three victories – at USC (72-69), at UCLA (69-66) and at Arizona (60-53) – represent the only times during its current winning streak in which it did not have a winning margin of 11 or more points.
• ASU is shooting 81.6 percent from the line in its last six games, more than seven percentage points higher than its 74.3 clip for the season.
• Five of ASU’s six losses this season have come to teams currently ranked in the top 17 of the current Associated Press poll – No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 California, No. 16 Texas and No. 17 Florida – including three of the current AP Top 5. Three of those five losses – Florida (65-60), Stanford (64-61) and California (54-53) – came by a combined nine points.
• In their win over Oregon State on Feb. 7, the Sun Devils broke the school single-season record for most blocks (102). ASU currently has 115 rejections on the season.
• Currently with 133 3-point field goals this season, the Sun Devils need three more to break the school record of 135 which was set in 2000-01.
• Post players Becca Tobin (20-27, .740), Kirsten Thompson (7-11, .636), Sybil Dosty (21-38, .552) and Kayli Murphy (11-21, .524) are shooting a combined 61 percent (59-97) in ASU’s last seven games. Tobin has connected on 67.5 percent (27-40) of her shot attempts during ASU’s current 12-game winning streak. Tobin has averaged 9.0 rebounds in ASU’s last three games, including 13 at USC (Feb. 13), which tied her career best and is the highest single-game total by a Sun Devil this season.
• Dymond Simon, who was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week on Feb. 9, has led the Sun Devils in scoring during their current winning streak (15.7 ppg).
• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, January became ASU’s all-time assists leader. She currently has 494 assists in her career. With 253 career steals January is currently second on ASU’s all-time list. Entering this week’s games, January is third in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.470) and 15th in assist-to-turnover ratio. She leads the Pac-10 in assists (4.7 apg) and 3-point FG percentage (.470), is second in steals (2.3 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio, third in free throw percentage (.843) and 13th in scoring (12.5 ppg).
• Currently with 55 3-point field goals, January needs six more triples to break ASU’s single-season record of 60 set by Amanda Levens 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 7.4 rebounds per game. Currently third on ASU’s all-time list with 80 career blocks, Dosty needs 20 blocks to pass Fran Ciak (1987-90) for second place on the list.
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 (.397). Currently with 133 3-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 (55), Dymond Simon (32) and Danielle Orsillo (21), who have combined for 108 of ASU’s 133 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 - twice), 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 10 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 26 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation’s elite in the category. Currently ASU is sixth in the country averaging 17.2 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 (4.7) and 3-point FG percentage (.470), is second in assist to turnover ratio and steals per game (2.3), third in free throw percent (.843) and fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.1). Already ASU’s all-time leader in career assists (494), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU’s all-time leaders in steals, free throws and points. Currently she is second in steals (253, needs 38 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander), third in free throws (375, needs 13 to pass Kym Hampton for second place) and ninth in scoring (needs 14 points to pass Karen O’Connor for eighth place). Currently with 55 3-point field goals, January needs six more triples to break ASU’s single-season record of 60 set by Amanda Levens in 2000-01.
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 in ASU’s last nine games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 22 times in 25 games this season, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). On Feb. 2 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 (14.3 ppg), is second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (32) and assists (3.4 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 and ninth in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.888).
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 (7.4 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg), is second in field goal percent (.544) and third in scoring (8.8 ppg). At her current rebounding pace Dosty would become only the third Sun Devil since 1996 to average more than seven rebounds per game. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 78 career blocks, Dosty needs two blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list. Dosty’s 38 blocks this season currently rank fifth in ASU’s single-season annals. She needs three blocks to move into fourth place.