ASU Women's Basketball Faces Pepperdine in ASU Classic Championship Game

Dec. 5, 2009

Game No. 7
No. 15/13 Arizona State
(5-1)
vs.
Pepperdine
(5-3)
Saturday, December 5, 2009
4 p.m. MT • Wells Fargo Arena • Tempe, Ariz.

UP NEXT

Winners of its last three games, the Arizona State women’s basketball team (No. 15 AP/No. 13 ESPN/USAToday) will look to win its second tournament in as many weeks on Saturday (4 p.m. MT) when it faces Pepperdine in the final of the ASU Classic.

The Sun Devils got to the final after grinding out a 65-56 win over a gritty Idaho State team on Friday night. Senior guard Danielle Orsillo scored a season-high 18 points for the second consecutive game while junior post Becca Tobin added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks to help lead the Sun Devils to the win. With her 18 points, Orsillo became the 20th Sun Devil to go over 1,000 points for her career.

After leading by only two points, 22-20, at the half, the Sun Devils slowly started to take control in the second half, leading by as many as 11 points. ASU shot 50 percent in the second half after shooting only 32 percent in the first half.

Pepperdine qualified for Saturday’s championship game by Utah State 67-46 on Friday. Sophomore guard Katie Menton (18 points, 6-10 FGs - all six made FGs 3ptrs) and senior forward/center Miranda Ayim (17 points, 8-11 FGs) combined for 35 of the Wave’s 67 points while also shooting a collective 67 percent from the field (14-21).

ON THE AIR

Arizona State’s game vs. Pepperdine can be heard live on www.thesundevils.com. Pre-game coverage will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his sixth season as the voice of ASU women’s basketball. He will be joined on the broadcast by former Arizona State women’s basketball coach Maura McHugh.

IN THE POLLS

With its two victories in Hawaii last week, the Sun Devils moved up two spots (from 17th to 15th) in the AP poll while remaining 13th in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 coaches’ poll.  ASU began the season ranked 16th in the AP poll and 11th in the coaches’ poll. In November the Sun Devils were ranked 7th in the coaches’ poll which represented its highest ranking in school history in either poll.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• ASU returns six players, including two starters – forward Kayli Murphy and guard Danielle Orsillo – from last year’s active roster that went 26-9 and earned the program’s second Elite Eight berth in the last three years.
• The Sun Devils will be without last season’s leading scorer Dymond Simon as she spends the season rehabbing from the knee injury she suffered in the 2009 regular-season finale at Stanford. Also missing for the 2009-10 season because of injury will be guard Markisha Patterson, who transferred to ASU from Central Arizona where she was a teammate of guard Tenaya Watson, who also transferred to ASU.
• ASU is 23-4 in its last 27 games going back to last season. The record includes a school record 15-game winning streak during the 2009 Pac-10 season.
• ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs four more wins (has 295 with Northern Arizona and ASU) to reach 300 for her career. Her 256 wins at ASU rank fourth all-time among Pac-10 head coaches.
• The Sun Devils have won the ASU Classic seven times in the last eight years with the exception coming in 2007 when ASU was defeated by Auburn 63-57 in the finals.
• This will be the fourth all-time meeting between ASU and Pepperdine (ASU leads series 2-1), however it will be the first meeting since 1983.
• On Saturday the Sun Devils are at home where they are 68-10 (.872) since the 2004-05 season, including a 29-4 (.879) record against non-conference opponents.
• ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne (head coach) and Pepperdine head coach Julie Rousseau (assistant coach) helped lead the USA Women’s World University Games Team to a gold medal at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. Also serving as an assistant on Turner Thorne’s staff was current Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant.
• ASU has outrebounded its opponent 5 times in 6 games this season.

SUN DEVILS LOOK TO REMAIN AMONG THE BEST

During ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s stint leading the Sun Devil program, ASU has developed into one of the most successful programs not only in the Pac-10, but around the country as well. Since 2000, the Sun Devils have finished first or second in the Pac-10 a combined six times, and have finished lower than third only once. Nationally, ASU is one of 20 schools whose current streak of NCAA appearances is 5 or more, one of 15 schools that has qualified for the Sweet 16 three or more times in the last five seasons and one of 9 schools that has qualified for the Elite Eight at least two times in the last three years.

ALWAYS FEELING AT HOME

Something else the Sun Devils have come to be known for under Turner Thorne is having one of the best success rates in the country when they play on their home floor. Since 2004 the Sun Devils have won 87 percent (68-10) of the games they have played at Wells Fargo Arena (See chart below for year-by-year breakdown). In addition, under Turner Thorne ASU has also proven to be nearly as effective when it is playing away from home. In the last three seasons the Sun Devils have won nearly 73 percent of their games when they were the visiting team or made a trip to a neutral site.

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