ASU Women's Basketball Opens Pac-10 Play Hosting USC on New Year's Day

Dec. 31, 2009

Game No. 12
No. 19/17 Arizona State
(8-3)
vs.
USC
(6-5)
Friday, January 1, 2010
2 p.m. MT • Wells Fargo Arena • Tempe, Ariz.

UP NEXT

The Arizona State women’s basketball team (No. 19 AP/No. 17 ESPN/USA Today) commences Pac-10 play on Friday when it hosts the USC Women of Troy in a New Year’s Day matinee (2 p.m. MT) at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils are coming off a 74-37 win against Furman on Monday in which they shot a blistering 62.7 percent. Equally impressive was ASU’s defensive effort as it forced the Paladins into an abysmal shooting percentage of .260. Senior guard Danille Orsillo led ASU with 16 points (6-8 FGs) and tied a career best with three 3-point FGs while junior guard Tenaya Watson added 12 points (6-9 FGs) and led ASU with six of the Sun Devils’ season-high 23 assists.

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. If the Sun Devils improve on their Pac-10 finish from last season they will be conference champions after finishing tied for second (15-3) with California in 2008-09. Last season the Sun Devils began Pac-10 play with a pair of down-to-the-wire home losses to Stanford and Cal by a combined four points before responding with a school record 15-game winning streak. ASU put itself in position to play for a share of the Pac-10 title in the regular-season finale at Stanford, however was unable to overcome the Cardinal after losing leading scorer Dymond Simon to a season-ending injury in the first half. Less than a week later the Sun Devils struggled in their first game without Simon in a 70-65 loss to USC in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament.

USC is 6-5 under first-year head coach Michael Cooper. The Women of Troy had won five of six games prior to a 59-53 setback in its most recent outing on Wednesday against N.C. State. Two of USC’s losses have come by six points, including a 78-72 decision at current No. 8 Duke, and a third loss came in overtime to current No. 15 Xavier. USC is led by sophomore guards Ashley Corral (15.5 ppg) Briana Gilbreath (12.9 ppg). The latter was the 2009 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

ASU’s next win will give Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne the 300th of her career.

ON THE AIR

Arizona State’s game vs.USC can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. 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

The Sun Devils dropped four places in both polls (from 14th to 18th in the AP poll and from 13th to 17th in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 coaches’ poll) following their losses in Las Vegas to current Top 10 teams Texas A&M (10th) and Baylor (5th). Despite being idle last week, ASU fell one spot to 19th in the most recent AP poll (Dec. 28) however remained at No. 17 in the 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 are 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 is junior 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 has won 82 percent (59-13) of its Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season.
• This weekend the Sun Devils will be at home where they are 71-10 (.877) since the 2004-05 season, including a 39-6 (.867) record against Pac-10 opponents.
• ASU is 26-6 in its last 32 games going back to last season. The record includes a school record 15-game winning streak during the 2009 Pac-10 season. Included among the opponents who have defeated the Sun Devils during that 32-game stretch are Stanford and UConn last March (two of the eventual participants in the 2009 Final Four) and Xavier, Texas A&M and Baylor this season, who are currently ranked 15th, 10th and 5th, respectively in the most recent AP poll. ASU also fell to USC in the quarterfinals of last season’s Pac-10 Tournament, a game in which it played without scoring leader Dymond Simon who suffered a season ending injury in ASU’s previous contest at Stanford.
• ASU has outrebounded its opponent 9 times in 11 games this season. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in rebounds allowed per game (31.4) and are 2nd in rebounding margin (+10.5).
• While USC has won 48 of the 64 all-time meetings, the Sun Devils have recently had the upper hand in the series, having won eight of the last 10 meetings. USC’s win over ASU in the quarterfinals of last season’s Pac-10 Tournament snapped a seven-game winning streak by ASU in the series.
• Currently ASU’s leading scorer averaging 13.5 points per game, senior guard Danielle Orsillo has scored in double figures in all but one contest this season.
• In ASU’s last three games... Junior post Becca Tobin is averaging 12.3 points and has hit 58 percent of her field goal attempts... Junior guard Tenaya Watson has averaged 11.3 points (+3.8 points above average) while connecting on 57 percent of her shots... Redshirt freshman post Janae Fulcher is shooting 64 percent (9-14).

SUN DEVILS LOOK TO REMAIN AMONG THE BEST

Over the last several years 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.

DEVILS BRING THE ‘D’

If there is one thing ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s teams have become known for over the years it is defense. The Sun Devils offered another reminder of their excellence in defending in their 74-37 win over Furman on Dec. 28 in which they set season bests for fewest points allowed and blocked shots (9 - ties the highest single-game total in the Pac-10 this season). And speaking of blocks, after setting the school record for total blocks each of the last three seasons, the Sun Devils are once again on pace to do the same again this year. Leading the way are Kali Bennett (1.5 bpg) and Becca Tobin (1.3 bpg), who are currently ranked 4th and 8th, respectively in the Pac-10 in blocks per game. As a team ASU is currently second in the Pac-10 averaging 4.6 rejections per game.

Last season six of ASU’s nine Pac-10 opponents either scored their fewest points of the season against ASU or tied their lowest point total of the season. In Pac-10 play the Sun Devils led the league allowing only 53.0 points per game. In the last two years the Sun Devils have set single-game Pac-10 records for the fewest points ever allowed by a Pac-10 team (75-23 win over UC Irvine on Dec. 6, 2008) and the fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game (59-30 win over Washington State on Feb. 21, 2008).

Since the 2005-06 season the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points 34 times, including three times this season.

Charli Turner Thorne APPROACHING 300 CAREER WINS

Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne enters this weekend’s action needing one more win to give her 300 for her career (299-197 career record). Turner Thorne has collected the majority of her 299 wins at ASU where she is 259-157 in her 14 seasons. Prior to arriving in Tempe, Turner Thorne was 40-40 in three seasons at Northern Arizona.

While 300 wins is impressive on its own merit, a closer look at Turner Thorne’s coaching career makes her success look even more remarkable. At NAU, she took over a program that had posted only one winning season in 19 years. She would go on to become the first coach in program history to lead the Lumberjacks to back-to-back winning seasons.

In 1996 Turner Thorne accepted the top position at ASU where she took on the challenge of coaching a squad that had not won more than eight games in three years. Fast forward to the present day and Turner Thorne is the winningest coach in ASU women’s basketball history. Along the way she had led the Sun Devils to seven NCAA Tournament appearances (all in the last nine years), including the only two Elite Eight appearances in school history (both coming in the last three years).

ALWAYS FEELING AT HOME

Since 2004 the Sun Devils have won 87.7 percent (71-10) of the games they have played at Wells Fargo Arena. In addition, under Turner Thorne ASU has also proven to be nearly as effective when it is playing away from home. Since the 2006-07 season the Sun Devils have won more than 70 percent of their games when they were the visiting team or made a trip to a neutral site.

ADRIANNE THOMAS SIGNS WITH ASU

Charli Turner Thorne today announced on November 11 that Adrianne Thomas signed a national letter of intent to study and play basketball at Arizona State.

“I could not be more excited about the addition of Adrianne Thomas,” Turner Thorne said. “She is a powerful, explosive scoring combo guard who will fit in perfectly with our up-tempo offense and aggressive pressuring defense.

“Adrianne is an extremely tough and smart competitor who has had outstanding coaching through her high school and club programs. I predict she will adapt to the college game very quickly. Besides being one of the top guards in the country, Adrianne comes from an amazing family who has instilled in her great core values including impeccable character and strong leadership. She will be a great Sun Devil.”

A 5-9 guard, Thomas will be coming to ASU from Summit High School in Fontana, Calif., where she has earned Sunkist League MVP honors three times. In 2009 Thomas, who has scored in double figures 32 times the last two seasons, earned All-Sunkist League First-Team and All-CIF Southern Section First-Team recognition after leading her team to the state semifinals.

As a sophomore in 2008, Thomas helped Summit to its first CIF sectional championship game and the state quarterfinals. With her FBC club team she was named to the All-Tournament Teams of the adidas Womanhood National Championships, Summertime Invitational and adidas Super 64.

“Adrianne is a superstar on the court, off the court, in the classroom and in the community,” said Summit girls basketball coach Alexis Barile. “On the court she’s the type of player that won’t allow our team to lose. In crunch situations she’s the one that pulls us together and makes sure we win. She has a refuse-to-lose mentally. She’s going to fit into the ASU program very well as a person first and then as a basketball player.”

2009-10 Bio Updates

#1 Dymond Simon - Sr. - G
• Is redshirting in 2009-10 as she continues to recover from ACL injury she suffered in 2009 regular season finale at Stanford.
• Led ASU in scoring (13.8 ppg) in 2008-09 on her way to Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors.
• Was a high school teammate of current Sun Devil senior Kayli Murphy.

#2 Sabrina McKinney - Fr. - G
• Outstanding defender who was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year for Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas.
• Has played in every game this season (17.4 mpg).
• Is currently 3rd on the team in assists (2.5 apg).
• Has tallied 4 or more assists 4 times this season.
• Scored a season-best 7 points at Xavier (Nov. 21).
• Made the first start of her career in ASU’s win vs. Idaho State (Dec. 4).
• Dished out a season-high 6 assists in ASU’s win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).
• Recorded a season-best 4 steals in win vs. Idaho State (Dec. 4).

#3 Joy Burke - Fr. - F/C
• Local product (Tempe Marco de Niza), who was a McDonald’s All-American nominee and was also named to the Arizona Republic’s All-Arizona Team and earned all-city accolades three times.
• Connected on 63 percent of her field goal attempts as a senior at Marcos de Niza while averaging 23.3 points, 17.8 rebounds, 7.5 blocks and 3.9 steals per game.
• Has played in 9 games this season and has made 54 percent of her shots (7-13).
• Has grabbed a season-best 5 rebounds on two occasions.
• Scored four points (2-2 FGs) and grabbed 3 rebounds in win over Furman (Dec. 28).

#4 Haley Parsons - RS-Fr. - G
• Redshirted last season.
• After an excellent offseason, spent much of the preseason recovering from injury (was not cleared to play until early December).
• Made her Sun Devil debut in ASU’s win over North Dakota (Dec. 9) and recorded a pair of assists in 9 minutes of play.
• Accounted for 3 points, 1 assist and 1 steal in win vs. Furman (Dec. 28).

#5 Deja Mann - Fr. - G
• A 2009 graduate of Merced High School in Merced, Calif., where she earned first-team All-Central California Conference honors each of her first two seasons, including being named the conference’s MVP her sophomore season.
• Has played in every game this season (13.2 mpg).
• Scored 5 points (2-3 FGs) in her Sun Devil debut vs. South Dakota State (Nov. 15).
• Tallied a season-best 6 points in ASU’s win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).

#11 Kali Bennett - RS-So. - C
• Transfer from the University of Washington who figures to play a big role this season after sitting out the 2008-09 season because of NCAA transfer rules.
• As a freshman at Washington in 2007-08, averaged 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds while tying for the team lead in blocked shots with 15.
• Currently leads the team in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg) and is 4th in scoring (7.5 ppg).
• Has scored in double figures 3 times this season.

• Was named the MVP of the Rainbow Wahine Classic after averaging 15.0 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in wins over Hawaii (Nov. 27) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 28). The win over Hawaii included a career-best 15 rebounds while she made the first start of her Sun Devil career against East Tennessee State.

#12 Alex Earl - So. - G
• Will have a much bigger role this season following the graduation of three guards from last year’s team when she played in 23 games (4.3 minutes per game).
• Has excellent perimeter shooting skills.
• Has played in 10 games this season (13.6 mpg) with one start (vs. Pepperdine, Dec. 5).
• Is second on the team in 3-point FGs (5).
• Missed ASU’s 2009-10 season opener and she recovered from a foot injury.
• Made all four of her field goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers, and scored a career-high 12 points in ASU’s win over Yale (Nov. 19).
• Hit 3-of-4 shots, including both of her 3-point FG attempts, and scored 8 points to go along with a career-best 3 assists in win vs. Pepperdine (Dec. 5).

#13 Danielle Orsillo - Sr. - G
• Returns as ASU’s most experienced player in the backcourt.
• Started all 35 games last season after missing all but one game of the 2007-08 season with a knee injury.
• Named to the 2009 Trenton Regional All-Tournament Team after she averaged 12.5 points and 2.5 assists while making all 10 of her free throws in ASU’s four NCAA Tournament games
• Has scored in double figures 21 times in her last 26 games going back to last season, including 10 times in 11 games this season. 
• Currently leads the team in scoring (13.5 ppg), 3-point FGs (16, 1.5 per game), free throw percentage (.900) and steals (2.0 spg) and is 2nd in assists (2.7 apg).
• Has led or tied for the team lead in scoring 7 times this season, including a season-best 18 points in back-to-back Sun Devil wins vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28) and Idaho State (Dec. 4).
• Currently with 1,080 points, needs 55 points to move up to 13th place on ASU’s all-time scoring list.
• Was named to the Rainbow Wahine Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.5 points in ASU’s wins over Hawaii (Nov. 27) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).
• Was named MVP of the ASU Classic after averaging 15.5 points in ASU’s wins over Idaho State (Dec. 4) and Pepperdine (Dec. 5).
• Scored 12 points to go along with a season-best 5 assists and a career-best 5 steals in ASU’s win over North Dakota on Jan. 9.
• Contributed 14 points in ASU’s losses to Texas A&M (Dec. 19) and Baylor (Dec. 20) at the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic.
• Scored 16 points (6-8 FGs) and tied her career best with 3 3-point FGs in win vs. Furman (Dec. 28).

#21 Kayli Murphy - Sr. - F/C 
• Returns as ASU’s most experienced player in the frontcourt.
• Played in every game her first two years before a hand injury caused her to miss the first six games last season. Would go on to start in 27 of the 29 games in 2008-09.
• Has started all 11 games in 2009-10 and is currently 3rd on the team in both scoring (8.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 rpg) and 4th in field goal pct. (.514).
• Had the second double-double of her career in the 2009-10 season opener against South Dakota State in which she tied her career best in scoring with 12 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds.
• Was named to the Rainbow Wahine Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in ASU’s wins over Hawaii (Nov. 27) and East Tennessee State (Nov. 28)
• Led the team in scoring with a career-high 15 points in ASU’s win over North Dakota (Dec. 9).

#23 Markisha Patterson - Jr. - G
 
• Transfer from Central Arizona, who is redshirting this season as she recovers from knee injury.
• Was part of NJCAA national runner-up (2008) and NJCAA champion (2009) teams during her two seasons at Central Arizona where she was a teammate of fellow ASU newcomer Tenaya Watson.

#22 Janae Fulcher - RS-Fr. - F/C

• After redshirting in 2008-09, will have a big role this season after three post players graduated from last year’s team.
• Helped lead her high school basketball team, La Jolla Country Day, to four league championships.
• Has played in every game this season and is currently averaging 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds.
• Leads the team in field goal percentage (.561, 23-41 FGs).
• Scored two points and grabbed a pair of rebounds in her Sun Devil debut vs. South Dakota State (Nov. 15).
• Had the first double-double of her career with 11 points (5-6 FGs) and 10 rebounds in 12 minutes of play at Yale (Nov. 19).
• Scored 7 points (3-4 FGs) in win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).
• Scored a career-high 12 points vs. Baylor (Dec. 20).

#25 Kimberly Brandon - So. - G/F
• Had a tremendous offseason and will have an even bigger role in 2009-10 after playing in 30 games last season (5.8 minutes per game).
• Sister Gennifer is a freshman on the California women’s basketball team.
• Has started 10 of 11 games in 2009-10 and is currently averaging 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
• Made the first start of her career in ASU’s 2009-10 season opener against South Dakota State (Nov. 15).
• Had career-best numbers in points (12) and assists (4) in win at Yale (Nov. 19).
• Scored 9 points (4-7 FGs) and recorded career bests in steals (4) and blocks (2) in win vs. Furman (Dec. 28).

#30 Gabby Fage - Sr. - G
• Reserve guard who has played in 75 career games.
• Will look to pick up where she left off at the end of the 2008-09 season as she played a big role in helping the Sun Devils qualify for the Elite Eight for the second time in three years. After averaging 5.8 minutes in her first 24 games of the season, averaged 22.8 minutes in ASU’s four NCAA Tournament contests.
• Has played in 8 games in 2009-10, missing ASU’s first 3 contests in December as she recovered from a broken nose.
• Has grabbed a season-best five rebounds on two occasions and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 9-2.
• Scored 4 points, dished out 2 assists and had 2 rebounds in win at Hawaii (Nov. 27).

#32 Becca Tobin - Jr. - F/C
• Came into the 2009-10 season having played in 66 games her first two seasons.
• Has started 9 of 11 games in 2009-10 and is currently 2nd on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg), rebounding (6.7 rpg) and blocks (1.3 bpg) and is 3rd in field goal pct. (.527). In addition, leads the team in free throw attempts (36) and makes (32) is second in free throw percentage (.889).
• Made the first start of her career in ASU’s 2009-10 season opening win against South Dakota State and scored a career-best 18 points to go along with six rebounds.
• Was named to the ASU Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 11.5 points (8-12 FGs, .667 FG pct) and 7.5 rebounds in ASU’s wins vs. Idaho State (Dec. 4) and Pepperdine (Dec. 5).
• Pulled down a season-best 10 rebounds in ASU’s win over North Dakota (Dec. 9).
• Was named to the Las Vegas Holidays Hoops Classic’s All-Tournament Team after averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds while making 58 percent of her shots against Texas A&M and Baylor.

#35 Tenaya Watson - Jr. - G
• Transfer from Central Arizona who has started 10 of 11 games this season.
• At Central Arizona was part of NJCAA national runner-up (2008) and NJCAA champion (2009) where she was a teammate of fellow ASU newcomer Markisha Patterson.
• Was named the MVP of the 2009 NJCAA Tournament after averaging 16.8 points in Central Arizona’s four tournament games. In the NJCAA championship game she scored a career-best 30 points and grabbed six rebounds to help Central Arizona defeat Missouri Jefferson College 78-77.
• Is currently 1st on the team in assists (3.1 apg) and is 3rd in steals (1.1 spg).
• Has averaged 11.3 points and has made 57 percent of her field goals (13-23) and 88 percent of her free throws (7-8) in ASU’s last three games.
• Scored 8 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished out 7 assists and blocked 2 shots in her Sun Devil debut against South Dakota State (Nov. 15).
• Added 10 points (3-5 FGs, 4-4 FTs) in ASU’s win vs. East Tennessee State (Nov. 28).
• Tallied a career-high 13 points, which included a 7-of-8 performance from the free throw line vs. Texas A&M (Dec. 19).
• Scored 12 points (6-9 FGs) and had 6 assists in win vs. Furman (Dec. 28).

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