ASU Women's Basketball Opens Pac-10 Tournament vs. California on Friday

March 10, 2010

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The Arizona State women's basketball team kicks off the postseason portion of its 2009-10 campaign this Friday when it begins play in the State Farm Pac-10 Women Basketball Tournament. As the No. 5 seed by virtue of their regular-season finish in the Pac-10, the Sun Devils (17-12, 9-9 Pac-10) will face fourth-seeded California (17-12, 11-7 Pac-10). Game time from the Galen Center in Los Angeles is scheduled for 11 a.m. PT/noon MT.

ASU's trip to LA represents the second time in as many weeks that the Sun Devils will find themselves in the City of Angels after dropping a pair of close games last week at UCLA (63-59) and at USC (62-52).

After falling behind by nine points to the Bruins with 2:37 remaining the Sun Devils staged a last-minute rally that eventually saw them with a chance to tie or go ahead in the closing seconds before the Bruins thwarted ASU's last-second shot opportunity. Two days later at USC the Sun Devils led by seven at the half and found themselves ahead 46-45 with five minutes remaining before the Trojans closed the game with a 17-6 run to get the win.

Senior guard Danielle Orsillo (13.5 ppg) and junior guard Tenaya Watson (12.0 ppg) led ASU's offensive effort in the two games.

Friday's game will be the third meeting between ASU and California this season. The Sun Devils needed late-game heroics to pull out wins in both contests. In the first meeting on Jan 30 in Berkeley, Calif., the Sun Devils used a 14-2 run in the final four minutes to overcome a 10-point deficit. Orsillo capped the rally by scoring the game-winning basket with five-tenths of a second left to give ASU a 63-61 win. Two weeks ago in Tempe the Sun Devils outscored California 13-0 in the final four minutes to erase a six-point deficit and win 57-50.

Orsillo averaged 18.5 points and connected on 50 percent of her shots (16-32) in the two games. while posts Kali Bennett (7.5 rpg), Kayli Murpy (6.5 rpg) and Becca Tobin (6.5 rpg) combined to average 20.5 rebounds in the two games.

The winner of Friday's quarterfinal will face the winner of the quarterfinal featuring top-seeded Stanford vs. Arizona/Washington State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. MT.

RADIO

Friday's Pac-10 quarterfinal against California can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Coverage will begin at noon in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his sixth season as the voice of ASU women's basketball.

LIVE INTERNET STREAM

A video stream of Friday's game can be viewed live and at no cost on FOX Sports Arizona's, website www.foxsportsarizona.com.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• ASU returns 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. Of ASU's returning players, only seniors Kayli Murphy and Danielle Orsillo and junior Becca Tobin saw significant playing time last season.

• 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.

• The Sun Devils will be the No. 5 seed in this year's Pac-10 Tournament. They have been seeded fifth on one other occasion -- 2004 (lost to UCLA in quarterfinals). The No. 5 seed has never played in the Pac-10 final. Last season USC (#6) became the lowest seed to ever play in the championship game while ASU (#3 in 2002) and UCLA (#3 in 2006) are the lowest-seeded teams to ever win the Pac-10 Tournament.

• ASU will be seeking its second Pac-10 Tournament title. The Sun Devils won the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament in 2002, defeating Stanford in the championship game, 70-63. They have appeared in the final in three of the eight Pac-10 Tournaments, most recently in 2007 when they lost to Stanford, 62-55.

• Despite finishing in fifth place in the Pac-10 this season, ASU has still won 76 percent (68-22) of its Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season.

• ASU leads the all-time series with Cal 29-27 following its two wins this season. The Sun Devils' 63-41 triumph last March in Berkeley, snapped Cal's four-game winning streak in the series. Prior to Cal's winning streak, the Sun Devils had won 13 of 16 meetings.

• This will be the third time in four seasons and the fourth time overall that ASU and California have met in the Pac-10 Tournament. Cal won the first meeting 46-38 in 2003. The teams then met in the semifinals in 2007 (ASU 60-53) and again in 2008 (Cal 65-61).

• Currently ASU's leading scorer averaging 14.5 points per game, senior G Danielle Orsillo has scored in double figures in all but four contests this season. Last month Orsillo set a new career best in scoring in back-to-back contests as she scored 26 points at Oregon State (Feb. 11) only to surpass that mark with 29 at Oregon (Feb. 13). Her final scoring tally at Oregon represented the most points by a Sun Devil since G Kylan Loney scored 32 against Arizona in 2004.

• Orsillo currently ranks No. 6 in program history with 1,351 points. She needs 13 points to pass Kristen Kovesdy (2003-06) for 5th place, 20 points to pass Sherry Poole (1984-87) for 4th place and 24 points to pass Molly Tuter (1994-97) for 3rd place.

• ASU's 120 blocks this season are the second-highest number in school history. The Sun Devils would need 15 more blocks to break the single-season record for the fourth consecutive season. Currently 5th place on ASU's all-time career list with 76 blocks, junior Becca Tobin needs four more rejections to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for 4th place.

• Tobin (26-28) and senior F Kayli Murphy (36-41) have combined to make 62 of their last 69 free throws (.899).

ORSILLO, TOBIN AND MURPHY EARN PAC-10 RECOGNITION

Three Arizona State women's basketball players were recognized by the Pac-10 on Mar. 10 as the conference announced its annual awards for the 2009-10 season as voted on by the league's head coaches.

One day after being named to the media's 15-member All-Pac-10 Team, senior guard Danielle Orsillo earned the same honor from the coaches as well. Also earning recognition were junior forward Becca Tobin, who was named All-Pac-10 honorable mention and senior forward Kayli Murphy, who earned honorable mention notice on the Pac-10's All-Defensive Team.

A starter in ASU's last 64 games, Orsillo has scored in double figures 36 times in her last 43 contests going back to last season. Currently 10th in the Pac-10 in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game, Orsillo leads the Sun Devils in scoring, 3-point field goals (25) and steals per game (1.8) and is second in assists per game (2.4) and free throw percentage (.828). Currently in sixth place on ASU's all-time scoring list with 1,351 points, Orsillo has scored 20 or more points four times this season, including a career-high 29 points at Oregon on Feb. 13.

Tobin has started 27 of 29 games for the Sun Devils in 2009-10 and concluded the regular season fourth in the Pac-10 in blocks per game (1.3), fifth in field goal percentage (.505) and 12th in rebounds per game (6.3). The team leader in free throw percentage (.839), Tobin has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding 13 times this season and has scored in double figures 14 times, including a career-high 20 points at Oregon on Feb. 13.

The leader among ASU's post players with 33 steals, Murphy has played a big part in the Sun Devils' success on both sides of the floor this season. A starter in all 29 games, Murphy finished the regular season second on the team in rebounds per game (5.9), field goal percentage (.510) and minutes per game (27.2 mpg) and fourth in points per game (7.4). Defensively, Murphy's contributions helped the Sun Devils finish third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (59.7 ppg).

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