No. 18 Sun Devil WBB Plays First of Consecutive Territorial Cup® Series Contests on Thursday

WHAT: No. 18/20 Sun Devil WBB (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) at Arizona (7-6, 0-2 Pac-12)

WHEN: Thursday at 6 p.m. MT

WHERE: McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.

TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks

RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 5:30 p.m.)

UP NEXT

After playing seven of its last eight games at home, including the last five in a row, the No. 18/20 Sun Devil women’s basketball team will play its first road game since Dec. 16 on Thursday (6 p.m. MT) when it travels to Tucson, Ariz., to take on Arizona in the first of back-to-back Territorial Cup® Series contests. Following Thursday’s game, the two teams will turn around and play again on Saturday (6 p.m. MT) in Tempe.

The Sun Devils (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) are coming off a sweep of the Washington schools, propelling them to an early 2-0 start in Pac-12 play. ASU started the weekend with a 62-48 win over Washington on Saturday before closing out the first weekend of conference play with a 78-64 victory over Washington State on Monday.

Katie Hempen averaged 15.5 points in the two wins, including a career-high 21-point outing vs. Washington State. Also averaging double figures for the weekend were Sophie Brunner (13.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 11-15 FGs) and Promise Amukamara (11.0 ppg, 9-15 FGs). Amukamara earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for her performance in ASU’s win over the Huskies as she finished with 14 points and three steals. Amukamara was the centerpiece of a defensive gem by the Sun Devils, who held the Huskies 35 points below their scoring average (came in averaging 83.2 ppg). Amukamara was primarily responsible for holding the nation’s No. 1 scorer, Kelsey Plum, to only 17 points (nine points below her average). Plum scored only four points in the first half as the Sun Devils raced out to a 37-13 halftime lead. During that same stretch Amukamara scored nine points in helping the Sun Devils to the big halftime advantage. The 13 points Washington scored in the first half were the fewest scored by the Huskies this season and the fewest allowed in a half by ASU this season. 

As good as they were on the defensive end against Washington, the Sun Devils were equally brilliant on offense in their win over Washington State. ASU shot 53 percent for the game, including 61 percent in the first half on their way to a 43-29 halftime advantage. In addition to her career high in scoring, Hempen also tied her single-game career bests for both 3-pointers (4) and assists (5). Kelsey Moos made her first seven shots of the game as she tied her season high in scoring (15 points) while also grabbing seven rebounds. Brunner (15 points, seven rebounds) and Elisha Davis (13 points, five assists) also had big contributions in the win. 

TELEVISION/RADIO

Both of this week’s contests can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks. Christian Miles (play by play) and Mary Murphy (analysis) will call both games. 

Each of this week’s Territorial Cup® Series games can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 5:30 p.m. both days Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona’s 2010 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 11th season as the voice of ASU women’s basketball. 

SERIES NOTES VS. ARIZONA (ASU LEADS 53-27)

• The Sun Devils have won 19 of the last 22 meetings. Their 11-game winning streak in the series was snapped by the Wildcats in 2011 in Tucson, 73-61. ASU’s recent dominance aside, the games between the two schools have been extremely competitive as eight of the last 16 contests have been decided by eight points or less. 

• The Sun Devils and Wildcats split the annual series last season with each team winning on its home floor. ASU outscored UA 34-10 in the second half of the first meeting to break open what was a 26-26 game at the half. The Wildcats shot 55 percent in the rematch on their way to a 68-49 win in Tucson.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• Currently 13-1, a win at Arizona on Thursday would match ASU’s best start in school history (1982-83 team started 14-1). 

• For the second time in as many seasons, the Sun Devils concluded the non-conference portion of their schedule with an 11-1 record. ASU was joined by Oregon State (10-1) and Washington (11-1) as the only other teams in the Pac-12 with one loss in non-conference play. ASU, Oregon State, Cal and Stanford were the only four teams to come out of the first weekend of conference play with an unblemished Pac-12 record (2-0).

• On Dec. 22 the Sun Devils made their first appearance of the season in the AP Top 25, entering the poll at No. 25. They moved up to 22nd on Dec. 29 and are now at No. 18 (Jan. 5). ASU was ranked as high as No. 11 in the AP poll last season.

• ASU’s current nine-game winning streak represents the 21st time since 2001 that the Sun Devils have had a winning streak of five or more games. A win on Thursday would tie ASU’s second-best winning streak in school history (also won 10 straight in 2006 and 2013).

• The Sun Devils have been ranked as high as No. 1 (Dec. 7) in this season’s NCAA RPI. As of Jan. 7 they are No. 4.

• As of Jan. 7, ASU is 18th in the nation in FG percentage (45.9) and 2nd in 3-point field goal percentage defense (21.2).

• The Sun Devils have won 14 home games in a row and 23 of 24 going back to last season. ASU is outscoring its opponents by an average of +19.8 ppg at home this season (9-0).

• ASU has had the same starting lineup in every game this season: G Elisha Davis, G Katie Hempen, G Promise Amukamara, F Kelsey Moos and F Sophie Brunner.

• ASU is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor during its current nine-game winning streak and is outscoring the opposition by an average of 20.5 ppg.

• ASU has had 15 or fewer turnovers eight times this season, including a season-low nine vs. Villanova (Nov. 28). 

• ASU has held the opposition to 25 or fewer points in a half 11 times this season, including 13 in the first half vs. Washington (Jan. 3), which came into the game averaging 83.2 ppg. It has also held the opposition to 25 percent or less from 3-point range in eight of its 14 contests. Only two opponents – Northwestern (5 - Dec. 21) and Washington State (4 - Jan. 5) – have connected on more than three triples in a game this season.

• Nine different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season. Of those nine, six have posted double-digits in scoring multiple times. Leading the way is Katie Hempen, who has scored in double figures 11 times. Also scoring in double figures have been Sophie Brunner (10x), Promise Amukamara (9x), Elisha Davis (7x), Kelsey Moos (5x), Quinn Dornstauder (4x), Peace Amukamara (1x), Arnecia Hawkins (1x) and Eliza Normen (1x).

• Currently third on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg), Promise Amukamara also leads the team in steals (2.1 spg), is fourth in assists (1.9 apg) and is ASU’s top rebounding guard (3.5 rpg).

• Sophie Brunner has scored 20 or more points three times this season, including a career-best 24 points in ASU’s win vs. Northwestern (Dec. 21). Also ASU’s leading rebounder (7.4 rpg), Brunner has three double-doubles this season.

• Elisha Davis has had five or most assists eight times this season, including a career-high 11 at Illinois State (Dec. 16). Equally important is she has had eight games with two or fewer turnovers – 2 (3x), 1 (3x), 0 (2x). 

• Katie Hempen, who has knocked down three or more 3-pointers five times this season, has scored in double figures seven times in ASU’s last eight games. In ASU’s win over Washington State (Jan. 5), Hempen scored a career-high 21 points and tied her career high in 3-pointers (4) and assists (5).

• Kelsey Moos has had seven or more rebounds seven times this season, including five times in ASU’s last six games. She is also third on the team in FG pct. (57.0).

• Quinn Dornstauder currently leads the Sun Devil bench in both scoring (7.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.1 rpg) while shooting 58.7 percent from the floor. Dornstauder has scored in double figures in four of ASU’s last seven games, including a career-best 19 points at Illinois State (Dec. 16). She posted her first career double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) vs. Yale (Dec. 28).

• ASU’s win over Vanderbilt on Nov. 30 represented its third contest this season to be decided by five or fewer points. On Nov. 25 ASU overcame an eight-point deficit in the second half to win at Miami, 65-61. The Sun Devils then used an 11-0 run in the last 2:38 to knock off Villanova (Nov. 28). Last season the Sun Devils were 12-1 in games decided by five points or less and/or overtime.

• The Sun Devils have come back to win two games this season in which they were facing a double-digit deficit – at Miami - 10 points and vs. Vanderbilt - 11 points.

• The Sun Devils were picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 by the coaches and sixth by the media. Last season the Sun Devils were picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 by the coaches and ninth by the media. They would go on to finish fourth in the league, were ranked as high as No. 11 in the AP poll and would advance to the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, their 14th postseason appearance in 15 seasons.

TURNER THORNE GUIDES SUN DEVIL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO ELITE STATUS

The all-time winningest coach in program history and No. 2 in the Pac-12 in career wins (338), Charli Turner Thorne has turned Sun Devil women’s basketball into one of the nation’s premiere programs since taking over in 1996-97. Included in ASU’s earlier run of 13 consecutive postseason appearances (2000-12) were a school record five-consecutive NCAA Tournament bids from 2005-09. During that time the Sun Devils qualified for the Elite Eight on a pair of occasions, making ASU one of only 15 programs in the country to have qualified for the Elite Eight at least two times between 2007-12.

In 2013-14, Turner Thorne helped the Sun Devils post one of the best turnarounds in the country as they went from a 13-18 record and a ninth-place Pac-12 finish (5-13) the previous season to a 23-10 record and fourth-place Pac-12 finish (11-7). Included among ASU’s 23 wins last season were three triumphs over Top 25 teams.

On Jan. 25, 2013, Turner Thorne became the third Pac-12 coach to reach 300 victories following ASU’s 60-53 win over USC, a game in which ASU came back from 16 down in the second half. 

A closer look at Turner Thorne’s path to 300 puts into perspective the incredible 180-degree turnaround Sun Devil women’s basketball has undergone since she came to ASU. To reach 150 wins it took Turner Thorne 272 games (150-122 - .551) as she rebuilt a program that had an aggregate record of 20-60 in the three years prior to her arrival and only two NCAA Tournament wins in its history. It would take her 215 games to get 150 more wins. Since picking up her 150th win at ASU, Turner Thorne is 188-86 (.687). Included in those wins are nine of Turner Thorne’s 12 NCAA Tournament victories.

Last season, Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in her ASU tenure. Among schools that qualified for the 2014 NCAA Tournament, ASU’s nine NCAA bids since 2000 are the second-most in the West.

SUN DEVIL WBB AMONG NATION’S BEST IN THE CLASSROOM

In addition to the success it has enjoyed on the court over the years, the Sun Devil women’s basketball program has been equally brilliant in the classroom where it has earned national recognition for its academic achievements. While the team’s current success on the court is receiving the most attention, the program recently learned of another great accomplishment that it is just as proud of as it concluded the fall semester with a cumulative team GPA of 3.47.

Just like the continued success they are experiencing on the court, the Sun Devils have not skipped a beat when it comes to hitting the books. Last season the Sun Devil women’s basketball team was among the top 25 women’s basketball programs listed on the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) 2014 Academic Honor Roll.

ASU’s combined team GPA of 3.412 in 2013-14 was No. 21 among NCAA Division I institutions. In addition, ASU was one of only three teams (DePaul and Florida Gulf Coast) among the WBCA’s top 25 that also participated in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

But it doesn’t stop there. Last March it was revealed that the Sun Devils had the highest combined number (3) of first- (1 - Joy Burke) and second-team (2 - Elisha Davis and Deja Mann) honorees represented on the Pac-12’s All-Academic Team. Also earning Pac-12 honorable mention recognition were Promise Amukamara, Katie Hempen and Eliza Normen.

Since the 1996-97 season, head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s first season at ASU, the Sun Devils lead the Pac-12 in the number of first-team All-Academic conference awards (15) and the combined number of first- and second-team All-Academic conference awards (34).

SUN DEVIL WBB HONORS ALL-TIME GREAT KYM HAMPTON

Kym Hampton, a member of the Sun Devil Sports Hall of Fame who was ASU’s first All-American in women’s basketball and who went on to star professionally – both internationally and in the WNBA – hade her No. 32 jersey honored and displayed from the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena at halftime of ASU’s game vs. SMU on Dec. 6. 

One of the most decorated players to ever wear a Sun Devil jersey, Hampton (1981-84) is ASU’s all-time career leader (men’s or women’s basketball) in scoring (2,361 points) and rebounds (1,415). 

Hampton was the first ASU women’s basketball player to earn all-America honors (1981-1982). In addition to the aforementioned career scoring and rebounding records, Hampton set several other records, many of which still stand today, including: most career blocks (178), most points (683) and rebounds (413) in a season and most points (44), rebounds (28) and field goals (19 - tied) in a single game.

 Hampton’s play helped lead ASU to a four-year record of 76-34, including a pair of NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. She led ASU to its first postseason appearance in 1981 as the Sun Devils advanced to the championship game of the National Women’s Invitation Tournament. Hampton’s 23 points enabled ASU to upset top-seeded Tennessee Tech 85-76 in the opening round. The following season, Hampton scored 31 points to pace the Sun Devils as they defeated Georgia 97-77 in their first ever NCAA Tournament game, which was played in Tempe. In 1983, Hampton tallied a double-double against Utah to help lead the Sun Devils back to the Sweet 16.

Hampton concluded her remarkable Sun Devil career in being named the 1984 Sun Angel Athlete of the Year, an award which honored academic and athletic excellence.

 Following her ASU career, Hampton took her talents to the international stage where she excelled for more than 12 years, helping her teams win four championships along the way. She reached the pinnacle of women’s professional basketball in 1997 when she was chosen by the New York Liberty in the first round of the WNBA Elite Draft. Hampton started every game during the franchise’s first three seasons, which included a pair of WNBA runner-up appearances. She averaged 9.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in her three years with the Liberty. She forever etched her spot in team history by scoring the franchise’s first ever basket in 1997.

Hampton joins Ryneldi Becenti as the only Sun Devil women’s basketball players to have their jerseys hung from the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena.

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