Arizona State Women's Basketball Program Signs Three

Nov. 9, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. - Two highly-coveted local student-athletes from a tradition-rich high school program and a versatile talent from Fresno, Calif., highlight the 2005 recruiting class for the Arizona State University women's basketball program announced by head coach Charli Turner Thorne on Wednesday.

Lena Gipson, Kayli Murphy and Dymond Simon all signed letters of intent on Wednesday to study and compete at Arizona State.

'All three of these young ladies come from amazing families and I have no doubt that our community will fall in love with who they are as people as well as how they play the game,' said Turner Thorne.

Murphy and Simon will both be staying close to home after helping Phoenix St. Mary's to a 93-3 record, one 5A state title, two 5A state championship game appearances, and three region championships in their first three seasons at the school.

'We love bringing in players from top-notch high school programs and we are thrilled to have two more St. Mary's standouts who bring with them a championship mentality,' said Turner Thorne. 'Obviously Kayli and Dymond will have `instant chemistry' and that will be a big plus.'

A 6-foot center from San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, Calif., Gipson averaged 17.3 points and 15.3 rebounds per game last season in helping to lead her team to the Central Section Division IV championship game. The North Yosemite League most valuable player, Gipson had seven games in which she grabbed 20 or more rebounds last season. Her 459 rebounds last season easily eclipsed the prior single-season school record for rebounds of 304 which was set in 1986.

'Lena is a very explosive post player who rebounds, runs the floor, and finishes around the basket as well as anyone I saw all summer,' said Turner Thorne. 'The fact that both Lena and Kayli were considering our nationally-ranked Honors College is an indication of their work ethic and exceptional intellects.

'In my opinion, Lena has barely scratched the surface in terms of her potential to be an all-around scorer and an aggressive defensive stopper. I am just thrilled that she is a Sun Devil.'

A 6-2 center/forward, Murphy, has started on the varsity squad since her sophomore year in 2003-04, when she helped lead the Knights to a perfect 35-0 record and a 5A state championship. For her career, Murphy has averaged 10.3 points and is one of eight players in school history to score 1,000 or more career points. An exceptional defender, last season Murphy broke the school record for most blocked shots in a season with 95. With one season still to play, Murphy's 207 career blocked shots trail only the 290 career blocks by former Knight and current Sun Devil Kristen Kovesdy.

'Kayli is one of the most deceptive players I have ever watched out of high school,' said Turner Thorne. 'Her smart, instinctive play combined with her athleticism make her a dominant scorer and defensive presence.

'I fell in love with her shot-blocking ability and tremendous rebounding prowess. She has amazing versatility as a post player which is integral to our Sun Devil system. Kayli's skill, smarts and tremendous work ethic and competitive spirit will enable her to help us right away. That is a priority since we will lose Kristen Kovesdy and Amy Denson to graduation next season.'

Arguably the top guard prospect in the nation, Simon, 5-5, has re-written the record books at St. Mary's, where in three seasons she has already set records for single-game points (41), most points in a season (770 in 2003-04) and most career points (1,952). In addition, she also ranks No. 6 all-time in assists (192) and No. 3 all-time in steals (314). Simon averaged 22.0 points in each of the last two seasons as St. Mary's made back-to-back appearances in the 5A state championship game, coming away with the title in 2003-04 when the Knights went 35-0. Last season, Simon was named the Arizona Informant Player of the Year after helping the Knights to a state runner-up finish. Named a 2005 Preseason High School All-America by Scout/Full Court Press, Simon had a big hand in leading the USA Blue team to a gold medal at the USA Development Festival in June. Simon led her team in scoring (16.2 points per game) and finished third overall among the more than 30 players who participated.

'Dymond is one of the most unbelievably skilled, savvy and talented players I have ever seen play and she automatically makes all who coach her better because she can do things that we cannot teach,' said Turner Thorne. 'You cannot compare Dymond to anyone because she is truly `one of a kind.'

'She can shoot the deep three, break your ankles with the killer crossover dribble and stop on a dime and nail the pull-up jumper. She is also an incredible passer in the open court and half-court game. She also has an amazing ability to anticipate on defense. With the addition of Dymond, we will have one of the most explosive perimeter games in the country for the next four years.

'I am so excited about the opportunity to be a part of this young lady's life. By all accounts, her work ethic and coachability are second to none and that certainly characterizes Sun Devil basketball.'

Coming off an appearance in last season's NCAA Sweet Sixteen, the 2005-06 Arizona State women's basketball team, currently ranked No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, opens its regular season this Friday (8:30 p.m.) when it hosts Vanderbilt in the first round of the WBCA/BTI Classic. The tournament will also feature Clemson and Missouri. 2006 Arizona State University Women's Basketball Signees Name Ht. Pos. Hometown/School Lena Gipson 6-0 C Fresno, Calif./Memorial Kayli Murphy 6-2 F/C Phoenix, Ariz./St. Mary's Dymond Simon 5-5 G Phoenix, Ariz./St. Mary's.

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