No. 15/14 ASU Women's Basketball Hosts UC Santa Barbara on Saturday
Nov. 17, 2007
The No. 15/14 Arizona State women's basketball team welcomes UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at 4 p.m. for its 2007 regular season home opener at Wells Fargo Arena.
Although Saturday's game will officially be ASU's second game of the season, its game against UCSB will actually be the fourth game it has played in 2007. Prior to and after its only other regular season game - a 75-60 loss at North Carolina in the 2007 State Farm Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic - the Sun Devils took on two of the world's best teams in the form of the USA National Team (L 82-48) and the Chinese National Team (L, 63-59).
Arizona State's game vs. UC Santa Barbara can be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Sun Devils were ranked No. 12 in both -- ESPN/USA/Today coaches and Associated Press writers -- preseason polls, their highest ever preseason ranking in both polls. After falling to North Carolina in their season opener, the Sun Devils dropped to No. 14 in the coaches' poll and No. 15 in the AP poll.
ASU has won 36 of its last 38 regular season home games. After finishing with a 14-2 mark at home last season, the Sun Devils are now 54-4 in Wells Fargo Arena since the 2003-04 season. In addition, the Sun Devils are 35-4 in their last 39 regular season games (includes 25-2 mark in their last 27 regular season Pac-10 games) going back to the 2005-06 season.
UCSB has won four of the seven overall meetings against ASU, including the last three in succession (1997, `98 and `00).
Currently with 952 career points, senior guard Jill Noe needs 48 points to become the 18th player in Sun Devil history to score 1,000 career points.
SUN DEVILS SIGN THREE
A pair of explosive posts from Southern California and a top guard from the Pacific Northwest, highlight the 2008 Arizona State women's basketball signing class announced by head coach Charli Turner Thorne. Kimberly Brandon, Alex Earl and Janae Fulcher signed letters of intent to study and compete at Arizona State.
A 6-2 forward, Brandon is an exceptional talent, whose versatility and explosiveness will benefit the Sun Devils right away in 2008-09. Brandon, who is ranked the No. 92 overall player in the country (No. 22 at her position) by hoopgurlz.com, will be coming to ASU from Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, Calif., where in 2006-07 she averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in leading her team to the City Section title while earning all-league honors along the way.
A 5-10 guard, Earl has been a four-year member of the varsity squad at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore. The team leader in assists, steals and three-point field goals, Earl was named third-team all-state and first team all-league in 2007 following a season in which she helped lead the Skyhawks to their third consecutive 6A state title. A 2006-07 Street & Smith's Prep All-American Honorable Mention selection, Earl also earned all-league notice in 2005 and 2006, was named to the Oregon City `End of the Trail' All-Tournament Team in 2005 and 2006 (also earned MVP honors in '06), and played on Team Concept during the 2007 Nike Elite Regional Camp. In addition to her ability on the hardwood, Earl was also a four-year starter on Southridge's soccer team, earning second-team all-state honors in 2005 and first-team all-league honors in 2005 and 2007. Earl, whose father has coached basketball, was also a U.S. National Team member in 2004 and was on the Olympic Development Team for the state of Oregon for three years.
Fulcher will be coming to Tempe from Country Day High School in La Jolla, Calif., where the 6-3 post has averaged 9.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during her first three years on the varsity squad. Named team captain for the 2007-08 season, Fulcher is ranked the No. 15 post player by Girls Basketball Report in addition to being named an honorable mention All-American by The Sporting News and a McDonald's All-American nominee. Last season Fulcher averaged 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on her way to a bevy of honors, including All-CIF Div. IV First Team, UT All-San Diego Section First Team, Hall of Champions All-County First Team and Street & Smith's All-American Honorable Mention. Country Day would go on to be Coastal League champions and CIF SD Section Div. IV champions. In 2005-06, Fulcher nearly averaged a double-double every game with 9.9 points and 9.5 rebounds every time she stepped on the floor. She would go on to be named All-League First Team Coastal South, All-CIF Div. IV First Team and UT All-San Diego Section First Team in helping lead Country Day to Coastal League and CIF SD Section Div. IV titles before finishing as a Southern Regional runner-up.
EARLY SEASON NOTES
Although the statistics from ASU's two exhibition games will not count, below are a few statistical notes from ASU's first three games ...
Junior Briann January has led ASU in scoring (13.0 ppg), assists (5.0 apg), steals (3.0 spg) and free throws attempts, free throws made and free throw pct. (17-19, .895).
Junior Danielle Orsillo has led ASU in both three-point FGs (4) and three-point FG percentage (.571).
JANUARY NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-PAC-10 TEAM
Arizona State junior guard Briann January was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team. The team was chosen by members of the conference's women's basketball media. January is coming off a season in which she earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors in helping lead ASU to a school record 31 wins and its first Elite Eight appearance in school history. In 2006-07, the 5-8, Spokane, Wash., product finished third in the Pac-10 in steals (2.1 per game), fourth in assists (4.0 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67), and sixth in free throw percentage (81.7). A starter in 34 games, January concluded her sophomore campaign first on the team in both assists and steals and second in both scoring (10.2 points per game) and free throw percentage.
HELP IS ON THE WAY
Without question, one of the biggest challenges facing ASU coming into the 2007-08 season is figuring out how it will compensate for the loss of All-Pac-10 performers Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg. In addition to being responsible for a combined 23.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game in 2006-07 the duo also gave ASU a strong inside presence on both ends of the floor.
Enter junior transfers Sybil Dosty and Lauren Lacey. Biding their time since they last played a meaningful game in the spring of 2006, Dosty and Lacey are two players who are very eager to get on the floor and help the Sun Devils ascend to the top.
'I thought that Sybil and Lauren did a fabulous job during their redshirt year,' said Charli Turner Thorne. 'They both had personal records in the weight room and in their conditioning tests. I really give them a lot of credit because they stayed hungry throughout the year.'
Both players got to take a bit of a test drive with their teammates in real competition during ASU's trip to Italy last May in which the Sun Devils squared off against four different teams from around the country.
'The Italy trip was a great opportunity for them to start playing with their teammates and I think it was a real eye-opener for them in terms of where they were at,' said Turner Thorne. 'They found out what they felt comfortable with and learned about some things that they still needed to do.'
Originally a native of Tucson, Dosty spent her first two collegiate seasons at the University of Tennessee where she was part of a Final Four team her freshman year. Lacey, who transferred from the University of Minnesota, was also part of two squads that went to the NCAA Tournament.
In ASU's first three games (includes two exhibitions) Lacey has led ASU in rebounding, averaging 6.0 per game. Dosty saw brief action at North Carolina and vs. the Chinese National Team as she works her way back from a preseason knee injury.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR CHARLI?
With its 67-49 win over Bowling Green in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2007 NCAA Tournament the Arizona State women's basketball team clinched its first ever appearance in the Elite Eight of the 'The Big Dance.' It was the latest `first time ...' for the Sun Devils under head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who continues to build on what is the most successful period in the program's history. Since the 2004-05 season the Sun Devils are 80-22, including a 6-3 record in NCAA Tournament games the last three seasons.
In 2005-06 Turner Thorne had the Sun Devils in the Top 10 of both polls for the first time in 22 years. If the figure `22 years' sounds familiar it's because in 2004-05 Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 22 years. After leading the Sun Devils to a 25-7 in 2005-06 Turner Thorne was recognized being named the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Region 8 Coach of the Year.
Now in her 12th season in Tempe, Turner Thorne has more than established the Sun Devils as one of the teams to watch on an annual basis not only in the Pac-10 Conference, but also across the country. In fact, since the 2000-01 season the Sun Devils have won the second-highest number of overall games (158) in the Pac-10 Conference.
The Sun Devils host Yale on Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. The following day ASU will depart for Cancun where it will face Oklahoma (Nov. 22) and Iowa (Nov. 23) in the 2007 Caribbean Challenge.