No. 18/19 ASU Women's Basketball Faces Fresno State on Monday Morning
Dec. 17, 2007
The No. 18/19 Arizona State women's basketball team (5-4) begins a four-game homestand on Monday morning (11 a.m.) when it hosts Fresno State (2-7) at Wells Fargo Arena.
Monday's game is being billed as 'Sparky's Kids to College Field Trip Presented by Wells Fargo,' as several thousand children from elementary schools around the Valley will be attending the game. The purpose of the 'Field Trip' is to expose elementary-aged children to a university campus and intercollegiate athletics. Students attending Monday's game will be provided with a curriculum workbook which will include age-appropriate lessons, covering the range of grade levels. Last season marked the first time that the ASU women's basketball program hosted the event, which proved to be a big success. More than 5,000 school children were on hand last January to see the Sun Devils defeat UCLA 92-52.
For the second time in as many weeks the Sun Devils find themselves looking to bounce back from a loss after dropping a hard-fought 73-69 decision to Texas Tech on Thursday night. The Sun Devils fell despite committing a season-low 10 turnovers. Jill Noe led ASU with season bests in both points (20) and rebounds (10) while also adding five assists and two steals.
Senior guard Reagan Pariseau returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing the last two-plus games with an ankle injury. Pariseau's play provided the Sun Devils with a spark several times against the Lady Raiders as she accounted for a season-best nine points to go along with three assists and no turnovers. Pariseau connected on all four of her field goal attempts, including a three-point FG that got ASU within striking distance (70-69) with nine seconds remaining in the game.
Fresno State is coming off a 43-point win (93-50) over Cal-State Bakersfield on Saturday, its largest margin of victory since 1996. The Bulldogs are led by senior guard Tierre Wilson, who is averaging a team-high 17.9 points per game. Named a preseason All-WAC performer by the league's coaches and media, Wilson went over 1,000 points for her career in Saturday's win.
Arizona State's game vs. Fresno State can be heard live on KAZG 1440 AM and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Pre-game coverage will begin at 10:30 a.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Monday's game is the first of four consecutive the Sun Devils will play at home. On Thursday ASU will conclude the non-conference portion of its schedule when it hosts current No. 20/23 Texas. Next week the Sun Devils will open up Pac-10 play when they host UCLA (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30).
The Sun Devils are 21-2 when coming off a loss since the start of the 2004-05 season. Since 2005 the Sun Devils are 16-3 in December games. Their only losses in December games during that span came at Stanford last season and versus current No. 14 Auburn and Texas Tech earlier this month.
Currently with 1,037 career points, Jill Noe needs two points to move past Olivia Jones (1981-83) for 13th place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Noe has led ASU over its last four contests, averaging 15.5 points per game while connecting on 53.5 percent of her shots (23-43), including nearly 48 percent from three-point range (10-21). Noe is also averaging 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 steals during that span.
Junior Lauren Lacey is averaging 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in ASU's last four games. During that span Lacey has set new career highs in both scoring (20 points vs. Auburn on Dec. 2) and rebounds (10 rebounds vs. UC Davis on Dec. 9). Fellow junior post Sybil Dosty (7.3 rpg) is tied with Lacey as the team's leader in rebounding over the last four games. Dosty has had a season-best nine boards twice during that time frame.
The Sun Devils are averaging 21.3 assists in each of their last four games, including a season-best 26 assists vs. Gonzaga on Nov. 30. Junior Briann January (4.8 apg) and Noe (4.5 apg) have combined to average more than nine assists per game over that duration.
Despite their regional proximity, this will be only the second time that ASU and Fresno State have met. ASU was victorious in the only prior meeting, a 68-52 win at Fresno in 2005.
EARLY SEASON NOTES
The 38 points Yale scored on Nov. 19 represented the 10th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
In ASU's 66-42 win over UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 17), Jill Noe tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and narrowly missed becoming the first Sun Devil to record a triple-double since Ryneldi Becenti in 1992. For Noe, it is the third such time she has flirted with the feat. Last season she recorded 17 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a win over Northern Arizona and during her freshman season she posted 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in a win over Denver.
Through ASU's first nine games junior Briann Janaury is first on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg), assists per game (4.4 apg), steals per game (2.3 spg), made free throws (38) and attempts (44) and free throw percent (.864). Junior Lauren Lacey is first on the team in rebounding (6.6 rpg).
THOMPSON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Arizona State junior center Kirsten Thompson was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week according to an announcement by Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen on Dec. 10.
In ASU's 77-56 win over UC Davis on Sunday Thompson was perfect from the floor, connecting on all seven of her shot attempts and both free throws to lead the Sun Devils with a season-high 16 points, which fell three short of her career best. Thompson, who also added five rebounds and three assists while playing a season-high 19 minutes, scored 10 of her 16 points in the first half in helping the Sun Devils build a 34-17 halftime lead.
IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE
The Sun Devils had 21 assists in their 77-56 win over UC Davis on Dec. 9. It was the 14th time going back to the start of last season that ASU has recorded 20 or more assists in a single game. Earlier this season ASU tallied a season-best 26 assists in its win over Gonzaga (Nov. 30). Currently ranked No. 8 in the nation in assists per game, the Sun Devils have averaged 21.3 assists in their last four outings. ASU has finished in the nation's top five in assists each of the last two seasons, finishing second last season (18.1 apg) and fourth in 2005-06 (18.4 apg).
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.
Thus far in 2007-08, January has wasted no time in picking up where she left off last season. She is currently first on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg), assists per game (4.4 apg), steals per game (2.3 spg), made free throws (38) and attempts (44) and free throw percent (.864).
SUN DEVILS WORK THROUGH EARLY SEASON INJURIES
When senior guard Reagan Pariseau suffered an ankle injury in the first half of ASU's eventual win over Gonzaga on Nov. 30, it represented one of the recent bumps and bruises the Sun Devils have encountered to start the season. Sun Devil players have already missed a total of 12 games because of injury this season.
Dymond Simon, a member of the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team last season, was limited early in the season as she returned from a torn ACL she suffered in January. Three times this season Simon has scored in double figures, including a season-best 17 points in ASU's win over Yale on Nov. 19. Simon was having a strong outing against Texas Tech on Thursday, scoring 11 points in 12 minutes before being forced to leave the game after aggravating her knee injury. She would return to the game for a couple minutes before leaving again. Her status is currently day to day.
Junior post Sybil Dosty injured her knee earlier this fall and was forced to miss all of ASU's preseason practices. She averaged only 12 minutes in the first four games as she was slowly worked into the rotation. Since then, Dosty has averaged 20 minutes a game and has averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 64.3 percent from the field.
Junior guard Kate Engelbrecht suffered a hand injury during the first preseason practice and was forced to miss the rest of ASU's preseason workouts and its first two games. She scored a season-high six points in ASU's win over UC Davis on Dec. 9.
Less than one week after scoring a career-best 21 points in ASU's season opening loss at North Carolina, junior guard Danielle Orsillo was diagnosed with a bone bruise on her knee. On Nov. 19, head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced that Orsillo would be out for at least one month before her is situation reevaluated.
Pariseau missed ASU's games against Auburn (Dec. 2) and UC Davis (Dec. 9) after injuring her ankle early in ASU's win over Gonzaga on Nov. 30. She returned to action on Dec. 13 at Texas Tech and made an immediate impact, scoring a season-best nine points on 4-4 shooting.
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 were two players who were very eager to get on the floor and help the Sun Devils ascend to the top. 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.
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.
Through ASU's first nine games, Lacey is third on ASU in scoring (10.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.6 rpg). She led ASU with a career-best 19 points in its win over Iowa on Nov. 23 and would surpass that total with 20 against Auburn (Dec. 2). She would add a career-best 10 rebounds vs. UC Davis on Dec. 9. The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty has connected on 55.8 percent of her shots (24-43). She tied her career-best with 12 points in ASU's 60-58 win over Iowa on Nov. 30 and then would surpass that mark with 16 points in ASU's 78-60 win over Gonzaga on Nov. 30. She has tallied a season-best nine rebounds twice in ASU's last four games.
SUN DEVILS WELCOME THE RETURN OF SIMON
In addition to gaining the services of Dosty and Lacey, the Sun Devils will also be benefiting from the return of sophomore Dymond Simon, who was named to the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team last season despite missing the second half of the Pac-10 season with a torn ACL.
'Dymond is a very special player who is critical in terms of our desires to take the next step as a program,' says ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. 'I think one of the strongest testaments to her ability as a player is the fact that the conference coaches still voted her onto the All-Freshman Team despite her missing the entire second half of the Pac-10 season.'
Prior to getting injured last season, Simon showed flashes of the brilliance that she used to helped lead her high school team to a pair of state championships. At the time of her injury, Simon was third on the team in scoring (9.7 points per game) and second on the team in steals (1.6 per game). Two weeks before getting injured, Simon was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after averaging 20 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in ASU's wins vs. Washington State and Washington.
According to Turner Thorne, Simon has found ways to improve her game even while recovering from the injury.
'We always challenge players when they are out to work on something more than maybe they otherwise would be able to. True to Dymond and her amazing commitment to be the best basketball player she can be, she worked tirelessly on her shot and that is what people are going to notice right away. Her shot is fluid and it looks great.'
Simon has scored in double figures four times this season, including a season-best 17 points in ASU's win vs. Yale (Nov. 19).
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 81-23, 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 (162) in the Pac-10 Conference.
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.
The Sun Devils will face their fourth ranked opponent of the season on Thursday evening (6:30 p.m.) when they take on the No. 20/23 Texas Longhorns.