ASU Women's Basketball Hosts USC on Sunday Afternoon
Dec. 29, 2007
The No. 24 Arizona State women's basketball team will look to stay perfect in Pac-10 play on Sunday afternoon (1:30 p.m.) when it hosts USC at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils opened the conference portion of their schedule with a 62-59 win over UCLA on Friday night.
A win on Sunday would not only give the Sun Devils their third consecutive 2-0 start in the Pac-10, but also back-to-back wins for the first time since the last week in November. Since defeating Gonzaga on Nov. 30, the Sun Devils have split their last six contests as they have been adjusting to constant changes in their rotation because of injuries.
In Friday's win over UCLA the Sun Devils (7-5, 1-0 Pac-10) were led by the combination of junior posts Sybil Dosty and Lauren Lacey, who combined for 38 points and 25 rebounds. Dosty paced the ASU attack, setting new career standards in both points (20) and rebounds (15). Lacey contributed her third double-double of the season and her second in as many games with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
USC (8-4, 1-0 Pac-10) comes into Tempe riding a four-game winning streak after splitting its first eight games of the season. In its most recent outing, the Women of Troy used a 14-0 second-half run to defeat Arizona 77-70 on Friday night. USC was led in the win by sophomore Morghan Medlock, who recorded career bests in both points (18) and rebounds (12) while connecting on four-of-six from beyond the arc.
Sunday's game will feature the Pac-10's leader (USC) in three-point field goals per game (7.0) against the league's stingiest team (ASU) in that category (2.5). In its victory over Arizona on Friday, USC hit a school record 13 triples. The Sun Devils, meanwhile, have held their opponents to 11.4 percent shooting (4-35) from three-point range in their last three games.
Sunday's game is the last in ASU's current four-game homestand. The Sun Devils will play their next three and five of their next seven contests away from Wells Fargo Arena.
ASU's game vs. USC can be seen live on Fox Sports Net. Jim Watson (play-play-play) and Mary Murphy (analysis) will call the game. The game can also be heard live on KDUS 1060 AM. and on the sundevilsportsnetwork.com (subscription-based service). Coverage of the game will begin at 1 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ASU is 26-2 in its last 28 regular season Pac-10 games going back to the 2004-05 season. The Sun Devils closed the 2005-06 season by winning their final nine Pac-10 games. ASU set a school record last season by winning 16 of 18 Pac-10 games (two losses came vs. Stanford). ASU is 34-3 in home Pac-10 games since the 2003-04 season.
ASU has won four of its last five meetings against USC, including the last three in a row. Last season the Sun Devils defeated the Women of Troy 62-54 in Tempe and 68-57 in Los Angeles.
Junior post Sybil Dosty has averaged 10.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in ASU's last four games while fellow junior post Lauren Lacey has averaged 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds during that same span. Dosty tallied career highs in both points (20) and rebounds (15) in ASU's win over UCLA on Friday night. Lacey has scored in double figures in ASU's last eight games and has recorded a career-best 10 rebounds on three occasions during that span.
ASU players have missed a combined 17 games because of injury this season. On Wednesday, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced that junior guard Danielle Orsillo will miss the remainder of the season because of a knee injury she sustained in November.
Currently with 1,059 career points, Noe needs seven points to move past Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for 12th place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Also one of ASU's all-time top three-point threats Noe (124 career three-point FGs) needs 10 three-point FGs to pass Boardman for third on ASU's all-time list.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS USC
USC leads the all-time series with the Sun Devils 47-12. The Sun Devils have won four of the last five meetings coming into Sunday's game, including both of last year's contests.
In the first meeting of the 2006-07 season in Tempe, the Sun Devils got 10 points and nine rebounds from Emily Westerberg, 12 points and four assists from Briann January and 12 rebounds and six points from Aubree Johnson in a 62-54 win. In the rematch in Los Angeles, four Sun Devils scored in double figures led by Johnson's 20-point, 10-rebound outing as the Sun Devils defeated USC 68-57 despite not having the services of All-Pac-10 performer Emily Westerberg who missed the game because of an ankle injury.
EARLY SEASON NOTES
The 49 points Fresno State scored on Dec. 17 represented the 11th time since the start of last season that ASU has held an opponent under 50 points.
Seven of ASU's 12 opponents have shot below 22 percent from three-point range.
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.
Since the start of the 2006-07 season, the Sun Devils are 26-1 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exception came earlier this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic. In that game ASU held a slight 40-39 edge on the boards.
Although there is really no such thing as a 'good loss' the Sun Devils can take some solace in that they have not had any bad losses the last two seasons. In fact the teams that have been responsible for their 10 losses since the start of the 2006-07 season have an aggregate record of 143-25 (.851), including a 53-8 record (.869) this season. The eight teams responsible for the 10 losses have included seven ranked teams, last year's national champion (Tennessee), last year's national runner up (Rutgers), last year's Pac-10 champion (Stanford) and two schools currently ranked in the top 10 (No. 4 North Carolina and No. 9 Oklahoma).
Through ASU's first 12 games junior Briann January is first on the team in scoring (11.8 ppg), assists per game (4.8 apg), steals per game (2.7 spg), made free throws (51) and attempts (58) and free throw percent (.879). Junior Lauren Lacey is first on the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and second in scoring (11.3 ppg).
ORSILLO SIDELINED FOR THE SEASON
Orsillo was originally diagnosed with a bone bruise in her left knee one week after scoring a career-best 21 points in ASU's season opener at North Carolina (Nov. 11). She would go on to miss ASU's next 10 regular season games before it was determined that she would miss the rest of the season.
In 2006-07 Orsillo scored in double figures 16 times and was one of four Sun Devils to play in all 36 games. Orsillo's list of accomplishments last season included being named MVP of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic and Pac-10 Player of the Week in addition to earning a spot on the Greensboro Regional All-Tournament Team.
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 Dec. 9 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.
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 (11.8 ppg), assists per game (4.8 apg), steals per game (2.7 spg), made free throws (51) and attempts (58) and free throw percent (.879). January has scored in double figures in 10 of 12 games this season, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best.
SUN DEVILS WORK THROUGH EARLY SEASON INJURIES
When the announcement came down on Dec. 26 that junior guard Danielle Orsillo would miss the remainder of the 2007-08 season because of a knee injury, it represented the latest injury-related setback the Sun Devils have encountered in the first two months of the season. Sun Devil players have already missed a combined 17 games 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 Dec. 13, 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 two minutes before leaving again. Simon would go on to miss ASU's next two games, including the Sun Devils' 62-51 loss to Texas (Dec. 20).
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 20.6 minutes a game and has averaged 9.9 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 60.4 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 eight points in ASU's win over Fresno State on Dec. 17.
Senior guard Reagan 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. Although she was healthy for ASU's contest vs. Texas (Dec. 20), Pariseau would only play 22 minutes and was limited for much of that time after absorbing a blow to the head early in the game. Then, midway through the second half, Jill Noe, who came into the Texas game averaging 14 points in her previous five games, was forced to leave the game because of an ankle injury.
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 12 games, Lacey is second on ASU in scoring (11.3 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.8 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). Lacey has scored in double figures in ASU's last eight games and has grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds three times during that span.
The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty has connected on 55.9 percent of her shots (38-68). 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. In late December, she came through with her best performance as a Sun Devil, tallying career highs in both points (20) and rebounds (15) in ASU's 62-59 win over UCLA (Dec. 28).
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 86-26, 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 (164) 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.
WHAT'S COMING UP?
The Sun Devils will be on the road for their next three contests, starting next week when they travel to the state of Oregon to take on Oregon (Thurs., Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and Oregon State (Sat., Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT).