ASU Women's Basketball Faces Washington on Thursday Night
Jan. 23, 2008
For the third time in four weeks the Arizona State women's basketball team will be on the road when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Washington Huskies (Thurs., Jan. 24, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and the Washington State Cougars (Sat., Jan. 26, 7 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. PT). The Sun Devils will look to get back to their winning ways after a pair of setbacks last week to No. 8 Cal and No. 7 Stanford, the first time the Sun Devils dropped back-to-back contests since January of 2006.
ASU comes into this weekend's action in third place in the Pac-10, one-half game behind second-place Stanford and two-and-a-half games behind first-place Cal. The Sun Devils are coming off a near upset of Stanford (60-56) on Sunday in which they led by 11 at the half and had an opportunity to tie or win in the game's closing seconds. Briann January led the Sun Devils in scoring for the third time in as many games with 20 points while Kayli Murphy grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds.
This week's games will be a homecoming for four Sun Devils - senior Reagan Pariseau (Spokane), juniors Briann January (Spokane) and Kirsten Thompson (Monroe) and freshman (Auburn) Stephanie Wilber - who are from the state of Washington. In addition, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne started her coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Washington, serving on the Huskies' staff from 1988-90.
After playing five of its first seven Pac-10 games on the road, Washington (7-12, 2-5 Pac-10) returns to its home floor where it has won five of nine games this season. The Huskies, who are under first-year coach Tia Jackson, are paced by freshman G/F Katelan Redmon and sophomore G Sami Whitcomb, who rank 15th (12.1 ppg) and tied for 17th (11.0), respectively, in the Pac-10 in scoring. The Huskies' last three losses have been by a combined eight points, including a pair of two-point setbacks vs. UCLA (59-57) and at Oregon (64-66).
ASU's game at Washington can be heard live on KXAM 1310 AM. Coverage of the game will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Arizona. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fourth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ASU is 30-4 in its last 34 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. Prior to last weekend's losses against California and Stanford, ASU was off to its best ever conference start after winning its first five Pac-10 games.
The Sun Devils have won 15 of their last 16 Pac-10 contests away from home, including the last 10 in a row. The only blemish during that stretch was a 77-71 setback at Stanford last season (Dec. 30, 2006).
The Sun Devils are ranked in the top 3 of the Pac-10 in three-point FG pct. defense (1st, .237), assists (2nd, 16.83 apg), free throw percentage (2nd, .715), field goal percentage (3rd, .436), steals (9.06 spg), scoring defense (3rd, 59.9 ppg) and scoring margin (3rd, +6.3).
In their last three games the Sun Devils have connected on nearly 90 percent (43-48) of their free throw attempts.
Currently tied for the team lead in scoring, averaging 12.2 points per game, Briann January has averaged 18.3 points and 4.3 assists in ASU's last three games.
The Sun Devils are 24-3 when coming off a loss since the start of the 2004-05 season. Last weekend's losses against Cal and Stanford marked the first time the Sun Devils fell in back-to-back games since the middle of the 2005-06 season.
The Sun Devils have been victorious in seven of their last nine meetings against Washington, including the last five in succession.
Currently with 22 blocked shots this season, junior post Sybil Dosty needs three more blocks to move into ASU's top 10 list for most blocks in a single season.
Currently with 1,097 career points, Jill Noe needs 38 points to move past Jovonne Smith (1989-92) for 11th place on ASU's all-time scoring list. Also one of ASU's all-time top three-point threats Noe (127 career three-point FGs) Noe needs seven three-point FGs to pass Betsy Boardman (2000-05) for third on ASU's all-time list.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS WASHINGTON
Washington leads the series with ASU 26-18, including a 17-5 advantage in games played in Seattle. The Sun Devils have dominated the series of late having won seven of the last nine meetings, including the last five in succession. Included in that five-game winning streak is a 67-61 victory in 2006 in Seattle, which gave Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne her first victory against the Huskies in the road.
In the first meeting of last season (Jan. 7) ASU overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat the Huskies 88-83 and end the Washington's nine-game winning streak. The Sun Devils trailed for most of the game before taking the lead for good with 51 seconds remaining. Emily Westerberg led ASU with 22 points while Dymond Simon added 16 points. Also coming through with key contributions were Aubree Johnson (15 points, seven rebounds), Danielle Orsillo (13 points and tied a career best with six rebounds) and Kayli Murphy (tied a career best with eight rebounds for the second consecutive game). In the rematch, the Sun Devils trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half before eventually getting to within a point at the half. ASU would dominate in the second half, outscoring Washington 41-29 to take a 75-64 win. Jill Noe led ASU with 13 points while Kate Engelbrecht tied her career best with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Two years ago the Sun Devils swept the season series for the first time since the 1992-93 season, winning 64-51 in Tempe and 67-61 in Seattle. In the two games the Sun Devils held the Huskies to a combined 35.9 percent shooting.
NOTES FROM THE SEASON
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.
Thirteen of ASU's 18 opponents have shot 25 percent or less from three-point range.
ASU's 10 blocks against California (Jan. 17) not only tied the single-game high in the Pac-10 this season, but also fell one block short of tying the program record which was accomplished by the 1992 squad.
The Sun Devils have had four games this season in which four players have scored in double figures.
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 29-2 when they have outrebounded their opponents. The only exceptions came this season when ASU fell to Auburn 75-69 in the championship game of the Verizon Wireless ASU Classic (held a 40-39 edge in rebounding) and when it lost to Stanford 60-56 (ASU held 39-35 rebounding advantage).
While there really is no such thing as a 'good loss' the Sun Devils can take some solace in the fact that the six teams they have lost to this season have win more than 80 percent of their games and are all teams that have been ranked in the top 25 this season, including four Top-10 teams.. ASU's five losses last season came to the national champion (Tennessee), the national runner-up (Rutgers) and the Pac-10 champions (Stanford).
HELP IS ON THE WAY
Without question, one of the biggest challenges facing ASU coming into the 2007-08 season was figuring out how it would 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.
Thus far in Pac-10 play Lacey and Dosty have combined for 23.6 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.
Lacey is currently tied for the team lead in scoring (12.2 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.2 rpg). She led ASU with a (then) 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 once again exceed her single-game career-best with a 23-point performance at Oregon (Jan. 3). The 23 points represent the most points scored by a Sun Devils this season. Earlier this season Lacey had a streak of 13 consecutive games in which she scored in double figures.
The leader in field goal percentage during her two seasons at Tennessee, Dosty is currently shooting 53.0 percent from the field. In late December Dosty averaged 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30). The Tucson, Ariz., native averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in the second half of both games in helping the Sun Devils overcome an eight-point deficit against the Bruins and an 11-point deficit against USC. Dosty was recognized for her performances against the Bruins and Trojans in being named the Pac-10's Player of the Week. In Pac-10 games Dosty fourth on the team in scoring (9.0 ppg) and leads the squad in rebounding (7.3 rpg). Currently with 22 blocked shots this season, Dosty needs three more blocks to move into ASU's top 10 list for most blocks in a single season.
JANUARY PLAYS WITH MARCH STATE OF MIND
This season ASU junior guard Briann January has shown time and again the type of play that has made her one of the top players in the Pac-10 Conference. January, who was one of five players named to the preseason All-Pac-10 team, currently leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.62) and free throw percentage (.867) and is second in assists (4.78 apg) and steals (2.44 spg) while ranking 11th in the Pac-10 and tied for first on ASU in scoring (12.2 ppg).
Last season January 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.
This season January has scored in double figures in 13 times in 17 games, including a 22-point performance against Texas (Dec. 22), which tied her career best. In ASU's 75-65 win at Arizona (Jan. 12), January turned in a performance that was nothing short of remarkable. After sitting out the entire week of practice with a knee injury January came off the bench to lead ASU with 19 points while connecting on all seven of her field goal attempts and both free throws, while also adding five assists, one block and one steal.
January has averaged 18.3 points (5-10 3pt FGs, .500) and 4.3 assists in ASU's last three games.
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 capped an unlucky first two months of the season in which Sun Devil players missed a combined 17 games because of injuries.
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.
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, 2007. She 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). Simon returned in time for the start of conference play and her presence on the floor has had a big impact. In ASU's last five games Simon has averaged 11.8 points. Simon scored a season-best 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in ASU's 69-60 win at Oregon State (Jan. 5).
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. Through seven games of Pac-10 play Dosty is fourth on the team in scoring (9.0 ppg) and first in rebounding (7.3 rpg). She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after averaging 17.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 57.9 in ASU's come-from-behind victories over UCLA (Dec. 28) and USC (Dec. 30).
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 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.
ORSILLO FEATURED IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Arizona State junior guard Danielle Orsillo was featured in 'The Year in Sports' issue (Dec. 31-Jan. 7) of Sports Illustrated for her community involvement. Orsillo, among other community endeavors, has spent more than 150 hours of her time the last two years at The Arc of Tempe, a recreation center for mentally disabled adults. Orsillo, whose brother Mark has Down syndrome, engages in various activities with others at The Arc, including cooking, playing video games and shooting hoops. The story touched on the friendship that has developed between Danielle and one of The Arc's regular attendees, Daniel Strelitz, who also has Down syndrome. Orsillo is currently sidelined for the season with a knee injury she sustained during the first week of the season.
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 91-29, 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 (168) in the Pac-10 Conference.
WHAT'S COMING UP?
The Sun Devils close out their trip to Washington on Saturday when they take on the Washington State Cougars. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT.