ASU Women's Basketball Hosts No. 13 Cal at 2 p.m. on Sunday
Jan. 3, 2009
The Arizona State women's basketball team will look to even its record in Pac-10 play on Sunday (2 p.m. MT) when it hosts the No. 13 California Golden Bears at Wells Fargo Arena.
In their most recent outing the Sun Devils (8-5, 0-1 Pac-10) dropped a 64-61 decision to Stanford on Friday in the Pac-10 opener for both squads. For the Sun Devils it was the second time in as many games that they came up on the short end of a contest decided in the final minute after previously falling to Nebraska 62-58.Briann January provided the Sun Devils with a strong all-around effort, scoring 21 points (7-10 FGs) while also accumulating four assists and three steals. Fellow guard Dymond Simon added 11 points and center Sybil Dosty had 11 rebounds for the Sun Devils, who dropped consecutive games for only the fourth time since the 2004-05 season.
California (10-2, 1-0 Pac-10) has gone 3-2 in its last five games after winning its first seven contests of the season. The Golden Bears got off on the right foot in Pac-10 play following a 56-46 win over Arizona on Friday. Senior F/C Ashley Walker, the Pac-10's leading scorer (22.5 ppg), paced California with 23 points (11-18 FGs) while freshman guard Casey Morris came off the bench to score 18 points (6-10 FGs, 5-6 three-point FGs).
The Sun Devils and Golden Bears are very familiar with one another after facing each other six times in the last two seasons, including a pair of semifinal tilts in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Golden Bears swept all three contests last season (64-51 in Tempe, 70-60 in Berkeley and 65-61 in Pac-10 Tourney semifinals) after the Sun Devils pulled off the hat trick in 2006-07.
After Sunday's game the Sun Devils will take their first Pac-10 road trip of the season when they travel to Oregon to face Oregon State (Jan. 8) and Oregon (Jan. 10). Both the Beavers (60-53 at UCLA) and Ducks (66-56 at USC) dropped their respective Pac-10 openers on Friday.
ON THE AIR
Arizona State's game against California can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060 and on the Sun Devil Sports Network (subscription-based service that can be accessed via www.thesundevils.com). Pre-game coverage will begin at 1:30 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR The Sun Devils have won 8 percent (44-11) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season.
ASU is 32-5 at home in Pac-10 play since the 2004-05 season.
ASU is currently in the second half of an arduous six-game stretch against teams that have won a combined 80 percent of their games (as of Jan. 3) - at No. 4 Texas (12-1) on Dec. 18, vs. Xavier (11-4) on Dec. 21, at Nebraska (9-4) on Dec. 28, vs. No. 11 Stanford (10-3) on Jan. 2, vs. No. 13 California (10-2) on Jan. 4 and at Oregon State (9-2) on Jan. 8.
The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percent (.405) and assists per game (17.9). In the most recent NCAA statistics (Dec. 21), ASU was ranked second and third, respectively, in the two categories.
Cal was victorious in both regular season games last season as well as in the semifinals of the 2008 Pac-10 Tournament. Cal's sweep last season ended a stretch in which the Sun Devils defeated the Golden Bears eight times in nine games.
Briann January averaged 14.3 points in the three contests against California last season. Dymond Simon scored a season-best 22 points in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals as she nearly helped rally the Sun Devils from a 16-point deficit. Simon scored 12 of ASU's points during an 18-6 Sun Devil run which came four points of sending the game into overtime.
January (440 career assists) needs two assists to pass Jodi Rathbun (1983-86) as ASU's all-time leader. Currently fourth on ASU's all-time list in steals (231), January needs one more steal to move into third place (Stephanie Freeman, 1995-98) and three more for sole possession of second place (Carrie Buckner (2001-05). January currently leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.3 apg) and steals (3.1).
January has averaged 14.0 points, 6.0 assists and 2.3 steals in ASU's last three games. She has hit 47 percent of her 3-point FGs during that period. January's 32 3-point field goals matches her previous single-season high which she set last season.
Junior guard Danielle Orsillo has had all five of her double-figure scoring performances in ASU's last eight games, including a pair of season-best 16-point outings. Orsillo returned to the lineup this season after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
ASU's leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently fourth in the Pac-10, averaging 8.2 rebounds per game. Dosty had her sixth double-digit rebounding performance of the season with 11 against Stanford on Friday. Dosty is averaging nearly a double-double in ASU's last four games (9.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg). Four of Dosty's five double-digit scoring performances this season have come in ASU's last six games.
SERIES HISTORY VERSUS CALIFORNIA
The all-time series is knotted at 26-26 after the Golden Bears swept all three contests last season (64-51 in Tempe, 70-60 in Berkeley and 65-61 in Pac-10 Tourney semifinals). Prior to last season's sweep the Sun Devils had won 13 of 16 meetings. The Sun Devils swept the regular season series last season, defeating the Golden Bears 74-58 in Berkeley (Dec. 28) and 66-54 in Tempe (Jan. 25). ASU also defeated the Golden Bears 60-53 in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament.