ASU Women's Basketball Hosts USC on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Jan. 16, 2009
Currently on a three-game winning streak the Arizona State women's basketball team will look to continue its current string of success on Saturday (4 p.m. MT) when it hosts USC at Wells Fargo Arena in a game being nationally televised by Fox Sports Net.
ASU extended its winning streak on Thursday with a 68-44 win over UCLA on Thursday. Dymond Simon scored a game-high 14 points and Kirsten Thompson added 12 as the Sun Devils accomplished a first in that it was the first time they have won three Pac-10 games in succession by 20 or more points.
Simon scored 10 of her 14 points from the foul line while Thompson tallied 10 of her 12 points in the second half. As a team the Sun Devils (11-6, 3-2 Pac-10) were 24-29 from the foul line, including a 6-of-6 performance by Thompson.As has been the case in recent wins, much of ASU's success was set up by its defense. The Sun Devils forced 28 UCLA turnovers while allowing the Bruins to shoot only 36.6 percent for the game.
USC (9-6, 3-1 Pac-10) comes in having won three of its four Pac-10 games, most recently a hard-fought 77-71 victory over Arizona on Thursday night. Freshman guard Ashley Corral came off the bench to lead the Women of Troy with 16 points while fellow freshman guard Briana Gilbreath (15 points, 10 rebounds) and senior guard Camille LeNoir (14 points) also contributed double-digit scoring efforts. Gilbreath (11.8 ppg) and LeNoir (11.1 ppg), senior center Nadia Parker (10.6 ppg) and Corral (10.6 ppg) have provided USC with a well-balance scoring attack this season.
ON THE AIR
ASU's game vs. USC can be seen live on Fox Sports Net. Paul Sunderland (play-play-play) and Mary Murphy (analysis) will call the game The contest can also be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. Valley veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his fifth year as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
While USC has won 47 of the 61 all-time meetings, the Sun Devils have recently had the upper hand in the series, having won the last five meetings, including sweeps each of the last two seasons. Last season the Sun Devils defeated USC 66-63 in Tempe and 65-57 in Los Angeles. After trailing by 11 at halftime of the first meeting, the Sun Devils outscored USC 44-30 in the final 20 minutes to win by three. Lauren Lacey (17 points, eight rebounds) and Sybil Dosty (14 points six rebounds) combined for 31 points and 14 boards in the win. In the second meeting ASU used a 25-7 run in the second half to turn a four-point deficit into a 14-point advantage on their way to the eight-point win. Lacey led the Sun Devils 14 points while Jill Noe had 11 points, all of which came in the second half.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Sun Devils have nearly 80 percent (47-12) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. On Saturday the Sun Devils are home where they are 33-6 (.846) since the 2004-05 season.
The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percent (.391) and rebounds allowed per game (29.6) and are second in field goal percentage (.453), blocked shots (4.0 bpg), assists (17.8 apg), turnover margin (+4.3), steals (11.1 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio. In the most recent NCAA statistics (Jan. 15), ASU was ninth in three-point field goal percentage and fourth in assists per game.
During ASU's current three-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 44.3 points per game. In addition, the opposition has shot only 36.1 percent from the field and has made only one three-point field goal (1-16). The Sun Devils have forced an average of nearly 23 turnovers per game and have held a plus-seven advantage in rebounding (36.3-29.3).
In Pac-10 play ASU has three of the top eight leaders -- Danielle Orsillo (first), Briann January (fourth) and Dymond Simon (eighth) -- in assist-to-turnover ratio. During ASU's winning streak the trio has combined for 42 assists and only 15 turnovers.
With five assists against California on Jan. 4, senior guard Briann January became ASU's all-time assists leader. January currently has 460 assists in her career. With 234 career steals January is currently second on ASU's all-time list. Entering this Saturday's game, January leads the Pac-10 in assists (5.2 apg, No. 30 in the nation), steals (2.5 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (No. 15 in the nation) and is second in 3-point FG pct. (.468, No. 17 in the nation).
Junior guard Dymond Simon is currently first on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and is second to January in three-point FGs (22) and assists (3.2) and is first in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage (.905).
Senior forward Lauren Lacey has made 59 percent of her shots in ASU's last eight games. Although she is ASU's fourth leading scorer for the season (8.1 ppg), Lacey is second in scoring in ASU's Pac-10 games, averaging 10.8 points per game, including a season-best 19 points at Oregon (Jan. 10).
ASU's leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently fifth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.5 rebounds per game.
RESERVATIONS FOR THREE
Coming into the 2008-09 season, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said she expected the Sun Devils to have an improved perimeter game from last season when they shot slightly more than 33 percent from beyond the arc. 'We were an ok perimeter shooting team last year; but not great,' Turner Thorne said before the season. 'I think this might be one of the best perimeter shooting teams we have had in my tenure at ASU.' Thus far it would appear the Sun Devils have proven Turner Thorne right as they are currently first in the Pac-10 and No. 9 in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (.391). Currently with 93 three-point FGs this season the Sun Devils are on pace to shatter the school's single-season record of 135 triples set by the 2004-05 team. Leading the way are guards Briann January (36), Dymond Simon (22) and Danielle Orsillo (13), who have combined for 71 of ASU's 93 triples.
YOU CAN'T SPELL DEVILS WITHOUT `D'
If there is one thing ASU head coach Charli Turner Throrne's teams have become known for over the years it is defense. The Sun Devils offered another reminder of their excellence in defending on Dec. 6 when they defeated UC Irvine 75-23 to set the single-game Pac-10 record for the fewest points ever allowed by a Pac-10 team. It's the second time in as many seasons that the Sun Devils have set a conference record for fewest points in a game. Last season the Sun Devils set the standard for the fewest points allowed in a Pac-10 game in their 59-30 win over Washington State. Since the 2005-06 season the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points 23 times. This season the Sun Devils have accounted for several single-game defensive superlatives in the Pac-10, including fewest points (23), lowest field goal percentage (.209), fewest field goals (9 - tied with Oregon State), fewest field goal attempts (38), fewest three-point field goals made (0) and attempted (2) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half eight times this season, including their win over Oregon State (Jan. 8) in which the Sun Devils held the Beavers to 14 points in the second half to turn a four-point halftime lead (26-22) into a 25-point win (61-36).
IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE
Finishing 12th in the country in any statistical category would usually be considered great by most standards. That is unless of course a team is used to higher standards. After finishing among the nation's top 5 in assists in 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Sun Devils slipped to 12th last season. If the season's first 17 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation's elite in the category. Currently ASU leads the Pac-10 and is sixth in the country averaging 17.8 assists per game. The Sun Devils have dished out 20 or more assists five times this season, including a season-best 30 assists vs. Northern Arizona (Dec. 7), the second-highest single-game total in the Pac-10 this season.
SIMON SAYS ...
Like fellow guard Danielle Orsillo, junior Dymond Simon knows the experience of having to rebound from a season ending injury. In 2006-07, Simon quickly made a name for herself as one of the top freshman in the Pac-10 before a knee injury ended her season midway through the conference season. In 2007-08 Simon played in 30 games, as she tirelessly worked to regain her high level of play while at the same time still enduring effects from the injury. By the time last March rolled around Simon was once again at the top of her game, earning All-Pac-10 Tournament recognition after averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists in ASU's two tournament games, including a season-best 22 points in the semifinals against Cal. Fast forward to this season and Simon, who has averaged 13.7 points in her last seven games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 13 times in 16 games this season, including a season-best 21 points at Texas (Dec. 18). She is currently first on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg), is second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (22) and assists (3.2 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting percentage (.905).
JANUARY CONTINUES TO DISTINGUISH HERSELF AS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY
Undoubtedly one of the integral components of ASU's success in recent years has been the play of senior Briann January. Since she arrived in Tempe in 2005, the 5-8 guard from Spokane, Wash., has proven time and again to be one of the most explosive players in the nation on both ends of the floor. Last season January was named the first ever Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in addition to earning Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors for a campaign in which she finished first in the Pac-10 in steals (2.18 spg) and free throw percentage (.864), third in assists (4.39 apg), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio and 15th in scoring. Earlier this season January was recognized for her outstanding play in being one of six women's college basketball players around the country to share (along with All-America candidate sophomore James Harden from the Arizona State men's basketball team) a regional cover on Sports Illustrated's College Basketball Preview. Thus far in 2008 January has experienced anything but an SI jinx as she currently leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (5.2), steals per game (2.5) and assist to turnover ratio, is second in three-point FG pct (.444), fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.1), fourth in free throw pct. (.821) and ninth in scoring (12.2 ppg). Already ASU's all-time leader in career assists (460), January is steadily making her way up the list of ASU's all-time leaders in steals and free throws. Currently she is second in steals (234, needs 57 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander) and fourth in free throws (346, needs seven to pass Emily Westerberg for third place).