ASU Women's Basketball Begins Three-Game Road Trip at USC on Thursday Night

Feb. 11, 2009


After tying the second longest winning streak in school history on Saturday, the Arizona State women’s basketball team will now look to tie the program record for consecutive wins (10) on Thursday (7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) when it begins a three-game road trip at USC. 

ASU (17-6, 9-2 Pac-10) extended its winning streak last week with wins over Oregon (68-56) and Oregon State (65-54). Dymond Simon (15.5 ppg), Briann January (14.5 ppg) and Danielle Orsillo (10.0 ppg) combined to average 40 points in the two wins. The Sun Devils made nearly half of their shots (54-109, .495) in the two games while forcing an average of 23.5 turnovers.

Thursday’s game at USC begins a stretch in which the Sun Devils will play five of their final seven regular season games on the road. The stretch includes a trip to the Bay Area the final weekend of Pac-10 play for contests against current Top 10 teams No. 3 California and No. 6 Stanford, who currently occupy first and second place in the Pac-10, respectively.

USC (12-9, 6-4 Pac-10) is coming off an 87-76 win over UCLA on Sunday. Four players scored in double figures for the Women of Troy led by senior guard Camille LeNoir and junior guard Heather Oliver, who had 19 points each. LeNoir also added five rebounds, three assists and two steals and would go on to be named the Pac-10 Player of the Week. USC, which has the No. 2 offense in the Pac-10 (74.6 points per game), is 9-1 at home this season.


Arizona State’s game at USC can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060 and on the Sun Devil Sports Network (subscription-based service that can be accessed via Pre-game coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the 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 62 all-time meetings, the Sun Devils have recently had the upper hand in the series, having won seven of the last eight meetings. Last month the Sun Devils won their sixth in a row over USC with an 83-71 win in Tempe. Dymond Simon scored a season-best 22 points while Danielle Orsillo scored 15 of her season-high 19 points in the second half. ASU would lead by as many as 18 points in the second half to break open what was a five-point game at the half (32-27 ASU). 

Last season the Sun Devils defeated USC 66-63 in Tempe and 65-57 in Los Angeles. Lauren Lacey (17 points, eight rebounds) and Sybil Dosty (14 points six rebounds) combined for 31 points and 14 boards in the first win 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.


• The Sun Devils have won 82 percent (54-12) of their Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season. This weekend the Sun Devils are on the road where they are a combined 23-3 in their last 26 Pac-10 road contests. On Thursday ASU will try and remain unbeaten (4-0) in USC’s Galen Center, which opened in the fall of 2006. The Sun Devils defeated USC there 68-57 in 2007 and 65-57 last season. In March 2007 ASU also defeated UC Riverside and Louisville in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

• ASU is currently on a season-best nine-game winning streak, which ties the second-longest winning streak in school history. On Thursday the Sun Devils can tie the program record of 10 straight wins set in 2005-06.

• In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 8), ASU was fourth in the nation in assists per game (17.7), ninth in three-point FG percentage (.388), 10th in field goal percentage (.458) and 18th in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in three-point FG percentage (.388), rebounds allowed per game (30.9) and turnover margin (+4.6) and are second in field goal percentage (.456), assists per game (17.7), blocked shots per game (4.7 bpg), and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0).  

• During ASU’s current nine-game winning streak the Sun Devils have allowed only 51.4 points per game and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 20.4 points. In fact, the Sun Devils are allowing an average of only 21.2 points in the first half of their last nine games. In addition the Sun Devils have also forced an average of 23.0 turnovers per game and are averaging more than double the number of assists as their opponents (17.9-8.2).

Dymond Simon, who was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week on Feb. 9, has led the Sun Devils in scoring during their current winning streak (15.1 ppg). In her last seven games Simon has averaged 16.7 points and 4.7 assists.

• In Pac-10 play ASU has three of the top six leaders – Briann January (third), Danielle Orsillo (fourth) and Dymond Simon (sixth) – in assist-to-turnover ratio. During ASU’s winning streak the trio has combined for 110 assists and only 56 turnovers. January has 38 assists and only 16 turnovers during that span.

• With five assists against California on Jan. 4, January became ASU’s all-time assists leader. She currently has 483 assists in her career. With 248 career steals January is currently second on ASU’s all-time list. Entering Thursday’s game, January is seventh in the nation in 3-point FG percentage (.462) and 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio. She leads the Pac-10 in assists (4.9 apg) and steals (2.4 spg), is tied for first in three-point FG percentage (.462), is second in assist-to-turnover ratio, third in free throw percentage (.842) and 13th in scoring (12.3 ppg). 

• Sophomore forward Becca Tobin has connected on 70 percent (21-30) of her shot attempts during ASU’s current nine-game winning streak, including 82 percent (14-17) in ASU’s last four games.

• In their win over Oregon State on Feb. 7, the Sun Devils broke the school’s single-season record for most blocks (102). ASU currently has 109 rejections on the season. Currently with 118 3-point field goals this season, the Sun Devils need 18 more to break the school record of 135 which was set in 2000-01.

• ASU’s leading rebounder last season, senior Sybil Dosty has continued to lead the Sun Devils in boards this season and is currently sixth in the Pac-10, averaging 7.7 rebounds per game. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 75 career blocks, Dosty needs five blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list.

• Five of ASU’s six losses this season have come to teams currently ranked in the top 13 of the current Associated Press poll – No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 California, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Florida and No. 13 Texas – including four of the current AP Top 10. Three of those five losses – Florida (65-60), Stanford (64-61) and California (54-53) – came by a combined nine points.


One characteristic of ASU’s current nine-game winning streak has been its ability to start fast. The Sun Devils have outscored their opponents 76-41 in the opening five minutes of their last nine games. On two occasions (at Oregon State and vs. Arizona) the Sun Devils did not allow a single point in the first five minutes and on two others (vs. UCLA and at Washington State) they had allowed only two points. Overall the Sun Devils have averaged an 11.9-point lead (33.1-21.2) at the half of their last nine games.


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 (.388). Currently with 118 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 (48), Dymond Simon (30) and Danielle Orsillo (17), who have combined for 95 of ASU’s 118 triples. Earlier this season the Sun Devils hit a school record 14 3-pointers in a 73-59 win at UC Davis. Leading the way was January, who tied the school record with seven makes from downtown. 


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 25 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 - twice) and attempted (2), most blocks 10 - tied with Arizona) and fewest rebounds (19 - twice - tied with Oregon State). In addition, the Sun Devils have held the opposition to 20 or fewer points in a half 10 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).


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 23 games are any indication it would appear that the Sun Devils have returned to the nation’s elite in the category. Currently ASU is fourth in the country averaging 17.7 assists per game. The Sun Devils have dished out 20 or more assists seven 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.


Two local standouts who have achieved exceptional success and a top-notch guard from California highlighted the 2008 women’s basketball signing class for Arizona State announced by Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne in November. Joy Burke, Deja Mann and Markisha Patterson all signed letters of intent to study and play basketball at ASU. 

A 6-foot-5 post player, Burke was named to The Arizona Republic’s All-Arizona team in 2008 in addition to earning second-team All-Tribune honors from the East Valley Tribune following a season in which she led Tempe Marcos de Niza to the state quarterfinals. During her decorated junior season, Burke averaged 19.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game. 

A 5-foot-8 combo guard, Mann will be joining the Sun Devils from Merced High School in Merced, Calif. Mann, who was sidelined because of injury her junior season, had an outstanding sophomore campaign in which she averaged nearly 16 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists per game on her way to being named the Central California Conference MVP. Mann, who averaged 14.1 points per game as a freshman, also starred on the Modesto Magic club team this past summer. An outstanding shooter, Mann ranked No. 25 on’s best “Gunners” of the summer. 

A 5-foot-8 guard, Patterson will be coming to ASU from Central Arizona College where last season she helped lead her team to a runner-up finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association championships. Known as a defensive specialist at Central Arizona, Patterson is very familiar with what it takes to win championships. In 2007, she helped lead Tolleson High School to the Class 5A Division II state title after she scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the championship game.


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 2008-09 January has experienced anything but an SI jinx as she currently leads the Pac-10 in assists per game (4.9) and steals per game (2.4), is tied for first in 3-point FG percentage (.462), is second in assist to turnover ratio, is second in three-point FG pct (.461), third in free throw percent (.842) and fourth in 3-point FGs per game (2.1). Already ASU’s all-time leader in career assists (483), 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 (248, needs 43 steals to catch all-time leader Cassandra Lander) and third in free throws (364, needs 24 to pass Kym Hampton for second place). 


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 16.7 points and 4.7 assists in ASU’s last seven games, has helped to give the Sun Devils one of the top backcourts in the country. Simon has scored in double figures 19 times in 22 games this season, including a season-best 22 points vs. USC (Jan. 17). On Feb. 2 Simon was named the Pac-10’s Player of the Week after averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in wins at Washington State and at Washington. She is currently first on the team in scoring (13.9 ppg), is second to fellow guard Briann January in three-point FGs (30) and assists (3.5 apg) and is first in the Pac-10 and fifth in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.905).


One of the central figures in the success of ASU’s interior game has been center Sybil Dosty. The senior from Tucson, Ariz., transferred to ASU in 2005 after spending her first two seasons at the University of Tennessee. In her first season as a Sun Devil in 2007-08 Dosty finished first on the team in both rebounding (6.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.540) while at the same time accumulating the fourth-highest single-season block total (40) in school history. This season Dosty has continued to build on last year’s success as she currently leads the team in rebounding (7.7 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg), is second in field goal percent (.544) and third in scoring (9.0 ppg). At her current rebounding pace Dosty would become only the third Sun Devil to average more than seven rebounds since 1996. Currently fourth on ASU’s all-time list with 75 career blocks, Dosty needs five blocks to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for third place on the list. Dosty’s 35 blocks this season currently rank fifth in ASU’s single-season annals. She needs six blocks to move into fourth place.

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