ASU Women's Basketball Closes Out Regular Season in Los Angeles
March 3, 2010
The Arizona State women's basketball team wraps up the regular season this week when it travels to Los Angeles to face UCLA on Thursday (7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and USC on Saturday (12:30 p.m. PT/1:30 p.m. MT).
This weekend the Sun Devils (17-10, 9-7 Pac-10) will be looking to rewrite the scripts their contests followed against the Bruins and Trojans in early January when both LA schools left Wells Fargo Arena with victories.
On New Year's Day the Women of Troy used a 16-3 run in the final four minutes to offset solid ASU advantages in both shooting percentage (.472-.396) and rebounding (40-28) in its 60-56 win. Two days later against the Bruins, ASU was unable to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit as UCLA shot 59 percent from the field in a 74-56 win. Senior guard Danielle Orsillo (14.0 ppg) and junior post Becca Tobin (11.0 ppg) led ASU's offensive attack in the two games. Tobin actually averaged a double-double (11.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg) after tying her single-game career high in rebounding (13) against USC.
This weekend's contests both pose opportunities for the Sun Devils to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume as the Bruins (No. 25) and Women of Troy (No. 36) are both among the top 40 teams in the most recent NCAA RPI standings. In addition, the results of this week's contests will also affect seeding for next week's Pac-10 Tournament (Mar. 11-14) at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Sun Devils could be seeded as high as third and as low as sixth depending on the outcome of their games as well as the outcomes of other contests around the league. ASU enters this week in sole possession of fifth place in the Pac-10, two games in front of sixth-place Oregon, one game in back of USC and 1.5 games in back of third-place California.
The Sun Devils were able to maintain their current position in the Pac-10 following their dramatic come-from-behind 57-50 win over Cal last Saturday on Senior Day. Orsillo (game-high 17 points, 5 assists, 4 steals), Tobin (10 points, 10 rebounds - 1st career double-double) and senior forward Kayli Murphy (6 points, 10 rebounds) all had major contributions as the Sun Devils used a 13-0 run four minutes to get the win.
Both of this week's contests can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley on Thursday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his sixth season as the voice of ASU women's basketball.In addition, this week's edition of `Off the Bench with Charli Turner Thorne' will air at 7 p.m. on Thursday, prior to pre-game coverage of ASU's contest against UCLA.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
ASU returns two starters - forward Kayli Murphy and guard Danielle Orsillo - from last year's active roster that went 26-9 and earned the program's second Elite Eight berth in the last three years. Of ASU's returning players, only seniors Kayli Murphy and Danielle Orsillo and junior Becca Tobin saw significant playing time last season.
The Sun Devils are without last season's leading scorer Dymond Simon as she spends the season rehabbing from the knee injury she suffered in the 2009 regular-season finale at Stanford. Also missing for the 2009-10 season because of injury is junior guard Markisha Patterson, who transferred to ASU from Central Arizona where she was a teammate of guard Tenaya Watson, who also transferred to ASU.
ASU has won 77 percent (68-20) of its Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season.
This weekend the Sun Devils will be on the road where they are 27-7 (.794) in Pac-10 road games since the 2005-06 season.
Although UCLA has won 42 of the 67 all-time meetings, ASU has been dominant in recent years with wins in 11 of the last 14 games. UCLA's win in January broke a seven-game ASU winning streak.
The Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points three times in their last five games. Thursday's game will be a battle between the No. 2 (UCLA - 56.7 ppg) and No. 3 (ASU - 59.5 ppg) scoring defenses in the Pac-10.
Last week the Sun Devils welcomed point guard Tenaya Watson back to the lineup after the junior missed three straight games with a foot injury. Watson was 5-10 from the floor in limited action (15.5 mpg) against Stanford and Cal.
Currently ASU's leading scorer averaging 14.6 points per game, senior G Danielle Orsillo has scored in double figures in all but four contests this season. Last month Orsillo set a new career best in scoring in back-to-back contests as she scored 26 points at Oregon State (Feb. 11) only to surpass that mark with 29 at Oregon (Feb. 13). Her final scoring tally at Oregon represented the most points by a Sun Devil since G Kylan Loney scored 32 against Arizona in 2004.
Orsillo currently ranks No. 7 in program history with 1,324 points, She needs 17 points to pass Emily Westerberg (2004-07) for 6th place and 40 points to pass Kristen Kovesdy (2003-06) for 5th place.
ASU's 116 blocks this season are the second-highest number in school history. The Sun Devils would need 19 more blocks to break the single-season record for the fourth consecutive season. Currently 5th place on ASU's all-time career list with 75 blocks, junior Becca Tobin needs five more rejections to pass Rachel Holt (1997-00) for 4th place.
Tobin has grabbed 10 rebounds in each of ASU's last two games.