ASU Women's Basketball Faces USC on Saturday in Los Angeles
March 5, 2010
The Arizona State women's basketball team concludes the regular season portion of its 2009-10 schedule on Saturday (12:30 p.m. PT/1:30 p.m. MT) when it faces the USC Trojans in Los Angeles.
The Sun Devils (17-11, 9-8 Pac-10) began their final regular season road trip coming up just short of an upset of No. 25 UCLA on Thursday night. After falling behind by nine points with 2:37 remaining the Sun Devils staged a last-minute rally that eventually saw them with a chance to tie or go ahead in the closing seconds before the Bruins thwarted ASU's last-second shot.
Senior guard Danielle Orsillo (14 points, three assists, five steals), junior guard Tenaya Watson (13 points, 3 steals) and sophomore guard Alex Earl (11 points, 3-5 3-point FGs) led the Sun Devils' offensive effort on Thursday night. On the defensive end, ASU had a season-high 16 steals against the Bruins.
Saturday's game is a rematch of a New Year's Day matchup in Tempe in which the Trojans used a 16-3 run in the final four minutes to defeat the Sun Devils 60-56. ASU lost despite holding solid advantages in both shooting percentage (.472-.396) and rebounding (40-28).
Orsillo led the Sun Devils on offense as she scored 16 points. Also coming through with a strong outing was junior Becca Tobin, who just missed out on a double-double after scoring nine points and tying her career high with 13 rebounds.
The Trojans (17-11, 11-6 Pac-10) began the conference season 7-1 before encountering a five-game losing streak. They have since rebounded to win their last four games, including a 55-53 win against Arizona on Thursday night in which they had to stave off a comeback attempt that saw Arizona miss a last-second 3-pointer that could have won the game. Junior center Kari LaPlante (13 points) and sophomore guard Briana Gilbreath (10 points) led USC's offense against the Wildcats.
Following Saturday's game the Sun Devils will await word on who they will be facing in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Pac-10 Tournament, taking place next week at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. A win against the Trojans on Saturday would clinch the No. 5 seed for the Sun Devils meaning they would either face either Cal or USC on Friday March 12 at 11 a.m. PT.
Saturday's game can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin 1 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster Jeff Munn is in his sixth season as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
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 (68-21) of its Pac-10 contests since the 2005-06 season.
On Saturday the Sun Devils will be on the road where they are 27-8 (.771) in Pac-10 road games since the 2005-06 season.
USC has won 49 of the 64 all-time meetings against the Sun Devils, including the last two contests. USC's win over ASU in the quarterfinals of last season's Pac-10 Tournament snapped a seven-game winning streak by ASU in the series. USC's win last March also marked the first time the Sun Devils lost in the Galen Center, USC's home arena, after winning their first five appearances, which included a pair of NCAA Tournament games.
The Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points three times in their last six games.
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 (Feb. 25) and Cal (Feb. 27). She was ASU's second-leading scorer with 13 points in Thursday night's loss at UCLA.
Currently ASU's leading scorer averaging 14.5 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 1,338 points, She needs three points to pass Emily Westerberg (2004-07) for 6th place and 26 points to pass Kristen Kovesdy (2003-06) for 5th place.
ASU's 119 blocks this season are the second-highest number in school history. The Sun Devils would need 16 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.