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@SunDevilWBB Hosts No. 9 UCLA on Sunday

Dec 5, 2020

How to Watch Pac 12 Networks | Game Notes PDF

WHAT: Sun Devil WBB (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) vs. No. 9 UCLA (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12
WHEN: Sunday at 2 p.m. MST
WHERE: Desert Financial Arena • Tempe, Ariz. Note: With health and safety being the top priority, fans are currently not permitted at any sporting competition taking place on Pac-12 campuses.
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Network Arizona/Los Angeles
RADIO: KDUS 1060 AM (Coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. MST)
LIVE AUDIO: Click here
LIVE STATS: Click here

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The Sun Devil women's basketball team (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) will attempt to move to 5-0 for the first time since 2002-03 on Sunday (2 p.m. MST) when it faces its toughest challenge to date in the form of No. 9 UCLA at Desert Financial Arena. 

The Sun Devils started off the 2020-21 campaign with three wins in three games – defeated Stephen F. Austin 56-47, VCU 49-40, Saint Mary's 62-53 – as part of the Global Sports & Events Tip-Off hosted by ASU. They moved to 4-0 after Friday's win over USC in the 2020-21 Pac-12 opener. ASU led by as many as 15 and then had to hold off a furious USC rally that allowed the Trojans to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. Freshman Jaddan Simmons scored 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, while junior Taya Hanson, sophomore Eboni Walker and freshman Katelyn Levings added nine points apiece.

ASU's abbreviated non-conference schedule – in addition the Global Sports & Events tournament, ASU will also host San Diego on Dec. 13 – and expanded Pac-12 schedule – for the first time since the Pac-12 expanded to 12 teams in 2011-12, teams will play each other twice – comes amid a global pandemic that forced the cancellation of the 2020 postseason last March.

After Sunday's game, ASU will travel to Tucson for its first road game of the season and second consecutive Top 10 assignment at No. 7 Arizona on Thursday. ASU will then close out non-conference play on Sun., Dec. 13 it hosts San Diego. The Sun Devils' final two games in the year 2020 will be on the road – at Utah (Dec. 18) and at Colorado (Dec. 20).

TELEVISION/RADIO

• Sunday's game vs. UCLA can be seen on Pac-12 Arizona/Los Angeles (Cindy Brunson/Joan Bonvicini).  

• The game can also be heard on KDUS 1060 AM. Coverage will start at 1:30 p.m. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona's 2010 & 2019 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 17th season as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined by former Sun Devil head coach Maura McHugh.

SERIES NOTES VERSUS UCLA

• UCLA has won the last nine meetings, including both of last year's contests: 68-66 in Los Angeles and 60-51 in Tempe. 

• The two teams met only once in the regular season in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with UCLA winning 71-63 in 2018 in LA and 61-59 in 2019 in Tempe. UCLA also claimed a 73-69 win in the 2019 Pac-12 Tourney quarterfinals. 

• ASU's 59-57 win in 2014 in Tempe snapped UCLA's eight-game winning streak in the series. ASU captured its second consecutive win in 2015 with a 68-56 win in LA. The two teams split in 2016 with the home team holding serve on its home court: ASU 65-61 in Tempe/UCLA 74-61 in LA. 

• UCLA swept the season series in 2017 – 69-60 in LA/55-52 in Tempe – and captured a third win in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tourney (77-68). 

• Second-year ASU assistant coach Nikki Blue had a decorated career at UCLA where she earned Pac-10 first-team honors four times and was named a WBCA All-American in 2006.          

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• In ASU's first four games, five different players have led or tied for the team lead in scoring: Taya Hanson (2x), Eboni Walker (2x), Bre'yanna Sanders (1x), Sydnei Caldwell (1x), Jaddan Simons (1x). In ASU's most recent contest vs. USC, Simmons became the first Sun Devil freshman to score 20 or more points since Dymond Simon went for 24 in a win over Washington State on Jan. 4, 2007.

• ASU has allowed 13 or fewer points in a quarter 10 times this season. 

• Including its 3-0 record this season, ASU is now 71-13 (.845) in non-conference play since 2013.    

• ASU is now 96-20 (.828) in home games the last eight seasons. ASU has won its last 28 home games vs. non-conference opponents in Desert Financial Arena.

• As of Dec. 6, ASU is 18th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (49.5 ppg). ASU is also second in the Pac-12 in both free throw percentage (73.5) and offensive rebounds per game (17.0).

• ASU's Nov. 25 opener vs. Stephen F. Austin was the latest it started a season since the 1992-93 season when it opened Dec. 1 1992 at Nebraska. ASU's Pac-12 opener vs. USC on Dec. 4 represented the earliest it has ever opened conference play.  

• In her last two games, senior Bre'yanna Sanders has averaged 7.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg, while knocking down 75 percent of her shots. Sanders had a career-high nine points in ASU's win over Saint Mary's (Nov. 30). She followed that with a pair of 3-pointers and a career-high eight rebounds while playing a career-high 28 minutes in ASU's win over USC (Dec. 4).

• Junior guard Taya Hanson (11.0 ppg) and sophomore forward Eboni Walker (10.8) are currently averaging double figures in scoring. Walker averaged a double-double (12.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg) in ASU's first two contests vs. Stephen F. Austin and VCU. She matched her career highs in both scoring (13) and rebounds (13) against VCU. Nearly half (15) of her 31 rebounds have been on the offensive end. Hanson matched her career highs with 14 points and six rebounds in ASU's win over SFA. Hanson currently leads the team in triples. 

• Junior guard Iris Mbulito, ASU's current leader in assists (3.3 apg) made her first career start in the season opener vs. Stephen F. Austin. 

• Freshmen Jaddan Simmons and Katelyn Levings have started each of ASU's first four games. ASU's current starting lineup –  Simmons (four starts), Mbulito (four starts), Hanson (16 starts), Levings (four starts) and Walker (three starts) – have a grand total of 31 starts between them. Outside of Hanson, ASU's other four starters have an average of 3.75 career starts. On Nov. 30, head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced that junior post Jayde Van Hyfte would miss the remainder of the season due to injury. Van Hyfte started all 31 games last season.

• Simmons became the first Sun Devil point guard to start a season opener as a freshman since 2016.  She has only had three turnovers in more than 115 minutes of play. Levings has averaged 6.8 ppg (fourth on the team) and 4.8 rpg (second on the team) while logging 22.0 minutes per game.  

• ASU has allowed an average of only 49.5 ppg, forced an average of 20.8 turnovers and held the opposition to only 37.8 percent shooting in its first four games. On average they have scored 17.8 ppg off turnovers.

• The Sun Devils had to show their toughness in the fourth quarter in three of their four wins. Against SFA, the LadyJacks got within one point (44-43) with 3:43 remaining. ASU closed the game on a 12-4 run over the final 3:33 of regulation and held SFA to just 2-of-8 shooting down the stretch. Against VCU, the Sun Devils held a 33-32 lead with 8:34 remaining and outscored the Rams 16-8 the remainder of the final quarter. Against USC, the Sun Devils had to stave off a determined USC squad that came back from 15 down to tie the game two minutes into the fourth quarter. After USC pulled within two later in the quarter, ASU kept the Trojans from scoring over the last three-plus minutes of the game and Simmons hit three FTs in the final 12 seconds to seal the win.