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@SunDevilWBB concludes non-conference play vs. San Diego on Sunday

Dec 13, 2020

Game Notes PDF

WHAT: Sun Devil WBB (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) vs. San Diego (2-1)
WHEN: Sunday at 2 p.m. MST
WHERE: Desert Financial Arena • Tempe, Ariz. 
LIVE STREAM: Click here
RADIO: KDUS 1060 AM (Coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. MST)
LIVE AUDIO: Click here
LIVE STATS: Click here

UP NEXT

The Arizona State women's basketball team closes out non-conference play on Sunday (2 p.m. MST) when it hosts San Diego at Desert Financial Arena.

The Sun Devils (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) are looking to rebound from consecutive losses to Top-10 opponents: 63-59 to then-No. 9 UCLA last Sunday and 65-37 at No. 6 Arizona on Thursday.

The loss to UCLA denied the Sun Devils their first 5-0 start since 2002-03. ASU rallied from 17 points down to tie and eventually take the lead, but was unable to come away with the upset as the Bruins hit a pair of critical 3-pointers and two free throws down the stretch to escape Tempe with the win. Sophomore Eboni Walker led ASU with 12 points while freshmen Jaddan Simmons (10 points), Katelyn Levings (nine points) and Maggie Besselink (eight points) combined for 27 points. Sunday's game was Besselink's Sun Devil debut after missing ASU's first four games recovering from as preseason injury. 

A 27-percent shooting effort and 23 turnovers proved to be too much for the Sun Devils to overcome against Arizona. Taya Hanson tied her career high with 14 points to lead the Sun Devils. ASU found itself unable to put together any substantial scoring runs once the Wildcats went up by double digits in the second quarter. The Sun Devils played most of their game vs. UCLA and the entire game at Arizona without starting guard Iris Mbulito, who left the game in the first half of last Sunday's game due to injury.

The Sun Devils started off the 2020-21 campaign with four-straight wins. They defeated Stephen F. Austin 56-47, VCU 49-40 and Saint Mary's 62-53 as part of the Global Sports & Events Tip-Off hosted by ASU. In its Pac-12 Conference opener against USC (Dec. 4), ASU led by as many as 15 and then had to hold off a furious rally that allowed the Trojans to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. Simmons scored 14 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, while Hanson, Walker and Levings added nine points apiece in ASU's 63-58 win.

ASU's abbreviated non-conference schedule – four games – 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 resume Pac-12 play with road contests at Utah (Friday at 3 p.m. MST) and at Colorado (Sunday at 2 p.m. MST). Both games can be seen on Pac-12 Networks.

LIVE STREAM/RADIO

Sunday's game vs. San Diego can be seen via live stream at https://pac-12.com/live/arizona-state-university-2. 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 SAN DIEGO

The Sun Devils have won seven of the nine contests in the series that dates back to 1981. San Diego was victorious in the most recent meeting, a 61-53 win at home in 2013.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

• In ASU's first six games, five different players have led or tied for the team lead in scoring: Eboni Walker (3x), Taya Hanson (3x), Bre'yanna Sanders (1x), Sydnei Caldwell (1x), Jaddan Simons (1x). In ASU's win over USC (Dec. 4), 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 13 times this season. 

• As of Dec. 11, ASU is 22nd in the nation and fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (54.3 ppg). 

• Freshman Sydney Erikstrup's twin sister, Laura, plays for San Diego.

• Junior guard Taya Hanson (11.0 ppg) currently leads the Sun Devils in scoring. Hanson has already matched her career high in scoring (14 points) twice this season: vs. SFA (Nov. 25) and at Arizona (Dec. 10). Hanson currently leads the team in 3-pointers (8).

• ASU's leader in rebounding (7.2/12th in the Pac-12) and steals (1.8/ninth in the Pac-12) and second on the team in scoring (9.8 ppg), sophomore Eboni Walker has pulled down nine or more rebounds three times. 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. 

• Senior Bre'yanna Sanders had a recent three-game stretch in which she averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg, while knocking down 78 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).

• Freshmen Jaddan Simmons and Katelyn Levings have started every game. ASU's most recent starting lineup –  Simmons (six starts), junior Jamie Loera (one start), Hanson (18 starts), Levings (six starts) and Walker (five starts) – had a grand total of 36 starts between them. Outside of Hanson, ASU's other four starters have an average of 4.5 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. Starting junior guard Iris Mbulito was lost to injury in the first half of ASU's game vs. UCLA (Dec. 6). She did not play at Arizona (Dec. 10).

• Simmons became the first Sun Devil point guard to start a season opener as a freshman since 2016. ASU's co-leader with Hanson in minutes per game (28.7), Simmons has had only five turnovers this season. In the first Pac-12 series of her career (vs. USC, vs. No. 9 UCLA), Simmons led ASU in scoring (15.0 ppg) and knocked down 87 percent of her free throws (86.7). Levings is averaging 7.0 ppg (fourth on the team) and 4.3 rpg (third on the team) while logging 22.8 minutes per game.  

• Simmons (12-25/84.0/sixth) and Walker (16-20/80.0/ninth) are both among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in free throw shooting percentage.

• Sydnei Caldwell has been ASU's top performer off the bench. The sophomore guard leads ASU's reserves in scoring (5.0 ppg), rebounding (3.0 rpg) and is second in steals (1.7 spg/14th in Pac-12).

• 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.

HOME SWEET HOME

ASU is now 96-21 (.821) in home games the last eight seasons. ASU has won its last 28 home games vs. non-conference opponents in Desert Financial Arena.

NOTES VS. NON CONFERENCE OPPONENTS

Including its 3-0 record this season, ASU is now 71-13 (.845) in non-conference play since 2013. The last time the Sun Devils played as few as four non-conference games was in 1976 when they also had four competitions out of conference. That season, 13 of their 17 contests were against opponents from the Intermountain Conference.