Sun Devil WBB heads to Bay Area for last regular season road trip
WHAT: Sun Devil WBB (9-7, 4-7 Pac-12) at No. 6/4 Stanford (19-2, 16-2 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. PST/8 p.m. MST
WHERE: Maples Pavilion • Stanford, Calif.
WATCH: Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Bay Area
RADIO: KDUS AM 1060
LIVE STATS: Click here
The Sun Devil women's basketball team (10-7, 5-7 Pac-12) takes its last road trip of the regular season when it travels to the Bay Area for contests at No. 6 Stanford (19-2, 16-2 Pac-12) on Friday and at California (0-13, 0-10 Pac-12) on Sunday.
Friday's game at Stanford can be seen on Pac-12 Network (Kevin Danna/Mary Murphy). It can also be heard on KDUS AM 1060. 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.
STATE OF PLAY
• With three games remaining in the regular season, ASU comes into Friday's game in eighth place in the Pac-12. The four teams currently occupying places Nos. 6- 9 are all two games below .500. ASU (5-7/.417) trails both seventh-place Colorado (6-8/.429) and sixth-place Washington State (7-9./.438) in winning pct. ASU leads ninth-place Oregon State (4-6/.400) based on winning pct.
• ASU is coming off a 67-61 win over Washington State on Sunday, ASU's third win over a team currently ahead of the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 standings (ASU also has wins over USC and Colorado).
• After playing eight contests in 24 days to start the season, Friday's game at Stanford will be ASU's 10th in 63 days after having seven games (all Pac-12 games) postponed due to COVID-19 protocol. ASU's game at then-No. 5 UCLA on Jan. 29 was the first time this season ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne had all players with non-season-ending injuries available to play. Playing in just its fifth contest in 42 days, ASU nearly matched its all-time greatest comeback against the Bruins. Down by 18, the Sun Devils came back to take the lead, but came up short of completing the upset in a 60-57 decision.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1. Four of ASU's seven losses have been to Top 10 teams. Three of those four losses were by an average of 5.0 points: 63-59 vs. then-No. 9 UCLA (Dec. 6), 68-60 vs. then-No. 1 Stanford (Jan. 3) and 60-57 at then-No. 5 UCLA (Jan. 29).
2. ASU is currently 18th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, giving up only 55.4 ppg. ASU is also 20th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds per game (15.6).
3. ASU's roster was most affected by COVID-19 protocol in its contests vs. Colorado (Jan. 22) and vs. Utah (Jan. 24). Missing three important contributors – starters Iris Mbulito, Katelyn Levings and Maggie Besselink – the Sun Devils were able to do just enough to get by a Colorado team coming off an upset of top-ranked Stanford, defeating the Buffaloes 51-47. Two days later, Utah was able to take advantage of ASU's depleted roster in a 65-51 upset of the Sun Devils.
4. Junior Taya Hanson is currently among the Pac-12 leaders in 3-pointers per game (fifth/2.3 per game), steals (13th/1.7 spg) and scoring 14th (12.5 ppg). Currently averaging 11.2 ppg, point guard Jaddan Simmons is looking to become the first ASU freshman to average double figures in scoring since Jill Noe accomplished the feat in 2002-03.
5. Out of 85 starts, 67 have been made by freshmen (41) or upperclassmen who are first-year starters (26).
SERIES NOTES VERSUS STANFORD
Stanford has won nine of the last 14 meetings, including the last six in a row. ASU swept the regular season series in 2014-15 (60-57 in Palo Alto/53-52 in Tempe) and 2015-16 (49-31 in Tempe/63-61-OT in Palo Alto). The 60-57 win at Stanford in Jan 2015 was ASU's first over the Cardinal since 2006 and the first at Stanford since 1984. Each team won on its home floor in 2017-18 (ASU 73-66 in Tempe/Stanford 74-50 in the Bay Area) before meeting again in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament (Stanford 58-46). Stanford claimed both meetings in 2019 (72-65 in Tempe and 71-50) in Palo Alto and the only meeting of 2020, 55-44 in Tempe. The 55 points was the fewest points Stanford scored in 2019-20. As a student-athlete at Stanford, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne played under current Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.
NO I IN THIS TEAM
Five different players have led or tied for the team lead in scoring: Taya Hanson (9x), Jaddan Simmons (6x), Eboni Walker (3x), Bre'yanna Sanders (1x), Sydnei Caldwell (1x). During one six-game stretch, Hanson averaged 15.7 ppg, including a career-high 21 points in ASU's win over Cal (Jan. 1), a contest in which Hanson tied the single-game school record with seven triples. Hanson was nearly perfect from the line during that stretch (16-17). In ASU's win over USC (Dec. 4), Simmons became the first ASU freshman to score 20 or more points since Dymond Simon scored 24 in a win over Washington State on Jan. 4, 2007. All 10 of Simmons' double-figure scoring efforts have come in ASU's last 14 games. She has scored nine points on two other occasions.
ASU'S PAC-12 SUMMARY
• Jaddan Simmons scored 14 of her game- and career-high 20 points in the second half to help lead ASU to a 63-58 win over USC in the Pac-12 opener on Dec. 4.
• The Sun Devils dropped their next two league contests to Top 10 opponents (then-No. 9) UCLA 63-59 on Dec. 6 and at No. 6 Arizona 65-37 on Dec. 10. The loss to UCLA denied ASU its 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 UCLA hit a pair of critical 3-pointers and two FTs down the stretch to escape with the win. The game against UCLA was freshman Maggie Besselink's first after missing ASU's first four games recovering from a preseason injury. ASU played most of its game vs. UCLA and the ensuing four without Iris Mbulito, who left the game in the first quarter of the UCLA contest due to injury. ASU was also without Simmons for the game's final 26 seconds due to injury. After the loss at Arizona, ASU captured wins in its next Pac-12 two contests: 56-48 at Utah (Dec. 18) and 56-53 vs. Cal (Jan. 1). Hanson tied a single-game school record with seven 3-pointers in the win over Cal.
• ASU came through with a gritty effort in a 68-60 loss to then top-ranked Stanford (Jan. 3). Although it did not produce the desired outcome, ASU – given the circumstances of playing without starting post Eboni Walker (team leader in FG percentage and rebounding) and one of its top bench contributors in Bre'yanna Sanders – came through with one of its best performances of the season. After falling behind by 17 points, the Sun Devils fought back – getting within four points – before coming up short. ASU held the Cardinal nearly 20 points below its season average and became (at the time) the only Stanford opponent to fall by single digits (Stanford came into game with average victory margin of 36.9 ppg). Simmons (16 points) and Hanson (15 points), combined for 31 points for the Sun Devils, who outscored Stanford 56-49 over the final three quarters. ASU held Stanford to what at the time was the Cardinal's second-lowest point total (68), its fewest 3-pointers (four) and lowest 3-point FG pct (21.1) and forced an opponent-high 17 turnovers. The game against Stanford was the second straight in which ASU started three freshmen – Simmons, Katelyn Levings and Besselink (second career start). After not playing since Dec. 6, Mbulito returned against Stanford but was limited in a reserve role.
• Two days after its contest vs. Stanford (Jan. 3), ASU learned it would not be able to play in either of its games the following week (at Washington State on Jan. 8 and at Washington on Jan. 10) due to COVID-19 protocol. It would also force the postponement of its games vs. Oregon State (Jan. 15) and vs. Oregon (Jan. 17).
• When ASU took the court against Colorado on Jan. 22, they were competing for the first time in 19 days and for only the third time since their game at Utah on Dec. 18, a span of 35 days. ASU used a virtuoso defensive performance to come away with a 51-47 win over the Buffaloes. Hanson (16 points) and Simmons (13 points) combined for 29 points for the Sun Devils. Freshman center Imogen Greenslade became the fourth Sun Devil freshman to start this season as ASU went with its fifth different starting lineup of the season. Greenslade was joined by Simmons, junior Jamie Loera, Hanson and Walker. The Buffaloes, who were coming off an upset of then-No. 1 Stanford, were held more than 20 points below their scoring average. ASU scored 22 points off of Colorado's season-high 25 turnovers.
• ASU's inactivity and key personnel losses caught up to it in a 65-51 loss to Utah on Jan. 6. For the Sun Devils, Murphy's law was in full effect for the first three quarters as they made only 21 percent of their shots and had accumulated only 28 points after 30 minutes. During the same span, the Utes connected on 51 percent of their shots, including 44 percent from long distance where they scored 21 of their points in the first three frames to take a 49-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.
• ASU nearly upset then-No. 5 UCLA in Los Angeles (Jan. 29) after it rallied from 18 points to take the lead. The Sun Devils had a chance to force overtime at the buzzer but were unable to knock down a game-tying triple. Two days later the Sun Devils were not able to salvage a split after coming up short at USC (65-57). ASU then had its games at Oregon (Feb. 5) and at Oregon State (Feb. 7) postponed due to COVID-19 protocol with both schools.
• Despite holding Washington to only 50 points, the Sun Devils were not able to overcome a 21-percent shooting effort in a loss to Washington on Feb. 12.
• ASU had its best offensive performance of the season in a 67-61 win over Washington State on Feb. 14. Simmons (15 points, 6-6 FTs) and Hanson (12 points, 7-8 FTs) both scored in double figures and combined to shoot 93 percent (13-14 FTs) from the line. Jamie Loera and Sydnei Caldwell added eight points each while also tying for the team lead in steals with two apiece. Caldwell (eight points), Eboni Walker (four points) and Iris Mbulito (four points) combined for 16 points as the Sun Devil bench doubled up the Cougars' reserves in scoring 20-10.
CAST OF CONTRIBUTORS APLENTY
• Hanson currently leads ASU in scoring (12.5 ppg), 3-pointers (39), steals (1.6 spg) and FT pct (83.7) and is third in rebounding (4.6 rpg). She matched her career high in scoring coming into the 2020-21 season (14 points) twice – vs. SFA (Nov. 25) and at Arizona (Dec. 10) – before surpassing it with 15 points in ASU's win at Utah (Dec. 18). She surpassed it again (21 points) in ASU's win over Cal, a contest in which she tied the single-game school record with seven triples. She has pulled down six or more rebounds seven times this season, including a career-high seven boards at Arizona (Dec. 10) and vs. Washington (Feb. 12). On January 12, Hanson was named Canada Basketball's Player of the Week for December 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021 for her performances vs. Cal (Jan. 1) and Stanford (Jan. 3).
• Simmons, who has started every game, became the first ASU point guard to start a season opener as a freshman since 2016. 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 (13-15). Simmons became the first ASU freshman to score 20 or more points since 2007 after accounting for 14 of her game- and career-high 20 points in the second half of ASU's 63-58 win over USC in the Pac-12 opener on Dec. 4. Currently the team leader in free throws made (68) and attempted (85), tied for the team lead in assists (2.3 apg), second in scoring (11.2 ppg), tied for second in steals (1.1 spg) and third in FT percentage (80.0), Simmons had a career-high seven assists in ASU's win over Cal (Jan. 1). All 10 of Simmons' double-figure scoring efforts have come in ASU's last 14 games. She has also scored nine points twice.
• Freshman Katelyn Levings has started every game she has been available to play (15 of 17) and is tied for the team lead in offensive rebounds (2.3 rpg) and is fourth on the team in scoring (6.1 ppg) and rebounding (4.4 rpg). She has scored eight or more points five times and has grabbed five or more rebounds six times.
• After missing the first four games of the season due to injury, freshman Maggie Besselink has also played a prominent role with starting assignments in seven of the 11 games she has played in. Besselink is second on the team in rebounding (5.5 rpg). She has had seven or more rebounds four times.
• Sophomore Eboni Walker leads the team in rebounding (5.7 rpg), is tied for the team lead in offensive rebounds (2.3 rpg), is second in FG pct. (41.2.) and FT pct. (82.1), tied for second in steals (1.1 spg) and third in scoring (7.7 ppg). Walker averaged a double-double (12.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg) in ASU's first two contests vs. Stephen F. Austin & VCU. She scored a career-high 14 points vs. San Diego (Dec. 13) and has pulled down nine or more rebounds four times this season.
• Junior Iris Mbulito is tied for the team lead in assists (2.3 apg), posting a season-high four assists four times this season.
• Senior Bre'yanna Sanders had a three-game stretch – Saint Mary's, USC, UCLA – in which she averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg, while knocking down 78 pct. of her shots. Sanders had a career-high nine points vs. 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). Sanders currently leads ASU in FG pct. (42.1) and 3-point FG pct. (37.5/6-16) and fourth in assists (1.5 apg).
• Sydnei Caldwell has been ASU's top performer off the bench. The sophomore guard leads ASU's reserves in scoring (5.1 ppg) & steals (1.1 spg). Caldwell scored a career-high 12 points in ASU's win over USD (Dec. 13).
• Junior Jamie Loera is tied for second on the team in 3-pointers (10), is third on the team in assists (1.6 apg) and fifth in steals (1.0 spg). She has scored a season-high eight points twice, most recently in ASU's win over Washington State (Feb. 14).
• Freshman Imogen Greenslade has played in every game with two starts. She had a brilliant outing in ASU's near upset at UCLA (Jan. 29) as she scored seven points & grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
• Freshman Sydney Erikstrup scored five points to help ASU get back into its contest vs. then-No. 1 Stanford after ASU got down 19-4.
• Junior Gabriela Bosquez provided ASU with a big spark at UCLA (Jan. 29) as she came off the bench to score eight straight points after ASU fell behind by 18 points.
FINDING A WAY TO GET IT DONE
ASU has had to show its toughness in the second half in nine of its wins.
• In the season opener against SFA (Nov. 25), 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 (Nov. 27), the Sun Devils held a 33-32 lead with 8:34 remaining and outscored the Rams 16-8 the remainder of the final quarter.
• In its Pac-12 opener vs. USC (Dec. 4), ASU 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.
• Against San Diego (Dec. 13), ASU came back from a 10-point deficit in the first half and led the Toreros by two late in the third quarter. ASU followed with an 8-0 run and USD never got closer than five points the rest of the game.
• In their first road win of the season at Utah (Dec. 18), ASU came back from a 12-point deficit in the first half and eventually took the lead in the third quarter. After the Utes got within two points with 4:21 remaining, the Sun Devils dug in defensively and did not allow the Utah to score for nearly four minutes as the Utes got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
• Against Cal (Jan. 1), the Sun Devils outscored the Bears 37-25 in the second half as they overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter of their 56-53 win. Taya Hanson led the way as she tied a school record with seven 3-pointers.
• Against Colorado (Jan. 22), the Sun Devils held off a last-minute rally by the Buffaloes, who had the ball down by two with 30 seconds remaining. After Simmons stripped Colorado's Aubrey Knight of the ball, both teams had players diving for the ball as a mad scramble ensued. The chase ended on the opposite end of the floor where Loera and Colorado's Peanut Tuitele battled for possession of the ball. The officials declared a jump ball and the possession arrow favored the Sun Devils with 19 seconds left. After a series of CU fouls, Hanson drilled both of her free throws to give the Sun Devils a 51-47 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
• Against Southern Utah (Feb. 8), with the Thunderbirds still well within striking distance – down by five – with 6:25 remaining, the Sun Devils answered with a 10-1 run. ASU closed the game by allowing Southern Utah to make only one of its last nine shots.
• Against Washington State (Feb. 14), the Sun Devils had to fend off a last-minute rally by the Cougars after they chopped a 15-point deficit to three with 1:30 remaining. The Sun Devils were able to clinch the win thanks to clutch free throw shooting by Simmons (6-6 FTs), Walker (2-2 FTs) and Levings (2-2 FTs).
SUCCESS AT HOME AND VS. NON CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
Including its 5-0 record this season, ASU is 73-13 (.847) in non-conference, regular season games since 2013. It is also 101-24 (.808) in home games the last eight seasons. ASU has won its last 30 home games vs. non-conference opponents in Desert Financial Arena.
For a variety of reasons – injuries, COVID-19 protocol, youth – ASU has used six different starting lineups this season. Its most recent starting line up vs. WSU – Simmons (16 starts), Loera (10 starts), Hanson (28 starts), Levings (14 starts) and Besselink (six career starts) – had a grand total of 74 starts between them. It included three freshmen (Simmons, Levings and Besselink) and one first-year starter (Loera). Outside of Hanson, ASU's other four starters had a combined average of 11.5 starts between them. 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 (a starter in all 31 games last season). Starting junior guard Iris Mbulito was lost to injury in the first quarter of ASU's game vs. UCLA (Dec. 6). She missed ASU's next four games before returning in a reserve role vs. Stanford (Jan. 3). Eboni Walker was not available for ASU's contests vs. Cal (Jan. 1) and Stanford (Jan. 3). In ASU's games vs. Colorado (Jan. 22) and vs. Utah (Jan. 24), ASU was without three major contributors – Mbulito, Levings and Besselink – due to COVID-19 protocols.
AT THEIR BEST WHEN PLAYING THE BEST
• ASU has four wins over Top 10 teams over the last two seasons. In 2019, ASU swept OSU for the first time since 2010-11 (first Pac-12 team to sweep OSU since 2012-13) winning 79-72 in 2OT vs. No. 10 OSU in Corvallis & 66-54 over No. 9 OSU in Tempe. In 2020, ASU became the first unranked team to defeat consecutive Top-5 opponents when it knocked off then-No. 2 Oregon (72-66/Jan. 10) & then-No. 3 OSU (54-47/Jan. 12).
• And then there were the near misses: On Nov. 11, 2018, ASU lost to No. 4 Baylor 65-59, a game in which ASU led by as many as 14 in the first half and led going into the fourth quarter. Less than two weeks later (Nov. 23, 2018), ASU led No. 5 Louisville by six in the fourth quarter before the Cardinals escaped with a 58-56 win after scoring the winning basket with two seconds left. On January 18, 2019, ASU was within two points of No. 5 Oregon in the final minute before eventually falling 77-71 in Eugene. ASU's first game of the year 2020, saw ASU with a chance to tie or win in the closing seconds at No. 10 UCLA, but could not complete the upset in a 68-66 setback. On Feb. 7, 2020, ASU was seconds away from sweeping No. 9 Oregon State for a second-straight season before the Beavers staged a furious comeback, winning the game 64-62 at the buzzer.
• Earlier this season, the Sun Devils came back from 17 down to eventually take the lead in the fourth quarter against then-No. 9 UCLA. The Bruins used clutch shooting down the stretch to win 63-59 in Tempe. ASU was also without freshman standout Jaddan Simmons for the last 26 seconds of the game. ASU nearly rallied from another 17-point deficit against then-top-ranked Stanford on Jan. 3. ASU got within four points before eventually falling to the Cardinal 68-60. Defensively, the Sun Devils, who were without Eboni Walker and Bre'yanna Sanders, held Stanford to its then second-lowest point total (68), its fewest 3-pointers (four) and lowest 3-point FG percentage (21.1) and forced an opponent-high 17 turnovers.
• ASU nearly matched its all-time greatest comeback at fifth-ranked UCLA on Jan. 29. Down by 18, the Sun Devils came back to take the lead, but came up short of completing the upset in a 60-57 decision. Hanson helped lead the comeback, scoring all 12 of her points in the second half.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
• A rising star in the Canadian national program, in the summer of 2019 Besselink was selected to Canada's U19 national team that participated in the FIBA World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. Unfortunately she was not able to play in the tournament due to an injury suffered during the team's training camp. Besselink was ranked No. 23 at her position by ESPN.com.
• A 2020 graduate of Beaverton High School (Beaverton, Ore.) and ranked No. 32 at her position by ESPN.com, Erikstrup was named All-State twice (second team in 2018/honorable mention in 2020) and earned all-league all four seasons – freshman year at Lake Oswego High School and the last three years at Beaverton HS.
• Ranked No. 23 at her position by ESPN.com, Levings earned All-State honors from the OGBCA (first team), The Oklahoman (honorable mention) and Tulsa World (honorable mention) for a senior season in which she averaged 15.7 ppg. for Edmond Memorial High School (Edmond, Okla.).
• Simmons, ranked No. 31 at her position by ESPN.com, concluded her HS career as the all-time leading scorer in Green Bay metro history after finishing with 1,885 points (averaged 20.1 ppg for her 94-game career). The Green Bay Southwest High graduate was named to the Green Bay Press-Gazette's all-century team.
The Sun Devils added even more budding talent to their roster after signing Imogen Greenslade and Gabriela Bosquez in April.
• Joining the Sun Devils all the way from Australia, Greenslade has been a member of the New South Wales U20 Team since 2019. In 2019, Greenslade helped her U20 squad win a Silver medal at the National Championships.
• Bosquez transferred to ASU after playing at St. Edwards University (2018-19)/Blinn College (2019-20). In 2020, Bosquez earned Region XIV honors after playing in 31 games (30 starts) and averaging 11.9 points (2nd on team), 3.2 assists (1st on team), 4.8 rebounds (4th on team) and 1.6 steals (2nd on team).
DOMINANT DEVIL DEFENSE
• ASU has allowed an average of only 57.1 ppg since the start of the 2014-15 season (a span of 217 games). It has held the opposition to 50 or less points 66 times during that stretch (including 13 times the last two seasons). The Sun Devils are 64-2 in those contests.
• ASU has allowed 13 or fewer points in a quarter 32 times this season.
• On Jan. 3, the Sun Devils, who were without Eboni Walker and Bre'yanna Sanders, held then-top-ranked Stanford to what at the time was the Cardinal's second-lowest point total (68), its fewest 3-pointers (four) and lowest 3-point FG percentage (21.1) and forced an opponent-high 17 turnovers.
• On Jan. 29, ASU held No. 5 UCLA nearly 15 points below its scoring average, a game in which the Bruins escaped with a 60-57 win.
• Despite playing for only the third time in 35 days – the first time since January 3 – and missing three significant contributors, ASU used a virtuoso performance on the defensive end to come away with a 51-47 win over Colorado on Jan. 22. The Buffaloes, who were coming off an upset of top-ranked Stanford, were held more than 20 points below their scoring average. ASU scored 22 points off of Colorado's season-high 25 turnovers, the most by a Sun Devil opponent this season. Simmons (career-high four steals,), Loera (tied career with three steals) and Sanders (tied career high with three steals) combined for 10 of ASU's season-high 17 steals.
• In 2018-19, ASU led the Pac-12 in scoring defense (58.2 ppg) for the second straight season and the third time in five years.
• The 31 points scored by Maine on Nov. 29, 2019 represented the fewest given up by ASU since Harvard scored 29 on December 14, 2015.
• In historical back-to-back wins vs. No. 2 Oregon (Jan. 10) and No. 3 Oregon State (Jan. 12) last season, ASU held the Ducks and their top-ranked offense 23.5 points below their scoring average and kept the Beavers nearly 30 points below their scoring average of 76.5 points coming into the game. The two teams combined to shoot 18 percent (7-38) from the beyond the arc. ASU held Stanford to 55 points on Mar. 1, tying the Cardinal's lowest point total of the season.
The 2020-21 Sun Devils already have three double-digit comeback wins to their credit, erasing a 10-point, first-half deficit vs. San Diego (Dec. 13) a 12-point, first-half deficit at Utah (Dec. 18) and an 11-point, second-half deficit vs. Cal (Jan. 1). In ASU's second Pac-12 game on Dec. 6, the Sun Devils fell behind to then-No. 9 UCLA by 17 points and fought back to take the lead in the fourth quarter before eventually coming up short of the upset in a 63-59 decision. The Sun Devils nearly rallied from another 17-point deficit against then-top-ranked Stanford on Jan. 3. ASU got within four points before eventually falling to the Cardinal 68-60. It actually came back to take the lead after falling behind by 18 points in the rematch at then-No. 5 UCLA (Jan. 29). The Bruins would escape with a 60-57 win. Last season, ASU came back from a double-digit deficit to win three times: -12 vs. BYU, -13 vs. No. 2 Oregon, -10 at Washington State. In 2019, ASU made its biggest comeback in school history when it scored 20 straight points to end the game and erase an 18-point deficit vs. Utah.
NOTES FROM LAST SEASON
• After finishing with a 20-11 record, ASU extended its school record for consecutive 20-win seasons to seven. It was preparing to make its school record seventh straight trip to NCAAs before the cancellation of the season was announced on Mar. 12 due to Covid-19.
• ASU finished among the Top 40 in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (21st/15.1 rpg) and rebound margin (34th/+6.6).
• ASU became the first unranked team to defeat consecutive Top-5 opponents when it knocked off then-No. 2 Oregon (72-66 on Jan. 10) and then-No. 3 Oregon State (54-47 on Jan. 12). ASU held the Ducks and their top-ranked offense 23.5 points below their scoring average and kept the Beavers nearly 30 points below their scoring average of 76.5 points coming into the game. UO and OSU combined to shoot 18 percent (7-38) from the beyond the arc. The 30 points ASU scored in the fourth quarter vs. Oregon tied the second-highest point total scored in a quarter by an ASU team.
GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM
• In 2020 ASU had seven players named to the Pac-12's inaugural Academic Winter Honor Roll: Taya Hanson, Jamie Loera, Reili Richardson, Jamie Ruden, Kiara Russell, Robbi Ryan and Jayde Van Hyfte. ASU was also one of three schools that was represented by both its men's and women's basketball programs in the first ever 2020 Bracket for Brains and Diversity study for the Projected 2020 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments. The study was conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES).
• A league-high and school-record-tying eight Sun Devil WBB players were named to the Pac-12 Women's Basketball All-Academic teams in 2018. The eight awards tied the school record for most student-athletes on the Pac-12's All-Academic Team. The 2006-07 team also had eight (two on first team, one on second team and five honorable mention).
• In 2017 ASU finished among the nation's best in combined team GPA. With a final team GPA of 3.672 for the 2016-17 academic year the Sun Devils finished fifth in the nation (the highest ranking in program history) among Division I institutions in the WBCA's annual Academic Top 25.