Sun Devil WBB faces Lipscomb University on Thursday
The Sun Devil women's basketball team (7-5) will face Lipscomb University (5-7) on Thursday at 2 p.m. MST at Weatherup Center. Due to space limitations, the game will be played without fans. Thursday's contest, the first ever meeting between the two schools – was agreed to earlier this week after both schools were left without dancing partners due to Covid-19 protocols that prevented their upcoming opponents – UCLA (ASU) and Cincinnati (Lipscomb) – from playing their originally scheduled contests.
Thursday's game vs. Lipscomb can be heard on 1440 AM KAZG. Pregame coverage will start at 1:30 p.m. MST. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona's 2010 & 2019 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 18th season as the voice of ASU women's basketball.
STATE OF PLAY
• The Sun Devils were originally scheduled to open Pac-12 play this weekend in contests at UCLA (Dec. 31) and at USC (Jan. 2). On Dec. 24, it was announced the first half of ASU's road trip to Los Angeles had been postponed. ASU announced on Dec. 28 it reached an agreement to play Lipscomb on Dec. 30 in Tempe. On Dec. 29, it was announced the second half of ASU's trip to the City of Angles would not be happening this weekend, either.
• Through games played Dec. 28, ASU has a current NCAA Net ranking of 41, one of six Pac-12 teams in the Top 50 (Stanford - 5, Arizona - 8, Oregon - 17, Utah - 23, Colorado - 30).
• ASU won for the fifth time in six games after defeating UC Irvine 69-52 on Dec. 21. Jade Loville, who in ASU's 79-60 win at San Diego (Dec. 18) became the fourth Sun Devil to score 30 or more points since 2000, led ASU with 20 points, the fifth time this season she has paced the team. Jaddan Simmons added 12 points and Mael Gilles posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
• In its last six games (5-1 record) ASU is... averaging 71.2 ppg, shooting 45.4 pct, 34.4 pct 3FGs and 75.5 pct FTs while allowing only 53.7 ppg. Each figure is a big improvement from ASU's first six games (2-4 record) when it... averaged 61.3 ppg (-9.9), connected on 37.4 pct of its FGs (-8.0), 26.2 pct 3FGs (-8.2) and 69.4 pct FTs (-6.1), while giving up a respectable 57.5 ppg (+3.8).
• Against San Diego (Dec. 18), ASU made 50 percent of its shots, the first time ASU shot 50 percent or higher since Feb. 21, 2020, when it shot 52.5 pct in a 65-60 win at Colorado.
• Four players have started every game: guards Jaddan Simmons – leads ASU in assists/3.0 apg and FTs made (37) and attempted (49) and FT pct. (75.5/7th in the Pac-12) – and Taya Hanson (is second on the team in 3-pointers/15) – both returners from last season's team – and transfers Mael Gilles (Rutgers) and Jade Loville (Boise State). Loville leads ASU in scoring (15.2 ppg/5th in Pac-12), 3-pointers (20) and 3-point FG pct. (46.5/1st in Pac-12), while Gilles paces the team in rebounds (8.2 rpg), offensive rebounds (2.9 rpg/3rd in Pac-12), steals (2.1 spg/7th in Pac-12) and blocks (1.1 bpg) and is second in scoring (10.8 ppg) and assists (2.7 apg). Currently with 957 career points – 775 points at Boise State and 182 points at ASU – Loville needs 43 points to reach 1,000.
• Sophomore post Maggie Besselink started the first seven games. She has missed ASU's last five games due to injury and is currently being evaluated on a game-to-game basis.
• Senior post Jayde Van Hyfte, the only Sun Devil on last season's roster to start every game in 2019-20, made her 2021-22 in the season's eighth game after not having played since the 2020-21 season opener. She has started every game she has played in and is shooting 78.6 pct (11-14 FGs) from the floor.
• Transfers Ayzhiana Basallo (two games) and Isadora Sousa (six games) have also missed time due to injury. Basallo is currently second on the team in 3-point FG pct. (42.1) and tied for third on the team in 3-pointers (8).
• The first month of the season was punctuated by a challenging schedule for a team not only getting used to playing with one another, but also adjusting to the personnel it did not have due to injuries.
• ASU opened the 2021-22 season splitting its first two contests, defeating Northern Colorado 71-41 (Nov. 9) before falling to Minnesota 66-59 in OT (Nov. 12). Loville (16.5 ppg) and Hanson (12.0 ppg) both averaged double figures in scoring in the two games. Gilles averaged 7.0 ppg, 5.0 rebs, 4.0 blocks and 3.0 steals. Besselink had a career-high 15 rebounds vs. Minnesota.
• Despite a strong defensive effort, ASU was not able to overcome a 30-percent shooting performance in a 55-44 loss at BYU (Nov. 17).
• Coming off a 13-percent (3-24) outing from long rage at BYU, the Sun Devils came within one 3-pointer of tying the single-game school record after hitting 13 from downtown in an 82-53 win over Marist (Nov. 21). Ten of ASU's 13 triples came during a first half in which ASU shot a blistering 59 percent from beyond the arc.
• ASU went 1-2 at the Cancun Challenge played on Thanksgiving weekend. ASU started the tourney with setbacks against Houston (68-60) and No. 6 Baylor 62-52. In both contests, the Sun Devils fought back to get within single digits after trailing by double-figures. In the final of the three games it played in three days, ASU defeated Fordham 58-43. Simmons was named to the All-Tournament Team of the Cancun Challenge's Mayan Division after averaging 13.7 points while connecting on 93 percent (13-14) of her free throws in the three games.
• ASU swept its home tournament, the ASU Classic, defeating UTSA (68-44) and Harvard (91-54) to extend its winning streak to three games. Loville (13.0 ppg), Gilles (11.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2.5 spg) and Basallo (10.0 ppg, 3.0 apg) were ASU's top contributors in the wins. Gabriela Bosquez (career-high nine points) and Imogen Greenslade (career-high 11 rebounds) both had strong outings off the bench against Harvard.
• Despite a career-high 18 points from Gilles, the Sun Devils had their three-game winning streak snapped at Creighton, 69-62 (Dec. 12). ASU shot 47 pct for the game, its third straight contest shooting 45 pct or higher. The Sun Devils doubled up Creighton in scoring (24-12) in the third quarter to take a five-point lead going the final frame. Creighton outscored ASU 28-16 over the last 10 minutes – the most points scored by an ASU opponent in a quarter this season – to come back and claim the win. The quartet of Gilles (8-13 FGs), Loville (7-13 FGs), Simmons (5-10 FGs) and Van Hyfte (4-6 FGs) combined to hit 57 pct (24-42) of their shots.
• On Dec. 18, Jade Loville became the fourth Sun Devil women's basketball player to score 30 or more points since 2000, as the 2021 All-Mountain West honoree dropped 34 points (most in the Pac-12 as of Dec. 28) in ASU's 79-60 win over San Diego.