Sun Devil WBB returns home to host Oregon State, No. 19 Oregon
THE GAME: Sun Devil WBB (9-8, 1-3 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (11-5, 4-2 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 6 p.m. MST
WHERE: Desert Financial Arena • Click here for tickets
WATCH: Pac-12 Network, Arizona, Oregon (Ann Schatz, Joan Bonvicini)
LISTEN: KDUS AM 1060 (Jeff Munn/Maura McHugh)
LIVE STATS: Click here
The Sun Devil women's basketball team will play the third game of a seven-game stretch against teams among currently among the top third of the Pac-12 standings when it hosts Oregon State on Friday (6 pm MST) at Desert Financial Arena. Two days later, it will face No. 19 Oregon (Sunday at 2 pm MST) for the second time in less than a week in the program's annual Pink Game for Breast Cancer awareness.
The Sun Devils (9-8, 1-3 Pac-12) started the aforementioned seven-game sequence with a 78-50 loss at No. 2 and first-place Stanford (17-3, 8-0 Pac-12) last Friday. ASU then came up short in its upset bid at No. 19 and second-place Oregon (14-5, 7-1), 72-58 on Tuesday. After this weekend's games – vs. third-place Oregon State (11-5, 4-2) and rematch vs. Oregon – the Sun Devils will play three consecutive contests against the two teams tied for fourth place: No. 8 Arizona (15-3, 5-3) on Feb. 11 in Tempe and Feb. 13 in Tucson and at Washington State (13-6, 5-3) on Feb. 18.
Coming into this weekend's action, only Cal (9-5, 0-3) has played fewer Pac-12 games than the Sun Devils who had games postponed on seven different dates. The other 10 teams have played anywhere between six and nine conference games. After playing 12 games the first 42 days of the season, this will be just ASU's sixth game in the 44 days.
In their first opportunity to make up one of the seven postponements, the Sun Devils came up on the wrong end of a 72-58 decision at No. 19 Oregon on Tuesday. Mael Gilles came through with one of her best all-around games of the season with team highs in points (15), rebounds (7) and assists (career high-tying 5 assists). Trailing by three points entering the fourth quarter, ASU was outscored by the Ducks 23-12 in the final 10 minutes.
Oregon State (11-5, 4-2) has won four of its last five games. All five of its losses have been by single digits – three of those losses by four or fewer points, including a 55-53 setback to No. 8 Arizona.
SERIES NOTES VERSUS OREGON STATE
• This will be the first time ASU and OSU have met since February, 2020, as both contests in 2021 were eventually canceled due to Covid-19 protocols.
• ASU has won 26 of the last 36 meetings, but the Beavers have gotten the better of it in recent years with wins in eight of the last 12 games.
• In the last meeting, OSU's basket at the buzzer gave the Beavers a 64-62 win in Corvallis and snapped ASU's four-game winning streak in the series. The game that extended ASU's winning streak to four was the second of its consecutive wins over Top 5 teams as, two days after defeating No. 2 Oregon, ASU knocked off No. 3 OSU 55-47. ASU's win prevented the Beavers from becoming the No. 1 team in the poll the following day.
• ASU's 57-51 win in the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals snapped OSU's streak of seven straight wins.
• In 2018-19, ASU swept Oregon State for the first time since 2011 and became the first Pac-12 team to accomplish the feat since 2013.
STATE OF PLAY
• Through games played Feb. 2, ASU has an NCAA Net ranking of 48, one of seven Pac-12 teams in the Top 50 (Stanford - 3, Arizona - 7, Oregon - 11, Utah - 18, Colorado - 34, UCLA 44).
• Prior to its current three-game losing streak, ASU had won seven times in eight games / In those contests ASU... averaged 69.3 ppg, shot 44.1 pct and 34.9 pct 3FGs while allowing only 53.5 ppg. Each figure was a big improvement from its first six games (2-4 record) when it... averaged 61.3 ppg (-8.0), connected on 37.4 pct of its FGs (-6.7), 26.2 pct 3FGs (-8.7) while giving up a respectable 57.5 ppg (+4.0).
• Two Sun Devils have started every game: Jaddan Simmons and Taya Hanson – both returning starters from last season's squad.
• Simmons: Leads ASU in assists (3.0 apg/13th in Pac-12), steals (1.9 spg/5th in the Pac-12) and FTs made (48) and attempted (65), is tied for 3rd in 3-pointers (14) and is 5th on the team in rebounds (3.2 rpg).
• Hanson: Is 2nd on the team in 3-pointers (21), 3rd in assists (2.3 apg) and steals (1.4 spg) and tied for 4th in rebounds (3.4 rpg). Hanson scored a season-high 17 points and tied her career high with seven rebounds in ASU's OT win over No. 22 Colorado (Jan. 21).
• Transfers Jade Loville (Boise State) and Mael Gilles (graduate transfer from Rutgers) have both started all 16 games they have played in.
• Loville: Leads ASU in scoring (15.5 ppg/5th in Pac-12), 3-pointers (26), FG pct (45.4/15th in Pac-12) and 3-point FG pct. (45.6/3rd in Pac-12). On Dec. 18, Loville became the fourth Sun Devil 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 Feb. 3) in ASU's 79-60 win over San Diego. DNP for precautionary reasons in ASU's contest vs. Colorado (Jan. 21).
• Gilles: Currently paces the team in rebounds (7.8 rpg/6th in the Pac-12), offensive rebounds (2.44 rpg/5th in Pac-12) and blocks (1.3 bpg/t9th in Pac-12) and is 2nd in scoring (10.2 ppg), steals (1.8 spg/t8th in Pac-12) and assists (2.4 apg). Gilles has three double-doubles and has just missed the feat in three other contests. She has scored in double figures 7x – including career-high 18 points at Creighton – and grabbed 11 or more rebounds 5x this season. DNP for precautionary reasons in ASU's contest vs. Lipscomb (Dec. 30).
• Jayde Van Hyfte, the only Sun Devil on last season's roster to start every game in 2019-20, made her 2021-22 debut 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 – ASU's last 10 games – and is shooting 71 pct (17-24 FGs) from the floor.
• After starting the first seven games, Maggie Besselink missed ASU's next six games due to injury. She returned to action vs. Colorado (Jan. 21). In per-game averages, Besselink is 2nd on the team in rebounds (5.3 rpg) and offensive rebounds (2.1 rpg). Her career-high 15 rebounds in the season's second game vs. Minnesota are the most by a Sun Devil this season. Besselink started 14 of the 18 games she played in last season and led the team in rebounds (5.7 rpg/16th in the Pac-12).
• Transfers Ayzhiana Basallo (two games missed) and Isadora Sousa (11 games missed) have also missed time due to injury. Basallo is currently second on the team in 3-point FG pct. (38.9), is tied for 3rd in 3-pointers (14) and 4th in assists (1.4 apg).
• Reserves: Katelyn Levings (one start/3rd on the team in rebounds - 3.6), Gabriela Bosquez (one start/shooting 83 pct/10-12 from the line, 4th on team in steals/0.6 spg and 5th in assists/1.1 apg), Sydney Erikstrup (scored career-high eight points vs. Marist) and Imogen Greenslade (4th in offensive rebounds/1.2 spg/grabbed career-high 11 rebounds in win vs. Harvard).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• As of Feb. 3, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds per game (3rd/13.47 rpg) and 3-pt FG pct. defense (4th/29.7).
• Jade Loville went over the 1,000-point mark in career scoring with a game-high 19 points at No. 2 Stanford (Jan. 28). Loville had an earlier seven-game stretch in which she averaged 20.9 ppg while shooting 50.9 pct. (56-110), including 58.3 (14-24) from long range.
• The Ls that could have been Ws: ASU was... outscored 12-5 in OT loss to Minnesota (Nov. 12)... within 7 points in the 4th quarter at BYU (Nov. 17)... down by as many as 17, ASU got within 5 points in the 4th quarter vs. Houston in Cancun (Nov. 25)... led by 7 in the 4th quarter at Creighton (Dec. 12)... down by as many as 29, ASU got within 6 points twice in the 4th quarter vs. Utah (Jan. 23)... entered fourth quarter at Oregon (Feb. 1) within 3 points of the Ducks.
• The team's active career leader in 3-pointers (132/tied with Briann January for 6th place on ASU's all-time list), Taya Hanson needs one triple to tie Betsy Boardman (133/2000-05) for fifth place, two to tie Crystal Cobb (134/1989-94) for fourth place and five to tie Jill Noe (137/2003-08) for third place.
• Sophomore Sydney Erikstrup graduated from Beaverton High School in nearby Beaverton, Ore., in 2020. Erikstrup helped lead her team to three consecutive state semifinals appearances. Her Beaverton squad accumulated a 23-4 record through the 2020 state quarterfinal round and was the favorite to claim the state title when the remainder of the season was canceled due to COVID-19.
• Four players have led or tied for the team lead in scoring this season – Loville (8x), Simmons (4x), Hanson (4x), Gilles (4x).
• Defensively, ASU has given up 55 or fewer points 9x this season. In its 57-52 OT win over Colorado (Jan. 21), ASU held CU nearly 18 points below its scoring average. CU's 52 points tied its lowest point total of the season. It needed the five additional minutes in OT to reach that as the Buffaloes had 46 points in regulation.
• ASU has allowed 13 or fewer points in a quarter 33x this season.
• ASU has allowed an average of only 57.3 ppg since the start of the 2014-15 season (a span of 241 games). It has held the opposition to 50 or less points 72 times during that stretch (68-4 in those contests).
• Including its 8-5 record this season, ASU is 81-18 (.818) in non-conference, regular season games since 2013.
• 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. Freshman post Meg Newman – one of the nation's most sought after players and ranked No. 6 at her position by ESPN.com – was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury during preseason practices. In addition, Isadora Sousa, another exciting newcomer, missed most of preseason workouts due to injury.
• 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) & 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 shooting 30 percent in a 55-44 loss at BYU (Nov. 17).
• Coming off a 13-percent (3-24) outing from long range at BYU, ASU came within one 3-pointer of tying the single-game school record after hitting 13 in an 82-53 win over Marist (Nov. 21). Ten of its triples came during a first half in which it 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) & 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. The Sun Devils entered the game with a record of 2-4. The win over the Rams started a sequence in which the Sun Devils went 7-1 over their next eight games.
• ASU swept its home tournament, the ASU Classic, defeating UTSA (68-44) & 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. Gabriela Bosquez (career-high nine points) and Imogen Greenslade (career-high 11 rebounds) both had strong outings against Harvard.
• Despite a career-high 18 points from Gilles, ASU had its 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. ASU 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.
• On Dec. 18, 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 Jan. 31) in ASU's 79-60 win over San Diego.
• ASU was originally scheduled to open Pac-12 play with contests at UCLA (Dec. 31) & 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 (ASU won 70-54). On Dec. 29, it was announced the second half of ASU's trip to the City of Angles would not be happening, either. ASU also had its next four contests – vs. UW and WSU, at UO and OSU – postponed.
• Coming off an unplanned period of just over three weeks without playing a game, ASU started Pac-12 play – the final Pac-12 team to start league play – with a 57-52 overtime upset of No. 22 Colorado (Jan. 21). It followed that with a 72-63 loss at home to Utah, a game in which ASU nearly came up with what would have been the second-largest comeback in NCAA Division I history. Trailing by 29 points with two minutes remaining in the second quarter, ASU fought back to get within six points with just over two minutes remaining.
• Playing for only the fourth time in 37 days, the Sun Devils fell at No. 2 and defending national champion Stanford 78-40 on Jan. 28. ASU was not able to play the second game it had scheduled while in the Bay Area after its game at Cal (Jan. 30) had to be postponed.
• In their first opportunity to make up one of their seven postponements, the Sun Devils came up on the wrong end of a 72-58 decision at No. 19 Oregon (Feb. 1). Mael Gilles came through with one of her best all-around games of the season with team highs in points (15), rebounds (7) and assists (career high-tying 5 assists). Trailing by three points entering the fourth quarter, ASU was outscored 23-12 in the final 10 minutes.
WELCOME TO TEMPE
ASU added a quartet of talented and experienced transfers in the offseason who head coach Charli Turner Thorne feels has the potential to have a major impact this season. Three of the four transferred in April with 2020 Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the Year Ayzhiana Basallo being the first to officially join the program. Basallo, a 5-5 guard who will have two years of eligibility, arrived at ASU from San Jose State where she earned her degree in communication earlier this year. In her only full season at San Jose State – did not play in 2018-19 due to NCAA transfer rules and SJSU's 2020-21 season was canceled after only four games due to COVID-19 – Basallo earned the Mountain West Conference's Newcomer of the Year award for a season in which she averaged a team-high 18.5 points per game while shooting 44.7 pct from the field, 45.4 pct from beyond the arc (school single-season record) and 92.5 pct at the free throw line (school single-season record).
Jade Loville, a 5-10 wing who earned All-Mountain West honors last season, joined ASU from Boise State. In 2020-21, Loville, who has two years of eligibility, scored in double figures 19 times last season, setting the school's single-game scoring record with 40 points at UNLV on Feb. 10, 2021. She scored 20 or more points nine times and was named the Mountain West Player of the Week after averaging 26.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in a two-game sweep of San Jose State (Dec. 31 and Jan. 2).
A 6-1 forward who originally came up through Canada's youth national teams Mael Gilles is using her fifth year of eligibility to play for ASU after spending the last four seasons with Rutgers (started 55 of 101 career games). Last season, Gilles averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in helping Rutgers earn its highest seed in the NCAA Tournament since 2012. A starter in all 18 games she played in last season, Gilles notched six double-figure scoring efforts, including a season-high 16 points on two occasions.
In early June, ASU welcomed Isadora Sousa, a six-foot guard who played the last two seasons at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sousa has twice been named an NJCCA All-American – third team in 2020 and second team in 2021 – by World Exposure Report. She is coming off a campaign in which she earned FCSAA/NJCAA VIII All-State, All-Panhandle Conference first-team and FCSAA/NJCAA VIII All-Tournament Team honors in helping lead Chipola to its seventh FCSAA Championship and an appearance in the NJCAA Tournament semifinals.
One of the biggest challenges ASU faced last season was overcoming its youth/inexperience as out of 120 possible starts, 95 were made by freshmen (62) or upperclassmen who were first-year starters (33). In addition to the talent they brought, just as important is the experience as Gilles (56/104), Loville (87/23) and Basallo (60/33) brought a combined 224 games of NCAA D1 playing experience, including 139 starts.
YVONNE SANCHEZ JOINS CHARLI TURNER THORNE'S COACHING STAFF
Last April Yvonne Sanchez – a coach with more than 30 years of experience both as an assistant and head coach – joined Charli Turner Thorne's staff as assistant coach at ASU. Sanchez came to Tempe from the University of Michigan where she spent the last three seasons as assistant coach. While in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines won nearly 70 percent of their games and earned a pair of bids to the NCAA Tournament (Michigan would likely have also been a 2020 NCAA Tournament participant had the postseason not been canceled due to the pandemic). In 2021, the Wolverines earned their highest NCAA Tournament seed ever (No. 6) and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history with wins over No. 11 seed Florida Gulf Coast and No. 3 seed Tennessee. Michigan fell just short of its first Elite Eight after being edged by No. 2 seed Baylor in overtime, 78-75.
Sanchez was on staff at the University of New Mexico from 2000-2016, spending the last five seasons of her tenure as head coach. She amassed 77 victories as head coach and was named the 2014-15 Mountain West Coach of the Year after winning a school-record 14 conference games. In her first season as head coach, the Lobos reached the Mountain West Conference championship game. She would duplicate the feat in 2015 when the Lobos went 21-13. During her time as an assistant coach (2000-08) and associate head coach (2008-11), the Lobos won two Mountain West regular-season titles and five conference tournament crowns and made seven NCAA Tournament appearances. New Mexico won 239 games from 2000-2011, highlighted by the program's only NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, in 2003.
NEWS FROM SIGNING DAY
On Nov. 10, 2021, Charli Turner Thorne announced local superstar Trayanna Crisp, rated a four-star and Top 100 student-athlete by ESPN.com, signed a national letter of intent to study and play basketball at Arizona State.
A five-foot-eight combo guard who is rated No. 20 in the nation at her position by ESPN.com, Crisp will continue to play in front of the hometown fans that witnessed her win state championships as a freshman and sophomore while playing for Goodyear Millennium High School. A first-team all-region selection, most recently Crisp averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in helping lead PHH Prep to the Grind Session girls basketball world championship. As a sophomore, Crisp, who has returned to Millennium for her senior season, was recognized as the 5A offensive player of the year for per-game contributions of 14.8 points, 3.6 steals, 3.0 assists 4.2 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field.
Crisp's impact with Millennium was as sudden as it was superb as she contributed 9.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game as a freshman in helping Millennium win the first of consecutive state titles.