WHAT: No. 25 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (10-1) vs. No. 20 Syracuse (11-1)
WHEN: Monday at 6 p.m. MT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Arena/Tempe, Ariz.
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060
TV: Pac-12 Networks
PROMOTION: Sparky’s Snow Day – Fans attending the game will have the opportunity to play in snow that will be located in the ASU Arboretum from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
The Arizona State women’s basketball team plays its final non-conference game on Monday (6 p.m. MT) when it hosts No. 20 Syracuse.
Monday’s game will be the first for both teams in more than a week as ASU (10-1) and Syracuse (11-1) were last in action on Dec. 21 before taking time off for the holidays.
Both teams were pushed to the brink in their most recent contests. For the Sun Devils, a defensive stand in the final seconds enabled them to defeat Miami, 75-73, to extend their winning streak to nine games. Syracuse, on the hand, used a buzzer beater to defeat Saint Joseph’s 64-62 and win its third straight game.
After Monday’s game, the Sun Devils will turn their attention to Pac-12 play as they will travel to Washington later this week for contests at Washington State (Fri., Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. PT) and at Washington (Sun., Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. PT).
Monday’s game vs. Syracuse will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks. Krista Blunk (play by play) and Tammy Blackburn (color) will have the call.
Monday’s game can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with coverage beginning at 6 p.m. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona’s 2010 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 10th season as the voice of ASU women’s basketball.
SPARKY’S SNOW DAY
Winter weather is heading to Tempe on Monday in the form of Sparky’s Snow Day. Fans attending the Sun Devil women’s basketball team’s game against Syracuse will have the opportunity to play in snow prior to the game.
Snow will be in the ASU Arboretum next to Wells Fargo Arena from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Fans should plan on arriving at the game early to play in the snow and have their picture taken with Sparky (admission will be granted upon fans showing their tickets to the game).
The ticket office in Wells Fargo Arena will open at 4 p.m. on Dec. 30, for those who have not purchased a ticket prior to game day.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• The Sun Devils extended their winning streak to nine games after defeating Miami 75-73. Four Sun Devils reached double digits in scoring. Adrianne Thomas led the way with 14 points (14-17 FTs) while Promise Amukamara, Katie Hempen and Kelsey Moos all scored 10 points each.
• The win against Miami was head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s 312th win as ASU’s head coach, moving her into a tie for second place all-time with former Washington/USC head coach Chris Gobrecht on the Pac-12’s career wins list.
• Miami’s nine-point lead in the game was the largest deficit ASU has overcome this season. UNC and Arkansas State led ASU by as many as eight. San Diego, which defeated ASU 61-53, led by as many as 12. The Sun Devils would eventually tie the game, however would be undone by cold shooting in the final seven-plus minutes of the game.
• Miami’s plus-1 advantage on the boards represented only the second time ASU was outrebounded this season (San Diego was +6).
• The Sun Devils improved to 4-0 this season in games that were either decided by five points or less or went to overtime.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• Currently with 312 wins as ASU’s head coach, Charli Turner Thorne needs one more win to move into sole possession of the No. 2 spot for most career wins by a Pac-12 head coach (currently tied with former Washington/USC head coach Chris Gobrecht). On Dec. 8, Turner Thorne recorded the 350th win of her coaching career (includes 40 wins at Northern Arizona) following ASU’s victory over Long Beach State.
• With a win on Monday the Sun Devils would enter Pac-12 play with only one loss for the sixth time since 1986-87 (first season of Pac-10/12 play). The Sun Devils were 9-1 in 1990-91, 9-1 in 1991-92, 8-1 in 2002-03, 9-1 in 2005-06 and 10-1 in 2006-07.
• This will be ASU’s second game against a Top 25 opponent this season. On Nov. 29 ASU defeated then-No. 11 (currently No. 10) North Carolina 94-81 in overtime. ASU’s only loss came in the season’s second game to a San Diego squad, which at 12-0 (as of Dec. 28), is off to its best start in school history.
• ASU’s current nine-game winning streak represents the 20th time since 2001 that the Sun Devils have had a winning streak of five or more games. ASU’s current run of nine straight is its longest such streak since it won a school record 15 consecutive games in 2009.
• ASU has scored 80 or more points seven times this season and has shot 50 percent or higher six times.
• As of Dec, 28, ASU ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (1st/46.7), scoring offense (2nd/78.7 ppg), 3-point FG pct. (2nd/38.3), rebounding defense (2nd/33.5 rpg), steals (2nd/10.0 spg), 3-point FG pct. defense (3rd/26.7) and scoring margin (4th/+15.3).
• Five of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing (Texas Tech, North Carolina, Long Beach State) or ahead by only one point (Arkansas State, Miami) at some point in the last five minutes of regulation.
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 18.1 points per game (33.6-15.5).
• Freshman Sophie Brunner is shooting 77 percent from the floor (25-37) in ASU’s last seven games. She has averaged 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds during that stretch, which includes five double-digit scoring efforts and four games with seven or more rebounds. That span also includes a pair of double-doubles – 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. North Carolina (Nov. 29) and career bests of 17 points and 12 rebounds vs. Long Beach State (Dec. 8).
• Freshman Kelsey Moos has averaged 14.0 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 68 percent (17-25) in ASU’s last three games. During that stretch nearly half of her rebounds (10 of 21) have been on the offensive end.
• Two Sun Devils – seniors Deja Mann (11.9 ppg) and Adrianne Thomas (10.5 ppg) – are currently averaging double figures in scoring. Mann has 11 assists and only three turnovers in ASU’s last three games. Thomas has made 57 FTs this season, more than twice as many as any other Sun Devil.
• As of Dec. 28, ASU has three players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – Brunner (1st - 70.0), Moos (4th - 54.8), junior Promise Amukamara (6th - 53.0).
• Brunner (33), senior Joy Burke (29) and Moos (24) have combined for 86 of ASU’s 155 offensive boards.
• Eight different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (7x), Brunner (6x), Thomas (5x), Moos (5x), Amukamara (4x), Burke (4x), redshirt sophomore Katie Hempen (4x) and sophomore Elisha Davis (3x).
SCOUTING SYRACUSE/SERIES NOTES
• Syracuse is off to its third 11-1 start in the four years. Its current No. 20 ranking in the most recent Associated Press poll (Dec. 23) is the highest in program history. The Orange’s only defeat this season was to current No. 21 Iowa, 97-91 in Iowa City.
• Sophomore guard Brittney Sykes leads the Orange and (as of Dec. 28) is tied for second in the ACC, averaging 19.8 ppg. Sykes’ layup at the buzzer lifted Syracuse to its most recent win, 64-62 over Saint Joseph’s on Dec. 21.
• Also averaging double figures for Syracuse are sophomore guard Brianna Butler (14.9 ppg) and RS-senior center Shakeya Leary (10.7 ppg).
• ASU was victorious in the only prior meeting between the two teams, a 72-67 decision at the San Juan Shootout in 1996, Turner Thorne’s first season as ASU’s head coach.
The Sun Devil women’s basketball program has consistently been among the Pac-12/Pac-10’s best for the last several years both on the court and in the classroom...
• Since the 2000-01 season ASU is one of only two schools in the Pac-12 to have won both a regular season conference title and the conference tournament title.
• ASU has finished third or higher in the Pac-12 nine times since 2001.
• Since 2005-06, ASU has led the Pac-12 in the number of conference first-team all-academic awards and the combined number of first- and second-team all-academic awards.
SOPHIE BRUNNER NAMED PAC-12 FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Sophie Brunner was named the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week earlier this month after helping lead the Sun Devils to three wins at the Cancun Challenge.
Brunner averaged 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while connecting on 82 percent of her shots in helping the Sun Devils win their games vs. Illinois (Nov. 28), (then) No. 11 North Carolina (Nov. 29) and Arkansas State (Nov. 30).
Brunner, who had been slowed by an ankle injury she sustained in ASU’s win at Texas Tech on Nov. 17, came up especially big in ASU’s wins over North Carolina and Arkansas State.
Against North Carolina, Brunner recorded the first double-double of her career (10 points, 10 rebounds) as she scored all 10 of her points and had seven of her 10 rebounds in the second half and overtime of ASU’s upset of the Tar Heels.
One day after ASU upset UNC, Brunner played a big role helping the Sun Devils defeat Arkansas State as she scored 11 of her career-high 13 points in the second half. Brunner scored seven points and had four of ASU’s five rebounds (including three offensive) in the final five minutes to help the Sun Devils edge the Red Wolves, 69-66.
Brunner averaged 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while connecting on 78 percent of her shots (7-9) and 75 percent of her free throws (9-12) in the final two games of the tournament vs. UNC and Arkansas State.
SUN DEVIL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HONORS NO. 21 JERSEY OF HALL OF FAMER RYNELDI BECENTI
On Dec. 21, 2013, Ryneldi Becenti, a member of the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame who twice earned honorable mention All-America notice as a member of the Sun Devil women’s basketball team, became the first Sun Devil women’s basketball player to have her jersey hung from the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena..
“As we started to evaluate the stars of our distinguished past, it quickly became apparent that no player was more celebrated or had more of an impact – both in her community and within our own Sun Devil community – than Ryneldi Becenti,” said Charli Turner Thorne. “While already in our Hall of Fame for her achievements as a student-athlete, we felt a program-specific tribute like this was fitting for a special individual whose influence went beyond the basketball court. The incredible work ethic and desire that led her to our program galvanized the Native American community. Her outstanding contributions as a Sun Devil enhanced her legendary status and remain an inspiration for many.”
Becenti was a two-time honorable mention All-America honoree while also becoming one of only three Sun Devils (at the time) to earn All-Pac-10 first-team honors twice in a career. By the conclusion of her two-year Sun Devil career, Becenti would accumulate 396 career assists, which at the time represented the second-highest career total in program history. Her career average of 7.1 assists per game remains a Pac-12 record to this day, while her 17-assist outing vs. Marquette in 1992 still sits atop the team’s list for most assists in a single game. With 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a Jan. 25, 1992, game against Oregon State, Becenti became the first player in school history to record a triple-double and was the lone player in the NCAA – men or women – to record the feat that season.
In 1996, she became the first woman inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame adding to her list of enshrinements, which includes the Scottsdale Community College Hall of Fame, Arizona State University Hall of Fame and the Arizona High School Sports Hall of Fame.
A native of Fort Defiance, Ariz., Becenti earned high school All-America honors playing for Window Rock High School. Her stellar play continued at Scottsdale Community College where she earned junior college All-American recognition.
TURNER THORNE GUIDES SUN DEVIL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO ELITE STATUS
The all-time winningest coach in program history and tied for No. 2 in the Pac-12 in career wins (312), Charli Turner Thorne has turned Sun Devil women’s basketball into one of the nation’s premiere programs since taking over in 1996-97. Included in ASU’s earlier run of 13 consecutive postseason appearances (2000-12) were a school record five-consecutive NCAA Tournament bids from 2005-09. During that time the Sun Devils qualified for the Elite Eight on a pair of occasions, making ASU one of only 15 programs in the country to have qualified for the Elite Eight at least two times between 2007-12.
On Jan. 25, 2013 Turner Thorne became the third Pac-12 coach to reach 300 victories following ASU’s 60-53 win over USC, a game in which ASU came back from 16 down in the second half.
A closer look at Turner Thorne’s path to 300 puts into perspective the incredible 180-degree turnaround Sun Devil women’s basketball has undergone since she came to ASU. To reach 150 wins it took Turner Thorne 272 games (150-122 - .551) as she rebuilt a program that had an aggregate record of 20-60 in the three years prior to her arrival and only two NCAA Tournament wins in its history. It would take her 215 games to get 150 more wins. Since picking up her 150th win at ASU, Turner Thorne is 162-76 (.680). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.