WHAT: No. 24/25 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (11-1, 0-0 Pac-12) at Washington State (6-6, 0-0 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT
WHERE: Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, Wash.
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060
For the second consecutive year the Arizona State women’s basketball team will begin Pac-12 play in the Pacific Northwest when it travels to the Evergreen State to take on Washington State (Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and Washington (Sunday at 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT).
The No. 24/25 Sun Devils are coming off their best preseason in the Pac-10/12 era (since 1986-87) with 11 wins, including a pair of wins over Top 25 foes (No. 11 North Carolina and No. 20 Syracuse).
How have they done it?
In a variety ways.
On the offensive end the Sun Devils enter this Friday’s game second in the Pac-12 in field goal pct. (45.5) and third in scoring (77.4 ppg) and 3-point FG pct (37.9).
Defensively, ASU has done a solid job defending the perimeter (fourth in Pac-12 in 3-point FG pct. defense), has limited second-chance opportunities (second in Pac-12 in defensive rebounding) and has created transition opportunities for itself with its pressure defense (second in the Pac-12 in steals).
Intangibles? How about toughness. More than half of its wins (6) have come in games in which the difference on the scoreboard was only a single point in the final five minutes of the game. In fact, in its last two games – wins over Miami (75-73) and No. 20 Syracuse (63-60) – ASU had to come up with defensive stops in the final 10 seconds to protect one-point leads.
Individually speaking, the contributions have been coming from all over. Eight different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season. Five different Sun Devils have led or tied for the team lead in scoring; four have led or tied for the team lead in rebounds and five have led or tied for the team lead in assists.
Both of this weekend’s games can be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage in the Valley will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. 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.
A live webcast of Friday’s game at Washington State can be seen on WSU’s website.
Sunday’s game at Washington will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks. Rich Burk (play by play) and Julie Rousseau (analyst) will have the call.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• The Sun Devils extended their winning streak to 10 games after defeating No. 20 Syracuse 63-60. Kelsey Moos (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Joy Burke (14 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles to lead the way. Sophie Brunner added four points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for the Sun Devils, who had to come up with a defensive stop in the final 10 seconds to protect a one-point lead for the second time in as many games.
• The win was the 313th at ASU for head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who is now No. 2 all-time among Pac-12 coaches in wins
• ASU was 15-18 from the line, including 10-11 in the second half.
• The Sun Devils improved to 5-0 this season in games that were either decided by five points or less or went to overtime.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU is one of three schools – current No. 4 Stanford (11-1) and current No. 12 Colorado (10-1) – starting Pac-12 play with only one loss.
• This is the sixth time since 1986-87 (first season of Pac-10/12 play) that ASU enters conference play with only one loss. The Sun Devils were 9-1 in 1990-91, 9-1 in 1991-92, 8-1 in 2002-03, 9-1 in 2005-06, 10-1 in 2006-07 and 11-1 in 2013-14.
• ASU’s non-conference schedule included a pair of wins over Top 25 teams. The Sun Devils defeated then-No. 11 (currently No. 10) North Carolina 94-81 in overtime at the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 29. Earlier this week ASU came from behind to beat No. 20 Syracuse, 63-60, in Tempe. ASU’s only loss came on the road in the season’s second game to a San Diego squad, which at 13-0 (as of Jan. 1), is off to its best start in school history.
• ASU’s current 10-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 10 straight is its longest such streak since it won a school record 15 consecutive games in 2009 (after losing first two Pac-10 games won next 15).
• ASU has scored 80 or more points seven times this season and has shot 50 percent or higher six times.
• As of Jan. 1, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (2nd, 45.5), rebounding defense (2nd, 33.8 rpg), steals (2nd, 10.0 spg), scoring offense (3rd, 77.4 ppg), 3-point FG pct. (3rd, 37.9), offensive rebounds (3rd, 14.9 rpg), scoring margin (4th, +14.2), FT pct. (4th, 70.4) and 3-point FG pct. defense (4th, 26.6).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but two games this season – at San Diego (Nov. 13) and vs. Miami (Dec. 21).
• Six of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing (Texas Tech, North Carolina, Long Beach State, Syracuse) 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 17.7 points per game (33.4-15.8).
• Freshman Kelsey Moos has averaged 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 62 percent (21-34) in ASU’s last four games. Most recently she posted career highs in points (15) and rebounds (12) in ASU’s win over No. 20 Syracuse on Monday. This weekend Moos will be returning to her home state of Washington where she was named the Class B State Player of the Year three times while helping lead Reardan High School (Reardan, Wash.) to three consecutive state titles.
• Freshman Sophie Brunner is shooting 66 percent from the floor (29-44) in ASU’s last eight games. She has averaged 10.4 points and 6.8 rebounds during that stretch, which includes five double-digit scoring efforts and five games with seven or more rebounds.
• Two Sun Devils – seniors Deja Mann (11.1 ppg) and Adrianne Thomas (10.3 ppg) – are currently averaging double figures in scoring. Mann has 15 assists in ASU’s last four games. Thomas has made 59 FTs this season, more than twice as many as any other Sun Devil.
• As of Jan. 1, ASU has three players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – Brunner (3rd - 62.7), Moos (6th - 53.5) and junior Promise Amukamara (t-8th - 50.0).
• Brunner (40), senior Joy Burke (37) and Moos (28) have combined for 105 of ASU’s 179 offensive boards.
• Eight different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (7x), Brunner (6x), Moos (6x), Thomas (5x), Burke (5x), Amukamara (4x), redshirt sophomore Katie Hempen (4x) and sophomore Elisha Davis (3x).
SERIES NOTES VS. WASHINGTON STATE
• ASU leads the all-time series 38-16, including wins in 27 of the last 33 meetings. The two teams split the season series in 2010 and 2011 with the visiting team winning each game. ASU swept the season series in 2012 before the Cougars came back to claim all three meetings last season, including a 48-41 win in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle.
• Promise Amukamara’s career-high 14 rebounds in the Pac-12 Tournament game represented the highest single-game total by a Sun Devil last season.
• Arnecia Hawkins had career highs in points (18) and 3-pointers (4) in last season’s game in Tempe.
• In 2008, ASU set the record for the fewest points ever allowed in a Pac-10/12 game with a 59-30 win over the Cougars.
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 No. 2 in the Pac-12 in career wins (313), 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 163-76 (.682). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.