WHAT: No. 23 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (13-2, 2-1 Pac-12) vs. UCLA (8-8, 2-2 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. MT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks
PROMOTION: Kids will receive $1 admission to Sunday’s game by using the promo code “DOLLAR” or by purchasing at the door, so bring the whole family. There’s also a FREE post-game clinic immediately following the game, hosted by several Sun Devil women’s teams and an autograph session by all Sun Devil women’s basketball players. Please register for the clinic by emailing email@example.com. Also, it’s the first Sun Devil Sunday Fun Day. A balloon twister, inflatables, and more will be on the north concourse beginning one hour prior to tip-off.
The No. 23 Arizona State women’s basketball team will attempt to stay unbeaten at home when it hosts UCLA on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Sun Devils (13-2, 2-1 Pac-12) made it seven wins in seven home games following their 94-86 overtime win over USC on Friday. ASU shot 53 percent from the floor (30-57), 55 percent from 3-point range (6-11) and 82 pecent from the foul line (28-32).
UCLA (8-8, 2-2 Pac-12) comes in having split its first four Pac-12 games of the season. The Bruins’ two conference losses have been by a combined four points (vs. USC, 56-54 and vs. No. 17 Colorado 61-59). The Bruins are coming off a 67-61 win at Arizona on Friday.
The Sun Devils came into Pac-12 play with a 10-game winning streak, which came to an end on Jan. 3 at Washington State (85-78). Two days later the Sun Devils were able to gain a split on their first Pac-12 road trip after defeating Washington 78-60.
The storyline of ASU’s success this season has been teamwork. Nine Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season; six 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.
Sunday’s game will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks (national broadcast). Krista Blunk (play by play) and Tammy Blackburn (analysis) will call the action.
Sunday’s game can also be heard on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 12:30 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. He will be joined by former ASU head coach Maura McHugh.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• Deja Mann scored a season-high 21 points and Adrianne Thomas added 18 (including 14 in the second half and overtime) as ASU held off USC, 94-86, in overtime on Friday.
• Mann (6-8 FGs, 6-7 FTs) and Thomas (5-8 FGs, 8-9 FTs) combined to make 68 percent of their field goals and 88 percent of their free throws (14-16), as ASU shot 53 percent for the game.
• Also scoring in double figures for the Sun Devils, who improved to 7-0 at home, were Katie Hempen (season-high 13 points and career-high five steals) and Promise Amukamara (11 points).
• Elisha Davis had six assists with only one turnover.
• With the overtime win, the Sun Devils improved to 5-0 this season in games decided by less than five points or in overtime. In its three overtime games the Sun Devils have now outscored the opposition by an average of 16.3-7.0. ASU has shot 74 percent (14-19) from the field in overtime while limiting its opponents to only 38 percent (9-24). ASU has also made 81 percent (17-21) of its free throws in overtime.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 4 Stanford and current No. 17 Colorado – to start Pac-12 play with only one loss. Stanford remains the lone one-loss team in the league after the Sun Devils and Buffaloes lost their Pac-12 openers on Jan. 3. For ASU, it was the sixth time since the 1986-87 (first season of Pac-10/12 play) that it entered 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 North Carolina 94-81 in OT at the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 29. On Dec. 30, ASU came from behind to beat then-No. 20 Syracuse, 63-60, in Tempe. ASU’s only loss in non-conference play came on the road in the season’s second game to a San Diego squad, which had its best start in school history winning its first 15 games. The Sun Devils led by as many as 11 in the first half of their 85-78 loss at Washington State (Jan. 3). ASU missed 15 FTs in the loss (28-43) at WSU.
• ASU’s recent 10-game winning streak tied the second-longest run in program history. It was also the 20th time since 2001 that ASU had a winning streak of five or more games. The string of 10 straight wins was ASU’s longest since it won a school record 15 straight in 2009 (after losing first two Pac-10 games won next 15).
• ASU has scored 80 or more points eight times this season and has shot 50 percent or higher seven times.
• ASU is shooting 53 percent (17-32) from 3-point range in its last two games. Deja Mann (6-10) and Katie Hempen (6-11) have combined to make 57 percent of their attempts (12-21) during that span.
• ASU averaged 14.0 turnovers (-5.1 below season average) in last week’s games at WSU and at UW. Its 12 turnovers against UW represented its lowest total this season.
• As of Jan. 11, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (2nd, 45.6), 3-point FG pct. (2nd, 39.4), FT pct. (2nd/70.7), rebounding defense (2nd, 33.7 rpg), steals (2nd, 9.3 spg), offensive rebounds (2nd, 14.8 rpg), scoring offense (3rd, 78.6 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +12.7), 3-point FG pct. defense (3rd, 27.9) and assists (3rd, 15.7).
• 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).
• Seven 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, USC) at some point in the last five minutes of regulation. The Sun Devils are 5-0 in games decided by five points or less or overtime.
• Freshman Kelsey Moos is averaging 13.0 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 60 percent (29-47) in ASU’s last 6 games. She has connected on 81 percent of her free throws (17-21) during that stretch..
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 17.6 points per game (33.5-15.9).
• Included in freshman Sophie Brunner’s last 10 games are three double-doubles, six double-digit scoring efforts and six games with seven or more rebounds.
• Senior Joy Burke is averaging 10.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg while shooting 68 percent from the floor (19-28) in ASU’s last four games.
• RS-sophomore Katie Hempen is second on the team in scoring over ASU’s last six games (9.8 ppg) and is shooting 46.7 percent (14-30) from 3-point range during that stretch.
• Sophomore Elisha Davis has had four or more assists 7x in ASU’s last 12 games, including a career-high seven assists in win at Washington (Jan. 5). She has 13 assists and only two turnovers in ASU’s last two games. She has also had a season-high five rebounds 4x in ASU’s last six games.
• As of Jan. 11, ASU has three players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – Burke (4th - 55.2), Moos (5th - 54.8) and junior Promise Amukamara (8th - 48.4).
• Brunner (47), Burke (41) and Moos (38) have combined for 126 of ASU’s 222 offensive boards.
• Nine different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (10x), Moos (8x), Brunner (7x), Burke (7x), Thomas (6x), Hempen (6x), Amukamara (5x), Davis (3x) and RS-sophomore Eliza Normen (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. UCLA (UCLA LEADS 49-25)
• UCLA has won 49 of the 74 all-time meetings, including the last eight in a row. UCLA’s win in the first meeting of 2009-10 in Tempe broke a seven-game ASU winning streak.
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 (315), 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 165-77 (.682). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.