WHAT: No. 14/23 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (15-3, 4-2 Pac-12) at Utah (8-9, 1-5 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City Utah
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060
LIVE VIDEO: http://pac-12.com/videos/university-utah
Coming off its first home loss of the season – the final contest of a four-game homestand – the No. 14/23 Arizona State women’s basketball team will look to bounce back on Friday (7 p.m. MT) when it travels to Salt Lake City, Utah, to face the Utah Utes. Friday’s game is the first of consecutive road games for the Sun Devils, who will conclude their weekend in Boulder, Colo., on Sunday with a 1 p.m. MT matinee against Colorado.
The Sun Devils (15-3, 4-2 Pac-12) played all four of the Pac-12’s California-based schools during the aforementioned homestand. After wins over USC, UCLA and Cal, ASU would encounter its only blemish at home to date with an 80-56 setback against fourth-ranked Stanford on Monday.
With a third of their conference games behind them, the Sun Devils come into this weekend’s games in sole possession of fifth place in the Pac-12 standings. They are one game in the loss column behind USC (6-1), Cal (5-1) and Washington State (5-1) and two games behind Stanford (6-0).
Utah (8-9, 1-5) proved its mettle in its most recent contest, a 59-57 road win over Washington State last Sunday, which knocked the Cougars from the ranks of Pac-12 teams unbeaten in league play. Six of Utah’s nine losses have been by single digits this year, proving they are not far off from the team that made it all the way to the championship game of last season’s postseason WNIT.
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. ASU started its recent four-game homestand with a pair of hard-fought wins vs. USC (94-86 in OT) and UCLA (59-57) and followed that with an upset win over No. 15 Cal before the loss to Stanford on Monday.
The storyline of ASU’s success this season has been teamwork. Ten Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season; seven have led or tied for the team lead in scoring; seven have led or tied for the team lead in assists; and four have led or tied for the team lead in rebounds.
Friday’s game at Utah will be streamed live on Utah’s Athletic website. Fans can access the webcast by clicking on this link: http://pac-12.com/videos/university-utah. Sunday’s game at Colorado can be seen live across the majority of Pac-12 Networks with the exception of Pac-12-Washington and Pac-12-Oregon. Anne Marie Anderson (play by play) and Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (analyst) will call the action.
Both of this weekend’s contests can be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and at 12:30 p.m. on Friday.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.
NOTES FROM LAST WEEK’S GAMES
• The Sun Devils split at home, upsetting (then) No. 15 Cal 68-59 before falling to fourth-ranked Stanford, 80-56.
• Freshman center Quinn Dornstauder scored a career- and team-high 13 points to help lead the way against Cal, ASU’s third win over a Top 25 opponent this season. Dornstauder became the 10th different Sun Devil to post double figures in scoring this season and the seventh Sun Devil to lead or tie for the team lead in scoring.
• Stanford used a 54-percent shooting effort and a 30-point, 16-rebound performance by Chiney Ogwumike in its win over ASU. While Stanford operated at a high level of efficiency throughout the game, the Sun Devils struggled to score on a consistent basis as they connected on only 32 percent of their shots. Katie Hempen led ASU in the points column with 13 while Sophie Brunner recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 4 Stanford and Colorado – to start Pac-12 play with only one loss. 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.
• 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 (16-2 as of Jan. 22). The Sun Devils led by as many as 11 in the first half of their 85-78 loss at Washington State (Jan. 3). The difference in the game for ASU proved to be 15 missed free throws (28-43). ASU recorded its third win against a Top 25 opponent when it defeated No. 15 Cal 68-59 in Tempe on Jan. 17, ending the Bears’ Pac-12, regular-season winning streak at 19 games. The Sun Devils dropped their first contest to a ranked opponent when No. 4 Stanford came to Tempe and defeated ASU 80-56 on Jan. 20. As of Jan. 22, ASU’s three losses are to teams with an aggregate record of 44-10 (.815).
• ASU’s earlier 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.
• After averaging 20.9 turnovers in its first nine contests, the Sun Devils are averaging 15.7 in their last nine games. They have had 16 or fewer turnovers six times during that span, including a season low of 10 vs. Stanford (Jan. 20).
• As of Jan. 22, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense (2nd, 34.8 rpg), scoring margin (2nd, +9.8), FG pct. (2nd, 44.3), 3-point FG pct. (3rd, 36.3), scoring offense (3rd, 75.7 ppg), offensive rebounds (3rd, 14.6 rpg), 3-point FG pct. defense (4th, 28.4), steals (4th, 8.9 spg), FT pct. (4th/68.7), and assists (4th/15.5 apg).
• As of Jan. 22, ASU has four players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – freshman Kelsey Moos (3rd - 55.4), freshman Sophie Brunner (4th, 55.0), senior Joy Burke (6th/53.3) and junior Promise Amukamara (10th - 47.4).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but four games this season. They are 2-2 in those contests – at San Diego (Nov. 13 - L), vs. Miami (Dec. 21 - W), vs. UCLA (Jan. 12 - W), and vs. Stanford (Jan. 20 - L).
• Eight of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing (Texas Tech, North Carolina, Long Beach State, Syracuse, UCLA) or ahead by only one point (Arkansas State, Miami, USC) at some point in the last five minutes of regulation. The Sun Devils are 6-0 in games decided by five points or less OR in overtime.
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 16.3 points per game (32.3-16.0).
• Included in freshman Sophie Brunner’s last 13 games are four double-doubles, seven double-digit scoring efforts and nine games with seven or more rebounds (8.0 rpg - 52 off/52 def).
• Moos is averaging 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 62 percent (34-55) in ASU’s last nine games.
• Over ASU’s last seven games, Burke leads the team in FG pct. (58.7) and is 2nd in scoring (9.3 ppg).
• Sophomore Elisha Davis has 20 assists and only five turnovers in ASU’s last five games. She has also had a season-high five rebounds 4x in ASU’s last nine games.
• Brunner (62), Burke (45) and Moos (41) have combined for 148 of ASU’s 263 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Deja Mann (11x), Burke (8x), Moos (8x), Brunner (8x), Thomas (7x), Katie Hempen (7x), Amukamara (6x), Davis (3x), Eliza Normen (1x) and Quinn Dornstauder (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. UTAH (UTAH LEADS 9-4)
Utah swept the Sun Devils last year winning 66-46 on its home floor and 54-46 in Tempe. The two schools split the series in 2011-12 with each team winning on its home court – ASU 59-51 in Tempe and Utah 50-46 in Salt Lake City.
Prior to the first meeting of the 2011-12 season, the last time the two teams got together was in the second round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament (Tucson, Ariz.) when the fifth-seeded Utes downed the fourth-seeded Sun Devils, 86-65.
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 last 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 (317), 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 167-78 (.681). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.