WHAT: No. 15/20 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (17-3, 6-2 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (12-8, 4-4 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 6:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m.)
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
Coming off its first Pac-12 road sweep since 2011, the No. 15/20 Arizona State women’s basketball team begins a challenging stretch this weekend in which it will play three games – all at home – in five days. The homestand begins on Friday (6:30 p.m.) when ASU hosts Oregon State. ASU will then take on Oregon in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee (1 p.m.) before the first of consecutive games vs. in-state rival Arizona on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.).
The Sun Devils (17-3, 6-2 Pac-12) enter this week’s contests in a three-way tie for second place (in the loss column) with USC (14-7, 7-2) and Cal (14-5, 6-2). All three teams trail first-place Stanford (19-1, 8-0 Pac-12), which has yet to lose a game in conference play. USC will host the Washington schools this week while Stanford and Cal will have their annual home-and-home contests.
As the Sun Devils have found out, every conference game has the potential to go down to the wire as the Pac-12 is proving to be one of the most competitive leagues in the country. Four of ASU’s last six conference games been decided by 3 points or less or in overtime with the Sun Devils coming out on top in each of those four games.
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 then won three of four games at home, earning hard-fought wins vs. USC (94-86 in OT), UCLA (59-57) and (then) No. 15 Cal (68-59) before falling to fourth-ranked Stanford (80-56) on Jan. 20. The Sun Devils quickly bounced back from the loss to Stanford with a pair of back-to-back, nail-biting wins on the road at Utah (65-62) and at Colorado (68-66) last weekend.
The storyline of ASU’s success this season has been teamwork. Ten Sun Devils have scored in double figures; seven have led/tied for team lead in scoring; seven have led/tied for team lead in assists; and five have led/tied for team lead in rebounds.
Both of this weekend’s games can be seen via live stream by going to http://pac-12.com/videos/arizona-state-university.
Both contests can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin 6 p.m on Friday and at 12:30 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. He will be joined by former Sun Devil head coach Maura McHugh.
NOTES FROM LAST WEEKEND
• Coming off an 80-56 loss at home to fourth-ranked Stanford, the Sun Devils bounced back with back-to-back road wins at Utah (65-62) and at Colorado (68-66) to remain in second place in the Pac-12 standings. It was ASU’s first Pac-12 road sweep since 2011.
• Deja Mann (17.5 ppg) and Sophie Brunner (10.0 ppg) both averaged double figures in the two wins while combining to shoot 61 percent from the floor (20-33) – Mann (14-22/64 percent) and Brunner (6-11/55 percent). Brunner, who led ASU with five assists last weekend, was also a perfect 8-8 from the line. With ASU down 62-61 in the game against Utah, Brunner connected on a pair of pressure-packed FTs with 8.6 seconds left to put ASU ahead.
• Senior Adrianne Thomas displayed similar poise at Colorado as she hit both of her free throw attempts with 4.4 seconds left to provide the winning points.
• Kelsey Moos averaged 7.5 rebounds in the two wins, including a game-high 11 at Colorado.
• Promise Amukamara came up with a pair of outstanding defensive plays in the final minute of both games to helps ASU come away with the wins.
• With the wins the Sun Devils improved their record away from home to 8-2 and remained perfect (8-0) in games decided by five points or less and/or overtime.
• ASU averaged only 11.5 turnovers in the two games.
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 in non-conference play. 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 (18-2 as of Jan. 24). 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 then-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. 29, ASU’s three losses are to teams with an aggregate record of 48-12 (.800).
• ASU is No. 11 in the NCAA’s most recent RPI (Jan. 27). ASU is one of seven Pac-12 program’s among the Top 55: Stanford (No. 4), Cal (No. 22), USC (No. 31), Oregon State (No. 36), UCLA (No. 51) and Colorado (No. 55).
• 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 8x this season, has shot 50 percent or higher 7x and has had 15 or more assists 13x.
• ASU has held to opposition to 25 percent or less from 3-point range 9x this season. On Jan. 26, ASU did not allow a 3-pointer at Colorado, ending CU’s streak of making at least one triple in 285 straight games.
• After averaging 20.9 turnovers in its first nine contests, ASU is averaging 15.0 in its last 11 games. ASU has had 16 or fewer turnovers eight times during that span, including a season low of 10 vs. Stanford (Jan. 20) and at Colorado (Jan. 26).
• As of Jan. 29, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense (1st/34.7 rpg), FG pct. (2nd, 44.3), scoring offense (3rd, 74.8 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +9.7), 3-point FG pct. defense (3rd/28.0), FT pct. (4th/69.2), assists (4th/15.2 apg), steals (4th, 8.6 spg) and offensive rebounds (4th, 14.2 rpg).
• As of Jan. 29, ASU has two players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – freshman Sophie Brunner (4th - 55.0) and freshman Kelsey Moos (5th, 53.1).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but five games this season. They are 3-2 in those contests – at San Diego (Nov. 13 - L), vs. Miami (Dec. 21 - W), vs. UCLA (Jan. 12 - W), vs. Stanford (Jan. 20 - L) and at Colorado (Jan. 26 - W).
• Ten of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing (Texas Tech, North Carolina, Long Beach State, Syracuse, UCLA, Utah, Colorado) or ahead by only one point (Arkansas State, Miami, USC) at some point in the last five minutes of regulation. The Sun Devils are 8-0 in games decided by five points or less AND/OR in overtime.
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 15.6 points per game (31.2-15.6).
• Included in Brunner’s last 15 games are four double-doubles, eight double-digit scoring efforts and nine games with seven or more rebounds (7.6 rpg - 55 off/59 def).
• Over ASU’s last eight games, senior Joy Burke leads the team in FG pct. (58.3/28-48) .
• Sophomore Elisha Davis has 22 assists and only six turnovers in ASU’s last seven games. In Pac-12 play, Davis is third in the conference in assist-TO ratio (2.3). Senior Deja Mann has 24 assists and only 11 turnovers in ASU’s last 10 games.
• Brunner (65), Burke (48) and Moos (47) have combined for 160 of ASU’s 273 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Deja Mann (13x), Brunner (9x), Burke (8x), Moos (8x), Katie Hempen (8x), senior Adrianne Thomas (8x), Amukamara (6x), Davis (3x), Eliza Normen (1x) and Quinn Dornstauder (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. OREGON STATE (ASU LEADS 34-30 SINCE 1986-87)
The Sun Devils have won 21 of the last 23 meetings against Oregon State. In the only meeting between the two schools last season, ASU defeated Oregon State 66-55 Tempe. OSU’s win in Corvallis in 2011 snapped ASU’s 18-game winning streak in the series.
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 (319), 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 169-78 (.684). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.