WHAT: No. 11 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (19-3, 8-2 Pac-12) vs. Arizona (4-17, 0-10 Pac-12)
WHEN: Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. MT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
For the third time in five days, the No. 11 Arizona State women’s basketball team will compete on the hardwood of Wells Fargo Arena when it hosts round one of the annual Territorial Cup® Series contests vs. Arizona on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m MT).
The Sun Devils began the challenging stretch with a dramatic come-from-behind 64-62 win over Oregon State on Friday in which they erased a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes. They followed that with a 97-94 win over Oregon on Sunday in a game in which they rallied from eight points down in the second half.
Tuesday’s game is the first of consecutive games in which the Sun Devils will take on the Wildcats. On Sunday (1 p.m. MT) the two teams will meet once again at McKale Center in Tucson.
The Sun Devils (19-3, 8-2 Pac-12) enter Tuesday’s game in sole possession of second place in the Pac-12. ASU trails only first-place and third-ranked Stanford (21-1, 10-0 Pac-12), which has yet to lose a game in conference play.
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. Six of ASU’s last eight conference games been decided either by 3 points or less (5x) or in overtime (1x) with the Sun Devils coming out on top in each of those six games.
ASU 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 then-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). They followed that with last weekend’s wins vs. the Oregon schools.
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.
Although it has yet to win a conference game, Arizona (4-17, 0-10 Pac-12) has proven itself to be a difficult opponent throughout the season. Ten of the Wildcats’ losses have been by single digits, including five by four points or less.
Tuesday’s game vs. Arizona can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks. Anne Marie Anderson (play by play) and Mary Murphy (analyst) will have the call.
The game can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 7 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.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• Joy Burke posted career highs in points (22), field goals (11) and rebounds (15) to help lead ASU to a 97-94 win over Oregon on Sunday.
• Also posting double-digit scoring totals for the Sun Devils (19-3, 8-2 Pac-12), who shot 51 percent from the field, were Promise Amukamara (19 points), Katie Hempen (16 points) and Elisha Davis (11 points). Deja Mann added a career-high nine assists for ASU while Adrianne Thomas scored all nine of her points from the free throw line (9-12).
• Burke, Hempen and Davis combined for 49 of the 53 points the Sun Devils received from their bench.
• ASU had season highs in points (97), field goals (38), assists (26), bench points (53) and rebounds (52).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 3 Stanford and Colorado – to start Pac-12 play with only one loss in non-conference play. For ASU, it was the sixth time since 1986-87 (first season of Pac-10/12 play) that it entered league play with only one loss.
• ASU needs one more win to clinch its 10th season of 20 or more wins since the 2000-01 season. Only Stanford (13) has more in the Pac-12 during that span.
• 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 (18-4 as of Feb. 3). 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 then-No. 4 Stanford came to Tempe and defeated ASU 80-56 on Jan. 20. As of Feb. 3, ASU’s three losses are to teams with an aggregate record of 51-15 (.773).
• ASU is No. 9 in the NCAA’s most recent RPI (Feb. 3). ASU is one of five Pac-12 programs among the Top 50: Stanford (No. 1), Cal (No. 23), Oregon State (No. 41) and USC (No. 48).
• 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 9x this season, has shot 50 percent or higher 8x and has had 15 or more assists 14x, including a season-best 26 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• 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 15.8 in its last 13 games. ASU has had 16 or fewer turnovers nine times during that span, including a season low of seven vs. Oregon State (Jan. 31).
• Twelve of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing or ahead by only one point or tied at some juncture in the last five minutes of regulation. The Sun Devils are 11-0 in games decided by five points or less AND overtime.
• In the final minute of its Pac-12 wins that have been decided by three points or less (vs. UCLA, at Utah, at Colorado, vs. Oregon State, vs. Oregon), ASU has shot 57 percent from the floor and is +5 in turnover margin (1/6).
• As of Feb. 3, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (2nd, 43.9), rebounding defense (2nd/35.0 rpg), offensive rebounds (2nd/14.9 rpg), scoring offense (3rd, 75.3 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +8.5), assists (3rd/15.5 apg), FT pct. (4th/69.3), turnover margin (4th/+1.5) and steals (4th/8.6 spg).
• As of Feb. 3, ASU has two players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – RS-senior Joy Burke (4th, 55.1) and freshman Kelsey Moos (6th, 52.8).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but six games this season. They are 4-2 in those contests – at San Diego (Nov. 13 - L), vs. Miami (Dec. 21 - W), vs. UCLA (Jan. 12 - W), vs. Stanford (Jan. 20 - L), at Colorado (Jan. 26 - W) vs. Oregon State (Jan. 31 - W).
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 15.8 points per game (31.7-15.9). It has scored 40 or more points 4x, including a season-best of 53 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• RS-sophomore Katie Hempen (14-14), RS-senior Deja Mann (8-10), senior Adrianne Thomas (32-41) and freshman Sophie Brunner (14-19) have combined to shoot 81 percent (68-84) from the free throw line in ASU’s last five games.
• Sophomore Elisha Davis has 28 assists and only 12 turnovers in ASU’s last nine games. In Pac-12 play, Davis is tied for fifth in assist-TO ratio (1.9). Senior Deja Mann has 27 assists and only nine turnovers in Pac-12 games.
• Brunner (71), Burke (57) and Moos (54) have combined for 182 of ASU’s 327 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (14x), Hempen (10x), Brunner (10x), Burke (9x), Thomas (9x), Moos (8x), Amukamara (7x), Davis (4x), RS-sophomore Eliza Normen (1x) and freshman Quinn Dornstauder (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. ARIZONA (ASU LEADS 52-26)
The Sun Devils have won 18 of the last 20 meetings. Their 11-game winning streak in the series was snapped by the Wildcats in 2011 in Tucson, 73-61. ASU’s recent dominance aside, the games between the two schools have been extremely competitive as eight of the last 14 contests have been decided by eight points or less.
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 (321), 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 171-78 (.687). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.