WHAT: No. 20/22 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (21-6, 10-5 Pac-12) vs. Utah (11-15, 4-11 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. MT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks (Arizona and Mountain)
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
PROMOTION: Senior Day: Sun Devil WBB will honor seniors Joy Burke, Deja Mann and Adrianne Thomas following the game… Sunday Fun Day: $1 admission for all youth; purchase at the door. Inflatable, pop-a-shot, face painter on north concourse pre-game.
The No. 20 Arizona State University women’s basketball team concludes the home portion of its 2013-14 schedule on Sunday (1 p.m. MT) when Utah visits Wells Fargo Arena.
Sunday will be Senior Day as it will be the final home contest for Sun Devil seniors Joy Burke, Deja Mann and Adrianne Thomas. The trio will be recognized in a ceremony following the game.
The Sun Devils snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 13-1 at home following their 55-51 win over Colorado on Friday night. ASU outscored the Buffaloes 6-2 in the final two minutes to break a 49-49 tie and remain unbeaten in Pac-12 games decided by four points or less (6-0).
Katie Hempen scored 10 of her team-high 13 points in the second half. She nearly had a perfect night from the floor as she connected on three of her four shots (all 3-pointers) and hit all four of her free throws. Deja Mann added nine points while Kelsey Moos (seven points, six rebounds), Sophie Brunner (six points, seven rebounds) and Elisha Davis (three points, six rebounds) combined for 19 of ASU’s 31 rebounds.
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Sun Devils (21-6, 10-5 Pac-12) come into Sunday’s game in a tie for third place in the Pac-12 standings with Oregon State (18-9, 10-5). ASU and OSU are one game behind second-place Cal (19-7, 11-4) and one game ahead of USC (16-11, 9-6) and Washington (16-10, 9-6), who are tied for fifth place. There will be two head-to-head meetings on Sunday involving the aforementioned five teams behind first-place Stanford (25-2, 14-1). Oregon State will play at Washington on Sunday while Cal will play at USC.
Although it would like to finish as high in the conference as possible, ASU’s primary goal over the last two weeks is securing one of the byes that will be awarded to the top four teams in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament
Utah (11-15, 4-11 Pac-12) snapped a five-game slide with a 52-47 win over Arizona on Friday. Despite its conference record, the Utes have proven to be a resilient squad capable of competing with the league’s best teams on any given day. Five of Utah’s conference losses have been by single digits, including three setbacks by three points or less. One of those down-to-the wire games came against ASU on Jan. 24 in Salt Lake City. Both teams had the lead in the last 14 seconds of that contest. Two free throws by Brunner gave ASU a 63-62 lead and then Promise Amukamara forced a turnover on Utah’s ensuing possession. Hempen added two more free throws to extend ASU’s lead to 65-62 and them Amukamara once again thwarted Utah’s attempt to tie the game when she intercepted a pass as the Utes were trying to set up for a last-second 3-pointer.
Sunday’s game vs. Utah can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks (Arizona & Mountain). Matt McConnell (play by play) and Julie Rousseau (analyst) will call the action
The game can also be heard live 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 Sun Devil head coach Maura McHugh.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 5 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.
• With their win over Arizona on Feb. 4, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games 10 times since the 2000-01 season. Only Stanford (13) has accomplished the feat more in the Pac-10/12 during that span.
• 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.
• ASU has been ranked as high as No. 11 in the AP poll this season (Feb. 3).
• 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 (22-6 as of Feb. 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 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. Stanford would hand the Sun Devils another defeat, 61-35, on Feb. 14 in Palo Alto as would Cal in the rematch (74-63) on Feb. 16 in Berkeley.
• ASU is No. 22 in NCAA’s most recent RPI (Feb. 17). ASU is one of five Pac-12 schools among the Top 55: Stanford (No. 3)/Cal (No. 18)/Oregon State (No. 37)/USC (No. 51).
• ASU’s earlier 10-game winning streak tied the second-longest run in program history. The string 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’s recent five-game winning streak in Jan. - Feb. represented the 21st time since 2001 that it has had a winning streak of five or more games.
• ASU has scored 80 or more points 9x this season, has shot 50 percent or higher 8x and has had 15 or more assists 15x, including a season-best 26 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• ASU has held to opposition to 25 percent or less from 3-point range 10x 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. On Feb. 14, ASU held Stanford without a 3-pointer, the first time the Cardinal did not connect from long range in more than a year.
• After averaging 20.9 turnovers in its first nine contests, ASU is averaging 15.1 in its last 18 games. ASU has had 16 or fewer turnovers 13x during that span, including a season low of seven vs. Oregon State (Jan. 31).
• Thirteen 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 12-0 in games decided by five points or less AND/OR overtime.
• In the final minute of its Pac-12 wins that have been decided by four points or less (vs. UCLA, at Utah, at Colorado, vs. Oregon State, vs. Oregon, vs. Colorado), ASU has shot 57 percent from the floor and is +6 in turnover margin (1/7).
• As of Feb. 22, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense (2nd/35.1 rpg), FG pct. (3rd, 42.4), offensive rebounds (3rd/14.4 rpg), scoring margin (4th, +5.9), steals (4th/8.5 spg) and turnover margin (4th/+1.4).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but nine games this season. They are 4-5 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), at Arizona (Feb. 9 - tied in rebounds - L), at Stanford (Feb. 14 - L), at Cal (Feb, 16 - L).
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 14.8 points per game (30.4-15.6). It has scored 40 or more points 4x, including a season-best of 53 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• Freshman Sophie Brunner (87), senior Joy Burke (64) and freshman Kelsey Moos (61) have combined for 212 of ASU’s 388 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (16x), Hempen (13x), Thomas (10x), Brunner (10x), Burke (9x), Moos (8x), Amukamara (7x), Davis (4x), RS-sophomore Eliza Normen (1x) and freshman Quinn Dornstauder (1x).