WHAT: No. 11 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (20-3, 9-2 Pac-12) at Arizona (4-18, 0-11 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m.
WHERE: McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
Currently on a five-game winning streak, the No. 11 Arizona State University women’s basketball team plays the first of three consecutive road games on Sunday (1 p.m. MT) when it travels to Tucson to take on the University of Arizona in the second of two annual Territorial Cup® Series contests. After Sunday’s game the Sun Devils will travel to the Bay Area later next week for contests against current third-ranked Stanford (Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and No. 23 Cal (Sunday at 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT).
The Sun Devils won round one of the Territorial Cup® Series with a 60-36 triumph over Arizona this past Tuesday in Tempe. For ASU, the game vs. Arizona concluded a challenging stretch in which it played three games in five days. ASU began the series with a dramatic come-from-behind 64-62 win over Oregon State on Fri., Jan, 31 in which they erased a seven-point deficit in the final two minutes. They followed that with a 97-94 win over Oregon on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2) in a game in which they rallied from eight points down in the second half.
A balanced scoring attack and a dominant defensive effort in the second half propelled ASU to Tuesday’s win over Arizona. Five players finished with seven or more points for the Sun Devils, led by Katie Hempen, who scored nine of her 11 points in the second half. ASU’s bench also came up big on Tuesday, scoring 36 points. After a slow start in which it trailed by as many as 10 before tying the score at 26-26 at the half, ASU was able to outscore the Wildcats 34-10 in the second half on its way to its fifth consecutive win.
The Sun Devils (20-3, 9-2 Pac-12) enter Sunday’s game in sole possession of second place in the Pac-12. ASU trails only first-place and third-ranked Stanford (22-1, 11-0 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 nine 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 home wins over the Oregon schools and Arizona.
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 (4-18, 0-11 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.
Sunday’s game vs. Arizona can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks. Anne Marie Anderson (play by play) and Ann Meyers Drysdale (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.
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.
• With Tuesday’s win over Arizona, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games 10 times 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 (18-5 as of Feb. 7). 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. 8, ASU’s three losses are to teams with an aggregate record of 52-17 (.753).
• 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. 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 current five-game winning streak represents 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 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 14.8 in its last 14 games. ASU has had 16 or fewer turnovers 10x 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. 8, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense (t-1st/34.7 rpg), FG pct. (2nd, 43.9), scoring margin (2nd, +9.2), offensive rebounds (2nd/14.8 rpg), scoring offense (3rd, 74.6 ppg), assists (3rd/15.7 apg), steals (3rd/8.7 spg), FT pct. (4th/68.8) and turnover margin (4th/+1.7).
• As of Feb. 8, ASU has two players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – RS-senior Joy Burke (3rd, 56.5) and freshman Kelsey Moos (6th, 52.0).
• 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 16.4 points per game (31.9-15.5). It has scored 40 or more points 4x, including a season-best of 53 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• RS-sophomore Katie Hempen (20-20), RS-senior Deja Mann (8-10), senior Adrianne Thomas (32-42) and freshman Sophie Brunner (15-22) have combined to shoot 79.8 percent (75-94) from the free throw line in ASU’s last six games.
• Sophomore Elisha Davis has 32 assists and only 14 turnovers in ASU’s last 10 games. In Pac-12 play, Davis is fourth in assist-TO ratio (1.9). Senior Deja Mann has 31 assists and only 10 turnovers in Pac-12 games.
• Brunner (76), Burke (57) and Moos (54) have combined for 187 of ASU’s 341 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 53-26)
The Sun Devils have won 19 of the last 21 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 15 contests have been decided by eight points or less.
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.
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 (322), 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 172-78 (.688). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.