WHAT: No. 15/21 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (20-4, 9-3 Pac-12) at No. 6/5 Stanford (22-2, 11-1 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT
WHERE: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
LIVE STREAM: http://pac-12.com/videos/stanford-university
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. MT)
The No. 15/21 Arizona State University women’s basketball team continues its stretch of three consecutive road games this week when it travels to the Bay Area for a pair of Top 25 tilts at No. 6/5 Stanford (Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT) and at No. 22 Cal (Sunday at 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT).
The Sun Devils began their current three-game road swing with a 68-49 setback at Arizona on Sunday. The loss to the Wildcats snapped ASU’s five game winning streak.
The Sun Devils (20-4, 9-3 Pac-12) enter Friday’s game in sole possession of second place in the Pac-12. ASU trails only first-place and sixth-ranked Stanford (22-2, 11-1 Pac-12), which is coming off its first loss in conference play last Sunday at Washington.
The Pac-12 figures to be a tight race coming down the stretch as only three games currently separate second place from sixth place. The Sun Devils lead Cal (16-7, 8-4) and USC (15-9, 8-4), who are tied for third place, by one game, Oregon State (15-9, 7-5) by two games and Washington (13-10, 6-6) and Washington State (12-12, 6-6), who are tied for sixth place, by three games. In addition to ASU’s games at Stanford and Cal, one other game – USC at Oregon State on Sunday – will pit two of the teams that are currently in the top half of the Pac-12. The Washington schools will be traveling to Utah and Colorado this weekend, both destinations where winning has not come easy.
Both of this weekend’s games are rematches of contests that took place last month in Tempe. The Sun Devils came up with a hard-fought 68-59 win over Cal before falling to Stanford 80-56. The Cardinal used a 9-0 run at the start of the second half to turn its seven-point halftime advantage into a 16-point lead that ASU was not able to come back from.
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 10 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 before having their five-game winning streak snapped in the second of back-to-back contests vs. Arizona (68-49 on Feb. 9 in Tucson).
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.
Friday’s game at Stanford can be seen live via live stream at http://pac-12.com/videos/stanford-university. Sunday’s game at Cal can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks. Rich Cellini (play by play) and Tracey Bailey (analyst) will call the action
Both games can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at at 7:30 p.m. MT on Friday and at 4:30 p.m. MT 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.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 6 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-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 (19-5 as of Feb. 12). 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. The Sun Devils have been ranked as high as No. 11 in the AP poll this season (Feb. 3).
• ASU is No. 22 in NCAA’s most recent RPI (Feb. 10). ASU is one of five Pac-12 schools among the Top 55: Stanford (No. 2)/Cal (No. 18)/Oregon State (No. 34)/USC (No. 53).
• 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 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 15.1 in its last 15 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/OR 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. 12, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense (1st/34.5 rpg), FG pct. (2nd, 43.5), offensive rebounds (2nd/14.8 rpg), scoring margin (3rd, +8.0), scoring offense (3rd, 73.5 ppg), assists (3rd/15.2 apg), steals (4th/8.6 spg), FT pct. (4th/69.0) and turnover margin (4th/+1.3).
• As of Feb. 12, ASU has two players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – RS-senior Joy Burke (4th, 55.6) and freshman Kelsey Moos (6th, 52.3).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but seven games this season. They are 4-3 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).
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 14.4 points per game (31.2-15.8). It has scored 40 or more points 4x, including a season-best of 53 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• RS-sophomore Katie Hempen (23-26), RS-senior Deja Mann (11-14), senior Adrianne Thomas (33-43) and freshman Sophie Brunner (19-26) have combined to shoot 78.9 percent (86-109) from the free throw line in ASU’s last seven games.
• Brunner (77), Burke (60) and Moos (57) have combined for 194 of ASU’s 355 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (15x), Hempen (11x), 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. STANFORD (STANFORD LEADS 55-11)
Stanford holds a 55-11 advantage in the all-time series with Arizona State. The Cardinal has won the last 15 meetings, most recently a 80-56 victory last month in Tempe.
ASU’s last win in the series came when it defeated then-No. 11 Stanford 62-59 on Feb. 16, 2006 in Tempe. Between 2006-09, six of Stanford’s seven wins were by single-digit margins.
Current Sun Devil associate head coach Amanda Levens scored 17 of her 22 points in the second half as ASU ended second-ranked Stanford’s 22-game winning streak with a 70-63 victory to win the inaugural Pac-10 women’s tournament in 2002.
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 in early December 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 (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 172-79 (.685). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.