WHAT: No. 20/22 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (22-7, 11-6 Pac-12) at Oregon State (20-9, 12-5 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday at 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT
WHERE: Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
LIVE STREAM: http://pac-12.com/videos/oregon-state-university
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. MT)
The No. 20/22 Arizona State University women’s basketball team will look for a split on its trip to the state of Oregon when it visits Gill Coliseum on Sunday (1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT) to take on Oregon State in the final regular season game of the season for both schools.
Back before the 2013-14 campaign started there were very few who figured the game between the Sun Devils and Beavers on the final day of the regular season would mean very much with regard to the top tier of the Pac-12 standings. In the league’s preseason polls, both the coaches and media predicted an eighth-place finish for the Beavers. The two voting groups would differ slightly on ASU’s projected finish. The coaches picked ASU to finish in 10th while the media predicted slightly more success for the Sun Devils and pegged them ninth.
Fast forward to the first weekend in March and one will find that the stakes in Sunday’s game will be a lot higher than initially projected as the two teams will be playing for third place in the Pac-12 Conference.
ASU (22-7, 11-6 Pac-12) comes into the game in fourth place in the league standings, one game behind the third-place Beavers (20-9, 12-5), who have won their last eight games. Oregon State has not lost since January 31 when a stunning comeback enabled the Sun Devils to overtake the Beavers, 64-62, in Tempe.
On a night in which ASU shot 30 percent from the floor (17 percent from 3-point range) and Oregon State shot 48 percent, including a blistering 58 percent from downtown, the Sun Devils found a way to come out on top.
Adrianne Thomas scored seven of her team-high 17 points in the final two minutes and Promise Amukamara came up with late-game heroics on the defensive end to help the Sun Devils erase a seven-point deficit in the final 95 seconds.
While Oregon State has won its last eight, the Sun Devils have split their last eight. All four of ASU’s losses have come on the road including one to current No. 5 and Pac-12 regular season champion Stanford and another to Pac-12 regular season runner-up Cal.
Most recently, ASU was unable to fend off a determined effort from Oregon on Friday night as the Ducks came away with a 98-90 win. Katie Hempen (19 points), Joy Burke (17 points), Deja Mann (13 points), Kelsey Moos (11 points) and Sophie Brunner (10 points) all scored in double figures for the Sun Devils, who lost for the first time this season when scoring more than 80 points.
If the Sun Devils are able to move up and tie the Beavers for third, it would be the 10th time since 2001 that they have finished in third place or higher in the Pac-10/12.
After Sunday’s game, both teams will prepare for the 2014 Pac-12 Tournament, which will take place March 6-9 in Seattle.
Sunday’s game at Oregon State can be watched via live stream by going to http://pac-12.com/videos/oregon-state-university.
The game can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin 1:30 p.m. MT. 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. 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 six 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 (22-7 as of Mar. 1). 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 four Pac-12 schools among the Top 35: Stanford (No. 3)/Cal (No. 18)/Oregon State (No. 32).
• 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 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 10x this season, has shot 50 percent or higher 8x and has had 15 or more assists 16x, including a season-best 26 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• ASU has held to opposition to 25 percent or less from 3-point range 11x 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 20 games. ASU has had 16 or fewer turnovers 15x 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 Mar. 1, 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/8.4 spg) and turnover margin (4th/+1.4).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but 10 games this season. They are 4-6 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), at Oregon (Feb. 28 - tied in rebounds - L).
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 14.8 points per game (30.6-15.8). It has scored 40 or more points 5x, including a season-high of 53 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• Freshman Sophie Brunner (94), senior Joy Burke (68) and freshman Kelsey Moos (64) have combined for 226 of ASU’s 419 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (18x), Hempen (14x), Brunner (11x), Burke (11x), Thomas (10x), Moos (9x), Amukamara (7x), Davis (4x), RS-sophomore Eliza Normen (1x) and freshman Quinn Dornstauder (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. OREGON STATE (ASU LEADS 35-30 SINCE 1986-87)
The Sun Devils have won 22 of their last 24 meetings against Oregon State, most recently a 64-62 come-from-behind win on Jan. 31 in Tempe. In the only meeting between the two schools last season, ASU defeated Oregon State 66-55, also in Tempe. OSU’s win in Corvallis in 2011 snapped ASU’s 18-game winning streak in the series.