WHAT: No. 9 Arizona State (20-4, 11-1 Pac-12) at Cal (11-12, 2-10 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT
WHERE: Haas Pavilion/Berkeley, Calif.
LIVE STREAM: http://pac-12.com/live/university-california
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins 7:30 p.m. MT)
The No. 9 Arizona State women’s basketball team begins the final third of Pac-12 play this weekend when it travels to the Bay Area to face Cal (Friday at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m MT) and No. 13 Stanford (Sunday at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT).
The Sun Devils (20-4, 11-1 Pac-12) are currently tied for first place in the Pac-12 with No. 8 Oregon State (20-3, 11-1). Both teams lead Stanford (19-5, 9-3) and No. 14 UCLA (17-6, 9-3) by two games in the conference standings. ASU kept pace with the Beavers after a pair of close wins over UCLA (63-58) and USC (69-68). Katie Hempen averaged 15.0 ppg while connecting on 54.5 percent of her field goal attempts (12-22), including 54.5 percent of her 3-pointers (6-11) in the two wins while Sophie Brunner hit 73 percent (8-11) of her FG attempts. Brunner was responsible for the tying basket and game-winning point after successfully converting a 3-point play with 1.4 seconds left in ASU’s 69-68 win over USC.
Friday’s game at Cal begins a stretch in which ASU will play four of its final six games on the road. After this weekend’s contests, ASU will return to Wells Fargo Arena for its final two regular season home games against Washington State (Feb. 19) and Washington (Feb. 21). The Sun Devils will then conclude regular season play in Los Angles at USC (Feb. 26) and at UCLA (Feb. 28).
ASU’s earlier No. 8 ranking in the AP Top 25 tied its highest ever ranking in the poll (also ranked No. 8 in the AP poll in March of 2007). The Sun Devils’ recent 15-game winning streak represented the 23rd time since 2001 that it had a winning streak of five or more games. Included in those streaks were also a 10-game winning streak in 2013-14 and a 14-game winning streak last season.
Both of this weekend’s games are rematches of contests played the first weekend of 2016. Against Cal, Brunner had 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and a career-high-tying five assists in ASU’s 57-49 win. Hempen and Quinn Dornstauder added 14 points each for the Sun Devils, who forced Cal into 26 turnovers (ASU converted them into 20 points) and held the Bears 33 points below their scoring average (82.2 points). Against Stanford, the Sun Devils put together one of their all-time best defensive performances in holding the Cardinal to its fewest points ever in a 49-31 victory. Brunner’s 11th career double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) led the way for the Sun Devils. Arnecia Hawkins tied for the team lead with 12 points while Elisha Davis added nine points, six rebounds and three assists.
Friday’s game at Cal can be seen via live stream at http://pac-12.com/live/university-california.
The game can also be heard on Sun Devil WBB’s radio partner on the Sun Devil Sports Radio Network presented by MidFirst, NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona’s 2010 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 12th season as the voice of ASU women’s basketball.
SERIES NOTES VS. CAL (CAL LEADS 34-33)
• Cal took the lead in the all-time series following its 67-62 win in Tempe in 2012. The Bears also came out on top in the only meeting of 2013, 66-53 in Berkeley. The Sun Devils won the front end of the series each of the last two years, coming away with a 68-59 win in Tempe in 2014 and a 67-52 win in Berkeley in 2015. Cal won each of the rematches, 74-63 in Berkeley in 2014 and 50-49 in Tempe in 2015. ASU has faced Cal more times than any other team since the 2005-06 season (23x - Cal has won 12 of those 23 games). That stretch includes four meetings in the Pac-12 Tournament over a five-season stretch (2007-11).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU is 26-4 in its last 30 Pac-12 games going back to last season. Prior to its loss at Oregon State on Feb. 1, ASU’s 9-0 record in Pac-12 play was its best conference start in program history (surpassed last season’s 7-0 start). The Sun Devils are currently in the midst of their third consecutive 20-win season and the program’s 12th since the 2000-01 season. Of the 14 previous 20-win seasons the Sun Devils have had in program history, 10 have come under the direction of head coach Charli Turner Thorne.
• ASU is 18-2 in its last 20 road games (not including neutral site games) going back to last season.
• As of Feb. 11, ASU is No. 9 in the NCAA RPI. The Sun Devils are one of six Pac-12 teams among the top 40: Stanford: 6, Oregon State: 7, ASU: 9, UCLA: 10, USC: 26 and Washington 37. On Feb. 1 the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Sport Committee unveiled the first of three February top-10 rankings in seed order. The Sun Devils were No. 7 on the initial list.
• As of Feb. 11, ASU ranks in the top third of the Pac-12 in turnover margin (2nd/+3.8), scoring defense (3rd/53.5 ppg/18th in the nation), rebounding defense (3rd/32.2 rpg), offensive rebounds (3rd/13.5 rpg), 3-point FG pct. defense (3rd/29.2), assists (4th/14.9 apg) and steals (4th/9.1 spg).
• ASU has held the opposition to a single-digit point total in a quarter 26 times this season times this season and 25 or fewer points in a half 19 times. The six points Hartford scored in the first half against ASU on Dec. 14 represented the fewest points ASU has ever allowed in a half. The 31 points Stanford scored against ASU (Jan, 4) represented the Cardinal’s lowest single-game point total in school history.
• On average the Sun Devils are scoring 17.6 points per game off turnovers by the opposition. They have scored 20 or more points off turnovers eight times.
• Seven different Sun Devils have led or tied for the team lead in scoring this season: Quinn Dornstauder (7x), Arnecia Hawkins (6x), Sophie Brunner (5x), Katie Hempen (5x), Kelsey Moos (2x), Elisha Davis (1x) and Sabrina Haines (1x).
• ASU has had 15 or fewer turnovers 14 times this season. Last season the Sun Devils set the school record for fewest turnover per game (14.3).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in 17 of 24 games.
• Both of ASU’s starting forwards – Kelsey Moos and Sophie Brunner were injured in the second half of ASU’s 60-58 loss vs. South Carolina on Nov. 27 in Hawaii. Moos would go on to miss four games (returned at Syracuse on Dec. 12) and Brunner missed six games (returned vs. Marquette on Dec. 19). Moos also missed ASU’s contest vs. CSUN on Dec. 28. Brunner, who was named espnW’s National Player of the Week on Jan. 10, currently leads the team in scoring (10.6 ppg), rebounds (6.4 rpg), FG pct (53.7) and steals (1.9 spg) and is 3rd in assists (1.9 apg). Moos is second in rebounding (5.5 rpg) & FG pct. (48.1) and is third in steals (1.3 spg).
• On Feb. 5, senior Katie Hempen (currently with 165 3-pointers) passed Kylan Loney (161 - 2002-05) as ASU’s all-time leader in career 3-pointers. Hempen (started 66 of 92 games at ASU/59 straight starts) is fourth on the team in scoring (8.8 ppg) and has connected on 42.9 percent of her 3-pointers this season (6th in the Pac-12).
• Senior guard Elisha Davis (started 63 of 123 career games/61 straight starts) is No. 2 on ASU’s all-time list for career assists (442). Current Indiana Fever guard Briann January (2006-09) is ASU’s all-time assists leader (534). Last month Davis was one of 30 student-athletes named as candidates for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award® in women’s basketball.
• ASU’s leading scorer off the bench last season, starting junior center Quinn Dornstauder is currently second on the team in scoring (9.7 ppg). She had her first double-double of the season (15 points, 10 rebounds) in ASU’s win over Colorado on Jan. 15. On Feb. 11, Dornstauder was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Women’s Basketball Team.
• With the earlier injuries to Brunner and Moos, senior guard Arnecia Hawkins stepped up to help fill the offensive void. During an earlier 10-game stretch (eight starts), Hawkins led ASU in scoring average (12.1 ppg) while connecting on 52 percent of her shots. Hawkins was named the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s National Player of the Week and Pac-12 Player of the Week for her performance in ASU’s 68-56 upset of No. 10 Florida State (Dec. 21) as she scored a career-high 23 points (13 in the fourth quarter) while making all seven of her field goal attempts (including a trio of 3-pointers). All 11 of her double-figure scoring games have come in ASU’s last 19 games.
• Freshman guard Sabrina Haines leads ASU’s first-year players in scoring (5.7 ppg). She has scored in double figures four times, including a career-high 19 points in ASU’s win at Washington State (Jan. 10).
IN CASE YOU ARE JUST JOINING US
• ASU returns nine players, including four starters – senior guards Katie Hempen and Elisha Davis and junior posts Sophie Brunner and Kelsey Moos – from last year’s team that finished with 29 wins (second most in team history) and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Brunner (Pan American Games – silver medal) and Hempen (World University Games – gold medal) both earned medals in July while competing for USA Basketball. Also earning a medal was junior center Quinn Dornstauder (Canada), who brought back a silver medal from the World University Games.
• ASU started the season ranked 15th in both the AP media poll and the USA Today Coaches’ poll. After starting the season with a 4-3 record, the Sun Devils were ranked as low as No. 24 on Dec. 7. A 10-game winning streak eventually propelled them into the AP Top 10 on Jan. 11 (No. 10). On Jan. 18 (12 straight wins) they moved up to No. 8 tying the highest AP ranking in program history. On Feb. 8 they fell one spot to No. 9 after they lost at Oregon State.
• ASU was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 by the league’s coaches (1. Oregon State 2. Stanford 3. ASU) and second by the media who cover the league (1. Oregon State 2. ASU). Junior forward Sophie Brunner was selected to the media’s preseason All-Pac-12 team.
• ASU went unbeaten for nearly two months (Dec. 6 - Feb. 1) as it tied the school record for consecutive wins (15) before falling at Oregon State, 67-44.
• On Dec. 14, 2015, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne recorded her 400th career win following ASU’s 60-29 win at Hartford.
• Two of ASU’s four losses – vs. current No. 18 Kentucky (68-64 in OT on Nov. 15) and vs. current No. 2 South Carolina (60-58 on Nov. 27 in Hawaii) – were by a combined six points.
• After finishing the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 9-3 record, ASU is 31-5 in non-conference games the last three seasons.
• On Dec. 12, 2015, the Sun Devils won at Syracuse 61-54 and ended the Orange’s 72-game non-conference home court winning streak.
• In the last three seasons the Sun Devils are 23-6 in games decided by five points or less and/or overtime.
• The Sun Devils are 41-5 (89.1) at home going back to the 2013-14 season.
DOMINANT DEVIL DEFENSE
One of the hallmarks of the Sun Devils women’s basketball team’s success during Charli Turner Thorne’s tenure at ASU has been great defense. Whether its offense is firing on all cylinders or not, ASU’s outstanding defense always gives it a shot to come out on top. Through 24 games, this year’s squad has continued the tradition of keeping the opposition’s offense in check. On average, opposing teams have scored 17.3 points under their scoring average when facing ASU. In fact, only one opponent (Marquette), scored more points than what it averaged coming into its game vs. ASU. Some of the Devils’ most impressive defensive performances this season include...
• Held second-ranked South Carolina 17.3 points below its scoring average.
• Set the school record for fewest points allowed in a half (6) at Hartford.
• Florida State scored 21.7 points below its average and tied its lowest output in a quarter (9 points) against ASU.
• Cal, which had scored more than 100 points in three of its previous four games prior to facing ASU, was held 33.2 points below its average.
• Held Stanford to its fewest points in school history (31) in 49-31 win.
• Turned a 27-20 halftime deficit at Oregon (Jan. 29) into a 46-33 lead after outscoring the Ducks 26-6 in the third quarter.
Other defensive notes...
• The opposition has shot below 30 percent from 3-point range 14 times.
• ASU has held the opposition to a single-digit point total in a quarter 26 times this season times this season and 25 or fewer points in a half 19 times.
• ASU has forced 20 or more turnovers 10 times. ASU forced a season-high 27 turnovers vs. Arizona (Jan. 22).
• Marquette (80), Washington (61), Oregon State (67) and UCLA (61) are ASU’s only opponents that have scored more than 60 points in regulation (Kentucky scored 56 in regulation and ended up with 68 points after overtime).
• ASU made its 13th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament (its 10th under head coach Charli Turner Thorne) and earned a No. 3 seed in the Greensboro Regional (tied highest NCAA seed in school history)... ASU got off to its best start (18-1) and conference start (7-0) in school history. In addition, ASU reached 20 wins faster than any team in program history (22 games)... ASU’s 14-game winning streak (started on Nov. 30 and ended on Jan. 25) was its second longest in school history. Only the 2008-09 team won more games in succession (15)… Tied the 2006-07 squad for the best road record in school history (10-1)… ASU’s two wins over Stanford during the regular season represented the first time a conference school swept Stanford during the regular season since 1988... Finished among the nation’s Top 30 teams in 3-Point Field Goal Percentage Defense (4th/25.4), Scoring Defense (21st/55.9 ppg), 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (22nd/36.1), Field Goal Percentage (27th/44.0) and Scoring Margin (27th/+11.0... Set the school record for fewest turnovers per game (14.3). Eclipsed the previous record (16.4 by the 2011-12 team) by more than two turnovers per game... Gave up nearly 10 fewer points per game (9.8) in 2014-15 (55.9) compared to the 2013-14 team (65.7).
CHARLI TURNER THORNE HAS SUN DEVIL WBB AMONG NATION’S ELITE
The all-time winningest coach in program history and No. 2 in the Pac-12 in career wins (374), 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.
In 2013-14 Turner Thorne raised the curtain on the team’s current era of success as she helped the Sun Devils post one of the best turnarounds in the country as they went from a 13-18 record and a ninth-place Pac-12 finish (5-13) in 2012-13 to a 23-10 record and fourth-place Pac-12 finish (11-7). Included among ASU’s 23 wins in 2013-14 were three triumphs over Top 25 teams.
Last season Turner Thorne was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year for a season in which she led the Sun Devils to their best start in school history (18-1), their best conference start in school history (7-0), a second-place finish in the Pac-12 and 29 wins, the second-highest number of wins in school history.
Under Turner Thorne’s leadership the program is ascending to even greater heights this season. In the month of January alone the Sun Devils posted the best conference start in school history (9-0), equalled the highest AP ranking in school history (No. 8) and matched the school record for consecutive wins (15).
On December 14, 2015, Turner Thorne added another milestone as she won her 400th career game (360 at ASU and 40 at Northern Arizona).
The outstanding success Sun Devil women’s basketball has enjoyed under Turner Thorne is a 180-degree difference from the 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. Last season, Turner Thorne led the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in her ASU tenure.
SUN DEVIL WBB EARNS NO. 7 RANKING IN WBCA ACADEMIC TOP 25
The Arizona State University women’s basketball team was among the top 10 women’s basketball programs in the classroom in 2014-15. The Sun Devil women’s basketball team’s combined team GPA of 3.558 was No. 7 among NCAA Division I institutions, according to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) 2015 Academic Team Honor Rolls, announced this past July. ASU was one of only seven schools among the WBCA’s Top 25 that also participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. On the court, the Sun Devils recorded the best finish of schools appearing in the WBCA’s Top 25 after advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Since the 1996-97 season (Charli Turner Thorne’s first season at ASU) ASU leads the Pac-12 in the number of first-team All-Academic conference awards (17) and the combined number of first- and second-team All-Academic conference awards (37).
SUN DEVIL WBB SIGNS TOP 10 CLASS FOR NEXT SEASON
On Nov. 11, 2015, Arizona State University head women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne announced the signing of five student-athletes – Sydney Goodson, Reili Richardson, Jamie Ruden, Kiara Russell and Robbi Ryan – whose outstanding ability, talent and potential for immediate impact have the signing class ranked among the top 10 in the country by espnW HoopGurlz.
Goodson, a 5-8 guard, will be joining the Sun Devils from Liberty Christian School in Argyle, Texas, where she has already led her team to a pair of TAPPS Class 5A state title game appearances. After a runner-up finish in 2013, the Lady Warriors came away with the title in 2015 as Goodson averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals on her way to earning First-Team All-State honors and being named the District’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Richardson will be coming to ASU from Brea Olinda High School in Brea, California. The 5-9 guard averaged 17.4 points as a junior while earning numerous awards, including MaxPreps 2014-15 California All-State Division 3 Second-Team recognition, Southern Section All-Open Division Team and Orange County Register All-County First-Team honors.
A 6-1 post, who has incredible versatility, Ruden has averaged 20 or more points each of the last three seasons for John Marshall High School (Rochester, Minnesota). Ruden is coming off a junior campaign in which she earned AP First-Team All-State and Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Class 4A All-State recognition after averaging 23 points, eight rebounds and two assists per game in leading John Marshall to a 27-2 record and a state runner-up finish.
Also coming to ASU from the North Star State is Russell, a 5-8 guard out of Osseo High School in Osseo, Minnesota. Like Ruden, Russell also earned 2015 Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Class 4A All-State honors after a spectacular junior campaign in which she averaged 23.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 3.8 steals.
A 5-9 guard, Ryan enters the 2015-16 season as the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Wyoming, where she has enjoyed a prolific career at Sheridan High School (Sheridan, Wyoming). Named to the All-State team in each of her first three seasons, Ryan has twice been invited to the U17 Olympic trials for women’s basketball and has also competed in the Chicago Nike National Invitation Tournament.