After playing five of its last seven games away from home, the Arizona State women’s basketball team returns home to Wells Fargo Arena this weekend to host the annual ASU Classic, which will include Sacred Heart, Harvard and Long Beach State. The action will begin on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. when Harvard and Long Beach State play in the first game. The Sun Devils will then take on Sacred Heart in the second game of the doubleheader at 11:30 a.m.
On Sunday, Sacred Heart will face either Long Beach State or Harvard at noon. ASU will then take on Long Beach State or Harvard 25 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
The Sun Devils (6-1) come into this week’s action on a five-game winning streak. Last weekend they won all three of their games at the Cancun Challenge, including a 94-81 (OT) upset of (then) No. 11 North Carolina.
Fans can purchase $1 general admission tickets for the first day of the ASU Classic on Saturday.
Saturday’s game vs. Sacred Heart can be heard live on 1440 AM KAZG with coverage beginning at game time at 11:30 a.m. Sunday’s game will be aired live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with pre-game coverage beginning at 2 p.m.
Both of ASU’s game will be streamed live on the Internet. The webcast can be accessed by going to http://pac-12.com/videos/arizona-state-university.
IMPORTANT PARKING/TRAFFIC INFORMATION
Fans attending this weekend’s game need to be made aware of the following: The ONLY parking available for SATURDAY’S games will be in the Packard Parking Structure, located east of Wells Fargo Arena. Parking will be available in usual areas for Sunday’s games.
In addition, fans attending games Saturday and Sunday should plan on allowing extra time to arrive to the games on time both days due to road closures involved with the Mill Avenue Arts Festival. Fans planning on attending ASU Classic games this weekend should visit this website (http://www.tempe.gov/index.aspx?recordid=13967&page=633) so they can plan their route to the game ahead of time.
NOTES FROM LAST WEEK’S CANCUN CHALLENGE
• The Sun Devils extended their winning streak to five games after sweeping all three of their contests at the Cancun Challenge, defeating Illinois 86-65, No. 11 North Carolina 94-81 in OT and Arkansas State 69-66.
• Senior guard Adrianne Thomas was named the MVP in ASU’s field of the Cancun Challenge after averaging 12.0 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the three games. In ASU’s upset of UNC, Thomas scored a career-high 23 points and tied her career high with eight assists. Her offensive rebound and putback at the buzzer sent the game against UNC to overtime where the Sun Devils outscored the Tar Heels 17-4 in the extra frame.
• Also honored last week was senior guard Deja Mann, who was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in the three games. Mann connected on 47 percent of her 3-point field goals (9-19), knocking down a career-high five triples in ASU’s upset of UNC.
• Senior Joy Burke (11.0 points) also averaged double figures in scoring and tied for the team lead in rebounds.
• Freshman Sophie Brunner played a big role in ASU’s wins over UNC and Arkansas State as she averaged 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in the two contests while connecting on 78 percent of her shots (7-9) and 75 percent of her FTs (9-12).
SCOUTING SACRED HEART/SERIES NOTES
• Sacred Heart (2-4) returns three starters that helped lead it to its first appearance in the WNIT last season as they finished the season with 22 wins.
• Junior guard Gabriell Washington leads the Pioneers in scoring with 18.2 ppg.
• Saturday will mark the first time Arizona State and Sacred Heart play each other.
SOPHIE BRUNNER NAMED PAC-12 FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Sophie Brunner was named the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week, according to an announcement by the league office on Monday.
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, No. 11 North Carolina and Arkansas State at last weekend’s Cancun Challenge.
Brunner, who had been slowed recently 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.
Brunner currently leads the Sun Devils in field goal percentage (.654) and is third in rebounds (5.3 rpg).
EARLY SEASON NOTES
• Currently with 348 career wins, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs two more wins for 350. Currently with 308 wins as ASU’s head coach, Turner Thorne needs five more wins to move into the No. 2 spot for most career wins by a Pac-12 head coach.
• ASU’s current five game winning streak represents the 20th time since 2001 that the Sun Devils have had a winning streak of five or more games.
• Two Sun Devils – seniors Deja Mann (13.9 ppg) and Adrianne Thomas (11.7 ppg) – are currently averaging double figures in scoring.
• Mann (20-22) is currently shooting 91 percent from the line.
• As of Dec, 5, ASU ranked among the top three in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (1st .473), steals (t2nd - 9.3 spg), scoring offense (3rd - 79.3 ppg) and 3-point FG pct. (3rd - .384)
• Senior Joy Burke (26) and freshmen Sophie Brunner (17) and Kelsey Moos (14) have combined for 57 of ASU’s 94 offensive boards.
• ASU’s bench’s bench has averaged more than double that of the opposition (31.9-15.7) in the first seven games.
• Eight different Sun Devils – Mann (6x), Thomas (4x), junior Promise Amukamara (3x), Burke (3x), Brunner (2x), Moos (2x), redshirt sophomore Katie Hempen (2x) and sophomore Elisha Davis (1x)– have scored in double figures this season.
• Freshman C Quinn Dornstauder is currently shooting 75 percent from the floor (6-8).
• ASU has scored 80 or more points five times this season.
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.
SUN DEVIL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO HONOR NO. 21 JERSEY OF HALL OF FAMER RYNELDI BECENTI ON DEC. 21
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, will have her No. 21 jersey honored and displayed from the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena on Sat., Dec. 21 when the Sun Devils host the University of Miami.
“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 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. I am so proud to be announcing that we will be hanging Ryneldi Becenti’s No. 21 jersey from the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena on Dec. 21. We hope all our fans and basketball enthusiasts alike will mark the date in their calendars to come out and help us pay tribute to this Sun Devil icon.”
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.
Following two successful seasons at Scottsdale Community College, Becenti joined ASU where her outstanding all-around play was pivotal in helping the Sun Devils earn a NCAA Tournament berth in 1992, the program’s first tournament invite since 1983.
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.
Becenti’s enormous popularity in the community and the Navajo Nation received national acclaim in March 1993, when she was featured in a Sports Illustrated article written by award-winning journalist Gary Smith.
As a member the 1993 USA team at the World University Games, Becenti became the first Native American female to earn a medal at the event. She would also go on to earn the distinction of becoming the first Native American to play in the WNBA as a member of the hometown Phoenix Mercury.
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.