TEMPE, Ariz. - The Sun Devil basketball programs are inviting fans out to Wells Fargo Arena this Saturday, December 21 for Native American Day.
The highlight of the day will be the honoring of Sun Devil Hall of Famer Ryneldi Becenti’s jersey during halftime of the Sun Devil women’s basketball team’s game vs. the University of Miami (game will tip off at 12:30 p.m.). Becenti’s jersey will be the first women’s jersey to be hung from the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena. Also being recognized will be former Sun Devil Native American women’s basketball players Rainy Crisp and Michelle Tom.
Becenti will also be recognized at the Sun Devil men’s basketball team's game vs. Texas Tech later that day (game will tip at 4:30 p.m.).
Saturday’s day-long event will feature a Native American food and craft fair in the Arboretum outside of Wells Fargo Arena from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. with more than 50 vendors expected to attend. In addition, there will be music and dance performances featuring Cano Sanchez and Clan-Destine.
The women’s game will begin with a rendition of the National Anthem performed in the Navajo native language.
In addition to the ceremony recognizing Becenti, Saturday’s halftime festivities of ASU’s game vs. Miami will include a performance by International Slam Dunk Champion Kenny Dobbs.
Currently on an eight-game winning streak, the Arizona State women’s basketball team returns home this week to host Miami on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. MT.
Saturday’s game will be ASU’s penultimate non-conference game. After a short break for the holidays, the Sun Devils will return to action on Mon., Dec. 30 (6 p.m. MT) when they host current No. 23 Syracuse. ASU will then open Pac-12 play the following weekend when it travels to the Pacific Northwest to play at Washington State (Jan. 3) and Washington (Jan. 5).
Saturday’s game vs. Miami will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks. Anne Marie Anderson (play by play) and Tammy Blackburn (color) will have the call.
Saturday’s game can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with coverage beginning at noon 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. He will be joined by former Sun Devil head women’s basketball coach Maura McHugh.
NATIVE AMERICAN DAY
Saturday’s game will be Native American Day at Wells Fargo Arena as the Sun Devil women’s basketball program will honor the No. 21 jersey of former Sun Devil and Native American Ryneldi Becenti by making it the first women’s basketball jersey to be hung from the rafters of the arena.
A native of Fort Defiance, Ariz., Becenti starred at Window Rock High School where she earned high school All-America distinction. She arrived at ASU in 1991 following a two-year stint at Scottsdale Community College where she earned junior college All-America recognition. In only two seasons at ASU she would accumulate 396 assists, which at the time was the second-highest career total in school 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 program’s list for most assists in a single game.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• The Sun Devils extended their winning streak to eight games after defeating Cal State Fullerton 81-55 in Fullerton, Calif.
• Freshman Kelsey Moos scored a career-high 19 points, 15 of those points came in the second half.
• Also scoring in double figures for the Sun Devils were freshman Sophie Brunner (13), redshirt sophomore Katie Hempen (11) and sophomore Elisha Davis (10 points).
• The Sun Devils shot 50 percent, including 58 percent (11-19) from 3-point range, while limiting the Titans to only 34 percent.
• Moos (6-8), Brunner (2-2) and sophomore Arnecia Hawkins (2-2) combined to shoot 83 percent (10-12) in the second half as the Sun Devils shot 59 percent as a team over the last 20 minutes.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• Currently with 311 wins as ASU’s head coach, Charli Turner Thorne needs two more wins to move into the No. 2 spot for most career wins by a Pac-12 head coach. On Dec. 8, Turner Thorne recorded the 350th win of her coaching career (310 at ASU, 40 at Northern Arizona) following ASU’s win over Long Beach State.
• ASU’s current eight-game winning streak represents the 20th time since 2001 that the Sun Devils have had a winning streak of five or more games. ASU’s current run of eight straight is its longest such streak since it won a school record 15 consecutive games in 2009.
• ASU has scored 80 or more points seven times this season and has shot 50 percent or higher six times. At the start of this week the Sun Devils were ranked No. 16 in the country in 3-point FG percentage (38.9) and No. 17 in FG percentage (47.2).
• As of Dec, 19, ASU ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (1st/47.2), 3-point FG pct. defense (t-1st/25.0), 3-point FG pct. (2nd/38.9), steals (2nd/10.1 spg), rebounding defense (3rd/33.0 rpg), scoring offense (4th/79.1 ppg), scoring margin (4th/+16.6), scoring defense (4th/62.5 ppg), free throw FT pct. (4th/69.0) and offensive rebounds (4th/14.5 rpg).
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of nearly 20 points per game (34.0-14.3).
• In ASU’s last five games, freshman Sophie Brunner is averaging 13.6 ppg and 7.8 rpg while shooting 79.3 percent from the floor (23-29). That stretch includes a pair of double-doubles – 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. North Carolina (Nov. 29) and career bests of 17 points and 12 rebounds vs. Long Beach State (Dec. 8).
• Two Sun Devils – seniors Deja Mann (12.3 ppg) and Adrianne Thomas (10.2 ppg) – are currently averaging double figures in scoring.
• As of Dec. 19, Brunner leads the Pac-12 in FG pct. (71.7 percent) while Mann leads the league in FT percentage (92.3 percent/24-26).
• Brunner (32), senior Joy Burke (29) and Kelsey Moos (20) have combined for 81 of ASU’s 131 offensive boards.
• Eight different Sun Devils – Mann (7x), Brunner (6x), Thomas (4x), junior Promise Amukamara (3x), Burke (4x), , Moos (4x), redshirt sophomore Katie Hempen (3x) and sophomore Elisha Davis (3x)– have scored in double figures this season.
SCOUTING MIAMI/SERIES NOTES
• Miami (6-3) has won five out of its last six games. The Hurricanes are currently 1-1 on the road this year. They enter Saturday’s game +4.3 in average turnover margin (20-1-15.8) and +4.0 in average blocks per game (5.7-1.7).
• Sophomore guard Dennis Caprice (17.8 ppg) and sophomore forward Keyona Hayes (11.3 ppg) both are averaging double figures in scoring while junior guard Suriya McGuire is not far behind with 9.9 ppg.
• ASU won the only prior meeting, 78-74, in 1988 in Tempe.
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 earlier this month 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.
TURNER THORNE GUIDES SUN DEVIL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO ELITE STATUS
The all-time winningest coach in program history and No. 3 in the Pac-12 in career wins (311), 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) was 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 since 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 161-76 (.679). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories. She needs two more wins to move into the No. 2 spot on the Pac-12’s all-time career wins list.