WHAT: No. 23 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (12-2, 1-1 Pac-12) vs. USC (10-5, 3-0 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 6 p.m. MT
WHERE: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks Arizona and Los Angeles
Coming off a split on its first Pac-12 road trip of the season, the No. 23 Arizona State women’s basketball team begins a four-game home stand this weekend when it hosts USC (Friday at 6 p.m. MT) and UCLA (Sunday at 1 p.m. MT).
USC (10-5, 3-0 Pac-12) comes in having won its last five games, including its first three Pac-12 games of the season to sit atop the conference standings along with Washington State (9-6, 3-0), No. 4 Stanford (13-1, 2-0) and No. 19 Cal (10-3, 2-0). The Sun Devils will host both Cal (Jan. 17) and Stanford (Jan. 20) next week.
The Sun Devils (12-2, 1-1 Pac-12) came into Pac-12 play with a 10-game winning streak, which came to an end last Friday at Washington State (85-78). The Cougars, who shot 59 percent in the second half, used a 20-9 run to turn a four-point halftime deficit into a seven-point lead with 11:58 remaining. ASU, which led by as many as 11 in the first half, got within a single point three times in the last 7:16, but was never able to go back on top or pull even. The Sun Devils shot 41 percent from the floor, but it was at the free throw line where they let several points get away, connecting on only 65 percent (28-43) of their attempts.
Two days later the Sun Devils were able to gain a split on their trip after defeating Washington 78-60. Katie Hempen tied her career high as a Sun Devil with 12 points (see below for more notes on win over UW).
Both of this weekend’s games will be televised by Pac-12 Networks. Friday’s game will be distributed on Pac-12 Arizona and Pac-12 Los Angeles. Sunday’s game will on be on Pac-12 National. Krista Blunk (play by play) and Tammy Blackburn (analysis) will call both games.
Both of this weekend’s games can also be heard live NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and at 12:30 p.m. 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. He will be joined by former Sun Devil head coach Maura McHugh.
NOTES FROM LAST GAME
• Five players scored in double-figures and ASU had a season-low 12 turnovers on its way to a 78-60 win at Washington. Katie Hempen led the way with 12 points and Kelsey Moos and Deja Mann added 11 points. Also scoring in double figures were Joy Burke (10 points) and Eliza Normen (career-high 10 points).
• All 12 of Hempen’s points came from long range as she was responsible for four of ASU’s season-high-tying 11 3-pointers. The Sun Devils shot 52 percent (11-21) from downtown and had a season-high 24 assists while committing a season-low 12 turnovers.
• On the defensive end, the Sun Devils limited the Huskies, who came into the game third in the Pac-12 in 3-pointers per game (8.0), to only a pair of triples (2-10).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 4 Stanford and current No. 17 Colorado – to start Pac-12 play with only one loss. Stanford remains the lone one-loss team in the league after the Sun Devils and Buffaloes lost their Pac-12 openers on Jan. 3. For ASU, it was the sixth time since the 1986-87 (first season of Pac-10/12 play) that it entered conference play with only one loss. The Sun Devils were 9-1 in 1990-91, 9-1 in 1991-92, 8-1 in 2002-03, 9-1 in 2005-06, 10-1 in 2006-07 and 11-1 in 2013-14.
• 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. The Sun Devils led by as many as 11 in the first half of their 85-78 loss at Washington State (Jan. 3). The Sun Devils missed 15 FTs in the loss (28-43).
• ASU’s recent 10-game winning streak tied the second-longest run in program history. It was also the 20th time since 2001 that ASU had a winning streak of five or more games. The string of 10 straight wins 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 has scored 80 or more points seven times this season and has shot 50 percent or higher six times.
• ASU averaged 14.0 turnovers (-5.1 below season average) in last week’s games at WSU and at UW. Its 12 turnovers against UW represented its lowest total this season.
• As of Jan. 9, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in FG pct. (2nd, 45.1), 3-point FG pct. (2nd, 38.6), 3-point FG pct. defense (2nd, 26.7), rebounding defense (2nd, 33.8 rpg), steals (2nd, 9.3 spg), offensive rebounds (2nd, 15.0 rpg), scoring offense (3rd, 77.5 ppg), scoring margin (3rd, +13.0), assists (3rd, 15.6), FT pct. (4th, 69.7) and rebounding margins (4th, +7.1).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but two games this season – at San Diego (Nov. 13) and vs. Miami (Dec. 21).
• Six of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing (Texas Tech, North Carolina, Long Beach State, Syracuse) or ahead by only one point (Arkansas State, Miami) at some point in the last five minutes of regulation.
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s by an average of 18.2 ppg (33.6-15.4).
• Freshman Kelsey Moos Is averaging 14.2 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 60 percent (31-52) in ASU’s last 6 games. She has connected on 80 percent of her free throws (20-25) during that stretch She had a career highs in points (15) and rebounds (12) in ASU’s win over then-No. 20 Syracuse on Dec. 30. She would surpass her career high in scoring with 17 points in ASU’s loss at WSU (Jan. 3).
• Included in freshman Sophie Brunner’s last nine games are three double-doubles, six double-digit scoring efforts and six games with seven or more rebounds.
• Senior Joy Burke is averaging 11.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg while shooting 68 percent from the floor (15-22) in ASU’s last 3 games.
• RS-sophomore Katie Hempen is second on the team in scoring over ASU’s last five games (9.2 ppg) and is shooting 48 percent (12-25) from 3-point range during that stretch.
• Sophomore Elisha Davis has had four or more assists 6x in ASU’s last 11 games, including a career-high seven assists in win at Washington (Jan. 5).
She has also had a season-high five rebounds 4x in ASU’s last five games.
• As of Jan. 9, ASU has three players among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in FG percentage – Burke (4th - 54.3), Moos (5th - 53.9) and junior Promise Amukamara (t-8th - 48.3).
• Brunner (44), Burke (39) and Moos (38) have combined for 121 of ASU’s 210 offensive boards.
• Nine different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (9x), Moos (8x), Brunner (7x), Burke (7x), Thomas (5x), Hempen (5x), Amukamara (4x), Davis (3x) and RS-sophomore Eliza Normen (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. USC (USC LEADS 53-18)
• USC has won 53 of the 71 all-time meetings against ASU, including six of the last nine contests. ASU and USC split last year’s games. ASU overcame a 16-point deficit in Los Angeles to defeat the Trojans 60-53, Charli Turner Thorne’s 300th win at ASU. USC was victorious in the regular-season finale in Tempe (67-60). USC’s win over ASU in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament snapped a seven-game winning streak by ASU in the series. USC swept the season series in 2009-10 before the Sun Devils bounced back to sweep the series in 2010-11. USC won both contests in 2011-12 (60-48 in Tempe and 59-53 in Los Angeles). Deja Mann scored a career high points in the second meeting in Los Angeles.
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.
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 (314), 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 164-77 (.680). Included in those wins are eight of Turner Thorne’s 11 NCAA Tournament victories.