March 2, 2013
The Arizona State women's basketball team closes out the regular season portion of its 2012-13 schedule on Sunday (1 p.m.) when it hosts USC at Wells Fargo Arena.
Sunday's game vs. USC will be Senior Day as it will be the final regular season home game for Sun Devil seniors Micaela Pickens. Both players will be honored in a ceremony following the game.
The Sun Devils (13-16, 5-12 Pac-12) come into Sunday's game in ninth place in the Pac-12 standings. ASU is one-half game behind Washington State (10-19, 6-12), which ended its regular season on Saturday, and one game behind USC (9-19, 6-11).
Coming off dramatic back-to-back wins over in-state rival Arizona last week, the Sun Devils were unable to extended their winning streak to three games after a 58-50 loss to No. 17 UCLA on Friday night.
Micaela Pickens and Haley Videckis added 10 points each for the Sun Devils, who dropped their eighth game by eight or fewer points. It was the fourth such loss to a ranked opponent, which also includes a 54-50 setback to the Bruins in Los Angeles on Jan. 27.
Sunday's game vs. USC contest will be a rematch of a contest won by ASU 60-53 in Los Angeles on Jan. 25. The Sun Devils, who did not have any players score in double figures, staged one of their best comebacks in recent memory as they overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half to come through with the win, the 300th at ASU for head coach Charli Turner Thorne.
The Trojans started their weekend road trip to the state with a 74-62 win at Arizona on Friday night. Junior Cassie Harberts (23 points, 11 rebounds) and senior Christina Marinacci (16 points, 18 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles in the win.
After its game against the Trojans, ASU will prepare for next week's Pac-12 Tournament at KeyArena in Seattle, Wash. The Sun Devils will start play at the tournament on Thurs., Mar. 7. Who the opponent will be and what time ASU will play on Thursday will be announced by the Pac-12 after all of Sunday's games have been completed.
Sunday's game vs. USC will be Fan Appreciation Day - All fans will receive $5 general admission.
ON THE AIR
Sunday's can also be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona's 2010 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his ninth season as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined by former Sun Devil head coach Maura McHugh.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU has spent the majority of this season on the road (15 of 29 games) as it played six of its first nine regular season games away from home and on Feb. 8 completed a stretch in which it played eight of its first 12 Pac-12 games on the road. The Sun Devils captured their first road win in conference play on Jan. 25, defeating USC 60-53. They followed that up with a near upset of then-No. 19 UCLA, before falling to the Bruins, 54-50.
• Eight of ASU's losses have been by eight or fewer points. ASU has either led or was tied in the second half in eight its losses.
• ASU has had the same starting lineup in all but five games this season (G - Micaela Pickens, F - Janae Fulcher, C - Joy Burke). Freshman G Arnecia Hawkins made her first career start (in place of Pickens) in ASU's game at Utah (Jan. 20). Hawkins also started in place of Pickens at UCLA on Jan. 27 and again at Stanford on Feb. 10. Elisha Davis and Eliza Normen both made their first career start vs. Washington (Feb. 3). Normen got the starting nod again (in place of Janae Fulcher - ill) at No. 6 Cal (Feb. 8). Amukamara is the only player to start every game this season.
• ASU has shot better than 50 percent four times this season, already exceeding the number of times it shot above 50 percent last season (3 times).
• ASU has had 14 or fewer turnovers seven times in its 15 last games, including a season-low 10 turnovers on two occasions.
• ASU's bench has scored 25 or more points 10 times this season. Leading the way are freshmen Haley Videckis (6.8 ppg) and Arnecia Hawkins (5.5 ppg). Videckis, who leads ASU in 3-point FGs (28), has scored 10 or more points seven times this season, including a career-best 18-point outing in ASU's double-overtime win at Arizona (Feb. 19). Currently second on the team in 3-point FGs (26), Hawkins scored a career-high 18 points vs. Washington State (Feb. 1).
• The Sun Devils have had 15 or more assists 12 times this season. They recorded a season-high 24 assists at Arizona (Feb. 19). Adrianne Thomas (2.9 apg - 10th) is currently among the Pac-12's leaders in assists.
• ASU's five-game winning streak earlier this season (snapped by Washington on Jan. 4) represented the 19th time since 2001 the Sun Devils have had a winning streak of five or more games.
• ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne became the third Pac-12 coach to win at least 300 games when the Sun Devils defeated USC 60-53 in Los Angeles on Jan. 25. Turner Thorne, who coached Northern Arizona for three seasons (40-40 record) prior to coming to ASU, needs eight more wins to reach 350 career victories.
SERIES NOTES VS. USC (USC LEADS 52-18)
USC has won 52 of the 70 all-time meetings against ASU, including five of the last eight contests. 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 2010-11 (60-56 in Tempe and 62-52 in Los Angeles) before the Sun Devils bounced back to sweep the series in 2011-12 (62-61 in Los Angeles and 69-55 in Tempe). USC won both contests last season (60-48 in Tempe and 59-53 in Los Angeles). Deja Mann, who is redshirting this season with a knee injury, had a career-high 22 points in last season's contest in Los Angeles. Charli Turner Thorne picked up her 300th career win as ASU's head coach in the Sun Devils' 60-53 win at USC on Jan. 25, 2013.
IN CASE YOU ARE JUST JOINING US...
• This season the Sun Devils return a young team - eight of 11 players on the current active roster are in their first or second year in the program.
• Starting senior guard Deja Mann (the team's returning leading scorer from last season) is redshirting this season after suffering a knee injury in September.
• Also sitting out this season is Katie Hempen who transferred to ASU last spring from SIUE. In 2012, Hempen was named the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and was a member of the All-Newcomer team.
• ASU won seven of eight games, including five in a row, prior to the start of Pac-12 play. The Sun Devils then lost their first two Pac-12 games at the Washington schools before rebounding the following week with home wins vs. Oregon and Oregon State. ASU went back on the road and dropped contests to Colorado (57-43) and Utah (66-46). ASU led Colorado at the half and led by five early in the second half before its offense went cold. One week later in Los Angeles, ASU overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat USC 60-53. The Sun Devils, who did not have any players score in double figures, outscored the Trojans 40-17 and shot 59 percent in the second half. Two days later, ASU nearly upset then-No. 19 UCLA, before falling to the Bruins 54-50. The loss to UCLA started a seven-game losing streak for the Sun Devils, which they snapped with a dramatic 81-77 double-overtime win at Arizona (Feb. 19). They would also win the rematch against the Wildcats 59-54 (Feb. 24) in Tempe.
• Led by as many as 22 in eventual 74-58 win over Florida.
• Eight losses have been by eight points or less. Four of those seven those losses came to ranked teams (current AP ranking): vs. Dayton (12) - 59-65 on Dec. 2; at UCLA (17) - 50-54 on Jan. 27, vs. Colorado (19) - 63-71 on Feb. 17 and again to UCLA (17) - 50-58 on Mar. 1. ASU led by 14 against Dayton and led by 12 against Colorado. ASU held the Bruins 17.4 points below their scoring average in the first meeting and 10.8 points below their scoring average in the rematch.
• Leading scorer Janae Fulcher (head injury) did not play the last 30+ mins of ASU's 60-54 loss at UTEP. She also didn't play (ill) in ASU's 66-53 loss at No. 6 Cal (Feb. 8).
• Starting guard Micaela Pickens was injured and forced to miss time in ASU's losses at UTEP and at Washington State and did not play at all in ASU's 54-50 loss at UCLA.
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
• Janae Fulcher has scored in double figures 15 times this season. Fulcher set new career highs in points (26) and field goals (13) in ASU's 74-58 win over Florida (Nov. 25) in the championship game of the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas. Fulcher leads the team and is No. 6 in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.506). She recorded her second career double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) at Washington (Jan. 4) and led ASU in scoring with 23 points at WSU (Jan. 6). She did not play due to illness in ASU's 66-53 loss at No. 6 Cal (Feb. 8).
• Micaela Pickens is currently second on the team in blocks (0.7 bpg) and third in 3-point field goals made (24) and assists (2.0 apg). In December Pickens had a four-game stretch (@Providence, @BC, vs. USD, vs. Longwood) in which she averaged 12.5 points and shot 61 percent (19-31) from the field including 65 percent (11-17) from 3-point range. She had a career-high six assists at Washington (Jan. 4). Has played most of the conference season with foot injury, which originally occurred at Washington State (Jan. 6). The injury would cause her to miss ASU's game at UCLA (Jan. 27). She has averaged 10.0 points 4.0 rebounds in ASU's last four games.
• ASU's current leader in steals (1.9 spg) and free throw percentage (among players with 60+ attempts - .828) and second on the team in scoring (8.1 ppg), Promise Amukamara shot 55 percent from the floor (16-29 FGs) during ASU's five-game winning streak in December. She posted (then) career highs in points (15) and field goals (six) in ASU's win over Idaho State (Dec. 30). She scored all nine of her points (tied for the team lead) in the second half of ASU's 60-53 come-from-behind win over USC (Jan. 25). Over the last six games, Amukamara has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals. She scored a career-high 21 points in ASU's win at Arizona (Feb. 19).
• Adrianne Thomas, ASU's leader in assists (2.9 apg), had a career-high eight assists vs. San Diego (Dec. 12). Earlier this season she scored a career-high 16 points at UTEP (Nov. 18). She shot 80 percent from the floor (8-10 FGs) and averaged 10.5 points in back-to-back games vs. Idaho State (Dec. 30) and at Washington (Jan. 4). She grabbed a career-high eight rebounds at Washington State (Jan. 6) and again at UCLA (Jan. 27). Thomas, who missed her first game as a Sun Devil (injured) vs. Washington (Feb. 3), had a recent seven-game stretch in which she made 90 percent of her free throws (18-20), more than 21 percentage points above her current percentage for the season (68.2).
• Joy Burke has seven of ASU's eight highest single-game rebounding efforts this season. She has grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds three times. She has scored 14 or more points four times this season, including a (then) career-best 16 points (7-14 FGs) at No. 6 Cal (Feb. 8). Burke averaged 16.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in ASU's back-to-back wins over Arizona (Feb. 19 & 24). She scored a career-high 18 points in the first meeting against the Wildcats in Tucson (Feb. 19).
• Arnecia Hawkins has scored seven or more points 12 times this season, including a season/career-high 18 points vs. Washington State (Feb. 1). She is currently second on the team in 3-point field goals (26).
• Elisha Davis has had three or more assists 10 times this season, including a career-high six assists at Washington (Jan. 4). She made her first career start vs. Washington (Feb. 3).
• Haley Videckis, who currently leads ASU's first-year players in scoring (6.8 ppg) and rebounding (3.4 rpg), has had five or more rebounds eight times this season. Videckis has scored 11 or more points six times, including a career-high 18 points at Arizona (Feb. 19). In her last four games, Videckis, who knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer (22 seconds left) in ASU's 59-58 win over Arizona (Feb. 24), has averaged 11.8 points while connecting on 51.5 percent of her field goals (17-33), including 45 percent of her 3-pointers (9-20).
• Eliza Normen, who has played in all 29 games this season, returned after redshirting her freshman season due to injury. She started her first career game vs. Washington (Feb. 3). She would get the starting nod against at Cal (Feb. 8). She had a career-high six rebounds vs. Utah (Feb. 15).
• Isidora Purkovic has played in 27 games this season and adds an important element to ASU's perimeter attack (shooting 40 percent from 3-point range/6-15.
• After playing a combined 27 minutes the first 18 games of the season, junior F Nisha Barrett came off the bench and gave the Sun Devils a huge lift in their games at USC (Jan. 25) and at UCLA (Jan. 27). Barrett averaged 12.0 minutes in the two games and scored four points in each game, connecting on 67 percent of the shots she took (4-6). She has played in all but one game (vs. Arizona, Feb. 24) since the USC contest.
Throughout Charli Turner Thorne's tenure at Arizona State, the program has been known for having one of toughest schedules in the country on an annual basis and the 2012-13 season has been no different as the Sun Devils faced nine non-conference foes which qualified for postseason play in 2012.
"We have a preseason schedule that is geared toward making us road warriors and toughening us up to prepare for Pac-12 play," Turner Thorne said prior to the season. "We have a stretch in Pac-12 where we have four road games in a row. This schedule is by design. We are on the road a lot this preseason and I think it is only going to make us better and tougher. We need to go in there and be consistent with our effort and our focus."
ASU started the season playing six of its first nine games away from home. The Sun Devils endured a similar stretch at the start of Pac-12 play as they played six of their first eight and eight of their first 12 conference games on the road.