Feb. 27, 2013
The Arizona State women's basketball team closes out the regular season portion of its 2012-13 schedule this weekend when it hosts No. 17 UCLA (Friday at 6 p.m.) and USC (Sunday at 1 p.m.) at Wells Fargo Arena.
For the Sun Devils (13-15, 5-11 Pac-12), the outcome of this week's contests will determine their seeding in next week's Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle. Currently tied for eighth place with USC (8-19, 5-11 Pac-12) in the league standings, ASU (depending on the outcome of other games) could still finish as high as seventh with a pair of wins. Also at stake for the Sun Devils is the possibility of continuing their season beyond next week's Pac-12 Tournament. To do that, the Sun Devils would need to either get the Pac-12's automatic bid to NCAAs by winning next week's tourney or by finishing the season with a .500 record or better to be considered for inclusion in the Postseason WNIT.
ASU is coming off dramatic back-to-back wins over in-state rival Arizona. The first win, an 81-77 double overtime triumph in Tucson, snapped a seven game losing streak. Promise Amukamara (21 points), Joy Burke (18 points) and Haley Videckis (18 points) all had career highs in the win. Five days later in Tempe, the Sun Devils needed a 3-pointer by Videckis with 22 seconds remaining to overcome the Wildcats (their 18th win over UA in the last 20 meetings), 59-58.
Now with a little momentum behind them, the Sun Devils will get another shot at taking down a ranked opponent on Friday when they host the No. 17 Bruins (21-6, 12-4 Pac-12), who will be trying to maintain their third-place position in the conference (currently lead fourth-place Colorado and Washington by one game). In the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 27 in Los Angeles, ASU put forth one of its best defensive efforts of the season as it held UCLA, which came into the game No. 1 in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (71.4 ppg), 17.4 points below its scoring average in a contest won by the Bruins, 54-50. Promise Amukamara had seven points and Adrianne Thomas, Arnecia Hawkins and Joy Burke all scored six points for the Sun Devils, who were tied with UCLA at 38-38 with 7:59 remaining and were within two points, 52-50, after a triple by Hawkins with 29 seconds left.
Sunday's game versus USC will be Senior Day as it will be the final regular season home game for Sun Devil seniors Micaela Pickens. The 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.
Friday's game vs. UCLA will be Kids Day ($1 youth admission with purchase of adult general admission) and ASU Faculty/Staff Appreciation ($5 admission with Sun Card).
Sunday's game vs. USC will be Fan Appreciation Day - $5 general admission for all fans.
ON THE AIR
Friday's game vs. UCLA can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks. Anne Marie Anderson and Tammy Blackburn will call the game. Sunday's game versus USC will be streamed live on the Pac-12's website.
Both games can also be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 5:30 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 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 28 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.
Seven of ASU's losses have been by eight or fewer points. ASU either led or was tied in the second half in eight of their losses.
ASU has had the same starting lineup in all but five games this season (G - Promise Amukamara, 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.
As of Feb. 25, ASU ranks in the top half of the Pac-12 in assists (fourth, 13.5 apg), scoring defense (fifth, 60.0 ppg), rebounding margin (fifth, +1.8), field goal percentage (sixth, .393) and rebounding defense (sixth, 36.0 rpg).
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 14 last games, including a season-low 10 turnovers on two occasions.
Five Sun Devils are averaging double figures in scoring in ASU's last three games: Promise Amukamara (12. 7 ppg), Micaela Pickens (10.0 ppg). Burke is averaging 9.5 rebounds in ASU's last four games.
ASU's bench has scored 25 or more points 10 times this season. Leading the way are freshmen Haley Videckis (6.7 ppg) and Arnecia Hawkins (5.5 ppg). Videckis, who leads ASU in 3-point FGs (26), has scored 11 or more points six 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 (25), 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. UCLA (UCLA LEADS 48-25)
UCLA has won 48 of the 73 all-time meetings, including the last seven in a row. UCLA's win in the first meeting of 2009-10 in Tempe broke a seven-game ASU winning streak. Last season the Bruins won 64-48 in Tempe and 53-38 in Los Angeles.
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. ASU held UCLA, which came into the game No. 1 in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (71.4 ppg), 17.4 points below its scoring average. 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.
Seven losses have been by eight points or less. Three 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 and vs. Colorado (19) - 63-71 on Feb. 17. ASU led by 14 against Dayton and led by 12 against Colorado.
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 14 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 (22) 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 (12-25 FGs/.480) and 4.7 rebounds in ASU's last three games.
Currently ASU's 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 10.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.1 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 22 percentage points above her current percentage for the season (67.8).
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 has averaged 16.0 points in her last two games and 9.5 rebounds in her last four games. She scored a career-high 18 points in ASU's win at Arizona (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 (25).
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 (6.7 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 seven 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 9.8 points while connecting on 53.5 percent of her field goals (23-43), including 44 percent of her 3-pointers (11-25).
Eliza Normen, who has played in all 28 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 26 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.
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's three appearances in the conference title game are tied for second most in the conference since tournament play started in 2002.
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.
50 AND UNDER EQUALS SUCCESS
One of the cornerstones of ASU's formula for success over the years has been defense. The Sun Devils have held the opposition to 50 or fewer points 80 times since the 2004-05 season, including three times this season. ASU's record in those 80 games is 78-2.
Deja Mann TO REDSHIRT IN 2012-13
The Sun Devils were dealt a serious blow in September when Deja Mann, the team's most experienced player and leading scorer among returners from last year's team, was lost for the season with a knee injury.
A starter in 48 of 95 career games, Mann started all 32 games last season and led ASU in assists (3.4 apg), free throws made (56) and free throw percentage (.812). She finished third on the team in scoring and recorded double figures in points nine times in 2011-12 with seven of those instances coming in the last 15 games of the season. Her 22 points at USC (Feb. 15, 2012) were the most scored by a Sun Devil last season.
SIUE TRANSFER Katie Hempen JOINS ACTIVE ROSTER IN 2013-14
Also redshirting this season (due to NCAA transfer rules) is sophomore guard Katie Hempen. A 5-8 guard, Hempen transferred to ASU last spring from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where last season she was named the Ohio Valley Conference's Freshman of the Year. A four-time OVC Freshman of the Week honoree, Hempen scored in double figures 15 times in 2011-12, including a season-best 19 points on two occasions.
TURNER THORNE RETURNS FOR 16TH SEASON; JOINS ELITE GROUP OF PAC-12 COACHES
Following a one-year sabbatical, Charli Turner Thorne returns for her 16th season as head coach of the Sun Devil women's basketball program.
"I really used [the sabbatical] to grow myself as a person," Turner Thorne said. "I think after 23 straight years in college coaching you can lose yourself a little bit. I worked on becoming a better coach, and in many ways, becoming a better wife, and a better mom and a better me. It was absolutely amazing. I do have a new and even better perspective."
The all-time winningest coach in program history and No. 3 in the Pac-12 in career wins (302), 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 current run of 13 consecutive postseason appearances is 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.
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, Turner Thorne is 152-72 (.679). Included in those 150 wins are eight of Turner Thorne's 11 NCAA Tournament victories.
Turner Thorne, who coached at NAU for three seasons (40-40 record) prior to arriving at ASU, needs eight more wins to reach 350 for her career.
LEVENS AND MOORE JOIN COACHING STAFF
During the offseason, Turner Thorne welcomed two new coaches to the Sun Devil staff -- Amanda Levens (associate head coach) and Jackie Moore (assistant coach).
A former Sun Devil standout, who earned honorable mention All-America honors in 2012, Levens joined Turner Thorne's staff from SIUE where she led the program during its transition to NCAA Division I status. Picked to finish eighth in its first season as a full-fledged member of the Ohio Valley Conference in 2012, SIUE came through with a third-place finish (12-4 league record) and Levens was recognized in being named the OVC Coach of the Year. Levens, who helped lead the Sun Devils to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament title in 2002, was inducted into the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame in September.
Moore, who has previously coached at UMass, Boston College, Miami (Fla.) and Nevada, will be bringing 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Sun Devil staff. Moore, who stepped away from the coaching ranks for a brief stint, was most recently at the University of Nevada, where she was an assistant coach for three seasons (2005-08). During her time at Nevada, where she served as recruiting coordinator, the Wolf Pack had unprecedented success as it made its first postseason appearance in school history in 2006-07.
SUN DEVIL WOMEN'S BASKETBALL IN NEW ZEALAND
During the month of August, the Sun Devil women's basketball team went on a seven-day trip to New Zealand where it played three games in addition to participating in team building and community outreach activities. For Turner Thorne, the experience was a positive one on all fronts.
"I could not be happier with what we got out of the trip," Turner Thorne said. "From a basketball standpoint, I think a lot of our players were able to better understand what we need to do to get into championship form. Even though we realized there was still a lot of work to do, it got us excited for the potential of our team this season.
"In terms of team building, the growth in trust and communication our team showed from day 1 until day 7 was as impressive as I have ever experienced with a team."
In addition to playing three basketball games and engaging in a variety of team building activities, the team also participated in multiple youth clinics throughout its time in New Zealand.
ASU's 60-53 win over Idaho State on Dec. 30 gave ASU a five-game winning streak, matching its longest of the 2011-12 season. It marked the 19th time since 2001 that ASU had a winning streak of five or more games. The Sun Devils have twice broken the school record under Charli Turner Thorne, eclipsing the previous record of nine when they won 10 straight in 2006 and then again in 2009 when ASU ran off 15 wins in a row.