Jan. 9, 2013
The Arizona State women's basketball team plays its only two home games in the month of January this weekend when it hosts Oregon (Friday at 6:30 p.m. MT) and Oregon State (Sunday at 1 p.m. MT).
The Sun Devils (8-6, 0-2 Pac-12) enter Friday's game looking for their first Pac-12 win of the season after dropping road contests last weekend at Washington (77-74) and at Washington State (77-65).
The Sun Devils were one of five Pac-12 squads (Colorado, Oregon State, Oregon and Utah) to lose their first two conference games. Colorado, which went 11-0 in non-conference play, picked up its first Pac-12 win on Tuesday, defeating Utah. The Buffaloes and Utes, who ASU will face on the road next week, play again on Sunday.
Oregon (2-12, 0-2 Pac-12) has been beset by injuries this season as the Ducks have had only four players who have played in all 14 games and have had 10 different players start at least one game this season. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (.735) and are second in blocked shots (5.4 bpg) and rebounds per game (45.4). Freshman forward Jillian Alleyne leads the Pac-12 in rebounding (13.4 rpg), is seventh in scoring (15.3 ppg) and third in blocks (1.9 bpg).
Oregon State (6-8, 0-2 Pac-12) has dropped its last five games since winning six of its first nine games to start the 2012-13 season. The Beavers lost last weekend's games against USC (68-64) and current No. 14 UCLA (56-55) by a combined five points. The Beavers, who are led by freshman guard Jamie Weisner (11.8 ppg), are second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense (.338) and fifth in scoring defense (58.2 ppg).
Both of this weekend’s games can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and 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.
Friday’s game will be webcast on the Pac-12’s website while Sunday’s game will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks. Anne Marie Anderson (play by play) and Kyndra de St. Aubin (analyst) will call the action on Sunday.
Friday's game vs. Oregon will be a `Blackout.' Fans wearing black to the game will be admitted for $5. In addition, fans are invited to remain after the game to `Celebrate the Territorial Cup.' Fans can have their picture taken with Sparky and the Territorial Cup for free. All pictures will be uploaded to Facebook following the game.
Sunday's game vs. Oregon State is Dads and Daughters Day. For each adult ticket purchased, one youth gets in free.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU's recent five-game winning streak (snapped by Washington last Friday) represented the 19th time since 2001 the Sun Devils have had a winning streak of five or more games.
• Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne needs three more wins to become the third coach in Pac-12 history (Tara VanDerveer and Chris Gobrecht) to reach 300 victories (has 297 as ASU's head coach and 337 for her career).
• Four of ASU's six losses have been by six or fewer points.
• As of Jan. 9, ASU ranks in the top half of the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (third/.428), assists (third/14.1 apg), rebounding defense (third/32.9 rpg), free throw percentage (fourth/.685), blocked shots (fourth/4.4 bpg), rebounding margin (fifth/+8.1), offensive rebounds (fifth/15.2 rpg) and scoring defense (sixth/59.1 ppg).
• ASU has shot better than 50 percent three times this season, matching the number of times it shot above 50 percent during the entire 2011-12 season.
• Janae Fulcher (14.5 ppg) and Jada Blackwell (12.3 ppg) have combined to average 26.8 points per game over the course of ASU's last four games. Joy Burke (7.5 rpg), Blackwell (7.0 rpg) and Fulcher (7.0 rpg) have combined to average 21.5 rebounds per game during that same stretch.
• Only four opponents have shot above 34 percent in ASU's last 10 games.
• ASU's bench has scored 25 or more points seven times this season. Blackwell leads the Sun Devil bench in points (7.6 ppg) and rebounds (4.6 rpg).
• The Sun Devils have had 15 or more assists eight times in their last 11 games. They recorded a season-best 23 assists vs. San Diego (Dec. 12). Adrianne Thomas (2.7 apg - 11th) and Elisha Davis (2.6 apg - t14th) are currently among the Pac-12's leaders in assists.
• ASU started the regular season playing six of its first nine games away from home. It is currently in the midst of playing six of its first eight conference games on the road.
SERIES NOTES VS. OREGON (ASU LEADS 27-26 SINCE 1986-87)
ASU has won 21 of the 25 meetings since the 2000-01 season. Oregon's 82-81 win in Eugene in 2010 snapped a 10-game ASU winning streak in the series. The Sun Devils won the only meeting last season, 53-49 in Eugene, Ore. Current Sun Devil Jada Blackwell was one of three Sun Devils who scored in double figures (5-6 FGs, 2-3 3-point FGs).
SERIES NOTES VS. OREGON STATE (ASU LEADS 33-20 SINCE 1986-87)
The Sun Devils have won 20 of the last 22 meetings against Oregon State. In the only meeting between the two school last season, Oregon State defeated ASU 56-51 in Corvallis, Ore., to snap ASU's 18-game winning streak in the series. Blackwell tied for the team lead in scoring with 11 points.
NOTES FROM LAST WEEK'S GAMES
• The Sun Devils lost last week's games at Washington (77-74) and at Washington State (77-65) despite a combined plus-38 advantage in rebounding (52-30 at UW and 54-38 at WSU).
• The second half at Washington included five ties and 12 lead changes. With the game tied at 67-67 and 4:16 remaining, the Huskies used a 6-0 run to take control of the game. The Sun Devils got no closer than four points until the final buzzer.
• ASU trailed by eight four different times over the first 10 minutes of the second half at WSU. They got as close as four before the Cougars used a 10-0 run to take a commanding 65-51 lead with 6:41 left. ASU would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the game.
• Sophomore forward Jada Blackwell (20.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and senior forward Janae Fulcher (19.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg) combined to average 39 points and 17 rebounds in the two games. Blackwell scored a career-high 29 points at Washington, the most points scored by a Sun Devil since Danielle Orsillo also scored 29 at Oregon on Feb. 13, 2010. Blackwell tied her career high for rebounds (8) in both games while Fulcher had a career-high 11 rebounds at Washington. Redshirt junior center Joy Burke tied her career high in scoring (14) at WSU.
IN CASE YOU ARE JUST JOINING US...
• This season the Sun Devils return a young team (nine of 12 players on the active roster are in their first or second year in the program), which returned only one player with more than 10 career starts.
• 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.
• Played six of first nine games away from home to start the regular season and currently in the midst of playing six of first eight Pac-12 games on the road.
• Won seven of eight games, including five in a row, prior to the start of Pac-12 play.
• Led by as many as 22 in eventual 74-58 win over Florida (No. 32 RPI).
• Four losses have been by six points or less, including a 65-59 loss to Dayton (No. 10 RPI), a game which the Sun Devils led by as many as 14.
• Leading scorer Janae Fulcher (head injury) did not play the last 30+ minutes of ASU’s 60-54 loss at UTEP.
• Starting guard Micaela Pickens was injured and forced to miss time in ASU’s losses at UTEP and at Washington State.
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
• All nine of Janae Fulcher's double-figure scoring games have come in ASU's last 11 contests. 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, who leads the team and is No. 2 in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.589), has shot 50 percent or better in all but two games this season. 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).
• Micaela Pickens currently leads the team in 3-point FGs (15) and 3-point FG pct. (.357), is second in steals (1.2 spg), is third in assists (2.1 apg) and blocks (0.6 bpg) and fourth in scoring (7.4 ppg). Last month 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).
• Currently ASU's leader in steals (1.9 spg) and free throw percentage (.867), Promise Amukamara shot 55 percent from the floor (16-29 FGs) during ASU's recent five-game winning streak. She posted career highs in points (15) and field goals (six) in ASU's win over Idaho State (Dec. 30).
• Adrianne Thomas, ASU's leader in assists (2.7 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).
• Joy Burke has four of ASU's five highest single-game rebounding efforts this season. She has grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds three times. She has scored a career-high 14 points twice this season, most recently at Washington State (Jan. 6).
• Jada Blackwell scored in double figures in ASU's road wins at Providence (Dec. 7) and at Boston College (Dec. 9). She scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half at Providence and then added 10 points at Boston College. She shot a combined 56 percent (10-18 FGs) in the two games. In ASU's 77-74 loss at Washington (Jan. 4), Blackwell scored a career-high 29 points while also tying her career highs in rebounds (8) and steals (3). Her 29 points were the most scored by a Sun Devil since Danielle Orsillo scored 29 points at Oregon on Feb. 23, 2010. All four of her double-figure scoring efforts have come in ASU's last four road games (16.0 ppg./.530 shooting in those games).
• Arnecia Hawkins has scored seven or more points seven times this season. She dropped in a career-high 11 points vs. San Diego (Dec. 12).
• Elisha Davis have averaged 3.8 assists in ASU's last eight games (most on the team during that span). She has had four or more assists five times, including a career-high six assists at Washington (Jan. 4).
• Haley Videckis, ASU's fourth leading rebounder (4.3 rpg), has had five or more rebounds six times this season. Videckis scored a career-high 11 points vs. Idaho State (Dec. 30).
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 are currently in the midst of a similar stretch to start Pac-12 play - six of first eight conference games are 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 79 times since the 2004-05 season, including three times this season. ASU's record in those 79 games is 77-2.
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.
TURNER THORNE RETURNS FOR 16TH SEASON; APPROACHING SIGNIFICANT CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
Following a one-year sabbatical, Charli Turner Thorne returns for her 16th season as head coach of the Sun Devil women's basketball program. The all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history and third in the Pac-12 in career wins (297), Turner Thorne will look to lead the Sun Devils to their 14th consecutive postseason appearance in 2012-13.
"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."
Since taking over in 1996-97, Turner Thorne has turned Sun Devil women's basketball into one of the nation's premiere programs. 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.
Turner Thorne needs three more wins at ASU to become the third Pac-12 coach to reach 300 victories. A closer look at her 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. Since picking up her 150th win, Turner Thorne is 147-63 (.700). Included in those 147 wins are eight of Turner Thorne's 11 NCAA Tournament victories.