Feb. 2, 2013
The Arizona State women's basketball team closes out its weekend of competition with a Super Sunday matchup against Washington at Wells Fargo Arena. Tip time is for the game, which will be broadcast by Pac-12 Networks, is 11 a.m. MT.
The Sun Devils (11-10, 3-6 Pac-12) come into Sunday's game in a three-way tie for seventh place (tied with Arizona and Oregon State) at the midpoint of the Pac-12 season. At the start of the weekend only three games separated third place from seventh place. That gap became a little bit wider on Friday after the Sun Devils fell to visiting Washington State, 54-43. ASU trails sixth-place Colorado (4-5) by one game and fifth-place USC (5-4) by two games. UCLA and Washington are currently tied for third place (7-2) while California and Stanford remain tied for first place with 8-1 league records.
ASU's loss to Washington State on Friday was its second setback in as many games. Last Sunday the Sun Devils pushed No. 19 UCLA to the brink before the Bruins pulled away in the final 30 seconds of the game. Against Washington State on Friday the Sun Devils were unable to get their shots to fall as they shot 26 percent for the game. Leading by 10 at the half, the Cougars slowly built what would prove to be an insurmountable lead. ASU's shots started to find their mark in the final four minutes as it closed the game with a 17-4 run, but it would end up not being enough.
Freshman guard Arnecia Hawkins led the Sun Devils (11-10, 3-6 Pac-12) with a season/career-best 18 points (7-12 FGs, 4-6 3-point FGs) while adding two of ASU's 10 steals. Haley Videckis added seven points and six rebounds for the Sun Devils.
Sunday's game is a rematch of the conference opener, a game which the Huskies won in Seattle, 77-74. Five of the game's 11 ties and 12 of its 17 lead changes occurred in the second half as neither team led by more than three points during one stretch of more than nine minutes. 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.
Washington (15-5, 7-2), brings a five-game winning streak into Sunday's game. The Huskies' only losses in Pac-12 play came in Los Angeles where they were upended by USC (81-72) and UCLA (85-68).
Sunday's game will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks. Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy will be calling the action.
Sunday's game can also be heard live on The Fan AM 1060. Pre-game coverage will begin at 10:30 a.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 much of the season on the road (12 of 21 games) as it played six of its first nine regular season games away from home and is currently in the middle of a stretch in which it is playing 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 No. 19 UCLA, before falling to the Bruins, 54-50. After next week's trip to the Bay Area to face No. 7 Cal and No. 6 Stanford, the Sun Devils will not have to leave the state of Arizona until early March when they travel to Seattle for the Pac-12 Tournament (Mar. 7-10). ASU will play five of its last six regular season games at home with the only road trip coming when it travels to Tucson to take on Arizona (Feb. 19).
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.
Five of ASU's 10 losses have been by six or fewer points, including a six-point loss to current No. 17 Dayton and a four-point loss to current No. 18 UCLA.
ASU has had the same starting lineup in all but two games this season (G - Adrianne Thomas, 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 started in place of Pickens at UCLA again on Jan. 27.
ASU has shot better than 50 percent four times this season, already exceeding the number of times it shot above 50 percent during the entire 2011-12 season (3 times).
As of Feb. 2, ASU ranks in the top half of the Pac-12 in assists (third, 13.6 apg), steals (fourth, 9.7 spg), scoring defense (fifth, 57.7 ppg), rebounding defense (fifth, 35.2 rpg), field goal percentage (sixth, .404) and blocked shots (sixth, 3.7 bpg).
ASU's bench has scored 25 or more points 10 times this season. Leading the way are freshmen Arnecia Hawkins (5.9 ppg) and Haley Videckis (5.8 ppg). Hawkins, who currently leads ASU in 3-point field goals, scored a season/career-best 18 points vs. Washington State (Feb. 1).
How is this for consistency? In ASU's last three games it has given up the following point totals: 53 (at USC), 54 (at UCLA), 54 (vs. Washington State) - 53.7 average.
The Sun Devils have had 15 or more assists 10 times in their last 18 games. They recorded a season-best 23 assists vs. San Diego (Dec. 12). Adrianne Thomas (2.9 apg - 12th) is currently among the Pac-12's leaders in assists.
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 10 more wins to reach 350 career victories.
SERIES NOTES VS. WASHINGTON (TIED AT 28-28)
The Sun Devils have dominated of late having won 17 of the last 21 meetings, including 15 of the last 17. In 2010 the Huskies snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Sun Devils with a 62-56 victory in Seattle before the Sun Devils won the rematch in Tempe, 67-61 (OT). Last season the Sun Devils won both meetings -- 57-53 in Seattle and 47-41 in Tempe.
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), which returned only one player (Jane Fulcher) 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.
Also sitting out this season is Katie Hempen to 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 played six of first nine games away from home to start the regular season and is currently in the midst of playing eight of its first 12 Pac-12 games on the road.
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 then 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
Overcame 16-point second-half deficit to defeat USC 60-53 in Los Angeles. 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 No. 19 UCLA, before falling to the Bruins 54-50 in Los Angeles. 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.
Led by as many as 22 in eventual 74-58 win over Florida.
Five losses have been by six points or less, including a 65-59 loss to Dayton (No. 21 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 and did not play at all in ASU's 54-50 loss at UCLA.
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
All 11 of Janae Fulcher's double-figure scoring games have come in ASU's last 17 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. 3 in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.544), has shot 50 percent or better in all but five 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, who missed ASU's game at UCLA on Jan. 25 due to a foot injury currently leads the team in 3-point FGs (18) and 3-point FG pct. (.346), is currently second on the team in 3-point FGs (18), 3-point FG pct. (among players with 20+ attempts - .333), blocks (0.6 bpg) and is third in assists (2.0 apg) and steals (1.2 spg). 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 (1.8 spg) and free throw percentage (among players with 40+ attempts - .837), Promise Amukamara shot 55 percent from the floor (16-29 FGs) during ASU's five-game winning streak in December. She posted 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).
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). She is shooting 93 percent (13-14) from the free throw line in ASU's last four games.
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).
Arnecia Hawkins has scored seven or more points 10 times this season, including a season/career-high 18 points vs. Washington State (Feb. 1). She currently leads the team in 3-point field goals (20).
Elisha Davis has had three or more assists 10 times this season, including a career-high six assists at Washington (Jan. 4).
Haley Videckis, ASU's third leading rebounder (3.9 rpg), has had five or more rebounds eight times this season. Videckis scored a career-high 11 points vs. Idaho State (Dec. 30). She would match that total in ASU's loss at No. 21 Colorado (Jan. 18).
Eliza Normen, who has played in all 21 games this season, returned after redshirting her freshman season due to injury. Her versatility to play multiple positions on the floor has been a key component in ASU's success this season.
Isidora Purkovic has played in 20 games this season and adds an important element to ASU's perimeter attack (shooting 42 percent from 3-point range/5-7.
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).
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 - eight of their first 12 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 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.
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. The all-time winningest coach in ASU women's basketball history and third in the Pac-12 in career wins (300), 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.
On Jan. 25 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 150-67 (.691). 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 10 more wins to reach 350 for her career.
LEVENS AND MOORE JOIN COACHING STAFF
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.