Lady Devils Net Historic NCAA Seed

Whether it was a record for conference and season wins or national ranking the Lady Sun Devils had a season to remember. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the maroon and gold earned a No. 3 seed, its highest seed in program history, in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Devils Digest was on hand to collect reaction from Coach Turner-Thorne and her players following this exciting announcement.

The Arizona State women's basketball team (28-4, 16-2 Pac-10), who was placed in the Greensboro Region, will travel to USC's Galen Center in Los Angeles for a Saturday match-up against the 14th seed UC-Riverside (21-10). This will be the first meeting between the two schools and will be televised on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2.

Excitement was certainly in the air at Coach Charli Turner-Thorne's Chandler home, where her players, program boosters and media gathered for the NCAA selection show. ESPN, who carried the show, had live reaction from the Sun Devils' skipper who was pleasantly surprised over the program's historic seed.

"I'm gonna be honest, I was prepared for the worst," said Turner-Thorne. "I cannot be happier. Obviously they're no easy games in the NCAA tournament and we have to prepare ourselves and play well. But we were really hoping for a 3 seed and we were really hoping to go to Los Angeles, so we're really happy."

Turner-Thorne noted that she will approach the tournament, as a two-game series each week. All actual and potential opponents will be scouted out, and the Lady Devils are somewhat familiar with the squad they will first face. "Their (UC-Riverside) head coach, is one of (ASU's assistant coaches) Meg Sanders close friends," she explained. "I guess it's good and bad that we have to play them." She added that the Highlanders, who are now back-to-back champions in the Big West conference, will play motion offense and try to slow the pace. "They're very athletic, they'll try to take away our transition game and this won't be an easy game. We'll really be tested."

For senior Emily Westerberg, the NCAA tourney offers a great chance to end her Sun Devil career with a blaze of glory. "We play all season for this," she remarked. "It's one loss and you're done. So just all the anticipation and excitement of all that is just really awesome." The forward added that she was pleased that team was going to play in Los Angeles and enjoy a large support for the maroon and gold faithful who will make the six-hour drive or one-hour flight to support the team.

Junior guard Reagan Pariseau thought that the fact that ESPN was on-hand to show their reaction to their NCAA pairings was a tremendous honor, and further proof that the Sun Devil program has garnered some respect this year. She doesn't know much about the team's next opponent, but is confident that ASU's style of play will be significant in any match-up. "We've been able to run teams off the court all year long," she said, "with our substitutions and conditioning. That's good against an opponent that hasn't had a lot of time to scout you." Nonetheless, the surprising second round exit that the team suffered last year in the tournament surely doesn't let Pariseau feel cocky over her team's chances in the post-season. "We learned that we needed more toughness," she admitted. "Knowing what happened to us last year; we worked our tails all off all season and made sure that this wouldn't happen again."

Third seed, ESPN attention…all in all respect was the operative word on Monday evening among the Lady Sun Devils. Their coach is definitely proud of all these accomplishments, but also aware of the responsibility that comes with being honored. "I think it's validation of what this team has done all year long," said Turner-Thorne, "with all the adversity we had through out the entire season, this team has been resilient and it's been amazing how many different people stepped up and got it done. So I feel this team deserved what it got and now the pressure is on us to do something with it."

Tickets for Arizona State's session will go on sale on Tuesday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. for season ticket holders and Charli's Angels members. If tickets remain, they will go on sale to the general public starting at 2 p.m. Tickets, which are $20 each, can be purchased either in person or by calling 480-727-0000. All-session tickets are $43. Fans may also call 213-740-4672 or visit www.usctrojans.com for tickets.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories