While on the court with Briann January, Arizona State women’s basketball players must always expect the ball. Still perfecting the art of the no-look pass at the college level, January caught teammates off guard early this season, with passes bouncing off the hands of unprepared receivers.
"That just comes with time and getting to know each other," said January, a freshman point guard who has averaged 18 minutes per game off the bench this season.
"The first couple of games, when I started throwing them, they weren’t used to them. But they adjusted and everything’s good."
The Sun Devils could get chances to convert those passes into points when they play Texas-San Antonio at 6:30 p.m. today at Wells Fargo Arena.
January and starter Reagan Pariseau give ASU a point guard duo that have drawn rave reviews from coach Charli Turner Thorne. They’ve impressed Turner Thorne not only with passing, though she said the two are the team’s best passers, but also with the ability to shut down opposing point guards on defense and make key shots.
"They’re savvy," Turner Thorne said. "They both have hit huge shots down the stretch in games when we really need a basket."
Neither leads the team in assists — that category goes to Jill Noe with 27 — but their success often shows in other ways. January’s .857 freethrow percentage is second on the team, and Pariseau’s pluseight assist-to-turnover margin — 26 assists and 18 turnovers — is tops among Sun Devils.
"I think their stats are showing that they’re playing well, but I also think that, so often, especially with good teams, the key to their team is their point guard because they run the show," Turner Thorne said.
Their speed and passing skills in transition have led Turner Thorne to often play them in tandem this year.
"It’s fun, especially when we get to press because it’s fun to create havoc," Pariseau said. "It’s harder for people to press us when you’ve got two ball-handlers out there.
"It’s a different look but it’s also a fun look."
BONUS SHOTS: The Sun Devils’ five-game winning streak is two short of Turner Thorne’s high at ASU. ASU has won seven straight twice, in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. . . .
ASU will be hosting a "Toys for Tots" charity drive at tonight’s game. Fans who donate toys will receive two free upper-level tickets to the game. The UPS Store will collect the unwrapped toys at both the east and the west entrances of Wells Fargo Arena.