Macey Gardner’s 24 kills led the Arizona State volleyball team to its first NCAA Tournament win since 2006, defeating Texas A&M (19-14) in four sets Thursday (22-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-22) at Austin, Texas. The Sun Devils (20-13) will face either Texas or Northwestern State at 7 p.m. Friday, where they will try to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1995.
Following four close games in Florida, the Arizona State women’s basketball team returns home at 3 p.m. Saturday to face SMU, on an afternoon where the jersey of Kym Hampton will be retired.
ASU defeated Miami by four and Villanova by five, lost to Green Bay by six, and knocked off Vanderbilt 62-57 in the third-place game of the Gulf Coast Showcase, the event that included the final three contests. Promise Amukamara (11.5 points per game) tied her career best with 21 points in Sunday’s win over the Commodores, who were the team ASU beat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last March. Sophie Brunner leads the Devils with 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, and Katie Hempen is also in double figures with 10.8 points per game. ASU is third in the NCAA’s also receiving votes category, just behind Green Bay.
KYM HAMPTON JERSEY RETIREMENT
Hampton’s No. 32 will join Ryneldi Becenti’s in the rafters at Wells Fargo Arena as the only players in program history to have jerseys retired. The 6-foot-2 center wore the maroon and gold from 1980-84, scoring 2,361 points and grabbing 1,415 rebounds. She was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1989, and after a lengthy international career, played the first three seasons of the WNBA with the New York Liberty (9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg), including the league’s inaugural game in 1997. A theatre major at ASU, she is expected to sing the national anthem.
“Kym Hampton is the only All-American that Arizona State women’s basketball has ever had,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “She was one of the 10 best players in the country when she played, she is the leading scorer of all players in basketball history at ASU, men’s or women’s, without the three-point shot, so she’s incredible, and now she’s a singer and an actress. You could argue she could have been first, there was a lot of sentiment on our side for Ryneldi being the home town kid, but we knew we would do both, and we’d do Kym very quickly, but we’re so honored she was a Sun Devil, and it’s about time that we put her uniform up there and celebrate her incredible career.”
SCOUTING SOUTHERN METHODIST
The Mustangs are 4-3, with wins over UTEP, Eastern Washington, Florida A&M, and most-recently North Texas by seven on Wednesday, while the losses were to North Texas, TCU and USC. SMU lost 70 percent of its scoring from a team that went 18-14 and to the second round of the WNIT in 2013-14, where it fell to Minnesota. Junior guard Gabrielle Wilkins leads SMU with 11.8 points per game, 6-foot junior forward Destynee Hives-McCray averages 11.7 points and 9.6 rebounds, and 6-foot-3 Australian freshman Alicia Froling is scoring 10.9 and grabbing 7.6, while her twin sister, Keely Froling is scoring 5.9. Also, senior guard Rochelle Lauer played for Westview High School in Avondale. Coach Rhonda Rompola has won 60 percent of her games during her 24 seasons, including the program’s only meeting with the Sun Devils in 1997 (74-59), and she last made the Big Dance in 2008. After ASU, SMU hosts No. 5 Texas A&M Dec. 9, and will have two conference games with No. 3 Connecticut in the span of two weeks around New Year’s.