ASU women’s basketball gets Promise for 2011 class

Charli Turner-Thorne is still collecting perimeter players for her Sun Devil women’s basketball team, and just found a couple in her backyard.

Promise Amukamara from Apollo High School in Glendale and Arnecia Hawkins from Mountain View High School in Mesa were just added to future rosters, giving Turner-Thorne their verbal commitments last week.  Amukamara is part of a 2011 recruiting class that is beginning to fill, while Hawkins will come on board in 2012.

The Arizona State head coach’s next job will be to figure out which ones will get the playing time.  She added three guards with the 2010 class, two of which are freshman and will still be there when Amukamara and Hawkins arrive.

Nine on this year’s rosters of 14 players are guards, seven of them with roots in Arizona.  These latest commitments give the program a decidedly local flavor.

Amukamara is a 5’8″ guard that averaged 22.6 points a game as a junior for Apollo, helping that team to a 24-5 record and a shot at the 4A state title.  She scored 30 and 33 points in two games last season, and twice dropped in 29 points.

She will be joined again for her final high school season by her sister, Peace, a 5’7″ junior who also plays guard.

Promise brings some serious speed to Turner-Thorne’s program.  She finished second in both the 100m and 200m sprints at last year’s 4A-I state meet, clocking 12.27 in the 100m.

Hawkins is still a work in progress, since she had to sit out last year after transferring from Red Mountain HS to Mountain View.  Her numbers weren’t anything special as a freshman, 11 points and 5.4 rebounds average, but Turner-Thorne obviously sees some potential in the 5’10” shooting guard.

And there won’t be any lack of competition for playing time at the guard/wing position for the next few years.  The other recruits already on board for the 2011 class include a pair of wings who give ASU two top-35 players who can be plugged in at various positions on the perimeter.

Eliza Normen, who is rated as the sixth-best wing player in the country by ESPN Hoopgurlz and the No. 28 overall in that 2011 class, will arrive from Colorado.  Karina Alofaituli, from California, falls in just behind Normen on the Hoopgurlz list, at No. 34.

Normen and Alofaituli also bring a little size to the back court.  Normen is a long, lanky 6’1″ and can play the 1, 2, or 3 spot.  Alofaituli, who also answers to “Kiki”, is listed at 6’0″ and is a physical wing player with good scoring ability on the interior as well.

So next year’s roster is filling out nicely – and this year’s back court is in good shape.  A couple of additions will give it some serious scoring talent – and make it fun to watch.

Dymond Simon is back this year, after sitting out last season with a knee injury.  Before the injury, the MacDonald’s All-American from St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix was leading the team in scoring and, and season’s end, was given the team’s Sparky award to recognize her ability to ignite the spark that elevates the team’s overall play.

Turner-Thorne has been anxiously awaiting the return of that spark, to help get the Sun Devils back to post-season play.  They have had post-season appearances in each of the last 11 seasons, but had a disappointing exit in the second round of the WNIT last year.

And incoming junior college transfer, Olivia Major, should also play a major role in that effort.  The Washington HS (Phoenix) grad brings a 20-point scoring average from Central Arizona College, which won a national championship with her on the floor.

Major was an NJCAA All-American and the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year last season, finishing her JUCO career as the sixth leading scorer in the country.

The other two guards in that national championship back court at CAC, Tenaya Watson and Markisha Patterson, are also on this year’s ASU roster.

Add to that incoming guards Adrianne Thomas and Olivia Simmons.  The 5’9″ Thomas is an explosive combo guard rated as one of the top guards in the country, while Simmons brings a little more size at 6’0″ and is a natural leader on the floor.

This will be Turner-Thorne’s 15th season at the head of the ASU program.  And it may prove to be one of the most exciting from a fan’s perspective.