The lady Sun Devils open their 2013-14 basketball season this Saturday, Nov. 9th against the University of Hawai’i at Wells Fargo Arena. Last season, Arizona State suffered its first losing record (13-15) since 1999-2000, landing them at No. 9 in the Pac-12.
Last year, Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne returned from her one-season leave of absence with hopes to turn the program’s fortune around. This year, despite being ranked No. 9 in the Pac-12 Coaches preseason poll, the lady Sun Devils remain hopeful.
Senior guard Deja Mann, who was forced to redshirt last season due to injury, and transfer Katie Hempen, who redshirted due to NCAA transfer rules, hope to help Turner Thorne return to postseason play.
Also looking to improve the team are freshmen forwards Kelsey Moos and Sophie Brunner as well as center Quinn Dornstauder. After the Maroon and Gold Scrimmage in October, Turner Thorne commented that these freshmen will be key, particularly their ability to rebound and run the floor.
ASU junior guard Promise Amukamara, the team’s second-leading scorer last season, will be looked at to perform against the University of Hawai’i too. Amukamara averaged eight points per game and had the highest free throw percentage at 82.8 percent.
This will be UH head coach Laura Beeman’s second season with the Rainbow Wahine. Last year, Beeman’s squad finished 17-14 and tied for No. 2 in the Big West with a record of 13-5 and a tournament appearance, their first in 10 seasons. With nine returners, UH looks to again reach the postseason.
All eyes will be on senior forward Kamilah Jackson. Jackson made the All-Big West first team last year by leading the Rainbow Wahine with 15.1 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Wahine guard Shawna-Lei Kuehu was named BWC Sixth Player of the Year and averaged 8.4 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Sydney Haydel was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year with 33 steals.
In a recent exhibition game against Hawai’i Hilo, the ‘Bows swept 70-35. Four players scored in double digits: Kuehu (14), Karaitiana (13), Jackson (10) and Diane Moore (who came off the bench) led with 18 points.
Taking all of this into consideration, ASU should come out with some fire Saturday evening. With the cloud of last year’s poor season still hanging over them, the lady Sun Devils will want to make a statement and return to prominence.
Tip-off for the Salute to Service and Camper Reunion Night game is at 4 p.m.
You can reach Katy Burge on Twitter @katyburge133 or via email at email@example.com