(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Despite getting off to a slow start, Arizona State was able to fend off their rivals, the Arizona Wildcats winning 71-54. Sophie Brunner led the scoring for Arizona State with 26 points on the night, continuing her streak of dominance.
Arizona and Arizona State faced off just two nights ago, when ASU didn’t only prevail, they dominated with a final score of 88-41. Arizona was hoping to bounce back tonight and deliver an upset over ASU but fell short.
The first half ended close, with a score of 31-28 in ASU’s favor, but the Sun Devils broke away with a 19-6 run to start off the second half. Sophie Brunner came up big for ASU towards the end of the game scoring 20 points in the second half.
Player of the Game: Sophie Brunner
As mentioned earlier, Brunner broke open this second half with 20 points, leading the team with a total of 26 points on the night, her career high. She also was crucial down low for rebounds, finishing with nine rebounds just one shy of a double-double. Sophie Brunner constantly created opportunities for herself, fighting for the ball anyway possible and finishing once she got it shooting 73 percent on the night.
Stat of the Night: 42 points in the paint
Arizona did a great job at guarding the perimeter, holding Katie Hempen and Elisha Davis to a combined 11 points, but that left a chink in their armor when it came to the paint. ASU scored 42 below the free throw line, helping make up for the lack of production outside of it. Those 42 points accounted for 49% percent of ASU’s scoring production on the night. Brunner, Quinn Dornstauder and Kelsey Moos came up big for the Sun Devils when the perimeter wasn’t much of an option for most of the game.
Biggest Concern: Slow Start
Arizona State hasn’t been known for starting slow, in fact they the start off with large runs more often than not, but tonight they almost dug themselves a hole against Arizona. ASU seemed unable to take control of this game in the first half, with their lead not eclipsing eight points over the first 20. After handling Arizona easily on Thursday night, there was no reason for ASU to struggle just two days later, but that they did. Part of the Sun Devil’s winning formula is their ability to start quickly, and if they want to keep their ranked status, they’ll need to continue digging holes for their opponents, not themselves.
The Sun Devils take on Cal in California Friday. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM MST and will be streamed through Pac-12 networks.