(Photo: Tyler Rittenhouse/WCSN)
After defeating No. 23 California early in the week, No. 25 ASU women’s basketball knocked off No. 24 Stanford 73-66 on Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena.
ASU finished the game with 20 turnovers, which was nearly double its season average of 11.1. The Sun Devils were able to dominate the glass as they out-rebounded Stanford 47-24 and finished the game with 22 second-chance points.
“Our core group, they keep taking turns and making plays. The key to this game was controlling the boards,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Our team executed the game plan by controlling the boards, taking away their transition, mixing up our defenses.”
The Sun Devils were led by junior center Charnea Johnson-Chapman, who tied her career-high with 16 points to go along with 9 rebounds.
“I just wanted to come out and do what my team needed me to do,” Johnson-Chapman said. “We are a well-rounded team to where if someone has on off day, we have other people who can step up and can take on that role and do what they have to do to help the team.”
Reili Richardson came into the game ranked first in the nation in assist to turnover ratio at 5.38, but had an uncharacteristically poor performance protecting the ball as she finished the game with a mere two assists with three turnovers.
The struggle to maintain the ball spread throughout the backcourt as fellow backcourt teammate Robbi Ryan finished the game with six turnovers.
Ryan made up for her performance by holding Stanford’s leading scorer Brittany Mcphee to 12 points on the day, compared to her season average of 19 points, and gave the senior guard contested looks all day as she finished shooting 5-of-18 from the floor.
“She’s a great offensive player, she likes to get to the rim, so I was just focusing on not fouling and keeping her in front of me and I knew my teammates had my back,” Ryan said.
ASU was led on the defensive end by Kiara Russell, who finished the game with five steals and was able to fuel multiple runs throughout the game from her defensive play. The most critical run came in the closing minutes of the second quarter, as Russell came away with two steals that began an 11-0 run that the Sun Devils took into the half.
The second quarter was the most important for ASU as they outscored Stanford 21-7 behind 20 bench points in the first half and nine players scoring for the team as well.
The game remained close throughout as Stanford took the lead in the fourth quarter briefly, but the Sun Devils were able to put together a run behind a two-possession sequence. A Ryan three-pointer and Kianna Ibis putback changed the tide of the game.
The Sun Devils (13-3, 4-0 Pac-12) have two more major tests ahead in No. 16 Oregon State and No. 9 Oregon. Turner Thorne’s team is riding high after back-to-back wins over ranked teams.
“We should be pretty confident, we’re really working hard, and we’re really prepared and that’s where confidence comes from,” Turner Thorne said. “We’re enjoying a little bit of an underdog mindset this year.”