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ASU Women’s Basketball Analysis: Sophie Brunner Steps Up

(Photo: Brooke Faber/WCSN)

Cal State Bakersfield just couldn’t find an answer for Sophie Brunner.

Led by Brunner’s tough play, the Sun Devils (2-0) rode a fast start to secure a dominating win over the visiting Roadrunners by a score of ­­­­­­­83-54.

The focus coming into this game was whether Brunner could replicate her imposing performance in the opening game, and she didn’t disappoint.

From the opening tip, Brunner asserted herself in the paint for the Sun Devils, dropping 22 points and pulling down seven rebounds despite drawing double-teams throughout the night. It was apparent that CSU Bakersfield did not have anyone strong enough to body up Brunner in the post.

“I just try to do things consistently,” Brunner said. “That is my main focus this year.”

Katie Hempen found her shot in the second half after a slow start to the game, knocking down a pair of three-pointers en route to a ­­­­10 point performance. As she began to feel it from beyond the arc, the Roadrunners were forced to extend their defense, opening up the paint and allowing for even more made baskets by Brunner.

It wasn’t just the offense of Arizona State that stood out tonight, but the defense as well. The team looked much improved from their opening night matchup with Middle Tennessee State, where they seemed to lack the intensity a defensive-minded coach like Charli Turner Thorne would desire.

The defensive effort was led by Promise Amukamara, who was given the difficult task of containing CSU Bakersfield’s star player Tyonna Outland. Outland, CSU Bakersfield’s leading scorer (26.5 points per game through her first two games) was held to a modest nine point output against the Sun Devils.

“[We] followed the game plan,” Amukamara said. “Offense took care of itself after we played good defense.”

Thanks to the defensive efforts of Amukamara, Outland struggled to find easy looks, forcing the Roadrunners to try and find other ways to score. Without Outland’s normal production, CSU Bakersfield looked lost in its half-court sets and was unable to match its 86 points per game average of the season.

Amukamara was efficient on offense as well, producing 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists to go along with two steals.

Next up the Sun Devils will travel to take on the Miami Hurricanes on Nov. 25.

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