(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/WCSN)
Arizona State bounced back with their 67-54 win over the Arizona after losing their last close game to them Friday in Tucson.
“I would say we definitely brought more energy than Friday’s game,” Kiara Russell said. “You know, we cracked them in the beginning and it was just a great game.”
Both teams struggled to score at the very beginning of the game as both teams were only shooting 33 percent halfway through the first quarter. As a result, both teams went into a full court defense to try and force some turnovers. The fast pace worked to ASU’s advantage as the Sun Devil’s great defense translated to easy shots.
The Sun Devil’s defense was just too much for Arizona today. The Sun Devils went on to force 25 turnovers and scored 22 points off of those turnovers.
“Our main focus going into this game was to pick up our defense,” Sabrina Haines said.
Arizona had trouble stopping ASU’s offense especially with the teams even scoring. Everyone except for Johnson-Chapman scored tonight.
Arizona State got their early lead and never let up. The Sun Devils lead for 39 minutes and 23 seconds in their dominant performance.
Arizona State got back to .500 in Pac-12 play with this win as they’re now 8-8 in conference play. Arizona on the other hand is now 4-12 and it appears they will finish the season at the bottom of the Pac-12.
Player of the game: Sophie Brunner
Brunner was second in scoring for the team with 10 points on 5 of 7 shots. She also had five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and three steals. While her stats didn’t fly off the page, she had a very complete game.
“This game I more than just like our team, our coaches and everything like that,” Brunner said. “It’s about our school. It means everything to our school. There’s a lot of history behind it all and we’re all very aware of that.”
Biggest concern: Ball control
Arizona State struggled controlling the ball tonight. The Sun Devils had a whopping 21 turnovers. The team will be looking to really improve this in the final games of the season and into the Pac-12 tournament.
However, Coach Charlie Turner Thorne wasn’t too concerned about this.
“I could have subbed differently down the stretch and we didn’t have the best lineup in,” Thorne said. “It was sloppy, it was rushed and it wasn’t as poised as I wanted it to be. But honestly we won the game and these are really young kids, we’re going to use this film and use this tape to make sure it never happens again.”
Stat of the night: 25
ASU forced 25 turnovers as their defense dominated and frustrated the Wildcats. This is the kind of tough defense that the Sun Devils will need to make a post season run.
“We came out, we were super aggressive on defense and we made them uncomfortable,” Brunner said. “We made them work for every touch and I think it really paid off in the end.”
What’s next: The Trojans
USC will travel to Tempe to face the Sun Devils Friday, February 24. Tip off is at 8:00 p.m. MST at Wells Fargo Arena.