(Photo: Eliav Gabay/WCSN)
The first game jitters were kept to a minimum for the Arizona State women’s basketball team.
The Sun Devils took care of business against Illinois State Friday at Wells Fargo Arena,leading the whole way and winning 76-40.
“I thought that was just a nice team win, head coach Charlie Turner Thorne said. “Everybody can score. Everyone that goes in can flat out put the ball in the basket.”
Opening up in full court man-to-man pressure, the Sun Devils looked to use their physical advantage to knock out the Redbirds early.
ASU jumped out to an early 11-0 lead, playing stifling defense on the perimeter and feeding their posts with ease on offense.
The Sun Devils forced six Redbird turnovers only three minutes into the game, scoring nine of their first 11 points off of them.
The Sun Devils shot 50 percent from the field in the first quarter, en route to 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
ASU looked to dish the ball to their posts, senior center Quinn Dornstauder and senior forward Kelsey Moos as much as they could in the first half.
The Redbirds responded with effective double teams, making life difficult for ASU’s post players.
The Sun Devils however closed out the first half on an 8-0 run once again making their living off Illinois State turnovers, pushing ASU to a 41-20 advantage and giving ASU momentum as they headed into the locker room.
Senior forward Sophie Brunner lead the team in scoring with seven at the halfway mark, going 3-6 from the field.
13 different Sun Devils saw game action in the first half, displaying the depth that Turner Thorne has to work with.
We feel really comfortable with whoever we’re playing with in practice Brunner said. “Having that deep of a lineup is a big strength of ours because we know that we can really on a lot of people.”
The Redbirds switched to a 3-2 zone to open the second half of play as ASU worked to not let up their built up lead.
The Sun Devils continued to do what they had been doing best all game; force turnovers.
At the end of the third quarter Illinois State had turned the ball over 23 times. More than half of ASU’s scoring came off Redbird turnovers.
“We did a really good job of turning people over, and we’re counting on that,” Turner Thorne said. “We have a lot of room to improve, and this is the first game of this young team and we’re just scratching the surface.”
ASU also tallied a huge advantage on the boards. The Sun Devils out rebounded the Redbirds 45-25.
Sophomore guard Armani Hawkins lead ASU in scoring, dropping 14 points.
“I’m more comfortable shooting,” Hawkins said. “I just have to give credit to teammates. We moved well for each other today.”
As time winded down, ASU’s bench players cemented the lead, closing out the game.
The Sun Devils are back in action Sunday at 2:oo in Tempe against San Jose State.