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WSU vs ASU: Hempen’s 21 Points Help Sink Cougers

(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)

Arizona State has played two conference games this season, and the Sun Devils haven’t trailed for a minute in either. Tonight the Sun Devils displayed their dominance against Washington State, handling the Cougars 78-64.

Arizona State’s strength hasn’t gone unnoticed—ASU keeps climbing up in the rankings of the AP Poll, moving up four spots from No. 22 to No. 18 today before their game against WSU. This is in part due to their well-balanced approach to offense. Once again, ASU had multiple players score double digits, four in all, something that has become a staple in ASU’s play this year. Katie Hempen led ASU with 21 points, her first game with over 20 points this season.

Washington State came into the game 11-2 behind top scorers Lia Galdeira (19.6 points per game) and Tia Presley (19.3 points per game). Galdeira tallied 19 points by the end of the night, but Presley held below her average. She did have some success against an ASU defense that usually is able to shut down top scorers, but ended the night with 15 points.

Player of the Game: Kelsey Moos
From a scoring standpoint, Kelsey Moos had a near perfect game, going 7-9 inside the arc with one three-pointer. Not often does a player have 80-percent accuracy when shooting throughout the game, and Moos was able to do that, tallying 15 points in all. Moos took smart shots and didn’t limit herself to one spot on the floor. It’s clear that Moos is comfortable shooting all over the floor now, with a majority of her points coming from outside of the paint. She also wasn’t too shabby when it came to grabbing rebounds, finishing with seven on the night, tied with Sophie Brunner to lead the Sun Devils. All around, Moos had her best game of the season so far.

Stat of the Night: 39:32
As mentioned earlier, the Sun Devils didn’t give up their lead at all this game and were only tied for 28 seconds of this matchup. That means ASU was in control for 39 minutes and 32 seconds of this game, and that has been the tune of ASU’s season. If ASU starts out strong and with a lead, they will end strong and with a lead, never or rarely giving up that lead. The Sun Devils started off the game shooting 60 percent to end the first half, giving them up to a 17 point lead in that half. This can no longer be seen as the opposing team digging a hole too deep to climb out of, but rather ASU building themselves a mountain that can’t be climbed by the opposing team.

Biggest Concern: Lack of Bench Points
The Sun Devils seemed to have improved on their bench play as of late, but tonight was a bit of a regression. The bench only put up 11 points on the night, or 7.6 percent of ASU’s total scoring. There isn’t any reason to believe this will be a major setback, but it’s something that ASU can’t continually repeat. Quinn Dornstauder and Eliza Norman had gotten into a groove in recent weeks, and that needs to pick up again to make sure ASU doesn’t start to rely on their starters too much.

What’s Next:
The Sun Devils head to Tucson on Thursday to start off the desert rivalry this season against the Wildcats. Tipoff is at 6:00 PM MST at the McKale Center.

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