Women’s hoops prevails, fixes errors in first exhibition

Sophomore guard Promise Amukamara drives down the lane during the Sun Devils’ 67-62 loss to California last season on Feb. 4. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

The ASU women’s basketball team played an exhibition against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves to start off the Sun Devils’ season and won 72-42 Sunday.

ASU displayed its defensive abilities. It dominated the glass, outrebounding the Seawolves 49-28 and totaling for 14 steals and six blocks.

Sophomore guard Promise Amukamara and senior guard Micaela Pickens scored 20 and 14 points, respectively. They combined for 14-16 shooting with Amukamara going a perfect 9-for-9 from the field.

Both starting guards, Amukamara and Pickens, looked very comfortable with each other and brought tons of energy to the team.

“We’re energized,” Pickens said. “We keep going and going and bring that energy every time.”

Amukamara added that both hold each other accountable in the event that the other is slipping.

The first half consisted of very few perimeter shots by the Sun Devils. Early on, ASU tried to pound it inside on Alaska-Anchorage, which only sported one player who was at least 6 feet tall.

Turnovers kept the Sun Devils from executing to the best of their ability.

“There was a lack of shots because we turned the ball over 16 times,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I mean that’s the biggest reason you didn’t see more shots, it’s cause we didn’t get them.”

ASU and Alaska-Anchorage had 23 and 26 turnovers, respectively.

“But the shots we did get – they were (against) a very small team,” Thorne said. “We’re going take the highest percentage shot we can get and be disciplined and smart.”

ASU only shot 38.5 percent from the field in the first half, but the last 20 minutes were a different story.

The Sun Devils kept their full-court press going as well as playing a bit of a 2-3 zone.

The second half saw Pickens scoring eight points in the first five minutes. While up 50-32 with about 10 minutes to go, the Sun Devils went on a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 59-32.

ASU increased its defensive pressure and disrupted the passing lanes. Amukamara and freshman guard Arnecia Hawkins each had four steals each. Pickens came up with three takeaways.

The turnovers created by the Sun Devils on the defensive end are what allowed them to execute their best offensive asset: Their transition game.

“If we can get by players in the transition, that’s our best offense,” Pickens said. “I think we’re more comfortable in the transition.”

Thorne has stressed the importance of ASU’s shooting in the past, and the Sun Devils shot a decent 45.8 percent on Sunday.

The Sun Devils showed they could evaluate and adjust. They flipped it around by taking care of the ball and picking up the tempo in the second half, Thorne said.

“They’re able to go out and do a good job making adjustments,” Thorne said. “I’ve coached a long time, with a lot of teams, and even some really good teams I had, we weren’t the best at that. So that’s really important quality in the team.”

 

Reach the reporter at gdemano@asu.edu