ASU women’s hoops embarrasses Sacred Heart in ASU Classic opener

The ASU women’s basketball team continued to roll in its ASU Classic opener Saturday afternoon, demolishing Sacred Heart 81-49 without freshman forward Kelsey Moos.

Moos sat out Saturday’s game because of concussion symptoms following a collision in last week’s win over Arkansas State.

“(Moos) is a day-by-day decision,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We actually thought we might have her today but she wasn’t quite ready.”

The Sun Devils were unbothered, cruising to their seventh victory of the 2013-14 season. ASU has now scored more than 80 points in six of its first eight games.

Freshman forward Sophie Brunner took responsibility for the post in Moos’ absence, scoring a season-high 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Deja Mann also totaled 15 points.

“(Moos is) a big part of our offensive and defensive side of thing so with her out we knew that we had to step it up,” Brunner said. “Collectively as a post team we picked it up for her.”

Three different Sun Devils scored in double figures and every player that saw the court scored at least two points.

ASU (7-1) opened up the first half ahead 16-4 and continued to pile on the points throughout. The Sun Devils finished the half up 37-11 because of a 9-0 run. More impressive than ASU’s scoring was its defense. Sacred Heart (2-5) shot just 19 percent from the floor and went 0-4 from the free throw line. It took the Pioneers more than 16 minutes to reach double digits.

ASU was also extremely stingy with charity stripe opportunities, allowing the Pioneers just four total free throws. Sacred Heart missed all four.

The Pioneers matched their first half output in just over five minutes with 12 quick points. Sacred Heart continued to press offensively until the final minute, eventually tripling its first half output of 11 points with 38 in the second half.

“I was very not happy with the beginning of the second half,” Turner Thorne said. “We just need to be better at evaluating and adjusting.”

Senior guard Ericka Norman was the only Pioneer to score in double digits. She finished with 14 points and five boards. Junior guard Gabrielle Washington, who went to Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, was their second-leading scorer with seven points.

In the first game of the ASU Classic, Harvard, which led by as much as 23 points in the second half, fell victim to a remarkable comeback by Long Beach State. The 49ers outscored the Crimson 46-28 in the second half, earning their spot in the tournament championship game against ASU Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve seen a lot of defenses but not this many in one game,” Turner Thorne said. “They’re going to full court press, three-quarter court press, half court trap. We haven’t seen that for 40 minutes yet.”

That game will begin 20 minutes after the tournament’s first game between Harvard and Sacred Heart at noon.

Reach the reporter at bmargiot@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @BenMargiott