ASU women’s basketball blown out by Stanford in first home loss of season

In most of their games this season, the ASU women’s basketball team got breaks that allowed them to stay in games and win games that they maybe should not have. Monday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena, the Sun Devils felt what it’s like to not be in a game at the end.

The No. 14 Sun Devils (15-3, 4-2 Pac-12) fell behind early and never recovered, leading to an 80-56 loss to the No. 4 Cardinal (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12).

ASU’s last lead of the game came just three minutes in at 8-6. From there, Stanford went on a 9-0 run that swung the momentum towards the Cardinal.

The first half of Monday evening’s game was tightly contested, mostly because senior forward Chiney Ogwumike had to sit out a large portion of the period due to foul trouble.

Head coach Charli Turner Thorne had nothing but praise for Stanford’s star forward.

“I think that she is the best post in the country,” Turner Thorne said. “Who’s better than her?”

Ogwumike did what she has done all season for the Cardinal: dominate. The forward scored 30 points a brought down 16 rebounds to pace all players on both sides.

“She’s just really smart,” freshman forward Sophie Brunner said. “If you take one thing away, she’ll go to the next, if you take that away she’ll go to the next thing. It was a good test, but she’s really good.”

Despite shooting only 32.4 percent from the field, the Sun Devils made only one less shot than the Cardinal and had a manageable seven-point deficit going into the break.

“There was a lack of focus today,” redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen said. “We knew what we needed to do and we didn’t do it, but it makes us realize what we need to do and how we need to prepare.”

ASU was outscored by 17 points in the second half, turning what was once a close game into a blowout.

“We knew what they were going to do,” Turner Thorne said. “They ran everything we went over. We just weren’t ourselves today.”

The bright spots for ASU came in the form of Brunner, who tallied a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Hempen, who scored 13 points off the bench.

The Sun Devils will next take the floor on the road Friday night in Salt Lake City against Utah, and Turner Thorne doesn’t think there will be any residual effects from Monday’s loss.

“We didn’t have a very tough effort, we didn’t feel like today,” Turner Thorne said. “I am very confident that is team is going to take this hard and respond.”

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger