ASU women’s basketball prepares for Utah’s dynamic duo

ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne admitted that her team had not been practicing as well as they are capable of going into the Sun Devils’ 80-54 loss to Stanford Monday night.

This week, that’s no longer the case.

Turner Thorne noticed a difference in her team’s effort during Tuesday’s practice.

“I thought our focus and our energy was good,” Turner Thorne said. “We worked really hard, and they responded how I thought they would.”

Senior guard Deja Mann had similar sentiments about her and her teammates’ efforts in the gym.

“I thought practice today was a step back in the right direction,” Mann said. “It was more focused and more connected.”

Turner Thorne compared the way the Utes are built to a very familiar Pac-12 foe.

“There’s a lot of similarities to Stanford,” Turner Thorne said. “Defensively, they play the same way. From the inside out, they’re going to sit down and be physical.”

Utah senior forward Michelle Plouffe has drawn a lot of attention with her play this season, and ASU’s head coach has taken notice.

“(Plouffe) is 6-foot-3, but she can shoot excellently from the 3-point line,” Turner Thorne said. “She takes you off the dribble, she has a pull-up shot, she has a low block game, etc.”

Turner Thorne was not short on praise for the Utes’ star.

“When you get a player who’s that big, that versatile, and with those guard skills, it’s incredible,” Turner Thorne said. “And she’s just really smart and savvy, too, so we have a great challenge”

The Utes don’t only have Plouffe; they also have freshman forward Emily Potter.

“Last year you kind of had the dynamic duo, but Potter has come in and averaged almost a double-double,” Turner Thorne said. “She’s a great player, long shot blocker and can score inside and out.”

With the trouble the Utes can cause, Turner Thorne knows the importance of her team not getting ahead of itself during the season and has adopted a one-game-at-a-time attitude.

“Obviously, I have staff members who each scout,” Turner Thorne said. “That being said, we won’t say Colorado until after the Utah game.”

ASU plays Utah Friday at 7 p.m. in Salt Lake City.

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