In the 2012-13 season, the ASU women’s basketball team won 13 games. Due to this, coaches and media members picked the team to finish in the bottom quarter of the conference.
The Sun Devils, however, had different plans. The team won 23 games, including a trip to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.
Coach Charli Turner Thorne recognized that predictions are based on the previous year’s performance, so they were justified in being put toward the bottom.
“The previous year, we had a very uncharacteristic year because of me transitioning back and the recruiting not getting done and things like that,” Turner Thorne said.
Turner Thorne said she believes that the ranking helped her inexperienced team go into the season.
“I think it served us really well,” Turner Thorne said. “We had a super young team, which hadn’t done a real lot, even though the tradition of our program is quite strong, they really hadn’t had a ton of success, so it sort of allowed our team to go, ‘OK, well we’ll show you.’ ”
Turner Thorne was impressed with her team’s response to the poor preseason rankings.
“They were very mature with their response,” Turner Thorne said. “(There was) not a lot of lip service, just that much more determined attitude and conviction to prove people wrong.”
The team started with a win over Hawaii but followed it up with a bad loss to San Diego.
Turner Thorne told her team after its loss to the Toreros to settle down and play its game.
“I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easy, or if we put too much pressure on ourselves,” Turner Thorne said. “After that game was just stepped back and said, ‘Let’s just play our butts off; nobody expects us to do anything,’ and I thought we just really figured things out from there.”
Turner Thorne has fond memories of every win, but her team’s win over North Carolina on Nov. 9 in Cancun, Mexico, stood out as the most satisfying.
“I think the North Carolina win was really fun,” Turner Thorne said. “It was an overtime win, and it was at a time when we were just trying to earn some respect and reputation back, and it had been a while since we had beaten a team ranked No. 11 in the nation.”
The team faltered a bit down the stretch, dropping six of its last eight regular season games, but Turner Thorne felt that her team’s 20-3 mark before that stretch makes it a successful year.
“I think winning 20 out of 23 games pretty much defines your season,” Turner Thorne said. “We lost two games that we shouldn’t have lost down the stretch, but at the same time, we had to let up because we had a hobbled point guard and a starting five player that was hobbled as well.”
Looking towards next year, Turner Thorne likes the experience her team has gained and hopes it will carry forward to more success.
“As much as we were successful this year, we did it without a lot of experience,” Turner Thorne said. “Given a lot of the players that played a lot and to have them back should help us.”
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