ASU women's basketball ends losing streak with win over Colorado
In the stretch run of the season, it is important to win as many games as possible to secure positioning in the postseason. The ASU women's basketball team took a definite step in the right direction Friday night.
The No. 20 Sun Devils (21-6, 10-5 Pac-12) won a hard-fought battle with Colorado 55-51 Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Coach Charli Turner Thorne said she knows her team's recent stretch is not indicative of its skill level and knew it had to get back on track.
"It's nice to get over the hump today," Turner Thorne said. "Obviously our team has gone through a stretch that we haven't experienced all year."
ASU played exactly how Turner Thorne told her team they needed to in order to win the game.
"The two things we said we had to do to win were limit their free throws and limit their second shots and we said we'd find enough points to win, and that's what happened," Turner Thorne said.
Redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen led ASU in points and was the lone Sun Devil in double figures with 13 points off the bench. Hempen was 3-of-4 on shots behind the 3-point line, something she said she worked on all week.
"I just did a lot of extra shooting this past week outside of practice," Hempen said. "I think that's what helped me the most in getting my form back and getting comfortable with the ball in my hand."
The Buffaloes' (14-12, 4-11 Pac-12) strength was down low against ASU. Sophomore forward Arielle Roberson put in eight points of her own and paced Colorado with six rebounds. Junior forward Jen Reese scored 18 points and shot 8-for-12 from the field.
Reese has scored 40 points in her two games against the Sun Devils this year, but Hempen realized Reese is not the whole team.
"Even though she had 18 points, we shut down the other players," Hempen said. "One person can't beat a team."
Freshman forward Kelsey Moos defended Reese and pointed out that Reese's multifaceted offense approach causes problems for opponents.
"Reese is a great offensive player," Moos said. "She is definitely a shooter, so we knew we had to deny her the whole game and we knew we had to deny her release. So the key is to do the work before so she doesn't even get the ball."
With the win, the Sun Devils improved to 12-0 in games decided by five points or fewer or in overtime, a trait Turner Thorne has embraced.
"Well this is who we are," Turner Thorne said. "We don't really blow people out, we just find a way to win."
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger.