ASU women's basketball coach says team is recovering from slump

Junior guard Arnecia Hawkins attempts a layup in a game against Middle Tennessee, Friday. Nov. 14, 2014 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. ASU hosts No. 12 Stanford this weekend. (Photo by Ben Moffat) Junior guard Arnecia Hawkins attempts a layup in a game against Middle Tennessee, Friday. Nov. 14, 2014 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. ASU hosts No. 12 Stanford this weekend. (Photo by Ben Moffat)

Over the past two weeks, the No. 10 ASU women's basketball team (20-2, 9-1 Pac-12) has gone through what head coach Charli Turner Thorne has called a slump.

“Last year we had it at the wrong time,” she said in an interview with NBC Sports Radio 1060 AM after the Utah game Sunday.

She added that she “jokingly” told her team it couldn’t wait until mid-February to get caught in it this season.

“That’s when you have to be peaking and playing your best basketball,” she said.

If the slump is over, this week is the perfect time to get back into shape.

Turner Thorne thinks it’s behind them after a limited Monday practice and a day off on Tuesday.

“Recovery is huge,” she said over the phone on Wednesday. “We had a great practice today.”

ASU will have to translate that to game time. The team faces No. 12 Stanford on Friday for a fight for second place in the Pac-12.

“(They’re) coming here with a lot of motivation,” Turner Thorne said.

In addition to snatching sole possession of second place, Stanford is looking to redeem itself from a home loss to ASU earlier in the season. It was ASU’s first victory at Maples Pavilion in 31 years.

Turner Thorne said she doesn’t think their extra motivation will be a factor.

“We’re not going to make it about them,” she said. “We’re used to seeing everybody’s best effort anyway.”

ASU outrebounded Stanford by a whopping 22 in that matchup.

She said that she doesn’t think the team can pull off another plus-20 rebounding margin, but there’s a different way ASU can pull out this game.

Last time, ASU had 20 turnovers and only 10 takeaways.

In general, ASU’s turnover ratio has slipped over the last month. Coming into Pac-12 play, ASU had grown accustomed to grabbing a double-digit takeaway margin over opponents. Now, it’s not that extreme.

“As the season wears on and people get more familiar with you that’s pretty typical,” Turner Thorne said. “It’s important that we take care of the ball.”

This will also be important when they play against Cal on Sunday. Turner Thorne said the Golden Bears use different types of defenses including a 1-3-1 and a half court trap.

With ASU’s offense going through periods of stalling, it will be important for them to hold on to the ball and maintain possession.

The Sun Devils also need to create some offense off of their defense. This will create a larger point differential in their favor, and just as importantly, will stop Cal from getting easy hoops.

Cal has been playing well lately and it’s in large part due to the return of sophomore forward Courtney Range.

“She’s an inside and outside (presence),” Turner Thorne said. “She gives them another top player.”

Before she was injured, Turner Thorne said, she averaged about 14 points and eight rebounds per game. She returned on Jan. 18, the first game against ASU, but she was still getting her footing after missing time. She’s playing near her normal level and Cal hasn’t lost since.

 

Reach the reporter at logan.newman@asu.edu or follow @Logan_Newsman on Twitter.

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