ASU women's basketball dominates Arizona to split Territorial Cup

The Sun Devils led for all but 37 seconds on Sunday to get back in the win column

ASU women’s basketball defeated its in-state rival from down south in the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday, 67-54 at Wells Fargo Arena to split this season's Territorial Cup.

"I thought it was just a really good team win," coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "I thought we got everybody in the game, everybody contributed. I thought we just responded well and played a lot harder today, really liked our first half especially defensively."

The Sun Devils entered the game with a little extra pep in their step — maybe because it was the seniors' last game against the Wildcats, or maybe because of the bitter loss they were served by Arizona on Friday night in Tucson. Whatever it was, ASU seemed to have some heightened motivation. 

"This game's more than just about our team, about our coaches, everything like that," senior forward Sophie Brunner said. "It's about our school. It means everything to our school and there is a lot of history behind it all. We're all very aware of that and everyone pays attention to this game — more than even games in March."

ASU certainly put that motivation on full-display Sunday from start to finish. The Sun Devils never trailed the Wildcats, and led for all but 37 seconds as they cruised to victory.

Like coach Turner Thorne said, it began with the defense-side of things. The Sun Devils forced Arizona into 14 first-half turnovers, five of which came via steals. 

"Honestly, we didn't even practice yesterday, we watched the game and they just saw it," Turner Thorne said in reference to Friday's disappointing defensive performance. "They saw it wasn't the effort that they were capable of giving and they made the adjustments. They knew they could work a lot harder, and I thought we did."

ASU went up by double-digits midway through the second quarter on a spin-move layup from freshman guard Robbi Ryan. Sophomore center Charnea Johnson-Chapman caught the Wildcats napping and stole the ensuing in-bound pass, which then resulted in a bucket by freshman point guard Reili Richardson to extend the lead to 24-10 at the six minute mark.

Sophomore guard Sabrina Haines kept her hot hand going on Sunday as well, leading ASU in scoring for the game with 13 points, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point land in the process.

"I wasn't super happy with how my shot was feeling today," Haines said despite her perfect performance from the field. "My teammates got me in great positions. They really give me confidence to shoot, and so it's really all thanks to them that I'm even able to be in that position to put the ball in the basket."

Arizona shot a decent 45 percent from the field in the first-half, but went 0-for-6 from the 3-point line. ASU had a bit higher percentage from the field at 48 percent, while making three of their eight attempts from beyond the arch.

The second half wasn’t much different from the first for the Sun Devils. Brunner started by opening up the third quarter with two consecutive breakaway layups to stunt the Wildcats’ confidence. She finished with 10 points and moved into eighth place on ASU's all-time scoring list. 

"I felt like we knew exactly what we needed to do," Turner Thorne said. "They just needed to own what they didn't do Friday night and bring it today. I felt like that's what they did." 

ASU eventually stretched its lead up to 20 points with a corner three from freshman guard Sydney Goodson with about a minute left to go in the third quarter, and the team never looked back.

The Sun Devils now have two games remaining in the regular season, both at home against USC and UCLA respectively next weekend.

"This will be probably the toughest home-weekend that we've had in a really long time," Turner Thorne said.


Reach the reporter at thandlan@asu.edu or follow @Tyler_Handlan on Twitter.

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