With the way the ASU women’s basketball team is starting games of late, they aren’t giving opponents a chance to come back in the game.
Against Washington earlier on Saturday, ASU led by 24 at the break. Versus Washington State on Monday, ASU jumped out to another quick start. The Sun Devils led 21-7 behind a balanced scoring attack – its first six field goals all came from different players.
After that point in the game, the Cougars settled down, but ASU’s lead was never threatened and the No. 18 Sun Devils (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) held on for a 78-64 win over WSU (10-3, 1-1 Pac-12).
“They’re a team that feeds off when they score,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “They are a great offensive team. When they score, they get excited, their defense gets energized. When they don’t score, they’re usually, at least on film from what we saw, not as good… I just thought our kids were ready to go, prepared and determined and executed the gameplan well.”
https://vimeo.com/116040879 Video by Justin Janssen, Sports Editor
Redshirt junior guard Katie Hempen led all players with 21 points, giving ASU a presence from beyond the arc (4-for-9 from 3-point range). ASU also put aside its struggles in prior years against Washington State behind (team had lost four straight in the series).
“Today I felt the most relaxed I’ve been,” Hempen said. “I think it’s because it’s Washington State, man. It’s been two years since we beat them.”
Early on, though, the frontcourt that stole the show ASU.
Sophomore forward Kelsey Moos – related to WSU athletic director Bill Moos – scored 15 points, 13 of those in the first half and made her first seven field goal attempts. Sophomore forward Sophie Brunner also scored 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
“Growing up, Washington State was our college,” Moos said. “I have a lot of ties to Washington State. A lot of my friends go to school there so I just try to use it to be that much more aggressive.”
All season, WSU’s attack has been led by two players - guards Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley (both average between 19 and 20 points per game). ASU’s defense played well against the duo, forcing them into 13 turnovers. Galdeira was assertive throughout the game trying to bring WSU back, but it took Presley longer to get settled.
Galdeira led WSU with 19 points, though shot just 6-for-18, while Presley scored 15 (just four in the first half).
“I thought most of what they got, they earned,” Turner Thorne said. “They were tough shots. By the end we got some travels and they missed a few. I thought we did a good job of just making them work for every touch… I think we wore them down.”
ASU’s next game is against UA on Thursday, Jan. 8 in Tucson. The teams will also play that Saturday in Tempe. Both games tip at 6 p.m. and can be seen on Pac-12 Networks.
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