Sun Devils WBB start cold in Minnesota on route to their first loss

ASU struggled to shoot all afternoon, finishing 34% from the field

The No. 19 ASU women’s basketball team (2-1) suffered its first loss of the year against Minnesota (3-1) on Sunday, falling 80-66. 

The Golden Gophers used a balanced scoring attack on Sunday, led by their junior guards Destiny Pitts and Gadiva Hubbard, who finished with 22 and 20 points respectively.  Minnesota was the more efficient team for most of the afternoon, as they shot 50% from the floor compared to ASU’s 34%.

ASU got off to a sluggish start, falling down 20-9 after the first quarter. After the slow start, ASU played from behind for the rest of the game and failed to make the game competitive down the stretch.

After the game, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne noted her frustration with the lack of passion out from her team this afternoon.

“You know I just think our whole team is just kind of a rude awakening in a lot of ways in terms of the effort. I say every year that you forget how hard you have to play to win,” Turner Thorne said. "Hopefully this a game where we can look at and go 'OK' we are not playing hard enough to dictate things.”

Turner Thorne mentioned that a large part of the struggles in this game could be traced to the team’s lack of size with senior center Jamie Ruden sidelined with an injury.

“Clearly not having Jamie out there was impactful because we just have all brand-new post player," Turner Thorne said. "And that showed today, you know their newness and lack of experience.”

As far as bright spots go, forward senior Ja’Tavia Tapley continued her stellar play at the center position as she finished the game with 16 points and 8 rebounds on an efficient 6-8 from the field. 

Other than Tapley, scoring was hard to come by for the Maroon and Gold. ASU backcourt’s struggles were a big reason for the loss as a typically sturdy and veteran group struggled to get anything going offensively against a stout Minnesota defense.

Turner Thorne said she wasn't entirely surprised by her team's performance on Sunday afternoon.

“Definitely knew there was going to be some growing pains with this team, and probably better sooner rather than later to have a game where they experience just not staying connected and giving the effort that it takes,” Turner Thorne said.

She hopes that this game can be used as an early-season learning moment for the team as the season progresses.

“It was one of these games that can hopefully be a defining moment for our program,” Turner Thorne said.

ASU will have a week off to prepare for its next matchup against the winless Cal Poly Mustangs on Nov. 24 in Tempe at 5 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at ltochter@asu.edu and follow @Leo_Toch on Twitter.

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