ASU women's basketball pulls away late to defeat Stephen F. Austin

The Sun Devils committed 23 turnovers but still came out with the victory

ASU women's basketball survived a sloppy performance in its season opener to defeat Stephen F. Austin 56-47 on Wednesday afternoon.

The Sun Devils led throughout the entire contest but had their advantage dwindle to just one with 3:43 left to play. But ultimately, ASU closed the game out on a 13-4 run thanks to some timely offense.

ASU struggled to hold onto the ball all night, committing 23 turnovers. Sun Devils head coach Charli Turner Thorne credited her team's struggles on the offensive end to the defense of the visiting Ladyjacks and the team's lack of conditioning.

"We knew it would be a tough matchup against a team that switches up their defense like they did," Turner Thorne said. "We're not in game shape, and then we just missed some really good looks."

Junior guard Taya Hanson led the team in scoring with 14 points, including a three-pointer with 21 seconds to ice the game. 

Hanson attributed some of the team's inconsistency on offense to the lack of experience within the team's new offensive system.

"We've been working really hard at it and it's going to come together," Hanson said. "We're just learning how to play together in these high-leverage situations."

READ MORE: ASU women's basketball entering season full of uncertainty

Sophomore forward Eboni Walker was the only other Sun Devil to finish in double figures. Walker finished the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds, including some clutch offensive rebounds and defensive stops down the stretch.

Walker, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, described her propensity for doing the little things.

"I'm a very team-driven person, so I'm going to do whatever I have to do for my team," Walker said. "Whether that's to score a bucket or get a defensive stop, it's just whatever I need to do for my team."

Junior guard Jamie Loera returned to the court after a multitude of injuries caused her to sit out for the majority of her sophomore campaign. Loera hit a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter 

"It definitely felt great. We've been working hard these past months, and I was just excited to get back out there," Loera said. "It's been a while."

Turner Thorne sang Loera praises after the game, noting how excited she was to have her back on the floor and how important she is to the team.

"Jamie Loera is probably the best true shooter on our team, and she is so smart," Turner Thorne said. "Her IQ is off the chain, and it is so great to see her back and she's ready to play a big role for us this year."

Even with her team's uneven performance, Turner Thorne said she just felt grateful just to be back out on the basketball court.

"You see all the games getting canceled around the country, so just the fact that we got to play was a win. We're gonna value every game that we get this year," Turner Thorne said. "It's different out there, but it's basketball, so we'll adjust to the new normal and hope we keep playing."

Turner Thorne and her team will practice on Thanksgiving day to prep for Friday's contest against VCU, which will begin at 4 p.m. at Desert Financial Arena.


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

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