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ASU women's basketball to open season against Northern Colorado

The Sun Devils will open up the season on Nov. 9 at Desert Financial Arena with added offensive depth coming from four new transfer players

210103 jaddan simmons

Then-freshman guard Jaddan Simmons (2) dribbles around Stanford then-senior guard Kiana Williams (23) at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Stanford defeated ASU 68-60.

ASU women's basketball will open up its season at home against University of Northern Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at Desert Financial Arena. 

Last season, the Sun Devils were notably out of form with a 6-9 record in the Pac-12 conference play. The team struggled with adjusting to the protocols of COVID-19 and had players missing from games due to those protocols. 

Since last season, the team has brought in four transfer students to help the team improve its offensive game. 

"We just weren't a very good offensive team last year and we are much improved," head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 

One of those transfers is senior forward Jade Loville, who said she wanted to come to ASU because of the culture coach Turner Thorne has built. Last season at Boise State University, Loville averaged 17.1 points per game.

"We have a lot more offensive threats so people are going to have to play us and it's going to be really hard to guard us," sophomore guard Jaddan Simmons said. "We have a lot of shooters now, a lot of people who can create and get to the rim."

The team is now spending more time together off the court to improve its culture with COVID-19 protocols lifted this season, while also continuing to strengthen its on-court chemistry.

"The connection that we are building on and off the court, now that we are allowed to be around each other and not just isolated," sophomore forward Maggie Besselink said. "We're building relationships 24/7, this team is an elite team for sure." 

Over the summer, the team took a camping trip to Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, to start building relationships with one another off the court. 

Along with building their off-court relationships, the team started to train intensely for its upcoming season this summer. 

"We've grown a lot since last year, we've put a ton of work in this summer and have recruited some pretty awesome players that I'm very excited to play with," senior guard Taya Hanson said. "We're putting last year behind us and take what we need to and just bringing what Sun Devils do best, we work hard and we just bring it every game."

With COVID-19 protocols being lifted, the team will be playing in front of crowds.

"Soaking up the energy from the crowd and being there for each other and representing our school and the crowd's school, we're fighting for them and we are playing for them too," Besselink said. 

The Sun Devils are hoping to return to form this season and fight for their chances at a Pac-12 championship. 

"I feel really good about this year, I think we are back to the level we are used to being at and I think we are in a good position to make the Pac-12 championship," Turner Thorne said. 

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