ASU women's basketball opened its season with a perfect record last week against two non conference opponents. The Sun Devils outlasted NAU in the home opener 69-68 on Monday and made short work of Grambling State with a 62-49 win on Friday.
ASU women's basketball played NAU at home on Monday. The game was the opening debut for coach Natasha Adair with the Sun Devils.
ASU's offense started slow, but the defense came out strong. The Sun Devils did not allow any points for the first two minutes.
NAU began to come back with some consistent offense, but ASU had an answer for every NAU score by hitting its jumpers. ASU ended the first quarter up 23-17.
In the second quarter, the Sun Devils were aggressive on the attack, but neither team could not stop the other's offense. NAU found some momentum and scored seven points in a minute. ASU got the ball back and settled in defensively to finish the quarter strong.
ASU struggled to take the lead after NAU brought more momentum coming into the second half. NAU was leading at the end of the third quarter at 58-55.
The fourth quarter was a chance for redemption for the Sun Devils. Junior guard Jaddan Simmons made two free throws to put ASU up 58-57. NAU made a three, but Tyi Skinner rebutted with her own, bringing the score to 61-60. The Sun Devils and Lumberjacks could not score a point for two minutes until NAU made a jumper, giving them the lead at 63-62.
With just over four minutes in the game, Simmons made two free throws, followed by a free throw by Newman. With a minute left, ASU's Trayanna Crisp made a jumper, closing the Sun Devils' deficit. ASU played on the offensive for the next minute, which caused NAU to foul. Simmons made two free throws to close out the close win.
In its second game, ASU defeated the Grambling State Tigers 62-49 at Desert Financial Arena to mark its second win of the season on Friday.
Simmons continued her impressive play this season, as she notched 12 points and helped spark ASU to an early lead. She played downhill all night by getting to the basketball, converting on tough finishes, and drawing contact to go to the free throw line, where she didn't miss.
After a close battle against NAU, Adair switched the defensive game plan to a 2-3 zone and a 2-2-1 full-court press to slow the Tigers' pace. This change in defensive setting allowed the Sun Devils to have a versatile defensive experience that will only help them in the future.
The Sun Devils took some time getting into the game, with many players settling for long-range shots that were not falling.
By the start of the second quarter, ASU was able to get into a strong rhythm by having multiple defensive stops and getting out in transition where Simmons and Mokwuah would connect. Hunt also got herself going in this period by rebounding, finishing through contact around the basket, and providing ASU with stability on the defensive end.
Much like the start of the first quarter, the Sun Devils started sluggishly by missing their first four offensive opportunities, which allowed Grambling to score quick points. Skinner responded by playing aggressive defense and caused a steal and a score, allowing ASU to keep a comfortable lead.
Not only did Skinner find herself in the second half after a slow start, but so did transfer guard Treasure Hunt. The two dominated both ends of the floor. Skinner finished the game with 16 points, and Hunt finished with a 13-point and 11-rebound double-double.
Hunt has been effective cleaning the glass for ASU, collecting 19 boards through her first two games.
The team win allows ASU confidence with the new system ahead of a five-game road streak.
The Sun Devils are back in action on Nov. 15 as they visit Montana State University at 7 p.m. MST.
Edited by Walker Smith, David Rodish and Grace Copperthite.
Addison Kalmbach is a reporter for The State Press Sports desk. He has previously worked for Detroit City FC and PHOENIX Magazine.