Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

ASU Women's basketball hopes to be 'one percent better' each day despite struggles

Head coach Natasha Adair seeks to build winning culture in Tempe for ASU women's basketball while the squad battles a tough conference schedule and injuries


A Stanford player runs past ASU senior guard Jaddan Simmons (2) as ASU plays Stanford on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024 at Desert Financial Arena. ASU lost 80-50. 

At the start of the season, second-year head coach Natasha Adair implemented the "one percent better" mantra in team practices. Thus far, Sun Devil women's basketball has surpassed the total wins from the last season after winning on the road over the Washington Huskies on Jan. 21. They are 10-14 (2-10 in Pac-12) up to this point. 

"We are getting 1% better, and that's the motto," Adair said. "If everyone does it, it puts you in a position to do many special things. I see growth in every area. I see their maturity on the court. I see their growth and understanding of the system and the expectations."

ASU women's basketball averages 62.8 points and 33.6 rebounds per game through the 24 games played this season. The Sun Devils PPG is ranked No. 221 in the NCAA.

During practices, Adair has noticed strong leadership being displayed in the huddles. Players like senior guard Jaddan Simmons and sophomore guard Trayanna Crisp have motivated their teammates to believe in themselves.

"Earlier, we were emphasizing communication ... we even implemented huddling in practice," Adair said. "There are things that we say: trust your skill set, work on that shot, get that rebound and get that stop every day in practice. So we need you to carry it over in a game. So, as far as that one percent goes, everyone has bought into that mantra." 

The Sun Devils have battled multiple season-ending injuries, including senior guard Tyi Skinner, and junior guard Morasha Wiggins and senior guard/forward Maggie Besselink, who tore her ACL against Washington on Jan. 21. Sophomore guard and team's leader in points per game Jalyn Brown, who transferred from Louisville, emphasized the next-man-up mentality. She advised her team to step up whenever they dealt with another injury.

"We're just we're gonna keep working," Brown said. "I feel like we're never satisfied. So for us, it's going to be the next team up, and that's the next thing we're going to tackle."

ASU started red hot in this 2023-24 season with a 7-2 record. However, when it comes to matchups against other Pac-12 teams, the Sun Devils face a tough challenge as they are up against some of the best teams in the country, such as UCLA, Stanford, and USC.

Once Pac-12 play began, the Sun Devils lost their first five games and have lost four of the last five games. Their only two Pac-12 victories were against Washington on Jan. 21 and versus Cal on Jan. 28.

"First and foremost, the Pac-12 is the best conference in the country," Adair said on Jan. 24. "I mean, you have five to six teams receiving votes, one team receiving votes that are top in the country. So every night you're playing teams in the quad one." 

Adair believes that despite losing some key players due to injuries, the Sun Devils are building a winning culture.

"As coaches, we're here to teach and implement a system and new culture," Adair said. "Jaddan Simmons is the only returning veteran from a year ago. So it's a brand new team. I don't know if that's the wave of the future with transfers and how rosters change will change from year to year, but, in year two, we're still building that culture, creating the teaching identity as a staff.”

The Sun Devils have six games remaining in their season, and tomorrow evening, they will face off against the Huskies for the second time at Desert Financial Arena.

Edited by Alfred Smith III, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.

Reach the reporter at and follow @ayabdeen on X.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on X.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.