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ASU women's basketball head coach Natasha Adair is confidence in her vision

Natasha Adair is optimistic that the Sun Devils women's basketball team will be successful despite being in the rebuilding phase


ASU senior guard/forward Maggie Besselink (11) and head coach Natasha Adair embraces after beating UTSA at Desert Financial Arena on Nov. 6, 2023, in Tempe. ASU won 70-55.

Arizona State's women’s basketball finished the 2023-24 season with an 11-20 record – three games better than a season ago. 

The Sun Devils' season ended in a 71-60 loss to the Utah Utes in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas on Mar. 6 with a 3-15 conference record. 

Sun Devils second-year head coach Natasha Adair emphasized the team’s mantra of “getting one percent better” since arriving at ASU. 

"We're getting better,” Adair said. “We're flying around. We're putting ourselves out there. We're competing ... Early on, we were trying to figure out the competing part, the strategy, the plan, and what we needed to do. I see more confidence and physicality out there." 

Throughout the season, the team encountered challenges with injuries to their experienced players. Early on, the Sun Devils lost senior guard/forward Maggie Besselink and senior guard Tyi Skinner for the duration of the season to injury. 

READ MORE: ASU women's basketball hopes to be 'one percent better' each day despite struggles

However, despite these obstacles, Adair expressed optimism regarding the team's future.

"There would have been a lot more veterans, a lot more offense and versatility – but we can't control that,” Adair said. “The beauty is now the younger players have more experience on the floor with veterans, and I'm excited to see how it all looks. But that's how it was designed to look in the beginning."

ASU had eight wins last season under Adair's guidance, who had taken over from longtime head coach Charli Turner Thorne. They only earned one conference win last year; this year, they snagged three. 

“It's no comparison from last year to this year,” Adair said. "Last year was just a blur. We were still trying to figure out who we were, our health, the coaching system, and the new transition ... You can see the vision of what I want for our team and where we want to go."

Jalyn Brown, a transfer sophomore guard from Louisville, led ASU in points per game with 17.3. She was also voted to the All-Pac 12 team. Brown has been a leader for the Sun Devils and said she's seen growth despite her short time with the team.

"We're a young team, and we're still growing, so we're still trying to understand the game,” Brown said. “But once we get that, I think we'll be okay."

Adair stressed that a vital part of the team's growth is the close relationship that the Sun Devils have cultivated.

"Just the way they rally around one another and support one another, I think that is part of how we're building this culture,” Adair said. “There are so many memories on and off the court, but the biggest memory is how they have rallied around one another and been great examples for their team."

Next season – Adair's third at the helm – will present fresh challenges as ASU women's basketball will be in all-new territory entering the Big 12. 

Edited by Alfred Smith III, Sadie Buggle and Shane Brennan

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