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ASU WBB: Monstrous fourth quarter earns Sun Devils the ASU Classic Championship

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Though ASU’s shooting percentage wasn’t pretty, defense and toughness were enough for the Sun Devils to comeback and win.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-2nd Round-Arizona State vs UALR Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Down 51-39 going into the last quarter, the Arizona State Sun Devils were outscored 21-9 in the third, were shooting just 25 percent overall and on their last legs. But relentless defense and senior leadership prevailed down the stretch in the Sun Devils’ 69-63 win over the No. 19 Florida Gators.

Arizona State (5-2) outscored the Gators (6-2) 30-12 in the fourth quarter, outworking Florida defensively throughout the game.

“We always talk about our toughness muscle and it's something that you keep trying to build and grow,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I think we are getting tougher. From last week to this week, we took the punches. We punched back. We kept our poise. We didn’t let stuff bother us today.”

ASU had 12 steals compared to Florida’s eight, forced the Gators to 25 turnovers and bullied them in the paint winning the offensive rebound contest 19-6.

“Collectively, we just did a really great job at getting steals and denying them and making them do things that they didn’t want to do,” said senior forward Sophie Brunner.

As a result of poor shooting, defense kept the Sun Devils in the game. But in the fourth quarter, Arizona State’s offense finally came through.

“Quinn just posted up. Got the ball. Turned and made her hook shot,” Turner Thorne said. “She can do that consistently,”

Senior center Quinn Dornstauder had just four points through the first three quarters. In the last quarter, she erupted shooting 4-of-4 with nine points.

Brunner also went 4-of-4 with eight points, and another senior, guard Kelsey Moos, added four rebounds in the fourth.

“I just tried to be really positive and believe, and I thought our seniors led the way,” Turner Thorne said. “I think our seniors did an amazing job,”

It was the Sun Devils’ first win over a ranked team this season and a huge confidence booster before traveling to Rupp Arena to face No. 17 Kentucky (6-2) on Dec. 11 and then Middle Tennessee State (2-3) on Dec. 13.

“I think this might be the toughest road trip we’ll have all year,” Turner Thorne said. “We need it. I will be great for this young team going into Pac-12 and this win allows us to have a great road trip.”