If there was a reference to a team who hit the ground running, it’s the Arizona State Sun Devils. ASU (1-0) took on UTSA in their season opener on Sunday, with the final score being 74-42.
The defense played a major role in their victory. In addition, their ability to rebound showed in players like Kianna Ibis and Charnea Johnson-Chapman.
From the start, ASU put pressure on everybody on the defensive end. Their efforts could be described as “overwhelming.” One area of their defense that shined was their post presence. The Sun Devils only allowed the Roadrunners to shoot 8-28 (29 percent) in the first half.
Their defense only gets better from there.
“We’re just glad that we threw the first punch,” Forward Kianna Ibis said.
The Sun Devils shut down UTSA, who only shot 33 percent from the field. ASU also recorded 14 steals in total and forced 22 turnovers.
The Roadrunners struggled to find opportunity finishing around the rim as well as good shots. The ASU offense, however, thrived, shooting 47 percent from the field. Looking at the first half, the Sun Devils executed on post shot opportunities.
“We needed to get the ball inside in order to get great points…all of our posts were able to finish,” guard Sabrina Haines said, “They did their thing.”
The transition offense also contributed in their win since ASU scored 16 points on the fast break.
Haines said that running the ball on the fast break is “the main way we want to score.” It allows a challenge for other opponents to keep up with the fast pace of ASU’s guard play.
The Sun Devils also recorded 17 offensive rebounds as a team – 13 in the first half. For every shot that was going in, it was hard to say whether the next one would be a miss. ASU showed a lot of hustle in getting second chance points and crashing the glass early.
“We knew we had to crash every possession,” said Ibis, “We knew we had to go all out for every ball and every touch.”
Coming off a solid 2016-2017 season (20-13), the players as well as the coaching staff knew that they had to step up their game coming into this season.
Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne spoke highly of her players and emphasized how proud she is of them. “It’s a good start to a very long season,” said Throne.
The Sun Devils will face Fresno State next Wednesday and will look to keep up with what they showed against UTSA.
Throne said the thing to keep in mind for their next game will be “Consistency. Being able to sustain our effort, playing faster on offense, sustain our defensive intensity. Play defense without fouling.”
Now, a new year comes around for the Sun Devils to prove themselves, once again.
“There is not an area that we cannot get better at,” said Thorne.