Not much has changed since ASU’s last match up with Sacramento State 25 years ago.
However, this time the Sun Devils scored over 100 points with a final score of 106-58.
The 48 point victory against the Hornets originated from ASU’s ability to share the ball and push the offensive tempo. Arizona State’s display of passing was top notch. The Sun Devils defense put on another great showing.
Both teams, for the first half of the game, showed immense skill in their defensive ability to guard the perimeter and cause turnovers. Sacramento employed an unexpected full-court press in the first quarter to pressure the Sun Devil’s offense.
As a result, ASU had a rough start giving the ball away on early possessions.
However, Arizona State began to adapt to the changes of the defensive layout. Their transition offense came into full effect as they were able to score 18 points off the fast break throughout the course of the game.
“I’m just really proud of our team and how played together and just kept pushing no matter who we play against,” said Forward Robbi Ryan, who contributed with 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
The Sun Devils offense didn’t stop there, not by a long shot.
ASU ignited their offense in different areas of their game, scoring 48 points in the paint and 24 points off turnovers from the Hornets. In addition, the bench for Arizona State was definitely feeling confident helping the team add another 47 points to the scoreboard.
In an effort to compete with ASU’s fast paced offense, Sacramento tried to hold their own defending the perimeter and moving with the transition offense.
“We always want to transition,” said Ryan, “If you run hard, you push the other team and hopefully they end up getting tired and we try to crack them at the end of the games.”
Heading into the second half of the game, the Sun Devils hit the ground running, literally.
In this second showing by ASU, players across its roster were playing at peak performance for the rest of the game. Forward Sophia Elenga, after struggling through her first two games, shot lights out with a perfect six of six from the field. Courtney Ekmark recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The list goes on and on. There was not a single player on the ASU roster who didn’t contribute.
Arizona State’s head coach Charli Turner Thorne said it was a great team effort. Thorne also added that a game like this is great for her players to have under their belts moving forward.
However, one key contribution among the Sun Devils was guard Reili Richardson. Richardson didn’t hit a shot all game but was still extremely productive She recorded 10 assists on the game finding open teammates effortlessly.
Her teammates followed in her footsteps as Arizona State felt generous with the passing game. The Sun Devils had 31 assists on the night breaking down Sacramento’s defense in anyway possible.
For the first time in 10 plus years, the Sun Devils scored over 100 points.
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the defensive intensity of the Hornets began to give out. From their, Arizona State forced themselves into the bonus making the most of their shots from the freethrow line. They scored 28 points just off free throws.
“That’s us. That’s who we are. We’re all about each other,” said Thorne when asked about the team as a whole contributing in their victory. “They can only be their best if the people around them are helping them do that. That’s all we talk about is just ‘Team.’”