Traveling cross-country to play 9-seed Michigan State in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, the Arizona State Sun Devils showed no signs of jet lag.
8-seed ASU dominated the Spartans in the post and put the clamps on Michigan State all-time leading scorer Tori Jankoska in the first half, building a 22-point halftime lead and coasting to a 66-47 win.
Arizona State advances to Sunday’s second round, and the Sun Devils now turn their attention to the Stockton Region’s top seed, South Carolina.
Freshman guard Reili Richardson - who shot a 22% clip from the three-point line for the season - opened the scoring a with a trey and that set the tone for the Sun Devils. Sophie Brunner and Kiara Russell each contributed a three-pointer of their own and ASU ended the opening quarter on a 21-4 run to take a 24-10 advantage.
Leading by 14 entering the second quarter, ASU blew the doors wide open. Quinn Dornstauder beat up the Michigan State bigs in the post, creating opportunities for both herself and wing players as ASU took a 42-20 lead into the locker room.
On the night, ASU had nine players score with three in double figures. Richardson ended her first NCAA Tournament game with 13 points while Sabrina Haines tallied 15 to go with Dornstauder’s team-leading 16 points.
Michigan State’s Jankoska caught fire in the second half, but it was inconsequential as the Sun Devils continued to execute on the offensive end, maintaining a healthy lead and refusing to give up ground until garbage time in the fourth quarter.
Moving on in resounding fashion, the Sun Devils will have little time to feel good about themselves with South Carolina looming. The Gamecocks secured their spot in Sunday’s clash with a 90-40 demolition of UNC-Asheville.