In a tight victory, No. 25 Arizona State (13-3, 4-0 Pac-12) found its mark against a tough No. 24 Stanford (9-7, 3-1) opponent. The Sun Devils muscled their way past the Cardinal in a 73-66 home victory on Sunday afternoon.
“It was just a great big team win today,” said ASU forward Robbi Ryan, “Everybody contributed… We all worked hard and that really made the difference.”
Stanford cracked into the Top 25 after it had beat UCLA and USC in late December, as the Cardinal were hot going into Tempe.
Stanford’s Brittany McPhee is averaging 20.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. She was recently named espnW national player of the week last Monday. The Sun Devils focused their efforts on McPhee, and also the fast pace of the Cardinal offense.
As the game started off, Stanford poised a challenge for Arizona State on both ends of the court. The Cardinal defense took the Sun Devils by surprise, as they limited their shots to a little over 30 percent shooting in the first quarter.
Head Coach for ASU Charli Turner Thorne wasn’t having it. Thorne decided to re-evaluate the Sun Devil’s situation, and the crowd got into it.
“The crowd’s energy today was unbelievable today,” mentioned ASU guard Kiara Russell, “The atmosphere in the gym was crazy.”
Arizona State found its rhythm as well. From a first quarter showing where the Sun Devils offense only scored 14 points and looked a little out of sorts, was revamped in the second quarter. ASU scored 20 points to give themselves the lead at halftime, 35-27.
Arizona State also improved on its poor shooting percentage and locked down on defense to hold Stanford to seven points in the second quarter.
“If someone might have an off day, we have other people who step up and take on that role and they do what they have to do to help the team...We can count on multiple people,” said ASU forward Charnea Johnson-Chapman.
Charnea Johnson-Chapman was ASU’s leading scorer in this game with 15 points (6-of-6 shooting) while grabbing eight rebounds.
The Sun Devils were aggressive in getting to the basket in the fourth quarter, which resulted in more free throw opportunities. However, one of ASU’s biggest strengths in this game was its ability to lock down the Cardinal offense after halftime.
“We should be confident. We’re working hard...I think we’re enjoying a little bit of an underdog persona this season. We’re having fun with it.”
The Sun Devils will head to Oregon State University on Friday Jan. 12 to take on the Beavers at 7:00 p.m. MST.