In its first game back after dropping out of the rankings, the Arizona State Sun Devils (16-7, 7-4 Pac-12) still looked to build on their strengths as a team as they went up against the Washington Huskies (7-15, 1-10) Friday night.
It was a nice showing from the Sun Devils in the first half, which slowly turned into a game where ASU was struggling to find scoring opportunities. There were spurts of offensive runs, and a whole lot of defense being played from both teams. 19 turnovers were forced against ASU throughout the match up.
“I loved the way we started the game,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
Arizona State eventually cruised to the 61-41 victory. The Sun Devils displayed great proficiency rebounding the ball with 36 total rebounds, while scoring the ball inside at high level, too, as they recorded 38 points in the paint.
To start the game, the Sun Devils were able to score the ball with ease as they came out of the gates scorching hot, scoring 24 first quarter points. For the entire first half, ASU looked confident when it had possession of the ball.
“I think we just came building off our last game against Cal,” ASU junior forward Courtney Ekmark, who recorded 15 points and eight rebounds on the night said. “I think we had good momentum in that game where we just carried it through.” recorded 15 points and eight rebounds on the night.
“I think she’s just playing better and better offensively,” Turner Thorne said talking about Ekmark’s performance, ”I love her toughness.”
Arizona State’s offense was on a roll as the Huskies were still trying to find their rhythm. The Devils’ defense combatted anything Washington was trying, holding the Huskies to 16 points in the first half (11 in the first quarter, five in the second).
While the Sun Devils were shooting a stellar 67 percent from the field at the end of the first half, ASU was limiting Washington to 29 percent shooting on 7-24 from the floor.
“Our defense is everything. We focus on it every day,” Ekmark said. ”It’s kind of like our safety just in case our shots aren’t falling.”
Arizona State’s offense looked composed as they were able to get the ball moving early. The Sun Devils recorded 13 assists in the first half.
Coming back from halftime, the score was 39-16. ASU was holding on to a very comfortable lead. After going on multiple scoring runs, Arizona State was in somewhat of an offensive funk as it only scored seven points through 10 minutes.
“We just need to get back to being disciplined,” ASU sophomore Robbi Ryan said. “Not fouling and just making good passing choices.”
Scoring wasn't the only aspect holding the Sun Devils back, as they also had a hard time finding shots and handling the ball. Arizona State would turn the ball over eight additional times moving forward into the fourth quarter. Its passing ability disappeared in the second half as it forced passes and weren’t able to find as many holes in Washington’s defense compared to the first half.
“At halftime, I said ‘this team is not going away.’ This team works really hard and everyone has something to play for,” Turner Thorne said referring to the toughness of Washington.
To end the game, ASU and Washington scored 15 points, but it was the Sun Devils that ended the night with a win.
The Sun Devils will be back at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday when thy’ll face the Washington State Cougars (10-13, 3-8 Pac-12) at 2:00 p.m. MST.