From start to finish, ASU took control of the basketball game and never looked back in the team’s 83-51 win. The Sun Devils put together a performance that made it hard for any opponent to defeat them.
ASU (2-0), is known as a defensive team first, as head coach Charli Turner Thorne mentioned it in her press conference before the season started on Tuesday.
“I love defense and I know Herm (Edwards) loves defense,” Turner Thorne said Monday after Herm Edwards presser. “We love to win, but everyone loves offense and that’s a key.”
Plenty of offense was on display tonight as the Sun Devils not only put up 83 points, but had 86 field goal attempts. They were able to finish the game shooting 43 percent from the field.
Most of ASU’s field goal attempts came off of second chance opportunities or Army turnovers. In the game, the Sun Devils finished with 32 second chance points and forced the Black Knights to turn the ball over 25 times.
ASU’s first game of the season was against Air Force, and from Tuesday’s performance to Sunday, the players and Turner Thorne saw improvements.
“We just keep building,” senior guard Robbi Ryan said. “Not just every game but every week. We are just trying to get better and play faster and play more together. I think we built more off of our last game.”
Turner Thorne added that the team missed some easy shots, but all in all, the team played well for how young they are.
“I thought we got a little better from Tuesday night to today,” Turner Thorne said. “We are rebounding better. We are still clearly very young and not sustaining things the way we want to. We also missed some shots that we normally make. Otherwise, I think we really could have got to the triple digits possibly. Good team win, I thought it was a good team win.”
Last year, ASU’s front court was all seniors and Turner Thorne had to find the next group of players who could step in. It seems ASU found that mix on Sunday, as senior transfer forward Ja’Tavia Tapley and sophomore Jayde Van Hyfte put up phenomenal performances in the route.
Tapley, a USC transfer, finished with 18 points, six rebounds (four offensive) and four steals in 15 minutes of play. She was just happy to bring a role to the team.
“I’m glad that I can bring that to this team after not being able to for the last few years,” Tapley said. “I really appreciate coming here and making a difference, and my teammates got my back and they trust me on the court so that helps me as well.”
Turner Thorne was proud of the senior forward, and she even had a message for young basketball players that need more minutes to showcase their skills.
“It’s called going in there and making the most of every touch and every opportunity and being efficient,” said Turner Thorne of Tapley’s outing. “That is up there with one of our all-time efficient performances. She’s really working hard and she’s going to be a good pro.”
Turner Thorne also added that Tapley will have a big role for this year’s team.
“She’s been more than helping out,” Turner Thorne said. “She’s going to be mostly impactful for this team this year because of how hard she's working and her skill set. She was one of the top players coming out of high school and she’s just getting comfortable right now.”
Back to Van Hyfte. In just her second career start for the Sun Devils, she finished with a double-double. She had 12 points and 10 rebounds (seven offensive) as the sophomore is making the most of her opportunities.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates tonight,” Van Hyfte said. “Just finding me and getting me open. Being relentless on the court is what I mainly focus on.”
ASU’s next game is a top-25 matchup as they head to Minneapolis to take on the No. 23 Minnesota Golden Gophers.