The Arizona State Sun Devils (2-1) headed to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Gophers (3-1) in what is said to be one of the toughest non-conference opponents the team will face this season.
It was in fact a challenge for the Sun Devils as they fell to the Gophers 80-66, receiving their first loss of the season.
The Sun Devils were without Minnesota native Jamie Ruden who is dealing with a foot injury.
“It can hopefully be a defining moment for our program,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Not having Jamie out there was impactful because we have all brand new post players and that showed today, their newness and lack of experience.”
Things got off to a slow start for the No. 19 ranked Sun Devils leading Turner Thorne to call a timeout early when the Gophers put up nine straight to start the first quarter.
They started to play catch up and went on a 7-0 run, putting them down 9-7. The Sun Devils never obtained a lead throughout the duration of the game and struggled to make things close again after being down 20-9 at the end of the first.
In the first half, the Sun Devils had eight turnovers and only shot 37.5 percent from the field. On the other side of the court, Minnesota shot 48.4 percent. Arizona State ended the half on a 12-3 run and went into the locker room down 37-32.
The second half looked very similar to the first half for the Sun Devils as they tried to play catch up in order to get back in the game, but they weren’t able to get the job done ending the game with 14 turnovers. Ten of the 14 turnovers were caused by young players.
“There were some great teaching moments,” Turner Thorne said. “I knew there were going to be some growing pains with this team, probably better sooner rather than later where they experience not staying connected and giving the effort that it takes. We have nobody that has ever played any minutes in our post position. It was tough.”
Senior Ja’Tavia Tapley lead the Sun Devils with 16 points and eight rebounds. Only four Sun Devils scored double digits, with three having zero points on the night.
The Sun Devils will head back to Tempe and face Cal Poly on Sunday night at 5:00 p.m.