The 3-1 Sun Devils are heading to Estero, Florida to take part in a post Thanksgiving tournament. As a team, ASU will have the opportunity to not only spend time together during the holiday weekend, but play basketball.
Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne spoke to the media after the team’s practice on Monday, and before heading out for their three-game showcase in Florida. Here is a dive into what was discussed.
During the holiday weekend, basketball will be in full swing as the men’s Maui Jim Invitational starts and other tournaments occur all over the country. For the women’s team, Florida is a time that Turner Thorne sees as a chance for team bonding.
“Basketball is always a team Thanksgiving. We are always with each other and it’s good extra team time,” Turner Thorne said. “This will be our first extended trip as a team. It will be great to have more games. We are looking forward to the team time and looking forward to the three games and more opportunities to play. That’s going to help us get better.”
The Sun Devils are guaranteed to play three games in three straight days. Maine is their first opponent on Friday, Nov. 29, but after that, they will have to wait and see what happens between their future opponents.
Staying energized on defense
This weekend’s tournament gives Turner Thorne and her coaching staff a good understanding of where ASU is at in terms of recovery and health. Early tournaments in the season show teams what to prepare for when it comes to March.
“They are going to get tired. They are going to have to recover quickly and we have trained them well enough,” Turner Thorne said. “That’s definitely going to be part of the tournament, who’s tougher and we are built for back-to-back games because we have good depth. We have started to get a feel for our team, which is really helpful because we didn’t have that at Minnesota. It is going to be a toughness contest.”
After the early loss to the Golden Gophers, Turner Thorne believes the depth and rotation has started to come together.
Offense coming to life
In the team’s 66-41 win over Cal Poly, the Sun Devils had a strong defensive performance, but shots weren't falling. They shot 36 percent from the field, but Turner Thorne saw that and knows that the offense is all dependent on valuing the basketball.
“We have to take better care of the ball. You turn the ball over, you can’t set your defense,” Turner Thorne said. “This is a huge focus for us. We have always been a team that is really good at taking care of the ball. When you are playing back to back-to-back games, people’s legs are a little bit tired. Usually you don’t shoot as well.”
As for the other end of the court, the defense has been a constant, as ASU has caused 86 turnovers in four games.
“We definitely feel good about our defense going into this week and our depth too, to be able to use our team,” Turner Thorne said. “We don’t really have anybody showing up scoring 20 right now, but that could develop...I think we are talented enough and good enough to play well and beat whoever we are playing. We will keep trying to grow our defensive mindset because that is something that you can always control.”