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ASU Women’s Basketball: Sun Devils overcome woeful first half, top BYU

60-52 win over BYU

Richard Martinez/ House of Sparky

The Sun Devils women's basketball was able to flip the switch in the second half and come out with a 60-52 win over the BYU Cougars (3-3).

In the first half, the Sun Devils (6-2) struggled from the field as they were held to 17 points on 18 percent shooting. ASU not only couldn't put points on the board, they also had to deal with 6-foot-7 senior center Sara Hamson.

Hamson came into the game with 16 blocks and added on to her total with six blocks in the game. She left her mark on the first half and head coach Charli Turner Thorne gave her credit. Turner Throne mentioned her teams struggles from the field were based off rushing shots.

“We were just rushing,” Turner Thorne said. “I don’t know if it was (Hamson), sometimes there’s not a 6-foot-7 out there and we still rush. I guess we will attribute it to her but we got great looks and we were just rushing. We had some in-n-out threes and shots weren’t falling. We didn’t execute our breaks cleanly at times. We went in at half and said we absolutely can’t be as worse offensively, we got this.”

ASU turned things around in the second half but not until BYU extended their lead to 12. Turner Throne had to take a timeout after the Cougars opened up the third quarter on a 6-0 run.

“We just said keep getting stops and we are going to be fine,” Turner Thorne said. “We are a young team, we just stayed positive and make adjustments.”

The Sun Devils got their stops and went on a 24-4 run over the course of the last 7:21 of the third quarter. This run, gave the Sun Devils the lead for the rest of the game as they entered the fourth with a 41-33 lead.

Senior guard Reili Richardson was a focal point during the third quarter as she had 12 of her 15 points in the teams run.

“Our offense was a little shaky in the first half and I looked to be aggressive,” Richardson said postgame. “I practice shooting every day and I can knock down those shots.”

Richardson brought the energy to the team during the run and her impact on the court was a reason the Sun Devils came away with the win.

“I just like to bring a lot of energy to our team,” Richardson said. “We were down and we didn’t have good flow within the game and I just looked to shoot the ball when I was open.”

Another impact player for the Sun Devils was senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley. Tapley played 36 minutes as Turner Thorne wanted her to matchup with Hamson. Hamson rarely sat on the bench but that didn't stop Tapley. She finished the game with 11 points and 18 rebounds. The 18 rebounds is the most for a Sun Devil in the last 20 years.

Tapley spoke postgame about her performance and how the team prepared for a taller matchup.

“As we were preparing, we knew that the girls were going to be bigger. We are a smaller team than most teams in the Pac-12, so we made it our business to box out in practice and that was something as posts that we made sure we focused on in practice and during the game,” Tapley said. “Even the guards they had pressure on them to box out and get rebounds. That is something we just focused on.

“Coming out in the second half I made sure that was something that I focused on more than scoring. My shot wasn’t dropping in the first half. I made sure I handled something that really needed to be handled from the beginning of the game.”

Turner Thorne praised her senior forward and knows that every day she is getting better since joining the Sun Devils this season, after transferring from USC.

“She was a warrior, she keeps working on her winning habits,” Turner Thorne said. “Every day and every game she is getting better... She showed incredible toughness today.”

The Sun Devils next game is against the Idaho State Bengals (4-2) on Sunday.