Prior to their afternoon shoot around, ASU senior forward Jayde Van Hyfte walked through the Desert Financial Arena tunnel with her hood up, masking the smile on her face. In a midday contest against UTSA, she would be suiting up for the first time since Nov. 25 of last year, when a knee injury ended her season.
Saturday had the first of a two-game slate in the ASU classic, and the Sun Devils (5-4) matched up with the Roadrunners on Saturday, winning the contest 68-44.
Van Hyfte got the start, which is only the second iteration of a starting five this year for Arizona State. In just 16 minutes, she was a perfect 3-3 from the field going for six points and snagging two rebounds.
The Sun Devils controlled this game from tip-off, which was not seen much last year. a 22-8 opening quarter set the tone for what would be a long afternoon for UTSA. The ASU defense forced 20 turnovers and held the Roadrunners to 27 percent shooting and 1-12 from three.
ASU’s free-flowing offense was on display as well, assisting on 17 of their 24 made baskets and having 10 different players get a bucket. Guards Taya Hanson and Jaddan Simmons led the team with 10 points apiece.
Game two of the ASU Classic featured the Sun Devils and the Harvard Crimson and head coach Charli Turner Thorne stuck with the Van Hyfte in the starting lineup.
The senior forward went 3-3 from the field and 4-5 from the charity stripe, making her one of four Sun Devils to score in double figures in what would be a 91-54 offensive onslaught in favor of ASU.
The other three Sun Devils to post more than 10 points were all transfers added to the program this past summer. Jade Loville (Boise State) had a game-high of 19, Mael Gilles (Rutgers) added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Ayzhiana Basallo (San Jose State) chipped in with 14 of her own.
Another surprising thing the Sun Devils did was rebound the basketball. Charli Turner Thorne noted earlier in the season that her staff has charted every rebound in practice, scrimmages and games. That preparation came into fruition during Sunday’s contest when ASU won the rebounding battle 61-18.
Yes, they were plus-43 on the glass.
On the weekend the Sun Devil defense allowed just three made three-point field goals, something they will need to continue as they inch closer to Pac-12 play.
Arizona State will have time to rest this after playing three-straight days in Cancun, then back-to-back games this weekend. They will spend it preparing to travel to Creighton on Dec. 12 for a game that will be played at 12 p.m. local time.