ASU WBB: 5 Reasons to be Excited for Next Season

Mar 23, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Charli Turner Thorne talks to her players during the first half against the UALR Trojans in the second round of the women
Mar 23, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Charli Turner Thorne talks to her players during the first half against the UALR Trojans in the second round of the women /

Arizona State women’s basketball is coming off one of their most successful seasons in program history as they were crowned Pac-12 Co-Champions.

Sadly, ASU’s season ended prematurely falling to perennial power Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Even with the departure of guards Katie Hempen and Elisha Davis and the rest of the senior class, there’s still a lot of reasons to be excited and optimistic for next season.

  1. Sun Devils boasts one of the best frontcourts in the Pac-12

The Sun Devils return two of their best players in forwards Sophie Brunner and Quinn Dornstauder.

Brunner averaged 10.7 points and 7.4 rebounds en route to earning her second All Pac-12 honor.

Dornstauder had a breakout season as she averaged 9.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game as she emerged as a key contributor for the Sun Devils.

Those two will look to carry the torch from the previous senior class and become the leaders of this team.

2. The development of underclassman players

While Arizona State were led mostly by juniors and seniors, the freshman performed very well and provided much needed depth for head coach Charli Turner Thorne.

Freshman guard Sabrina Haines had a productive season as she led the team in free throw percentage and was second in three point field goal percentage, leading to Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention.

With guards Davis, Hempen and Arnecia Hawkins all graduated, Haines will likely receive a starting role and will be a key focal point of the offense.

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Forwards Charnea Johnson-Chapman and Kianna Ibis and guard Armani Hawkins also played valuable minutes last season, and will get more minutes and look to provide valuable contributions.

3. A tough schedule will provide the Sun Devils a good test

Last season, Arizona State played one of the toughest schedules, facing the likes of Florida State, Kentucky, South Carolina and Syracuse, to go along with a highly competitive Pac-12 Conference.

While their schedule hasn’t been released yet, it sure to provide some tough opponents in preparation for the NCAA Tournament. It’s beneficial to schedule some tough opponents as it provides a good litmus test to see how good the team is and how they stack up against the best competition.

4. Despite the departures of key players, Arizona State always play great defense.

When the Sun Devils were struggling to start a game offensively, they could always trust their defense to keep them in the game.

Last season, the Sun Devils had the second best defense in the Pac-12, allowing just 54.9 points per game.

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The Sun Devils are a defensive team, and with Brunner, Dornstauder, forward Kelsey Moos and Haines leading the way defensively, ASU should be near the top of the conference in scoring defense.

5. The incoming recruiting class is one of the best in school history.

The Sun Devils are welcoming in a strong recruiting class, which includes two five-star recruits and one four-star recruit.

The 2016 recruiting class is led by forward Jamie Ruden. Ruden went to John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a two time 1st-team AP 4A All-State and is ranked No. 39 in ESPNU HoopGurlz Top 100.

The other five-star recruit is point guard Reili Richardson.  She attended Brea Olinda High School in Anaheim, California, where she was 1st-team All-CIF in 2015 and 2016. She is ranked No. 47 in ESPNU HoopGurlz Top 100.

Rounding out the class is four-star recruit Robbi Ryan, three-star recruit Sydney Goodson and three-star recruit Kiara Russell.