No. 18 ASU lost another game to a ranked opponent as the Devils traveled to Maples Pavilion and dropped their second game of the season to No. 10 Stanford Cardinal.
The big story of the game was the Sun Devils inability to dominate the boards. For just the second time this season (Maryland), ASU lost the rebounding margin 37-29. This was the best thing the Devils were doing by far all season, and Stanford was able to control the rebounding and ultimately the game.
Charli Turner Thorne talked about her team getting away from their strengths, “Our two greatest strengths are rebounding and transition, and we didn’t rebound the way we needed to rebound, and we didn’t transition we needed to transition.”
Arizona State didn’t lead at any point during the game, and this game may have been have been a wake up call for many of the young guards.
“This is a lot of these kids first time in Maples, we tried to talk about it last night, we tried to prepare them, sometimes you just have to experience it,” Coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
It may have been the bright lights, or the great defense of the No. 10 team in the country, but ASU’s starting guards had an off day. Reili Richardson, Sabrina Haines, and Robbi Ryan combined for just eight points on 1-21 shooting.
They needed to get the ball down low, and allow the frontcourt to get them open. The guards also were ineffective rebounders, they had just three at half.
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Richardson was especially disappointing Sunday, she had been one of the bright spots for the Sun Devils this season. As only a freshman, Richardson had played like a senior with both her poise and her stats. In her last three games, she had averaged 11.3 points and 5.6 rebounds, but against the Cardinal she didn’t have a single point or rebound.
The one player for the devils who came to play on Sunday, was Sophie Brunner, once again she led the team in both points (21) and rebounds (9). She came out with an unmatched intensity, and did whatever was asked of her.
“I thought Sophie Brunner played her heart out, did about what she could do”, Thorne said of her star senior.
The bright spot for the Sun Devils was their fight, and resilience. They kept eating away at deficits, but there was always another Cardinal run, and ASU could never get on top.
“We didn’t back down . . . we played hard till the final whistle, so I like that, for this young team I liked that we kept fighting, we didn’t have any quit in us,” Thorne said of her team’s fight.
After Sunday’s 66-56 losses, ASU is now 3-4 when playing ranked opponents, but all three of the teams they beat have now fallen out of the rankings. That does not bode well for them in a tough Pac-12, where they still have to play four top-15 teams. The Sun Devils will need their young guards to take that next step, while their seniors keep playing at a high level.
“I think we can match up will anybody, but we do need to get better,” Thorne said of her young team.
ASU won’t get any breaks, as they will travel to Los Angeles on Friday to take on No. 13 UCLA.