ASU basketball led start-to-finish as they defeated Southern 69-47 Friday behind a balanced scoring attack as 11 Sun Devils scored.
Arizona State cruised to an easy victory Friday night as they dominated Southern to improve to 6-2 on the season.
Forward Courtney Ekmark has rebounded from a slow start to the season. After scoring in double-figures in both games of the ASU Classic last weekend, Ekmark scored a season-high 19 points in the win.
Ekmark praised her teammates after the game.
“My teammates found me the ball,” Ekmark said. “They had a couple of sweet dimes for me so that definitely helps.”
The Sun Devils jumped on the Jaguars early racing out to a 24-6 lead thanks to eight turnovers forced resulting in 14 points.
Southern finished the game with 20 turnovers as they shot 41 percent from the field. Arizona State capitalized off the giveaways scoring 24 points off turnovers.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne said that forcing turnovers was a central part of the gameplan.
“We felt we could turn them over,” Turner Thorne said. “Honestly, we probably should have done it a lot more. We just didn’t sustain things.”
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Southern stayed in the game for a little bit cutting the lead to 13 in the second quarter.
The game really turned back in the Sun Devils’ favor when Jaguars guard Alyric Scott missed three free throws with 3:25 remaining in the second quarter.
After the misses, Ekmark scored a transition layup to push the lead back to 15 leading to a Southern timeout. Arizona State never looked back.
Southern committed 23 fouls including two unsportsmanlike fouls that led to four points for Ekmark. The Sun Devils shot 19-for-26 from the line.
Despite the win, Turner Thorne didn’t love the performance from her team.
“We didn’t have a great week of practice with it being finals week,” Turner Thorne said. “You’re always trying to balance time off and practice. It was average and I thought we played average tonight.
“Overall, it was kind of a wake up call for this team. You don’t just want to get through it, you want to get better.”
It was a win Arizona State expected to get which allowed Turner Thorne to spread the minutes out. Ekmark played the most minutes (23) with freshmen Taya Hanson playing 17 minutes, Jamie Loera playing 14 minutes, Jayde Van Hyfte playing 11 minutes and Iris Mbulito playing 10 minutes.
“The young freshmen, I just keep throwing them out there. I keep yelling at them. They probably hate me right now, but we have to get them ready,” Turner Thorne said. “They’re going to be such an important part of our Pac-12 run. They got to learn, when they go right in and turn the ball over or they’re not focused on defense, that’s not going to cut it when the competition is a lot better.”
Turner Thorne believes her players will be ready to go Sunday.
“It’s good to just get the win and not have anyone who was overplayed,” Turner Thorne. “I think everybody should be able to turn around and give a great effort against Colorado State.”
ASU has a quick turnaround as they head to Fort Collins Saturday morning to play Colorado State Sunday afternoon.
Turner Thorne has been waiting for this game because it’s the first time they’ll play against a zone defense, something they will likely see a lot of in Pac-12 play.
“It’ll be a good test. We need to be building our toughness muscle right now,” Turner Thorne said. “We need to get a lot tougher to be where we can be this year.”
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.