ASU women extend winning streak to six games

TEMPE, Ariz. — Deja Mann (15 points), Sophie Brunner (15 points) and Joy Burke (11 points) all scored in double figures to lead the Arizona State women’s basketball team to an 81-49 win over Sacred Heart in the first round of the 2013 ASU Classic.

The Sun Devils (7-1), who won their sixth straight game, shot 50 percent while limiting Sacred Heart (2-5) to 36 percent from the floor.

Sacred Heart was led by senior guard Ericka Norman’s 14 points and five rebounds. Norman was the only Pioneer in double figures.

ASU utilized its height advantage, outrebounding the Pioneers 25-16 in the first half on its way to a 37-11 halftime lead. Four players — Brunner (7), Burke (6), Quinn Dornstauder (5) and Eliza Normen (5) — had five or more rebounds for the Sun Devils, who had a 41-35 advantage in rebounding for the game.

The first half saw an extremely balanced offensive attack from the Sun Devils, as five players had at least five points in the opening half, lead by Burke’s seven.

The Sun Devils turned in an excellent half defensively, holding the Pioneers to 19 percent shooting (5-26) in the game’s first 20 minutes.

Arizona State’s offense came alive at the start of the second half, as the Sun Devils made five of their first seven shots to take a commanding 49-21 lead with 15 minutes remaining. Neither Brunner nor Mann missed a field goal in the second half, as Brunner went 5-5 and Mann went 4-4.

ASU stretched its lead to 30 a few minutes later and kept it that way, as a very deep Sun Devil bench never let the Pioneers get any momentum going in the second half. The Sun Devils got 38 points from their bench, while Sacred Heart managed only 13, most of which came in the last five minutes of the game. All 11 active Sun Devils scored.

“It’s been a really pleasant surprise,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said of ASU’s bench play. “We can definitely score, and I think a lot of them complement each other. They did a great job of playing to their strengths.”

The Sun Devils will take on Long Beach State in the championship game of the ASU Classic on Sunday at 2 p.m. The 49ers rallied from a 23-point deficit to defeat Harvard in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Harvard and Sacred Heart will play in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader at noon.