ASU WBB: The Sun Devils take care of Oral Roberts
With their win over #19 Kentucky last Sunday, which came from a Sophie Brunner circus shot with just a few seconds left to give ASU the win; the Sun Devils got back in the rankings at #23 in the AP poll and #21 in the Coaches.
Oral Roberts is game number two of a three game slate of very easy, winnable games for ASU before they get to Pac-12 play and face #10 Stanford.
With their two wins against ranked opponents this year, Arizona State has gained confidence that they can beat anyone, and coach Charli Turner Thorne has found the lineups that work best together, as shown by her major reduction of substitutions compared to their first game of the season.
ASU started out the game by going down low to forward Sophie Brunner and center Quinn Dornstauder. Something they have emphasized in the past five games and it has paid off for they. Brunner and Dornstauder were the central part of the ASU offense Saturday, scoring the first 8 points and 24 of the Devils 44 first half points.
“We had the height in the post, so we were just trying to take advantage of that”, Brunner said.
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When the second string frontcourt came in, including Sara Hattis, Jamie Ruden, and Charnea Johnson-Chapman the play significantly decreased. Those three combined for 2 points and 2 rebounds in the first half. When they got in, the guards started taking more shots and passing the ball down low less; creating a much more unbalanced offense.
The two starters at guard, Reili Richardson and Sabrina Haines had solid games. Richardson finished with 11 points and 7 assists, while Haines finished with 4 points and 5 assists.
Coach Charli-Turner could not stop talking about the poise of Richardson who has moved into the starting lineup in the last three games due to the injury of Kiara Russell. It was not more evident than with a few seconds on the clock in the third, she pushed the ball down the court and put a 15-foot floater as time ran out.
“She’s got the IQ, and she’s got the skillset, and she just sees the whole game on both sides of the court” coach said of Richardson.
They spent most of their time chasing around Oral Roberts shifty point guard Kaylan Mayberry, who led team with 12 points and 5 assists. She would get around a defender and either throw up a running floater or drive for an underhand layup. The Sun Devils started to collapse on her and as a result she didn’t score in the last
“I had to lock in . . . She was really good, really fast” Richardson said.
At half, coach Turner Thorne was very disappointed in the amount of layups that the Golden Eagles were getting. Almost 75 percent of their points came in the paint and ASU just couldn’t get control of Oral Roberts shifty play in the paint.
This was not more evident than with five minutes left in the third; when ORU’s Jordan Gilbert got the ball at the block, stopped took a quick look around, realized that no one was near her or coming near her and put up an easy layup.
It was an embarrassing moment for the team, but it must have sparked something, because after that shot ASU went on a 14-3 run to close out the third. The Golden Eagles had hung around all game, keeping the deficit right around 10 up until that point. From there ASU was able to turn on cruise control and come out on top with a 79-52 win.
Sophie Brunner led the way for everybody, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Sun Devils were very efficient in this game in every area, besides behind the arc.
ASU shot 54.4 percent from the field and a surprising 90 percent from the line. They have struggled at the line all season and their only miss was the first attempt of the game by Quinn Dornstauder. But the Devils struggled from three, hitting only 16.7 percent (2-12) of their shots. Most of those shots were due to the shot clock running out and ASU hacking up a prayer.
Arizona State’s best quality is their rebounding, the out rebounded Oral Roberts, 43-16. “Were boxing out, we’re crashing harder, more consistently”, coach said. They are warring teams out and dominating teams on the boards.
The Sun Devils didn’t play their best game of the season, but the got to see shifty guards that the may run into during Pac-12 play and showed their fight by pulling away in the third.
They also didn’t use their starters too much today; hopefully the rest will keep them fresh as they face a daunting schedule in Pac-12 play.