Cardinal prove too much for Sun Devils

The Lady Sun Devils (13-6, 5-4 Pac-10) had their chance tonight at redemption against the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (18-2, 9-0 Pac-10). Without team leader Dymond Simon still recovering from a concussion ASU faced an uphill battle. Despite being competitive early on ASU ultimately lost their at home 72-54.

"Stanford is a really good team," said ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. "I think they are the best team in the country. Tonight we were much more prepared but Stanford has gotten better too. We did not force the turnovers tonight. But overall I think that tonight our team was poised and stayed positive tonight they did a great job."

From the beginning of the game the Lady Devils played strong. Being completely undersized, they were able to pass the ball effectively and make their high percentage jump shots and get to the free throw line. Nonetheless, due to that same lack of size the Devils could not control the high powered Stanford offense.

Filling in for the absent Simon, Deja Mann played excellent in guiding her squad. The Lady Sun Devils held strong against the Cardinal in the first half staying within striking distance at all times. Stanford was able to finish the period with a modest 32-27 lead.

During the second half ASU's aggressive play sent the visitors 17 times to the free throw line, where Stanford converted 82.4 percent of their shots. With the host shooting just 30 percent from the field in the second half it was easy for Stanford to pad their lead en route to their victory.

Kimberly Brandon led ASU with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Becca Tobin also had a solid game for the Sun Devils posting 7 points and 5 rebounds. Even after a loss like tonight the Devil players felt as if they played a solid basketball game.

"We just played harder and we were more focused," Mann said. "We had too many turnovers and our plan was to fix that in the second half. I felt comfortable tonight but I forced things. They adjusted after halftime. Our defense was the issue."

"Our communication was okay but could have been way better tonight," said Brandon. "We are still growing. They are big, but we have big people too. We just can have better shot selection."

The Sun Devils will now look ahead to their next home game on Saturday February 5th at 4pm at Wells Fargo Arena against California.

"Back to the drawing boards it's disappointing," Turner Thorne said. "I might start five different people in the second half to mix up the energy next game".

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