Bennett, Major lead Devils to victory

With a 47-41 win over the University of Washington (13-10, 5-8 Pac-12), the Lady Devils (17-8, 8-6 Pac-12), enter a two game winning streak, becoming one step closer to achieving their goal of entering the NCAA tournament.

ASU's Kali Bennett became the school's single leader in most blocked shots Thursday night, finishing the game with 10 points, nine rebounds, and nine blocks. This being the second game of the season where Bennett has flirted with a triple-double, Bennett is proud of her accomplishments as a 5th year senior.

"I could try to downplay it," Bennett explained, "but it's a great feeling to know I could help my team that way and impact the game. I feel like I'm back in high school just picking off shots. It feels good… and not to be in foul trouble is always a bonus."

This being the second game of the season where Bennett has flirted with a triple-double, she feels the frustrations of being so close to an amazing accomplishment.

"Joe, (Interim head coach Joseph Anders), has told me to just play within myself," Bennett stated. "I'm a 5th year now, so I just have to play in my zone." "Anytime you are one rebound and one blocked shot from having a triple-double, that's working," Coach Anders added. "The way in which she competed on the defensive end of the floor was as solid of a performance as we've seen in the post this year."

Bennett focused her week of practice on having to guard Washington's 6'3" center, Regina Rogers, who plays a huge offensive role for the Huskies. Bennett was able to hold Rogers to 13 points, as she [Rogers] averages 15.9 points per game.

"Regina Rogers is a heck of a basketball player because of her size and her quickness," Anders explained. "But all of our bigs and all of our guards with the ball pressure made it difficult for them to get the ball to her in a spot where she could do something with it. Again, great defense."

"This week in practice we worked a lot on just fronting and not giving her [Rogers] any contact on the block," Bennett added. "She likes contact and does well against it."

Bennett was not ASU's only standout player with the win over Washington, as senior Olivia Major had a career high of 14 points, four of which were three-pointers.

"I didn't even know the score," Major stated. "I'm a shooter, so there's nothing going through my head except ‘shoot'. I'm not thinking about anything out there. That's when I'm at my best…when I'm not thinking."

With starter Micaela Pickens out with a concussion, plus early foul trouble for senior Alex Earl, Coach Anders had no choice but to heavily rely on guards Olivia Major and Promise Amukamara.

"Olivia doesn't surprise me at all," Anders stated. "The thing she's done all year is never take a bad shot. Most people when you insert them in a spot and say ‘I need that spot to produce offense', they usually want to create anything and put it up. But not Olivia. Today when Earl got in foul trouble, the team found Olivia in some really great spots, and she did what she does: hit open shots. Impressive."

With Amukamara having the support of her Super Bowl champion brother, Prince Amukamara in the crowd, she aggressively accomplished her task at hand, having 2 blocks, three steals, and scoring 3 points.

"With Promise playing in front of her brother for the first time, she was really charged about that," Coach Anders explained. "We needed Amukamara to play well. Quietly she did a lot of really good things for us."

Earl's early foul trouble allowed Coach Anders to look forward to strong second half play from the guard, who scored a career high 14 points in ASU's win vs. Colorado last Saturday.

"We knew Alex was going to come out in that second half and do something good," Anders said. "She steps up and hits a couple of really big shots, none bigger than the half-court heave when we were really struggling offensively. Nothing but the bottom of the net."

Earl finished the game with 8 points and 3 rebounds.

With the last home game of the season on Saturday, versus Washington State, the Lady Devils' seniors look forward to ending their career in Wells Fargo arena with a bang against Wazzu.

"Saturday we'll have our senior night," Anders stated. "It's our intention to make sure those seniors walk out of this building with a very good feeling about how they played, and how they ended their careers at Wells Fargo Arena."


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