ASU's ability to guard key players, including Lobo star junior Dionne Marsh and senior Katie Montgomery, and preventing them from making shots, greatly contributed to their considerable lead, especially throughout the second half. "Before a game we know who the key players are," said Lady Devil sophomore Briann January. "[we know] who the other team likes to go to the majority of the time and we know if we take the ball out off their hands then that gives us a greater advantage in winning the game. So, definitely coming into this game we knew who we needed to key in on."
Though ASU has been consistently weak on defense, the time spent defending the paint in practice was well executed in today's game "I thought we did a much better job today protecting our paint," commented head coach Charli Coach Turner Thorne. "I was really pleased with our intensity. . . [But] we have to play great position defense without fouling. The cardinal sin of an Arizona State women's basketball player is to foul"
ASU players Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg ended the game in foul trouble, but quick rotations along with freshman players stepping up, allowed the maroon and gold to continue to play well throughout the contest.
The fast paced game religiously performed by ASU has weakened their opponent's performance toward the end of games, but also calls for a constant rotation of players. "She takes us out before we're mentally and physically tired so we won't make mistakes," said Westerberg." I really think she gets the best out of everybody when she rotates that way."
Though ASU played a better defensive game, the offense was not as successful until the second half of the contest, due to a great New Mexico defensive effort. "We really didn't have the flow that we wanted to," said Coach Turner Thorne. "They're a great team and they played great team defense and we'll have a lot to take from this tape just to learn in terms of our half court offense."
With a shooting percentage at a mere 38.7% in the first half, ASU was able to increase to a 50% shooting average, while keeping New Mexico at 28% by the finale.
January finished as ASU's top scorer with 14 points, followed by Westerberg who had 12 and freshman Kayli Murphy who chipped in with ten points. Once again, Jill Noe led the team in rebounds with six.
Freshmen Murphy and Dymond Simon have been playing well and are adapting to the team's rotations and persona as new go-to players for the season. "They're doing a great job for us," commented Coach Turner Thorne. "I've said really for the last few weeks that they're going to be impact players for us. They need to keep learning. They're continuing to work on the pace of play. . . .They're right in the core rotation giving us great minutes so I'm very pleased with them."
Simon, who was able to play today, did not suffer a concussion on Friday's game against Nebraska according to Turner Thorne. She played well in today's game and her quickness showed in a sequence of one minute, where her interception was converted for a quick two, followed by another quick basket that gave ASU an 18-9 in the first half.
ASU played well this weekend in the Veterans Day Tip Off Classic and expect to continue their fine performance against Florida Atlantic on Monday. "Playing teams of this caliber this early definitely prepares us for what we're going to come up against in the Pac-10," remarked January.
Though they are playing well they will still continue to work hard on and off the court to prepare for the remainder of the season. "We are so far from where we want to be so it's great to see that we can still come out and win by 20 points," said Westerberg. "But I know we have so much more to give and that's really encouraging."
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