Lacey, ASU Defense Paces Devils to a Rout

Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne wanted to see her team play a full 40 minutes of basketball. She got her wish Thursday night, as the Lady Sun Devils (14-7, 8-2 Pac 10) led from start to finish in a 66-42 thrashing of Oregon State (10-11, 3-7 Pac 10) in front of 2,117 at Wells Fargo Arena.

"This is what we've been working towards, playing two halves of basketball. I really felt that we did that and we didn't let up even when we built a pretty sizeable lead," said Turner Thorne, "I thought we stayed focused and pretty much got good shots on offense, worked hard on defense, I'm really proud of our team."

"We've been working towards this, I really felt we were ready to do it and obviously pleased. It was a great team win, a great week to be able to spread the minutes around because a tough game comes very early on Saturday and hopefully everybody will be fairly rested."

The Devils jumped out of the gates fast, with a 6-0 run. The quick start had much to do with the Devils pressure defense. ASU forced nine Beaver turnovers in the first nine minutes of the contest, and 15 total in the first half.

"It started with our guard's pressure. Our on the ball defense was amazing tonight. Briann (January) was amazing on their leading scorer, just on the ball pressure; everyone was in the passing lanes," said ASU forward Lauren Lacey, "That's how we are supposed to be playing our defense, what we should have been playing this entire season. It's funny, because everyone is like, wow, you guys played so well defensively , but that is how it's supposed to be."

"I thought we had great energy. We went after them and we cranked it up. We did a very good job of basically not allowing them to run their sets, which they do very well, by the way," said Turner Thorne, "They are a very disciplined team, normally they are going to work those sets, and we just took them out of those sets and did a great job with team defense and just locking them down."

The Devils led 14-4, before Oregon State responded with a 10-2 run to cut the ASU lead to two. The Sun Devils closed the second half on a 17-5 run to lead by 14 at the break.

"I think that is what we are working on, when teams make runs at us; we want to stop the run as soon as possible. Tonight was a good night for us to work on that, and we did. We responded really well," said forward Sybil Dosty.

"They came back at us, I thought we had some defensive lapses during that stretch, where we let them get the ball inside and gave them a few easy post feeds. They countered the pressure a bit with backdoor cuts; we talked about it and adjusted as well," said Turner Thorne.

The Lady Devils blew the game open in the second half, starting the second half on a 20-8 run. ASU would reach its biggest lead of 29, following back-to-back layups by Lacey and another layup by Becca Tobin. The Devils shot a season best 57.1% from the field.

Lacey led the Devils offensively with 21 points. The Devils dominated Oregon St. down low, holding a 34-18 advantage in the paint. Lacey, Sybil Dosty, Kirsten Thompson, and Becca Tobin combined to score 46 of ASU's 66 points and shot 76% from the field.

"We knew we had a size advantage over them, and we have so much depth in our posts and the game plan was the majority of the time to go inside," said Lacey.

"Kudos to the guards, they got them the ball. A lot of those were one footers. They ran the floor; they got some off the glass. Lauren had a few longer shots, that's beautiful offense," said Turner Thorne, "I'm all about the inside shot, but I thought we got some good perimeter looks too. We had some good kicks, skip passes, penetrate and kick, we're not one dimensional. I thought we had a balanced scoring attack and our guards knocked down shots as well."

The Beavers came into Tempe as the second best team in the Pac 10 in both three point field goal percentage and three point field goals per game. On the other hand, the Devils are the best team in the Pac 10 in defending the three ball. The latter won out, as the Beavers shot just 1-8 from beyond the arc. Their one make was by Talisa Rhea who led the Beavers with 14 points.

"Obviously, they are coming off a game where they hit 10 out of 14 three pointers against UCLA. They are a very good shooting team if you let them be. We didn't let them. I think we did a great job taking away their three point shots, and second shots and making them work for everything they got."

Overall, Turner Thorne was pleased with her team's play.

"I feel like it has been coming. This team has been working hard to prepare. Things that we have really worked on are just sustaining our effort. Not just physically, but mentally. Sometimes we are working hard, but not working smart. I think it is just getting to that point where they just want to win. They are bonding and playing well together and they are working harder. I'm really happy with them."

The Devils hope to continue their momentum Saturday when they host the Oregon Ducks (10-11, 4-6 Pac 10) for an 11 A.M. tipoff at Wells Fargo Arena. The Ducks fell Thursday in Tucson to the Wildcats.

"It's good to peak right now; obviously we weren't peaking at the beginning of the season. Hopefully we will build off of this game and head into the Oregon game. Oregon is another tough team that we have to be ready to go against," said Lacey.

Lacey insists the early start won't affect them.

"We've had a couple early Saturday and Sunday morning games, so we'll be ready. Just go to bed early Friday night and get ready to go."

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