Lady Devils Rout NAU to Capture Crown

Last season Arizona State watched the ASU Classic Crown fall into the hands of another school. This season, they wanted it back. After setting a Pac-10 record for fewest points allowed on Saturday to advance to the championship game, the Sun Devils used a balanced offensive attack to score their highest amount of points in almost two years in a 91-65 rout of Northern Arizona at home.

"It was a great team win, it was nice to work against a zone," said ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne, "It was good for us and we got some of our interior passing going and we did better in our zone offense than we did in other games."

For Turner Thorne and her coaching staff the win meant even more, as every member of the ASU staff has spent time in Flagstaff coaching at NAU.

"All of my coaching staff coached at NAU, we care about NAU and we root for their program," said Turner Thorne, "I credit them; they had a really gritty second half and made some tough shots. They played good, fearless basketball and scored too many points for us."

But for the players, it was about regaining the ASU Classic Championship, which they lost to nationally ranked Auburn last season.

"We won our tournament that is what we were out to do this weekend," said ASU guard Briann January who went over the 1,000 career point mark on Sunday. Even though January wouldn't acknowledge the feet, her teammates did the talking for her.

"That's tight," added ASU guard Danielle Orsillo, "That is so cool."

"It is funny because when she came in she didn't have a big scorer's mentality, even though I knew she was going to be one of our all-time greats, it is not surprising and more records to come for Bri," said Turner Thorne.

Orsillo led a balanced attack for the Sun Devils with 16 points and had her best game by far since returning from her knee injury.

"It is hard coming back, you have to take everyday like it is," said Orsillo, "I think I improved today, I have to improve every day. Coming back for an injury that is ally you can do."

While Orsillo is getting better every day, Turner Thorne knows that she has to be careful with her guard and knows she can't over do it with her yet.

"Danielle is slowly getting back into form, it's great," smiled Turner Thorne, "It is still going to be a day-to-day thing with her."

Another player that is returning to form for the Devils is Kayli Murphy who returned from injury on Saturday. Murphy played well Sunday, contributing seven points and five boards.

"It is fantastic to have Kayli Murphy back," said Turner Thorne, "Especially with the four guard lineups, it's hard to play two bigs.

"Kayli brings so much to the team, she is tough and smart. She works hard every possession and knows what to do. She is going to help. She allows us to stay in a pressing game because she can guard a guard."

Murphy said it feels great to be back out there, because sitting out was getting old.

"So good, I was watching for way too long," said Murphy, "My team helped me so much; they helped me by not making me feel like I missed things."

The Devils were very balanced on Sunday, with four players in double figures. Sybil Dosty had 14 and eight boards and was named the tournament MVP. Also in double figures for ASU were Orsillo, Dymond Simon, and January. Becca Tobin added nine points and 10 boards and Nia Fanika had eight points, eight assists and five steals.

"Nia is what Sun Devil Basketball is all about," said Turner Thorne, "Working hard every possession and giving everything that you have and she is doing that to her utmost."

"She has earned a big role on her team right now, I couldn't be happier for her and for us. We need Nia to be playing this well and I fully expect her to keep doing them. She's a great success story."

Overall, Turner Thorne was pleased with the weekend. All season she had been stressing rebounding and controlling the ball as keys to success and ASU did that all weekend.

"This weekend we controlled the boards and took care of the ball," said Turner Thorne, "Now we are going to have to do it at a higher level against better competition, but those are the two things that we are working the hardest at and we did it. I am proud of the team and it's nice to win our championship this year."

ASU now gets a week off for finals before taking the floor again at Wells Fargo Arena next Sunday against UC Riverside at 7:30 pm. January said the team is in desperate need of a break.

"We were on a long stretch with the Bahamas and California now this tournament, it will be good for our bodies to worry about ourselves for awhile and we can get better."

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