Devils Rebound With Victory over Xavier

If there ever was such thing as a critical non-conference game, it was Sunday for the Arizona State Sun Devils' Women's Basketball team. The Xavier Musketeers (9-4) came to Wells Fargo Arena with the talent of a top 25 team, but they left with their worst loss of the season, 75-57 at the hands of the Sun Devils (8-3).

The day started with bad news, as point guard Dymond Simon was out with an ankle injury she suffered in practice on Saturday. Her ankle isn't broken, but it isn't known if she can play against Nebraska next Sunday. Coming off another loss against a Top 25 team and facing a tough Xavier team at home without their playmaker was a big challenge and a critical game, ASU passed easily.

The Musketeers were ranked in the Top 25 until a tough loss to their city rival Cincinnati last week. Xavier played #2 North Carolina and #9 Louisville tough before falling late in both.

Lauren Lacey had her best game of the season and shook some of her early season struggles and scored 13 points in just 11 minutes of play.

"I've been in the gym every single day," said Lacey, "I've told myself I'm going to work through this. It's nice to finally get going."

Briann January led the Devils with 16 points and had 9 assists running the point without Simon in the lineup.

Jazyln Davis had her best game as a Sun Devil and contributed 9 points. Davis also filled in running the point and played 16 affective minutes. Davis admitted it was tough to watch the first eight games, but credited her teammates for keeping her positive during the time she couldn't play.

"I felt good today," said Davis, "I hope to continue to work harder and get better."

ASU's defense forced 21 turnovers and used those to score 22 points. January led the way with 3 steals, Kayli Murphy and Lacey each had two.

The Devils shot 47.6% against a Xavier team that was top ten in the nation in field goal percentage defense. ASU also held the Musketeers to 10 rebounds under their impressive average of 45 per game.

Briann January hit a three at the end of the first half to give ASU a 33-27 lead at the break. Right out of the locker room ASU built that lead up to 39-27 with a 6-0 run and never looked back. January scored seven of the nine points during the crucial stretch in which ASU pulled away.

"We took another step in this game, we kept our championship mentality and we battled," said ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne.

But now, according to Lacey, ASU can enjoy Christmas with a victory present to themselves.

The Devils will next take the floor in Lincoln next Sunday against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Cornhuskers are coming off of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and are 8-3 so far in 2008. ASU will tip off at 11 AM MST at the Deveney Center next Sunday.

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