A day after being embarrassed at home in Saturday’s semifinal of the ASU Classic, the No. 17 Sun Devils pulled away from Columbia in the third-place game Sunday, 70-48, in Tempe. Arizona State (4-3) capitalized on 19 points off turnovers and allowed the Lions (5-3) to 15 combined in the second and third quarters, while playing without injured frontcourt starters Kelsey Moos and Sophie Brunner.
“We responded well, we never gave them a free bounce,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said, referring to the 57-48 loss to VCU Saturday. “We need to get back to workmanship not showmanship. The biggest highlight for this weekend is how much experience our freshmen are getting. Great job with different people stepping up; Kelsey and Sophie are usually our stoppers.”
Although the game was tied at 19-19 at the end of the first quarter and the Lions were shooting 75 percent (opposed to 33 for ASU), Katie Hempen scored 12 of her 14 points in the second, and the team outscored Columbia 23-9 to take a 42-28 edge. Hempen, the senior guard, was 0-for-8 from the floor with no points during the loss to VCU.
“Yesterday was a rough day, but my team has my back,” Hempen said. “When you have all of that, it builds confidence. We’re trying to take one step at a time. We wanted to be more of a team, that game yesterday, that’s not who we are.”
Quinn Dornstauder also scored 14 for the Sun Devils, Arnecia Hawkins scored 10, Elisha Davis dished nine assists, and Hempen and Peace Amukamara tied for the team high with six rebounds. It was a breakout game for freshman Sabrina Haines, who scored 11 points and executed probably the play of the game with a clean block in the first half.
“It’s a blessing,” said Haines, who also scored 11 at Hawaii last week. “I’m thankful my teammates and coaches have helped me, and I hope to continue because we’re going to do big things this season. Our big focus was upping our overall defense. We really took a step today in improving our philosophy on defense.”
Camille Zimmerman, the sophomore forward from Tempe Preparatory School who averages 17.7 points per game, led the Lions with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Paulina Korner, a freshman from Koln, Germany, led Columbia with five rebounds.
The Sun Devils will next head to Columbia’s home state to play at Syracuse Dec. 12. After a Dec. 14 game at Hartford, ASU hosts Marquette at 3 p.m. Dec. 19. Columbia will host Binghamton on Wednesday. Coach Turner Thorne mentioned it had been a hectic week coming back from the games in Hawaii in terms of jetlag and returning into final exams, and she stressed the fact that it’s more difficult for her team during this period because they care so much about their schooling.