With the season opener a little more than two months away, the Sun Devil women’s basketball team is currently hard at work preparing for the 2013-14 campaign.
After taking a few weeks off following the conclusion of the team’s summer program, the Sun Devils were reunited last Thursday, the first day of the 2013 fall semester at ASU. There was plenty of excitement in the air as the team held individual workouts in Wells Fargo Arena before concluding the day with the first official team meeting of the 2013-14 season.
Although it had been only a few weeks since the team concluded its summer training program, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne noted a perceptible difference in the Sun Devils’ mentality during Thursday’s activities.
“Summer and fall are different,” explained Turner Thorne, who will be entering her 17th season at ASU in 2013-14. “As a player, you are working hard in the summer, but now with the start of school there is a different mindset and sense of urgency because you know that games are just around the corner.
“I really liked our focus. It’s something that is definitely at a high level. I also liked our skill level. It’s significantly higher than where we were at this time last year.”
Among those in attendance on Thursday were ASU’s were newest players – freshmen Sophie Brunner, Quinn Dornstauder and Kelsey Moos and junior college transfer Breanna Burton. Brunner, Burton and Moos were able to familiarize themselves with their new teammates and surroundings during the team’s summer program. For Dornstauder, everything is still relatively new as she spent much of the summer playing for the Canadian Junior National Team that competed at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in Panevezys, Lithuania.
In addition to working hard on the court, Turner Thorne said the team is working just as hard off of it to build the chemistry and camaraderie that are mainstays of her Sun Devil teams.
“We think it’s important from day one to start building our culture and the positive, healthy relationships that are going to endure beyond what happens on the court,” said Turner Thorne. “It’s about instilling that sense of selflessness and people giving themselves over to the team that makes all the difference.
“Every program wants to win, but you want to win and have fun and enjoy the process and that’s what we are about. To do that you have to spend time creating a culture where people really respect each other, care about each other and have each other’s back. Genuine, deep relationships are a big part of what makes the experience special.”
The Sun Devils will continue with individual workouts, skill work and conditioning over the next few weeks before their first official practice at the end of September. Until then, Turner Thorne said the coaching staff will continue to evaluate where each individual is in their development and fitness level.
“Right now we can only have four players in the gym at a time and so we get a lot of good one-on-one offensive development and a little bit of defensive work as well,” said Turner Thorne. “By mid-September we can build up to having the whole team in and then on September 30 – 40 days from our home opener – we can have our first official practice.”
It’s over the course of the next month that the Sun Devils’ returning players will look to develop that all-important chemistry with the newcomers.
“By the time we start practice we want to feel as one and trust each other out on the court,” said Turner Thorne. “Obviously it is going to grow a lot during the season, but I think we do a lot in the preseason to help them build the foundation that will separate us.”