WHAT: Sun Devil Women’s Basketball 2013-14 Season Opener vs. Hawaii
When: Saturday at 4 p.m. MT
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe (click here to purchase tickets)
Radio: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060
Live Stream: http://pac-12.com/videos/arizona-state-university
The Arizona State women’s basketball team kicks off its 2013-14 season on Saturday when it hosts Hawaii at 4 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
ASU’s season opener against Hawaii will be the first of three games the Sun Devils will play over a nine-day stretch to start the season. After Saturday’s game, the Sun Devils will be on the road for consecutive contests at San Diego (Wed., Nov. 13) and at Texas Tech (Sun., Nov. 17).
“We are very much looking forward to getting the season underway,” said Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne, who will be entering her 17th season as ASU’s head coach. “While we are very much in our infancy in terms of where we want to be as a team we’re ready to start playing real games. We had a couple of scrimmages that were fantastic for us and we were able to get a lot out of them. We got a lot of stuff thrown at us that we had to adjust to and prepare for so we definitely feel like we’re going to be ready for Saturday.”
Although the Sun Devils return four players with starting experience – redshirt senior guard Deja Mann (48 career starts), redshirt senior center Joy Burke (32 career starts), junior guard Promise Amukamara (31 career starts) and senior guard Adrianne Thomas (30 career starts) – they are relatively young in terms of collective experience playing with one another on the floor. Last season was the first time that Burke, Amukamara and Thomas were primary starters, while Mann, who missed the entire 2012-13 season due to a knee injury, has not played in a real game since March of 2012.
“I feel really good about our team and know we have the pieces to have a fantastic season, but the one area that we’re probably behind almost every team in our conference is just playing together,” explained Turner Thorne. “Almost half of our team is playing together for the first time with the other half so there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve. That being said, we’ll look to make up for that early in the season with great defense and great energy on both ends of the floor.”
Four Sun Devils – redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen, freshmen forwards Sophie Brunner and Kelsey Moos and freshman center Quinn Dornstauder – will be making their debut for ASU on Saturday. Turner Thorne is really excited about what all four players will bring to the team.
“All of our returners have worked very hard to be better, but I have to say the new kids have added a lot to our team. Katie Hempen was a freshmen of the year (at SIUE in 2012), and she’s a proven winner. She’s not only a great shooter, but she also has great basketball instincts and really helps our team play better. And then the freshmen Sophie, Kelsey and Quinn have been impressive in everything from the conditioning workouts, to the weight room, to the basketball court. I knew we had three really good players coming in and I know the fans are going to be incredibly excited to watch these young women play. They are tough, they are skilled and they know how to win.”
Saturday’s opponent, Hawaii, returns nine letter winners from last season’s squad, which finished tied for second place in the Big West and advanced to the postseason for the first time in 10 seasons.“Hawaii went to the WNIT last season and they did not lose many players from that team so we know they have a lot of experience and they know how to win,” said Turner Thorne. “They are a lot like us in that they play hard, tough and they find ways to get the job done. They have some really good scorers and so they will certainly pose a challenge for us.”