CANCUN, Mexico – Deja Mann scored a game-high 20 points and Joy Burke added 16 points and seven rebounds to lead the Arizona State women’s basketball team to an 84-60 win against Illinois on Thursday during the first day of play at the Cancun Challenge.
In addition to it being the third straight win for the Sun Devils (4-1), it was also the third time in as many games that they scored more than 80 points and shot higher than 50 percent (55.6). Mann (6-9), Burke (7-8) and Promise Amukamara (4-5/eight points) combined to shoot 77 percent from the floor. Mann matched her career high with four 3-pointers and also made all four of her free throws.
Helping facilitate ASU's offensive success was Adrianne Thomas, who dished out six of ASU’s 18 assists.
As impressive as ASU was on offense, it was equally dominating on defense as it held Illinois more than 30 points below its scoring average (92.4). In addition the Illini made only one 3-pointer (came in averaging 8.8 per game) while shooting nine percent from long range (came in shooting 38 percent).
The Sun Devil bench continued to be a significant factor in ASU’s success. Coming into the game averaging 32.8 points per game, ASU’s reserves accounted for 32 points on Thursday. Leading the way were Elisha Davis and Eliza Normen, who scored eight points each. Normen, who set a new career high in scoring against Illinois, also matched her career high in rebounds (6) for the second consecutive game.
Illinois (4-2), which never led in the game, was led by Jacqui Grant and Amber Moore, who scored 14 points each.
Six different Sun Devils scored to help ASU build a 14-2 lead 5:25 into the game. Illinois didn’t get in double figures in scoring until Ivory Crawford hit the Illini’s only 3-pointer of the game to cut ASU’s lead to 19-11 with 9:28 left in the first half.
Later in the half, Normen scored five straight points to start an 11-2 ASU run, which gave the Sun Devils their largest lead of the half, 38-17 with 3:45 remaining.
After scoring all of her career-high 11 points in the second half of last Saturday’s win over Providence, Davis once again sparked the Sun Devils in the second half against Illinois, scoring all eight of her points over the final 20 minutes.
The Sun Devils continue play at the Cancun Challenge tomorrow when they take on No. 11 North Carolina at noon CT/11 a.m. MT. The Tar Heels defeated Arkansas State 93-60 on Thursday. ASU’s game against North Carolina can be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.