CANCUN, Mexico – Sophie Brunner scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds to help lead the Arizona State women’s basketball team to a 69-66 win over Arkansas State on Saturday. With the win, the Sun Devils concluded the Cancun Challenge with a perfect 3-0 mark after recording wins over Illinois and No. 11 North Carolina the previous two days.
Brunner, who posted her first career double-double in ASU’s upset of No. 11 North Carolina on Friday, was perfect from the floor (5-5 FGs) on Saturday
Promise Amukamara added a team-high 15 points, four steals, four rebounds and three assists for the Sun Devils (6-1), who won their fifth straight game.
Arkansas State (4-4) battled the Sun Devils the entire game as it led by as many as eight points in the first half. Trailing by six with 1:01 remaining, the Red Wolves got within a single point twice in the final minute, but were not able to tie the game or take the lead as the Sun Devils hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final 17 seconds to preserve the win.
The Devils started the game strong, as a pair of layups from Amukamara and a jumper by Kelsey Moos gave ASU a 6-0 lead a little more than two minutes into the game.
The Red Wolves made sure the game did not get out of hand as they reeled off the next nine points to take a 9-6 lead with 13:36 left in the half.
Arkansas State would eventually extend its lead to eight after Hanna Qedan’s layup put the Red Wolves up 23-15.
The Sun Devils would counter with an 8-0 run over a span of 1:21 to tie the game at 23-23. Adrianne Thomas and Joy Burke hit consecutive jumpers to start the run. Elisha Davis and Deja Mann would then knock down free throws on successive possessions to tie the game.
The two teams would exchange the lead four times over the last 3:30 of the half as the Sun Devils took a 31-30 lead into the locker room.
ASU attempted to pull away midway through the second half as it went on an 8-0 run to take a 47-39 lead with 10:33 remaining. Brunner started the run with a layup after corralling an offensive rebound off a miss by Moos. Katie Hempen polished off the scoring run with a steal and layup to give ASU its largest lead of the game.
Led by Aundrea Gamble, who scored 15 of her game-high 23 points in the second half, Arkansas State went on an 11-4 run to get within one point, 51-50. Gamble had seven points during the scoring burst.
Brunner would score five of ASU’s next seven points as the freshman forward had back-to-back possessions in which she scooped up an offensive rebound and scored a on a layup. Brunner’s two buckets were part of a 10-4 run for the Devils, which concluded with a pair of made free throws by Amukamara, which gave ASU a 61-54 lead with 2:06 left.
A jumper by Gamble got Arkansas State within four, but Brunner struck again on ASU’s ensuing possession with another offensive rebound and putback to make it 64-58.
The Red Wolves would keep things interesting after scoring five straight points to get within one, 64-63, with 35 seconds left.
Mann missed the second of two free throws on the opposite end, but Adrianne Thomas came up with the offensive rebound and passed to Brunner who was fouled. Brunner would hit both free throws to put ASU up 67-63 with 14 seconds left.
Down by three with two seconds left, the Red Wolves would have an opportunity to force overtime, but never got a shot off as they had a turnover while attempting to get the ball in bounds.
ASU is now 6-1 after seven games for the third time in the last five seasons.
The Sun Devils return to action next weekend (Dec. 7-8) when they host the ASU Classic, which will feature Sacred Heart, Harvard and Long Beach State.