By Lindsay Gaesser, SDA Media Relations
TEMPE, Ariz. – Deja Mann scored 14 points to lead four players in double figures as the Arizona State women’s basketball team opened its season with an 84-44 win over Hawaii on Saturday.
The Sun Devils (1-0) were a powerhouse on offense, shooting 56 percent from the floor while combining for 22 assists. Also scoring in double figures for the Sun Devils, who shot 39 percent (9-23) from 3-point range, were Promise Amukamara (13 points), Katie Hempen (12 points) and Adrianne Thomas (10 points).
Hawaii (0-1), a 2013 WNIT participant, shot 30 percent for the game while turning the ball over 26 times.
“I’m pleased with our opening game,” said ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. “I think what makes me happiest is there are so many things we can do better. I love the way we shot the ball and I liked our effort.
“I think early in the season, a team comes in and forgets how hard you have to play to win. We know that we have a ways to go in terms of coming together offensively, so we’re just like ‘Okay. We’re just going to work our butts off and outwork them, and find ways to score.’”
Mann, a redshirt senior guard who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, showed very little rust in her first official game since March of 2012.
“Deja had a great first showing,” said Turner Thorne. “She has worked very hard. She is a better shooter than she was before because she’s spent a lot of time on it and it shows.”
Although the Rainbow Wahine nabbed the first bucket, the Sun Devils dictated the pace going on a 14-3 run. The dynamic duo of Mann (11 points) and Hempen (10 points) led ASU in the first half, combining for 21 points.
A redshirt sophomore guard, Hempen was playing in her first official game as a Sun Devil after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules (transferred to ASU from SIUE in 2012).
“Katie was Katie,” said Turner Thorne of Hempen’s performance. “That’s what she does. She hits shots, and she’s ready to score at all times. She’s tough as nails and has great court awareness. She had a great first game, and played as if it wasn’t her first game.”
The Sun Devils presented a well-rounded offense in the first half with eight players putting points on the board. Of ASU’s 23 baskets, 13 were assisted. On the defensive end, Amukamara and Thomas led the team with three steals and four steals, respectively. Joy Burke, who came two points short of a double-double (eight points, 10 rebounds), dominated the boards in the first half with eight.
“I think our defense is what got our offense going,” said Hempen. “All of our ball stoppers got up, denied the ball, got a few good steals, and that’s what got our offense going. That’s what is most important—our defense was there in the beginning.”
Dominating both ends of the court, the Sun Devils went into the half with a commanding 44-18 lead over the Rainbow Wahine.
Continuing their momentum, the Sun Devils came out firing on all cylinders outscoring Hawaii 19-7 in the first nine minutes of the second half.
Ashleigh Karaitiana led the Rainbow Wahine with 15 points (11 in the second half) to go along with four steals. Also scoring in double figures for Hawaii was Kamilah Jackson (11 points), who led the Rainbow Wahine in rebounds with six.
The Sun Devils (1-0) return to action on Wednesday (5:15 p.m. PT/6:15 p.m. MT) when they go on the road to face San Diego.