Fans got their first look at the 2013-14 Sun Devils women’s basketball team at last week’s Maroon and Gold Scrimmage held at Wells Fargo Arena.
ASU’s roster was split up into two squads, which squared off against one another for two eight-minute halves. For the Sun Devils, the scrimmage was a chance to shake off the rust while at the same time getting the opportunity to perform in front of not only their fans, but also fans of the Sun Devil men’s basketball team, who came out for the Sun Devil basketball doubleheader.
“After only eight days of practice, it was a nice little audition,” said Sun Devil head coach Charli Turner Thorne. “I think it was great for our players to put on uniforms and get the feel of that game-like atmosphere, especially since we don’t have an exhibition game this year.
“It was great to interact with our loyal fans who have supported us for years while at the same time getting the opportunity play in front of students and fans of our men’s team, who have not had as much exposure to our program.”
Because the scrimmage occurred at a time when the team was in the early phases of its preparations for the upcoming season, Turner Thorne said she put an emphasis on good, sound play rather than strategic and technical aspects.
“The message to the team for the scrimmage was to get a good flow of play out there,” explained Turner Thorne. “I held them back a little bit defensively, but as the contest wore on they got competitive and started picking up their defense, which was fun to see. I don’t think we showed how good we are, but we showed glimpses of it.
“I could be wrong, but I don’t think any coach in the country would say, ‘I’m ready to play [on Oct. 11].’ Because several of our players have not had a lot of experience playing with one another, the challenge for our team is developing our chemistry and knowing our system and who we are. Right now our goal is just to get better every day.”
Back for More
Turner Thorne liked what she saw from returning members of the team at this early stage. What really pleased her – and all fans of the program – was seeing redshirt senior guard Deja Mann and redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen out on the floor. Mann was forced to miss all of last season with a knee injury while Hempen also had to sit out the season after transferring to ASU from SIUE.
“I think all of our returners looked better, which is exciting,” said Turner Thorne. “There are still some habits we need to work on eliminating, but we are getting back to remembering how hard we have to play to win.
"It’s great to have Deja’s savvy and scoring ability back out there. And Katie went out there and showed she can shoot the ball, which is something we’ve known since day one.”
Fans Get First Look at Freshman Class
For Sun Devils fans, last week’s Maroon and Gold Scrimmage was their first opportunity to get a look at this year’s freshman class, which includes forwards Sophie Brunner and Kelsey Moos and center Quinn Dornstauder. While Turner Thorne acknowledged that the trio’s biggest learning curve would be on the defensive end, she said all three players demonstrated that they have abilities that will enable them to contribute.
“I think the rebounding of our freshmen really stood out,” said Turner Thorne. “They are all good rebounders and that is an area that is huge toward winning basketball games. All three are also talented in terms of being able to put the ball in the basket. And they run the floor well, which is really exciting.”
One Day at a Time
Having been practicing since Oct. 1 and with the season opener a little more than three weeks away, Turner Thorne acknowledged the importance of easing the team into the rigors of the season while at the same time having it ready to perform when the games are for real.
“You can’t have the same plan every year because it is not an exact science,” said Turner Thorne. “We are getting to know our team right now in terms of how they respond to things. Here at ASU we always want to have our team rested and ready for games. We want them to have that energy and passion to be ready to outwork the other team. It’s a long, physical season so we know it’s important to find the right balance of practice time and recovery time.”
Youth Clinic Set for October 27
Last week the Sun Devil women’s basketball program announced it would be hosting its annual youth clinic on Sun., Oct. 27 at Wells Fargo Arena.
“We really look forward to this event every year,” said Turner Thorne. “The kids that come out get to participate in fun drills and always have a good time.”
While the clinic is only for kids eighth grade and under, Sun Devil women’s basketball fans of all ages are welcome to come out and interact with the team and coaching staff.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to spend time with our fans and for them to get to know our team,” said Turner Thorne.Click here for more information on the clinic.