December 21, 2004
Fresh off its most poorly played game of the season, the Arizona State women’s basketball team has little time to ponder a loss, not with the defending national champion in town.
ASU will play host to No. 8 Connecticut at 7 tonight at Wells Fargo Arena. In the second half of their 61-45 loss at New Mexico on Saturday, the Sun Devils (7-2) shot 24.2 percent from the field, got to the foul line just two times and scored 18 points, unquestionably their weakest offensive performance to date.
The loss ended a six-game winning streak for ASU and bumped it out of The Associated Press Top 25.
“We missed 22 shots in the paint for the entire game,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We just had one of those dreadful offensive nights. “To be honest, it was one of those games where you need to win 45-44. We just needed to tighten up our defense and rebound better, and we didn’t.”
ASU generally has light practices on the days before games, but with only two days to prepare between New Mexico and UConn, Turner Thorne said the Sun Devils returned to practice focused on Sunday and practiced harder on Monday than they normally would.
“They came back Sunday and did a great job. They were really focused,” Turner Thorne said. “We kind of got after them a little bit. I’m not worried about us having enough energy. This game is big enough and we go to our bench enough that we’re not going to have to worry about that.”
Three-time champion UConn (4-1) hasn’t played since Dec. 7, when it defeated Hartford 55-32.
Last season, in the only meeting between the two schools, UConn beat ASU 81-55 in Hartford, Conn. Though the Huskies led just 34-32 at the half of that game, they outscored the Sun Devils 47-23 in the second half, led by senior guard Diana Taurasi, who had 22 points and seven assists.
UConn this season is without Taurasi, who won rookie of the year honors playing for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
But the Huskies returned both of their starting forwards, Ann Strouther and Barbara Turner, whom Turner Thorne said would pose the toughest matchup problems.
“Turner and Strouther are players that have won a couple of national championships,” she said. “They’re the veteran players on the club, the go-to players. They’re going to be key matchups for us.”