November 20, 2004

In playing a highly ranked opponent early in the season, the Arizona State women’s basketball team was able to quickly evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

Those early-season evaluations will be put to the test at 6:30 p.m. today as ASU opens its home schedule against San Diego at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils split their first two games of the season in the Women’s Sports Foundation Tip-off Classic at Baton Rouge, La., defeating Virginia 59-49, and then losing to No. 3 Louisiana State 65-54 in the title game.

Though ASU outrebounded LSU 31-28 and allowed the Lady Tigers just 11 free-throw attempts, the Sun Devils’ own mistakes hurt them. They turned the ball over 27 times.

"We need to take care of the ball, and we need to have more possessions in the game," junior forward Kristen Kovesdy said. "Looking back at the LSU game, we outrebounded them. If we would have kept our turnovers down, we would have had a much closer game."

Coach Charli Turner Thorne said she has been pleased with her team’s defense so far. The Sun Devils forced LSU into 21 turnovers, and against Virginia, forced 25 turnovers and held the Cavaliers to 34 percent shooting.

ASU is in its second season of using the motion offense, a system that requires more passing and ball movement — and occasionally leads to more turnovers — than a set offense. Turner Thorne attributed some of the problems to early-season mistakes; the kind of problems she thinks will be corrected as the season progresses.

"I think we’re a very good passing team, I just think that it’s early," Turner Thorne said. "We’re still learning the nuances of the offense. I think that kind of showed against a high level of defense."

ASU will rely on its pressure defense tonight, and Turner Thorne expects the Toreros to run often and look for the 3-point shot.

"They love to run, we know they’re going to mix up their defenses, press us a little bit, and they love the three," Turner Thorne said.

"We’ve had plenty of time to prepare, so hopefully we’re ready."

San Diego at ASU women

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: Wells Fargo Arena

TV: None

Radio: NBC (1190 AM)

Records: San Diego St. 0-0, ASU 1-1

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