Last week was less than ideal for Arizona State women’s basketball.
With three road games scheduled for the week after a narrow 62-58 loss to No. 8 Arizona on Sunday, ASU had a tight schedule for its game in California on Wednesday. But plans went awry on Tuesday night when ASU’s scheduled charter flight was grounded on the runway for 40 minutes, ultimately grounded due to mechanical problems.
As staff searched for another charter in the next few hours, the only option available to Turner Thorne in the terminal would have allowed the team to arrive late for a game originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT. After the team left the airport, the conference offered to push the departure time and the team would leave in the morning. It was determined by the team that neither option would be in the best interest of student-athlete welfare.
“At the end of the day you have to weigh in to get in in the middle of the night, the team is exhausted, they couldn’t do what they normally do to get into the game,” said the coach of ASU, Charli Turner. Thorne said.
Turner Thorne felt that landing on game day or in the middle of the night for a weekday game would put his team at risk, especially with the shortened practice time before the game.
“It was disappointing, the team was disappointed, but I think we made the best decision for our team,” Turner Thorne said. “What we have left and what we can possibly achieve this season, I don’t know if anyone would put their team at risk like that.”
The outcome of the decision had its consequences for ASU (12-9, 4-5 Pac-12) as the game was forfeited. The package does not affect the overall balance sheet and only goes against the conference standings.
“I didn’t think it would happen, but it did and we’ll respect it and move on,” Turner Thorne said.
Turner Thorne doesn’t think the forfeit will hurt ASU’s chances of making the tournament. The latest predictions on the upcoming tournament predict that ASU will be No. 11 and face No. 6 North Carolina.
Although the week’s events have given ASU little time to prepare for the upcoming road trip to Washington State and Washington, Turner Thorne has ensured his team is focused on consistency and limiting possessions of opponents.
Washington State (16-8, 8-5 Pac-12) arrives with a trio of talented guards, starting with second Charlisse Leger-Walker, redshirt fifth year Krystal Leger-Walker and junior Johanna Teder . Charlisse Leger-Walker leads the team with 16.3 points, ranking it behind ASU guard Jade Loville in the conference for fourth overall.
ASU beat Washington 67-61 in Tempe last season in a rebound game.
“I feel like they are better than last year and obviously we beat them last year at home. But they’re a bit more balanced this year and don’t rely on Charlisse (Leger-Walker) as much, they have other people doing more and I think their bench is stronger,” Turner Thorne said. “They can be really effective offensively and you just have to work hard to protect them. They play really well together and they are tough and tough. They got some great wins and got some close wins.”
Junior center Bella Murekatete leads with 7.3 rebounds. Washington State is averaging 36.3 rebounds per game and outscored UCLA 35-27 in their 66-65 win last week.
ASU won a series against Arizona last weekend and saw one of its best offensive performances of the season in Friday’s victory. Loville, forward Mael Gilles and guard Taya Hanson all combined for 65 of ASU’s 81 points. Loville and Hanson struggled offensively in Sunday’s game, but Gilles and guard Jaddan Simmons carried the charge.
ASU hopes to continue their rebounding progress as Gilles leads 7.7 rebounds per game, while the team is averaging 37.0 rebounds.
The whistleblowing in Washington State is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. MT. ASU has won 11 straight games against Washington.
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