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Sun Devils' defense wreaks havoc, sticks it to Columbia

With nearly 24 hours to recoup from a loss to unranked Virginia Commonwealth, Arizona State bounces back to topple Columbia University 70-49 behind double-digit points from three Sun Devils.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Tempe, AZ -- It was only a matter of time before the lid came off the rim for the Arizona State University women's basketball team this weekend during the ASU Classic. With a final score of 70-49 in Wells Fargo Arena, the Sun Devils move to 4-3 on the season and Columbia University drops to 5-3.

Behind double-digit production from Katie Hempen, (14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists) Quinn Dornstauder, (14 points and an All-Tournament Team nod) and freshman Sabrina Haines (11 points), ASU surely walked away with a convincing victory.

"We responded well today," Head Coach Charli Turner-Thorne said. "I thought we came out and gave a good Sun Devil effort on defense. The biggest highlight of the weekend though was how much experience our freshman got, and that's really going to help us heading into the conference season."

Coming off a loss to Virginia Commonwealth just 24-hours prior, Arizona State arrived with a new sense of urgency against Columbia, looking to round out the weekend on a high note. Featuring a first quarter with seven lead changes, Haines headlined the first 10 minutes of action with six points, a perfect 2-2 from three-point land. For Columbia, it was all Camille Zimmerman with seven points and two assists.

Zimmerman led all scorers heading into period two. Even with ASU attempting nine more shots from the field than Columbia, the game was knotted up at 19 before Columbia's Alexis Giuliano hit a jumper and a three-pointer to open up the second quarter. For the Sun Devils, it was Hempen providing the spark on the offensive end this time. After an off night against VCU, she had 14 points at halftime shooting a stellar 4-6 from behind the arc.

"As a shooter, you never stop shooting," Hempen said. "Yesterday was a rough day, but my team had my back, and they had my back even more so today. I was definitely a lot more comfortable."

Haines also picked up right where she left off in period two, draining her third three-pointer with seven minutes to go in the half, bumping her points total to nine and boosting ASU's lead to three, 27-24. The Sun Devils were able to capitalize on the Lions' scoring drought that lasted over four minutes in the second quarter. They were up by as many as 13 points behind Hempen's hot hand and had a 39-26 lead at halftime.

ASU had the edge in rebounding, 20 to Columbia's 17, and had seven fewer turnovers than the Lions after 20 minutes. This seemed to be the achilles heel for Columbia as they still shot significantly better from the field (48%) than Arizona State (38%). For a team that averages just below 72 points per game, Turner-Thorne's squad holding Columbia to 28 points in the first half was a feat in itself.

Arizona State's high pressure defense continued to wreak havoc in Wells Fargo Arena for the Lions as the Sun Devils forced three turnovers to start the third quarter and extended their lead 46-28. After a Hawkins three pointer and a pair of free throws from Dornstauder, ASU jumped out to a quick 21 point lead.

Columbia couldn't quite hang with the Sun Devils once they found their rhythm offensively. At the end of three, they led 57-34, taking full advantage of another four minute scoring drought by the Lions and capitalizing on 18 CU turnovers.

The Sun Devils finished with just six turnovers for the second time this year, a season-best, and racked up 16 points off Lion turnovers. ASU also held Columbia's Zimmerman, who averages almost 19 points a game, to 10 points on 4-6 shooting.