Columbia, SC -- With the Michigan State Spartans being the No.9 seed and the Arizona State Sun Devils being the No.8 seed, it was thought to be a nail-biting game, but Arizona State made an early statement that they were going to ensure that their season would continue.
The Sun Devils put in a team effort to put away the Spartans. They were able to control the momentum by being patient and make this game Arizona State basketball. By this, they were able to work the ball around and create the best shot possible, shooting 49. % from the field goal.
“All of the things they knew they could do, I thought they did a great job of on both sides of the floor really locking Michigan State down, who is a great offensive team,” said Coach Charli Thorne. “I’m really proud of this team!”
In the first half, the Sun Devils were able to get off to a fast start with high energy, which allowed them to close out on a 22-point lead by intermission, 42-20. Pairing this with lock down defense, the Spartans were completely taken out their game and could not get into an offensive rhythm.
The flaw of Michigan State was their turnovers. In the first half alone, they had 12 and only seven points in the second quarter to compensate for their lost possessions. This showed their inability to stay poised against pressure. Arizona State continued to pressure them and kept applying punches throughout the game.
“We’re disappointed,” said Coach Suzy Merchant. “That first half is not the team who we were as a team all year. We didn’t get settled at all in the first half. In the fourth quarter, I thought we really competed and got after it”.
We only saw two points in that first half from Spartan’s guard, Tori Jankoska. She’s usually a guard that usually averages 22.5 points per game; however, Arizona State’s defense only allowed her to shoot four times. She began to wake up later on in the game and ended the game with 26 points.
On Arizona State’s side, their center, Quinn Dornstauder was able to lead their team with16 points. She had the same move in the paint that was unstoppable with her flawless footwork. With Dornstauder’s size, there was nothing Michigan State could do about her fade-away move as she went from 6-6 from the same spot.
“It was just a good day,” said Dornstauder. “I think that we all shot very well and had a great offensive start. We all played a really good game.”
In the fourth quarter, Michigan State began to make adjustments on both ends, but it was too late in the game time dwindled down to the buzzer. Arizona State was able to close out the game, 73-61.