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Arizona State Women's Basketball Having Success Despite Missing Turner Thorne

The ASU Women's Basketball team is 8-2 on the season under intern head coach Joseph Anders with their only two losses coming against ranked teams, Rutgers and DePaul. Because of their size and solid bench play ASU looks to be in position to make another run at the Women's NCAA Tournament.

Arizona State Women's Intern Head Coach Joseph Anders was led ASU to an 8-2 record as he fills in for Charli Turner Thorne. Photo courtesy of ASU news.
Arizona State Women's Intern Head Coach Joseph Anders was led ASU to an 8-2 record as he fills in for Charli Turner Thorne. Photo courtesy of ASU news.

The Arizona State Women's Basketball team just continues to win. It doesn't matter they are playing for a different coach for the first time in 15 years, it doesn't matter that they are playing in front of a half filled arena, they just continue to win. 

Winning is something the Sun Devils grew accustomed to under head coach Charli Turner Thorne. Turner Thorne, the winningest head coach in program history, led ASU to eight NCAA Tournament appearances in 15 seasons including including three Sweet 16's. 

In May 2011 it was announced that Turner Thorne would take an unpaid nine-month voluntary leave of absence from the team to spend more time with her family. The reigns were handed over to Joseph Anders, who had been on Turner Thorne's staff for 10 seasons. 

Under Anders, ASU has not skipped a beat. They have gone 8-2 with their only losses coming against ranked teams Rutgers and DePaul. The latest victory came as ASU throttled Army 83-46 Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Arizona State shot 56 percent from the field, forced Army into 23 turnovers, outscored Army by 32 in the paint, and the Arizona State bench scored five more points that the entire Army team. 

"It's nice when it feels complete," said coach Anders. "Today was another one of those game that was close to completion."

The Arizona State Women are a veteren team that starts three seniors and two juniors. They have one of the best defenses in women's college basketball, as the Sun Devils are fourth in the country in blocks per game (7.1), twelfth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (31.7%), and they hold opponents to just 53.3 points per game.

Senior Kimberly Brandon has been the most consistant player all season for the Sun Devils. Coming into the game against Army Brandon leads the team in points per game (10.1) and is second on the team in rebounds per game (6.4). Brandon earned Pac-10 honorable mention last season. 

Fifth year senior Kali Bennett has been a force inside all year and leads ASU's superior inside defense. Bennett leads the team in blocks (2.4 BPG), rebounds (6.6 RPG), and field goal percentage (49.1%). The 6'5 forward from Ventura, California, was named to the All-Tournament Teams of both the San Juan Shootout and the ASU Classic. 

Coach Anders has seen solid play from his bench all season long. That strong play continued last night to the tune of 51 bench points. Freshman guard Promis Amukamara (sister of NY Giants CB Prince Amukamara) has been a spark plug off the bench all season, averaging 6.0 points per game. Against Army she came into the game with ASU trailing 4-0 early and scored six straight points for the Sun Devils.

"(Promise) just ignited us off the bench tonight," said coach Anders. "And once they were ignited it was just fun."

Arizona State plays UTEP on December 28 and then beings Pac-12 play hosting rival Arizona on December 31. Coach Anders knows it will take more effort like his team had last night to have success when conference play begins.

"As we continue to move towards Pac-12 play, that's the kind of passion, that's the kind of heart that it's going to take for us to compete in this extremely tough basketball conference." 


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