Nov. 12, 2005
TEMPE, Ariz. -
Senior guard LaToya Bond (Urbana, Ill. / Urbana HS) led all scorers with 23 points, yet No. 18 Arizona State became the fourth straight host to win the WBCA/BTI Classic, played Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena, with a 69-54 win.
Senior center Christelle N'Garsanet (Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire / Illinois Central College) added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds; both she and Bond were named to the all-tournament team.
Kristen Kovesdy led the Sun Devils (2-0) with 16 points.
"We've come out of the gym thinking we could be pretty good this year," Head Coach Cindy Stein said. "Our offensive execution wasn't what it needed to be, but the newcomers saw what it's going to take. We've had our defense play like that in the past, but not in a game. It wasn't enough tonight, but we need to make sure it's good enough from here on out."
The game started at a frenetic pace, with both teams choosing to push the ball up the floor. Arizona State got four inside buckets, and held an 8-6 lead after the first media timeout just 4 minutes, 18 seconds into the game. The Tigers took their first lead of the game, at 10-8, with 13:38 left in the half on a drive to the basket by junior forward EeTisha Riddle (O'Fallon, Ill. / O'Fallon HS). The teams went back and forth over the next several minutes, and the score was tied at 12 at the second media timeout with 11:44 left.
Arizona State continued to apply pressure to Mizzou's defense, and rarely took enough time off the shot clock to use a set offense. Instead, transition baskets allowed the Sun Devils to get fastbreak points in the first half and use a short 5-0 to create some distance. Yet the Tigers stuck with the Sun Devils, sitting in just a three-point deficit (19-16) with 7:54 left. With Riddle and N'Garsanet on the bench in foul trouble, the Tigers did an excellent job staying in the game against a formidable inside presence by the Sun Devils. There was a stretch late in the first half where junior forward Carlynn Savant (Euless, Texas / Trinity HS) was the tallest Tiger on the floor against an ASU frontcourt that averaged 6-foot-4.
Junior forward Tamika Jackson (Galveston, Texas / Ball HS / Chipola JC) drew Mizzou's first charge of the season with just over two minutes left in the half, yet ASU got a pair of Jill Noe free throws and a putback from Kristen Kovesdy to cap a 6-0 run. A layup by Bond completed the first-half scoring and sent the Tigers into the locker room with a seven-point deficit (29-22).
Arizona State continued to slowly extend its lead, moving it to nine points (35-29) at the first media timeout of the second half. Danielle Orsillo immediately pushed it to 11 with a pair of free throws coming out of the break, and Amy Denson stole the ball at midcourt and went in for a layup for a 39-26 lead with 14:28 remaining. Despite a pair of N'Garsanet steals, ASU pushed its lead to 14 with 11:51 left on a Briann January jumper.
The Tigers still played staunch defense, getting four steals in the middle of the half. Junior forward Carlynn Savant (Euless, Texas / Trinity HS) got a 3-point play to start an 11-5 run. After an ASU 3-pointer, the Tigers drew within single digits (57-49 with 2:49 left) for the first time in over 12 minutes on a Bond 3-pointer, and a crossing drive through the lane the next time down.
The Tigers are off until a trip to Jonesboro, Ark., next Saturday, Nov. 19. Mizzou's home opener is Tuesday, Nov. 22, against Northwestern. For tickets, visit the Mizzou Arena Ticket Office, call 1-800-CAT-PAWS (884-PAWS in Mid-Missouri) or go online to www.mutigers.com.