Sun Devils claim the 2017 ASU Classic Championship
By Ethan Schmidt // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, AZ — Arizona State women’s basketball hosted the annual ASU Classic this weekend and defeated the UC Riverside Highlanders in Sunday’s championship game.
With a 73-48 victory, the Sun Devils claimed their second-straight Classic title. The team has now won 14 of the last 17 ASU Classics dating back to the 2001-02 season.
ASU used a hot start to get out ahead of UC Riverside (2-7) and never looked back. The Sun Devils shot 73% for 27 points in the first quarter to give them a comfortable lead that they kept for the rest of the game.
“I thought we really controlled the game from the first quarter, which we haven’t done for a while,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “It was great to get everybody some minutes.”
Four Sun Devils scored in double-digits. Courtney Ekmark and Sabrina Haines led the way with 12 points each, while Jamie Ruden added 11 points and Reili Richardson finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
ASU found needed success from beyond the arc against UC Riverside. The Sun Devils shot 47% from three, a big jump from their season average of 28%.
“We got each other open pretty well,” Ruden said. “We had time to get our feet set and balanced. I always think shooting at home is easier, too.”
However, Haines suffered a right knee injury midway through the third quarter. She was helped off the court and eventually returned to the ASU bench using crutches.
“When she was down that long and couldn’t walk it off, obviously, it’s disheartening,” Turner Thorne said. “Sabrina is a sturdy kid. She’s been very healthy her whole career, so I’m staying positive with it.”
Turner Thorne said she was unsure of the junior guard’s status after the game. Haines is averaging over 10 points a game for the Sun Devils.
“We will miss her definitely, but we have to move on and take it game by game,” Richardson said about Haines possibly missing time. “All our guards are good enough to fill her position.”
Senior guard Michelle Curry had a strong performance for UC Riverside. She was the highest scorer in the game with 16 points, and tallied seven rebounds and six assists.
After winning the Classic, ASU improves to 7-2 on the season. The Sun Devils head east for their next game for a tough road test against No. 13 Florida State on Sunday, Dec. 10.
Ethan Schmidt is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Women’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at email@example.com or follow Ethan on Twitter @TheEthanSchmidt .