Arizona State women’s basketball took out its scoring frustration in a big way Saturday.
After averaging 62 points over the previous seven games, ASU busted out for three 20-plus quarters in an 84-47 rout of New Mexico at Desert Financial Arena.
In the second half, the Sun Devils shot 56 percent overall, 40 percent from 3-point and 89 percent on free throws, turning a nine-point halftime lead into a blowout.
“Finally,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I thought we really put it together today especially second half on both ends of the floor. We had a fantastic defensive effort but then we kind of combined that with better offense. Great to see our perimeter shooting coming around and we even made the extra pass a little bit better in the second half. Something really good to build on.”
With their fourth straight win, the Sun Devils improved to 8-2 with two winnable non-conference games remaining.
Richardson No. 2 in career assists
Senior guard Reili Richardson was ASU’s star with a career high 21 points and four assists to move past Elisha Davis into second on the school career list.
Now with 485 assists, Richardson needs 50 more to pass Briann January as the school leader.
“My teammates have helped me get there all four years,” Richardson said. “I’m looking to shoot more. I get in the gym almost every day, and I feel good about my shot right now. With my assists, my teammates are making the shots I pass them.”
Richardson was 5-of-10 from 3-point — career highs for makes and attempts – leading to three more points than her previous scoring high (18 vs. Florida State in 2017).
Coming into Saturday, Richardson was averaging 2.6 assists, well below her career average (4.3).
“It’s been a really slow start, not because Reili is not still a great passer,” Turner Thorne said. “But because our youthfulness and injuries and people in and out of the lineup, we haven’t been in synch offensively for her. And we haven’t hit shots. As our teams comes together offensively, that number is going to up and up for Reili, and that record definitely could be broken.”
Reili Richardson leads ASU WBB blowout win over New Mexico
Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral sports
Help all around
Richardson had plenty of help from her teammates.
Freshman guard Sara Bejedi scored 13 of her season high 16 points in the second half; senior F/C Ja’Tavia Tapley had a third consecutive double-double (12 points/12 rebounds); senior guard Kiara Russell pulled a career high eight boards plus five assists; and forwards Jayde Van Hyfte and Eboni Walker each contributed eight points and six rebounds.
“We got better looks so when we played off each really well, I’m really confident with our shots,” Richardson said.
“We have been getting in the gym and shooting extra because of our low shooting percentage,” said Van Hyfte, looking more to shoot from the perimeter. “It’s not just luck.”
More board dominance
ASU used a 12-0 run in the late first and early second quarters to lead 25-9 but couldn’t carry that momentum through the halftime as New Mexico (7-4) closed the gap to 32-23.
The Sun Devils opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to lead 41-25. Richardson hit three 3-pointers in the third and Bejedi added one, taking the advantage to 59-33 entering the fourth.
ASU led 57-25 on the boards including 24 offensive rebounds for a team already No. 2 nationally in that category. The Sun Devils also dominated in second chance points (29-8) and bench scoring (34-17).
No one scored in double figures for New Mexico, which lost by 13 points to No. 22 New Mexico and one in overtime to Boise State. The Lobos came in averaging 79.4 points and left with a large season scoring low (60 was their previous low) and 0-of-18 shooting from 3-point.
ASU is at New Mexico State for a matinee game Wednesday. The Aggies are 3-7 and play New Mexico for a second time Monday before facing the Sun Devils.
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