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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Sun Devils' Pressure Stunts Eagles In Second Half

Heights Staff

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

BBall

Graham Beck / Heights Editor

Arizona State’s aggressive ball pressure and surprisingly deadly shooting was too much for the Boston College women’s basketball team yesterday, as the Sun Devils overwhelmed the Eagles 68-59.

The first half consisted of back-and-forth play as neither team could pull away, but a late score put ASU up 35-33 heading into the half. Junior forward Katie Zenevitch went 8-10 from the field, and led the Eagles in the first half.

“It was just getting Katie the ball on the post,” said head coach Erik Johnson. “She gets most of her scores on the move. You saw her slipping ball screens, rolling and back cutting.”

Guards Nicole Boudreau and Kerri Shields continually fed the ball to Zenevitch off screens and Zenevitch would lay the ball into the basket on the move with ease. For the Eagles, that was the most effective way to counter the high-pressure defense that ASU was running.

When the Sun Devils adjusted in the second half, though, the Eagles had trouble finding new scoring options. ASU widened its margin to 17 points in the second half, putting the game out of reach with just two minutes left.

Despite the score and the time, BC kept fighting back. A full court press forced turnovers and eventually cut the final deficit to just nine after two free throws from junior guard Shayra Brown.

Throughout the game, the Sun Devils gave very little room for BC to play with, and cycled out substitutes quite often, giving a wide spread of playing time for their players. ASU had nine different players log double-digit minutes, opposed to Boston College who had only six.

“Every time they are coming back onto the floor they have fresh legs,” Johnson said. “That definitely made a difference. There was definitely a point in the second half when their energy remained high—the fatigue probably got to us a bit.”

ASU continued to press down the length of the court at times, and gave the BC guards no room to work on the perimeter.

“It is hard when somebody is pressuring you,” Johnson said. “And with our three point numbers—Kerri Shields and Nicole Boudreau—people are all over them.”

Boston College went 4-12 from the three-point line, while Arizona State shot 8-17. Johnson gave credit to the Sun Devil shooting, saying that BC did not prepare for that kind of outside scoring ability.

“They were able to score inside, they were able to score on pull ups and they were able to score from behind the three point line. That’s awfully tough to stop,” he said.

Zenevitch also had a quiet second half, only managing to put in one basket, as opposed to her eight in the first half. Johnson attributed this to an adjustment by the ASU defense.

“What they did was they stopped coming out and hedging off her and leaving her so much,” he said. “So, they made her grind it out against a couple big players. Unfortunately, tonight Arizona State had an answer every time we made an adjustment.”

Johnson said that he would be looking forward to the next ten days of practice, before their game against Vermont, in order to adjust to creating more driving opportunities.

“I’m bummed, because we could have won it,” he said. “We are good enough to beat this team. But, I promise you we will learn from it and it will make us better.”

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