for this game

Brunner, No. 9 Arizona State cruise past Washingtom

Feb 20, 2016 - 3:50 AM TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Sophie Brunner would rather share the ball than score. No. 9 Arizona State needs more offense.

Lately, the Sun Devils have found a successful middle ground.

Brunner had 15 points and 11 rebounds and the Sun Devils shook off a slow start to beat Washington State 61-39 on Friday night for their 20th victory in 21 games.

Arnecia Hawkins added 11 points for the Sun Devils (23-4, 14-1 Pac-12). They again rode Brunner after her buzzer-beater knocked off Stanford in overtime Sunday.

''She's been a great go-to player for us the past couple weeks,'' Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said.

Alexys Swedlund scored nine points for the Cougars (12-14, 3-12) in their ninth straight loss. Hobbled top scorer Borislava Hristova was held to two points on 1-of-6 shooting.

The Sun Devils committed eight first-quarter turnovers, but started the second on a 10-0 run. Brunner's layup at the halftime buzzer made it 36-23, and Arizona State led by as many as 23 points in the second half in their fifth straight win.

Arizona State completed a regular-season sweep of the Cougars, who are 18-42 against the Sun Devils.

Brunner came in as Arizona State's only player averaging double-digit scoring at 10.8 points. That's down a point from a year ago, and Turner Thorne has mentioned wanting to get Brunner more shots after she returned from an early-season ankle injury.

''I like to post for the ball in our offense, but I have more fun not shooting the ball all the time,'' Brunner said. ''I have a lot more fun when we're sharing the ball and everyone is getting touches. I don't like to be that ball that just shoots it every time.''

The 6-foot-1 junior is finding a happy medium. Her fadeaway at the overtime buzzer Sunday kept the Sun Devils tied atop the Pac-12. And she didn't let up against the overmatched Cougars.

The post player dominated inside, hitting 6 of 11 shots and 3 of 4 free throws for her second straight double-double and third of the season.

''I think she's kind of peaking right now, kind of getting back to where she was before she got hurt,'' Turner Thorne said. ''I don't know if Sophie ever demands the ball, but she's just doing a great job finishing. Her percentages are off the charts.''


Washington State: The Cougars shot 29.6 percent from the field and were outrebounded 40-29. ... The Cougars have players from five states and seven countries. ... Washington State is 1-5 in games decided by five points or fewer. ... The Cougars made the WNIT the past two seasons after a postseason drought that dated to 1991.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils hit their first four 3-pointers, then missed nine of their last 10 attempts. ... The Sun Devils' lone loss in 21 games was 67-44 at now-No. 7 Oregon State on Feb. 1. ''Since that game we've had more urgency,'' point guard Elisha Davis said. ... It was Canada Night, and Quinn Dorntauder, a native of Saskatchewan, sang along with her country's national anthem before the game.


Hristova, a freshman who entered as the Pac-12 fifth-best scorer at 16.7 points a game, came down awkwardly on her left ankle early in the second quarter.

Hristova was attended to for a couple minutes before walking off the floor. She returned before halftime, but had trouble getting into the offense.

''It looked like she had a lot of trouble pushing off on it,'' Hristova said. ''The game was out of hand there in the fourth and we elected to sit her down. We'll evaluate her later.''

Hristova, who has a school freshman record eight 20-point games, shot 5 for 21 in two games against Arizona State.


Washington State visits Arizona on Sunday.

Arizona State hosts Washington on Sunday in the final home game for five seniors, including Hawkins, Davis and Katie Hempen.