Arizona State knocks off No. 16 DePaul 79-66
DePaul (13-2) had won 10 straight games and was coming off an impressive victory over No. 3 Stanford. The pesky Sun Devils (8-2) had already faced two Top 25 teams this season and didn’t back down against the Blue Demons, dominating the second half for their fifth straight win.
Watson added eight rebounds and four steals, and Simon sneaked in for five rebounds for Arizona State, which wraps up its non-conference schedule against Marist on Tuesday.
Felicia Chester had 16 points and Keisha Hampton added 14 for the Blue Demons.
DePaul had one of its biggest wins Thursday, knocking off Stanford 91-71 to delay Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer’s 800th career win.
The Blue Demons hounded Stanford defensively and used a big run early in the second half to pull away, preventing the program from an unwanted 800-win hat trick after being on the losing end of milestone wins by Tennessee’s Pat Summit and Rutgers’ Vivian Stringer.
They couldn’t afford a letdown against the Sun Devils, though.
Arizona State has already faced some tough competition, losing to No. 4 Tennessee and 14th-ranked Florida State. Those are the Sun Devils’ only defeats, though, and they’re a scrappy team that had won four straight after scoring nine of the final 10 points in a 63-52 victory over South Dakota.
Defense has keyed Arizona State’s run. After some early-season struggles, the Sun Devils have tightened up during their winning streak, holding teams to 51 points per game while averaging 17 steals.
DePaul, with all those weapons, figured to be a little tougher to stop.
The Blue Demons have four players who average in double figures, led by Hampton’s 17, and score 80 points per game while shooting at a 47 percent clip from the field.
Arizona State didn’t exactly stop DePaul in the first half—13 of 26 from the floor—but the Blue Demons couldn’t shake the Sun Devils, either.
Watson was the problem in the first half, repeatedly getting into the lane on her way to 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Simon did her thing early in the second half, dishing and dashing through the Blue Demons, even grabbing a seat on the scorer’s table for a second after breaking up a pass.
Simon kept churning, getting a backcourt steal and jumper, and added a 3-pointer from the wing to put Arizona State up seven. Watson followed with a 3 of her own and Simon scored on a layup with 6 minutes left, capping a 14-4 run that put the Sun Devils up 61-47.
Arizona State hit 16 of 31 shots in the second half and hounded DePaul into 10-of-26 shooting—0 for 5 from 3—to pull off a win that should get the Sun Devils some serious consideration in next week’s polls.