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Arizona State Sun Devils

Updated Apr 30, 2015 - 2:49 pm

Balanced Sun Devils women’s team eliminates Vanderbilt

TOLEDO, Ohio — Katie Hempen scored 16 points, and ninth-seeded Arizona State handed eighth-seeded Vanderbilt a rare first-round loss in the NCAA tournament, holding off the Commodores 69-61 on Saturday.

The Sun Devils (23-9) shot 62 percent to win this matchup between two teams who struggled coming into this tournament. Arizona State had lost three in a row and six of eight. Vanderbilt’s loss Saturday was its fifth straight and 10th in 12 games.

Marqu’es Webb scored 18 points for the Commodores (18-13), overpowering Arizona State inside, and senior star Christina Foggie added 16.

Deja Mann, Arizona State’s leading scorer, did not attempt a shot in the first half and finished with only eight points — but the Sun Devils had enough balance and depth.

In the second round Monday, Arizona State will face the winner of Saturday’s game between top-seeded Notre Dame and 16th-seeded Robert Morris.

Vanderbilt was making its 15th straight NCAA tournament appearance and had lost in the first round only once in the previous 11 years. The Commodores might have pulled this one out, but they couldn’t take advantage of Arizona State’s foul trouble. The first 23 free throws of the game were attempted by Vanderbilt — the Sun Devils didn’t shoot any until the last 1:40.

But the Commodores couldn’t capitalize, finishing only 14 of 27 from the line.

Hempen scored 12 points in the first half, making all four of her 3-point attempts, and Arizona State led 30-24 at halftime. Mann had played only six minutes to that point and had three fouls, but when Vandy made a brief run at the start of the second half, Mann made a pair of 3-pointers with the shot clock running down.

A jumper from just inside the arc by Hempen made it 54-45, and the Sun Devils held on from there.

Foggie, Vandy’s career leader in 3-pointers, went 4 of 11 from the field and 2 of 6 from long distance. Webb kept the Commodores in the game, but Vandy couldn’t match Arizona State’s diverse offensive performance.

Mann and Joy Burke, two starters, played only 27 minutes combined for the Sun Devils because of foul trouble. Sophie Brunner, who like Hempen came off the bench, scored 14 points.

Arizona State used 11 players, and they were all in for at least six minutes. The Sun Devils shot 67 percent from the field in the second half.

This was the first appearance in the NCAA tournament for the Sun Devils since 2011. Coach Charli Turner Thorne went on a one-season sabbatical after that.


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