Arizona State women's basketball rebound struggling offense, nearly tie record for most 3-pointers in victory over Marist

Jenna Ortiz
Arizona Republic
Arizona State forward Mael Gilles rebounds the ball against Marist forward Zaria Shazer in Sunday's game at Desert Financial Arena on Nov. 21, 2021.

Arizona State is most dangerous when its pressure defense and long-range game come together. Both of those were coming together, but the long-awaited emergence of their rebounding became the bow that tied them up Sunday. 

The Sun Devils showed off their shooting with 13 3-pointers in the game, good for second-most in school history. Jade Loville and Mael Gilles were both spark plugs for the ASU offense that struggled as of late, as Loville went 5-for-6 from downtown and Gilles grabbed a game high eight rebounds to lead ASU to an 82-53 victory over Marist College at Desert Financial Arena.  

Loville returned to form from the opening game, scoring a game high 21 points, while Gilles tacked on 16 points. Gilles led the defense with four steals, while ASU totaled 13 in the game. Maggie Besselink grabbed six rebounds and led with three blocks.  

“It was a great team win, it was fun for us to be able to shoot the ball the way we knew we can shoot the ball and score more points than we did the entire last game. We’re getting better, we’re figuring things out,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 

Sophomore Jaddan Simmons displayed her most impressive game of the season so far, scoring 10 points with three assists and three steals.  

Although the roster still remains depleted from injuries, ASU didn’t wear down. Late in the fourth quarter as ASU held a 33-point lead, Simmons showed some grit in a three-point play when she chased down a loose ball against Marist guard Kendall Krick, eventually winning the battle with a layup and a drawn charge from Krick. 

“I just felt comfortable, I know my teammates will hit shots, I know it will come to me and I don’t have to force anything. Just playing relaxed is what I’m also going to try to do from here on out,” Simmons said. 

Pushing the scoring woes of the last game aside, ASU came out hot on a 10-2 run in the opening minutes. Marist eventually cut the lead on a 3-pointer from Erin Fox that pulled them within a two-point difference at 13-11, but ASU’s defense went back to pressuring Marist’s shooters and it eventually led to 11 unanswered points. Once the first quarter ended, ASU forced 10 turnovers from Marist and shot 4-for-7 from the 3-point line. 

The focus in the game was “just outwork them,” Loville said. “Defense leads to offense, so really just stop them. Offensively, play together, and defensively, get on the same page. All of that added up. As a team, we really needed to have each other’s back and stay outside of ourselves and find the open man.” 

Marist benefited from a cold stretch at the beginning of the second quarter from ASU, scoring six straight points to trail 25-17. The eight-point difference was enough to cause Turner Thorne to burn a timeout. However, her words ended up working as Arizona State came back swinging on a 10-0 run that included back-to-back 3s from Gilles and Loville. 

By the time the dust settled in the 48-27 lead at the half, ASU had made 10 3-pointers. It was the most points scored by ASU in the first half since Nov. 10, 2019.  

“We were just playing for each other and not for ourselves, we had a lot better attitudes in this game, and we were just moving the ball, working it and trying to find the best open shot instead of forcing and trying to take over. We play our best when we play as a team, not individuals,” Simmons said. 

What makes the first half even more impressive was the fact that ASU competed against an efficient Marist offense. The Red Foxes shot 61.1 percent from the field (11-of-18), but committed 16 turnovers that resulted in 25 points for ASU.  

The second half saw an even better showing from ASU’s defense as they held Marist to a 36.4 shooting percentage with eight field goals on 22 attempts. Marist finished with a 47.5 shooting percentage, while going 5-for-13 from 3. The Red Foxes committed 23 turnovers, turning into 32 points for ASU. 

Zaria Shazer led Marist with 12 points and four rebounds, along with two blocks. Krick, a former standout at Chandler Seton Catholic Prep, dished out three assists and two steals, along with seven points. 

ASU went 30-for-64 from the field (46.9 percent), while shooting 41.9 percent from the 3 (13-for-31). The Sun Devils improved their rebounding with 33 boards compared to Marist’s 24. 

“We moved the ball better, we were a little more disciplined with our shot selection, which led to the offensive rebounds. Our rebounding was improved, which it should’ve been in this game. And it made all the difference with the patience on offense.” 

Up next, ASU (2-2) will head to Mexico on Nov. 25-27 for the Cancun Challenge. The Sun Devils will open up against Houston on Thursday, then play No. 6 Baylor (Friday) and Fordham (Saturday).  

“It’s a really good team win for us to get our confidence back to go to Cancun. We’re playing good teams over there,” Gilles said. “I think we’re ready for wherever it is we need to play.” 

Reach the reporter at jenna.ortiz@arizonarepublic.com or 602-647-4122. Follow her on Twitter @jennarortiz

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