TEMPE – Arizona State is one of the final 16 teams playing in the Women’s NCAA Tournament, despite being without its leading scorer Dymond Simon.
But Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne says it will be about defense in Sunday’s game against Texas A&M in the regional semifinal at Trenton, N.J.
“It’s not going to be about flow, that’s for sure,” Turner Thorne said. “I think a lot of basketball in March is not about flow. It’s not pretty, because you don’t get this far without being a great defensive team.”
The winner of the game between sixth-seeded Arizona State (25-8) and No. 2 seed Texas A&M (27-7) will face the winner of No. 1 Connecticut and fourth-seeded California.
Turner Thorne knows with the Aggies bringing a defensive pressure similar to the one she pushes, her team doesn’t expect an offensive explosion Sunday.
“They know if we do not take care of the ball, we are not going to be successful,” Turner Thorne said. “And that we are playing a team that plays every bit as aggressively as we do, or more, on defense.”
Sun Devils guard Briann January said the game could be similar to Monday night’s 63-58 win over third-seeded Florida State.
“Charli always says we can do ugly, we play ugly, we win ugly as long as we win,” January said. “That’s what we did. People stepped up and hit some huge shots. We contained on defense.”
Texas A&M created 62 turnovers in its first two tournament games, getting 20 steals against Minnesota in the second round. The Aggies give up just 55.3 points a game and are fourth nationally in turnover margin.
They also don’t give up the outside shot, holding opponents to 25.8 percent shooting behind the arc, fourth-best in the nation. However, Arizona State is third in the nation in 3-point shooting (39.1 percent).
“Very aggressive team. They are going to have that pressure ‘D’ that we saw from Florida State,” January said.
“Its kind of nice that we went through that game, that kind of prepared us for this matchup against Texas A&M.”
Federer wins in Florida
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Roger Federer’s first shot hit a light pole, and his third sailed over the upper deck out of the stadium.
No, Federer’s slump didn’t reach a new low Friday. He merely misfired a couple of times trying to whack souvenir balls into the stands after winning his opening match at the Sony Ericsson Open.
The two-time Key Biscayne champion beat American Kevin Kim 6-3, 6-2.
“Great start to the tournament,” Federer said.
He hopes to end a drought that has left him without a title in his past 12 Masters tournaments, the ATP Tour’s most prestigious events aside from the Grand Slams.
His 4 1/2-year reign atop the rankings ended last August when he was overtaken by nemesis Rafael Nadal, but Federer professes optimism that he has the ability to reclaim the top spot.
“The true understanders of the game know it doesn’t go that quickly,” he said.
The No. 2-seeded Federer moved into the third round, where he’ll meet Nicolas Kiefer.
No. 5 Andy Roddick needed only 56 minutes to beat Diego Junqueira 6-1, 6-1. Also advancing were No. 3 Novak Djokovic, the 2007 champion, and No. 13 James Blake.
Unseeded American Taylor Dent needed five match points to eliminate No. 19 Nicolas Almagro 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7).