When Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne arrived for her team’s 7:30 a.m. shoot around Friday morning at 6:55, she noticed freshman center Quinn Dornstauder already in the gym shooting baskets.
Averaging just two points per game with a high of six, the 6-foot-4 Dornstauder would go on to score a career-high 13 points Friday to lead the No. 19 Sun Devils (15-2, 4-1 Pacific-12) to a 68-59 home win over defending national semifinalists No. 15 California (12-4, 4-1).
“I just like to take every opportunity I have, and I just went out there and played my hardest,” said Dornstauder, who was 5-of-6 for 10 points in the first half alone. “I wasn’t really expecting anything.”
Coach Turner Thorne said once Eliza Normen went down with back spasms in practice Thursday, it was apparent Dornstauder would fill her spot in the rotation.
“We didn’t design it this way,” Turner Thorne said. “As a coach, I couldn’t be happier or proud. She’s been working for this opportunity, and she always takes advantage when she can. She has the best first step, nobody can keep her in front, on our team. I’m really happy for her.”
After a slow start and 8-0 Cal lead, Promise Amukamara put ASU up three with just over four minutes until the half. Belgian freshman Hind Ben Abdelkader drained a three to put the Bears back in front, 22-21. The Sun Devils almost went into halftime with a two-possession lead, but a wide-open Mikayla Lyles knocked down a three at the buzzer to cut it to 27-26.
Out of halftime, a Brittany Body layup gave Cal the lead, 32-31, and a traditional three-point play from Reshanda Gray ensued after three scoreless minutes.
A 12-point run from ASU was sent into overdrive when Kelsey Moos scored two consecutive field goals to wrap it at 38-38. ASU picked up two quick ones again, first from Deja Mann and another Moos steal and drive, for the four-point edge. Mann scored a second time, and a Moos steal ended up with Elisha Davis scoring. Courtney Range ended the drive for Cal, only to be answered with a Katie Hempen three and a nine-point deficit.
Boyd and Range scored two quick ones to bring the Bears within six, but they never closed the gap, although Afure Jemerigbe cut it to five twice in the final minute.
Amukamara, who had 11 points, even collected another steal with ASU up nine in the final seconds.
“I knew Afure scored the last six points, so I knew I had to deny her the ball, and that was who they were going to, so I think I did a good job of playing that pass,” Amukamara said.
Mann scored 10 for the Sun Devils, Moos had eight points and six rebounds, and Sophie Brunner collected five points, four assists and eight boards. Gray and Jemerigbe each lead the Bears with 16 points, plus Gray added 10 rebounds, Boyd had 11 points, and Gennifer Brandon grabbed 10, as well.
The Sun Devils return to Wells Fargo Arena at 5 p.m. Monday versus No. 4 Stanford. The Golden Bears are at Arizona at 3 p.m. Monday.
Cal’s other three losses this season have come to the hands of UConn, Duke and George Washington.