Arizona State rattled off a 17-2 spurt over the final 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to break open a close game on Friday evening and cruise to a 57-31 women’s basketball victory over the University of Maine in their Gulf Coast Showcase opener at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida.
Arizona State (4-1) plays the winner of the Drake-Purdue University game on Saturday while UMaine (2-4) faces the Drake-Purdue loser at 1:30 p.m.
Senior guard Blanca Millan, the Black Bears’ leading scorer and reigning America East Player of the Year, suffered a leg injury late in the first half and didn’t return. She scored two points in 18 minutes.
Millan went into the game averaging 21.4 points.
UMaine head coach Amy Vachon said her team showed a lot of grit after losing Millan.
“It’s tough when the heart and soul of your team goes down,” Vachon said. “But I loved how the kids fought.
“We’ve got to figure out this offensive thing. We’ll find a way. We’re going to have to reinvent ourselves,” she said.
UMaine shot just 30.8 percent from the floor (12-for-39) and 27.3 percent beyond the 3-point arc (3-for-11).
ASU went 23-for-60 from the floor (23-for-60) and 35.7 percent behind the 3-point arc (5-for-14).
Dor Saar’s jumper with 5:20 left in the third quarter capped a 6-2 run that pulled UMaine within 25-20.
But the Sun Devils reeled off the next 12 points as Jayde Van Hyfte connected on two layups and sank a free throw, Ja’Tavia Tapley converted back-to-back layups and Robbi Ryan nailed a 3-pointer.
Following two free throws by UMaine’s Maddy McVicar, a Taya Hanson 3-pointer and an Eboni Walker jumper closed out the quarter and gave the Sun Devils a comfortable 42-22 cushion.
UMaine turned the ball over six times during the 17-2 spurt and missed its only two field-goal attempts.
Hanson finished with 13 points for ASU. Van Hyfte added eight points and seven rebounds and Walker chipped in with eight points and five rebounds.
Maeve Carroll’s nine points paced the Black Bears. Kelly Fogarty added six points, McVicar had five points and Saar wound up with four points and two assists but committed seven turnovers.
Arizona State, which reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last season, outrebounded the smaller Black Bears 37-22 and forced 23 turnovers.
The Sun Devils had 16 turnovers.
UMaine is still without 2018-2019 America East rebounding leader Fanny Wadling, who hasn’t played this season after suffering a concussion in an exhibition game.