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Michelle Smith: Jade Loville has 'a complete green light' for Arizona State women's basketball

Feb 18, 2022
Arizona State Athletics

“It’s been a minute”, says Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne, since her program had a scorer like Jade Loville.

Heading into Friday’s key matchup against Washington State, Arizona State has won three of its last four games to improve its NCAA position, and Loville, the 5-foot-11 junior wing, is averaging 16.6 points (third in the Pac-12) in 27 minutes per game (and 18.7 points in conference play), including a team-leading 31 3-pointers, something that hadn’t been a big part of her game until she got to Tempe.

Earlier this month against Oregon State, Loville put up 33 points, one off her season high of 34, and she put up 27 points in the Sun Devils’ upset of Arizona last week on their home floor.

During ASU’s three-game win streak against Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona, Loville averaged 25.5 points.

Loville’s scoring average is the highest for an Arizona State player since Amanda Levens averaged 16.7 points per game in 2001-02.

“She can flat out score and if she has an open look, I want her to take it,” Turner Thorne said. 

Loville, a Scottsdale, Arizona native who went to high school in Seattle, transferred to ASU from Boise State following the 2021 season, where she led the Broncos and finished second in the Mountain West conference in scoring at 17.1 points a game. She will have one more year of eligibility remaining after this first stellar season for the Sun Devils.

Loville said her conversation with Turner Thorne about coming to Arizona State was about culture and the ability to round out her game.

“It was about the vision she has for the program and the strong culture they have built and I know she would be able to improve my game,” Loville said. “She told me to be able to utilize my strengths. That was a big part of my decision.”

Turner Thorne, who recruited Loville in high school, knew that ASU needed a dynamic scorer and that Loville would be able to fit the bill.

Last season, ASU averaged 54.0 points a game as a team. That average has jumped more than 10 points a game this season, thanks in large part to Loville’s contributions.

“She never even took 3s, she would rely on her jump shot and she was never asked to play defense. She can do everything and she’s capable of doing it all, and I just love how she’s growing into that,” Turner Thorne said.

Loville, Turner Thorne said, was underrecruited in high school after her club team coach quit, leaving her “underexposed."

“People needed to see her more and she just wasn’t able to be out there,” Turner Thorne said. “It’s been a while since we’ve had somebody who can just get you a bucket. It helps you sleep at night. It’s helped us a lot.

“We are riding her. She has a complete green light for us.”

Loville said she feels like, after a 22-day COVID pause following the holiday break, the Sun Devils are finding their momentum in time for the final two weekends of the season and the Pac-12 Tournament, a critical run of games that will likely determine whether ASU can earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“We are just starting to play with one heartbeat,” Loville said. “We have each other’s backs through the ups and downs and we are seeing the things that need to be fixed and are in our control. I think it’s happening at the right time.”