Women's Basketball Falls To Arizona State, 71-65

Feb. 2, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - A 17-point second half deficit proved to be too much to overcome as Oregon State University's women's basketball squad dropped a 71-65 decision at Arizona State on Saturday afternoon.

In a battle for sole possession of second place in the Pacific-10 Conference, the Sun Devils improve to 18-6 overall and 9-4 in Pac-10 action while the Beavers fall to 12-11 on the year and 8-5 in conference play.

Arizona State led from start to finish in the contest, reeling off the first six points of the game before taking a 11-4 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining. OSU's pressuring defense forced a pair of turnovers that helped catapult a 6-0 run and bring the Beavers within one (11-10) but that was as close as it would get in the frame.

ASU went on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 15-point lead (27-12) with 7:43 left. Sun Devil senior Amanda Levens buried three consecutive 3-pointers in the stretch and Oregon State was unable to answer on the offensive end.

The Beavers closed within nine points (33-24) on a Michelle Estell lay-up at the 3:18 mark but ASU scored six of the final eight points of the half to take a 39-26 lead into the locker room.OSU freshman Juleen Smith kept the game close with nine first half points on 4-of-5 shooting, but the rest of the Beavers could not get on track.

As a team Oregon State had 10 first half turnovers, matching the number of miscues they had in 85 minutes at University of Arizona on Thursday.

The Beavers cut the lead under double digits twice in the first five minutes of the second half but Arizona State outscored OSU 16-8 to garner their largest lead of the game at 61-44 with 7:48 remaining.

Oregon State would not go away, as its offense finally came alive. The Beavers went on a 19-3 run, holding Arizona State to just one field goal during a five-minute stretch. A variety of Beavers got in on the action, with a pair of big rebounds and lay-ins by Kristina Rukstelyte as well as nine points by Leilani Estavan.

Estavan's lay-up at the 2:43 mark brought OSU within one-point (64-63), but the Beavers were unable to take the lead and Arizona State scored seven of the final nine points in the game.

'I'm proud of our players for not giving up and working hard to come back,' said OSU assistant coach Stephanie Norman. 'It was just too little too late. We gave up too many second chance shots which really hurt us.'

Smith and Estavan led OSU in scoring with 14 points a piece. Smith knocked down 6-of-10 shots from floor including a pair of treys and pulled down four rebounds. Estavan added a team-high five assists and two steals. Senior guard Felicia Ragland also reached double figures in scoring with 11 points but fell victim to ASU's physical defense.

Levens led all players in scoring with 26 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Melody Johnson and Betsy Boardman also reached double figures in scoring with 13 and 11 points, respectively and each pulled down six rebounds.

ASU held a commanding advantage at the free throw line, hitting 23-of-39 attempts while OSU knocked down 10 of just 14 tries. The Sun Devils held a 41-30 rebounding advantage including a 19-11 edge on the offensive glass.

'When we rebound, we win,' said Norman. 'When we don't, we lose.'

Oregon State returns home to host University of California on Thursday. Game-time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. in Gill Coliseum.

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