Women: Arizona State 68, Arizona 53

by Lara Boyko

After recording wins in both regular season games against No. 12-seed Arizona (15-18, 3-15 Pac-12), No. 4-seed Arizona State (21-10, 10-8 Pac-12) advanced by recording its third win over Arizona this season by a score of 68-53 in the second round of the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament.

"The outcome is not what we wanted to be, but I give a lot of Arizona State to the job that they did," said Arizona coach Niya Butts. "They came out and played like they wanted to win the game. They knew what they needed to do to get the job done.

Arizona State came out strong in the first half by taking the lead quickly. With their trademark stingy defense, the Sun Devils kept building their lead throughout the half, and with 5:05 left in the half, had amassed a 15-point lead.

"The first half was not one of our better halves," said Butts. "We didn't go to the free throw line one time, could not get stops when we needed to and they shot almost 60 percent."

The second half started out where the first half left off as Arizona State's Micaela Pickens hit a three-pointer to extend the lead to 17. Yet Arizona did not go away quietly. Instead, the Wildcats used a 15-4 run to cut the lead down to six. This burst of energy seemed to quickly disappear as the Sun Devils went back their trademark style of play of solid defense and strong post play to open the lead back up and finish the game with a win.

"To come out and play as well as we did in the first 20 minutes knowing that it is March and teams will make a run, they got more than we wanted them to in the second half ," said Arizona State interim head coach Joseph Anders. "At that point our team toughness as well as the fact that Arizona played yesterday, we were the fresher ball club and were able to sustain the things we needed to sustain and win the game."

Arizona was led with 17 points from Davellyn Whyte, 11 points from Candice Warthen and 10 points from Reiko Thomas. As a team the Wildcats shot 29.6 percent from the field.

"It's a physical game and we needed to step up and play physical," said Butts. "They played with a lot of confidence and were aggressive. You have to match that defensively to prevent them from getting to their spots. We didn't do a good job of that in the first half."

Arizona State had every player on its bench score tonight. Leading all scorers was Kimberly Brandon's 15 points and Kali Bennett's 10 points. Now they will head back to the basics of off-court management to prepare for playing tomorrow.

"Ice is our friend," said Bennett. "We just need to ice and rest to be ready for tomorrow."

Arizona State will now take on No. 1-seed Stanford at noon as the women move to the Staples Center.

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