@SunDevilWBB falls to second straight Top 10 opponent
TUCSON – A 27 percent shooting effort and 23 turnovers proved to be too much for the Sun Devil women's basketball team to overcome against the nation's sixth-ranked team. In the end, the Sun Devils found themselves on the wrong end of a 65-37 decision against Arizona on Thursday.
Taya Hanson tied her career high with 14 points to lead the Sun Devils, who were facing their second-straight Top-10 foe, after falling to then-No. 9 UCLA 63-59 on Sunday.
Unlike Sunday's game in which the Sun Devils (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) fought back from a 17-point deficit to eventually take the lead in the final frame against the Bruins, ASU found itself unable to put together any substantial scoring runs once the Wildcats went up by double digits in the second quarter.
The Wildcats (4-0, 2-0) knocked down 11 triples, scored 24 points off turnovers and outrebounded the Sun Devils 37-34. Arizona's success came against a Sun Devil squad that was at a big disadvantage in experience. ASU's starting lineup included four players who had not started a college game before this season. Junior guard Jamie Loera became the latest Sun Devil to make her first career start after the Sun Devils lost junior guard Iris Mbulito against UCLA. All but one Arizona player had more individual career starts than the aggregate number of starts (31) of ASU's starting five before Thursday: Hanson (17), freshmen Katelyn Levings (five) and Jaddan Simmons (five), junior Eboni Walker (4) and Loera (0).
Walker led ASU's rebounding effort with nine while Hanson (seven) and Lorera (six) posted career highs on the glass. Walker also had a career-high four steals.
The Sun Devils came into the game averaging 17.4 free throw attempts per game. On Thursday, ASU did not attempt its first free throw until Hanson's 3-point play with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter.
After falling behind by nine in the first quarter, Levings connected from downtown to keep ASU within striking distance, 15-9, after the first 10 minutes.
The Wildcats hit four 3-pointers over the first four-plus minutes of the second quarter as part of a 14-5 run to take a 29-11 lead.
Down by 16 at the start of the third quarter, the Sun Devils quickly saw their deficit swell to 23 after Arizona hit its fourth 3-pointer in the span of 2:42.
Hanson (nine points) and Simmons (six points) were ASU's leading scorers over the final 20 minutes.
The Sun Devils return to action on Sunday (2 p.m. MST) when they host San Diego in their final non-conference game of the season. The game can be seen via ASU Live Stream and heard on KDUS AM 1060.