@SunDevilWBB erases double-digit deficit to capture win at Utah
SALT LAKE CITY – Junior guard Taya Hanson scored a career-best 15 points while freshman guard Jaddan Simmons added 12 points to help the Sun Devil women's basketball team even its record in Pac-12 play following a gritty, 56-48, come-from-behind win over Utah on Friday.
The Sun Devils (6-2, 2-2 Pac-12) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half and were on the wrong side of a 25-18 count after 20 minutes of play.
After seeing its deficit increase to nine in the first minute of the third quarter, ASU found its stride on both ends of the floor as it accounted for 16 of the game's next 20 points to go up 34-31 after a pair of free throws by Hanson with just over two minutes remaining in the frame.
Senior Bre'yanna Sanders increased ASU's lead to five after making a deposit from long range to put the Devils ahead 37-32 entering the final period. Seven different Sun Devils scored in the third frame to help ASU outscore the Utes 19-9.
Simmons (4-4 FTs) scored nine of her 12 points in the fourth quarter and combined with Hanson (4-4 FTs) and junior guard Jamie Loera (2-2) go a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe over the final 10 minutes.
After the Utes (2-3, 1-3) got within two points with 4:21 remaining, the Sun Devils dug in defensively and did not allow the Utes to score for nearly four minutes. Utah would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.
The Sun Devils outrebounded Utah by six (47-41) and had big advantages in second chance points (13-2) and points off turnovers (15-6). Freshman Maggie Besselink led ASU with eight rebounds, while Hanson (six rebounds), Sanders (six rebounds), sophomore Eboni Walker (five rebounds, six rebounds) and freshman Katelyn Levings (five rebounds, eight points) were also responsible for grabbing five or more rebounds.
ASU made the most of its opportunities at the foul line where it knocked down 87 percent of its attempts (20-23).
Loera, who had seven points, helped keep ASU within striking distance after taking a pas from Simmons and scoring on a reverse layup in the final seconds of the first half. She then knocked down a triple two minutes into the third quarter to get ASU within four points, 27-23.
Defensively, ASU allowed Utah to shoot only 30 percent and did not allow the Utes to build or swing momentum with the long ball. By game's end, the Utes had misfired on 18 of their 19 3-point attempts.
Friday's win was ASU's fifth in the last two seasons in which it had to rally from a double-digit deficit. The 2020-21 Sun Devils already have a pair of double-digit comeback wins to their credit after erasing a 10-point first-half deficit vs. San Diego on Dec. 13 and and followed that with Friday's comeback from 12 down at Utah. In ASU's second Pac-12 game on Dec. 6, the Sun Devils fell behind to then-No. 9 UCLA by 17 points and fought back to take the lead in the fourth quarter before eventually coming up short of the upset in a 63-59 decision. Last season, the Sun Devils came back from a double-digit deficit to win three times: -12 vs. BYU, -13 vs. No. 2 Oregon, -10 at Washington State. In 2019, ASU made its biggest comeback in school history when it scored 20-straight points to end the game and erase an 18-point deficit at home against Utah.
The Sun Devils close out their last road trip of the calendar year 2020 on Sunday (2 p.m. MST) when they play at Colorado. The game can be seen on Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Mountain and heard on KDUS AM 1060.