Dominant defensive effort helps short-handed @SunDevilWBB defeat Colorado
TEMPE, Ariz. – Despite playing for only the third time in 35 days – the first time since January 3 – and missing three significant contributors, the Arizona State women's basketball team used a virtuoso performance on the defensive end to come away with a 51-47 win over Colorado on Friday.
Taya Hanson (16 points) and Jaddan Simmons (13 points) combined for 29 points for the Sun Devils (8-3, 4-3 Pac-12), who were without junior guard Iris Mbulito and freshmen posts Katelyn Levings and Maggie Besselink due to COVID-19 protocols. Freshman center Imogen Greenslade became the fourth Sun Devil freshman to start this season as ASU went with its fifth different starting lineup – Greenslade was joined by Simmons, junior Jamie Loera, Hanson and sophomore Eboni Walker – of the season.
Walker, who missed ASU's last two contests, returned to action and scored eight points and tied Hanson and senior Bre'yanna Sanders for the team high in rebounds with six.
The Buffaloes (6-7, 4-6), who were coming off an upset of top-ranked Stanford on Sunday, were held more than 20 points below their scoring average. ASU scored 22 points off of Colorado's season-high 25 turnovers, the most by a Sun Devil opponent this season. Simmons (career-high four steals, three assists), Loera (tied career highs with three steals and four assists) and Sanders (tied career high with three steals to go with three assists) combined for 10 of ASU's season-high 17 steals and 10 of its 15 assists.
Sydnei Caldwell was perfect at the foul line (4-4) and led ASU's bench with six points.
Colorado failed to score double digits twice in the first three quarters allowing the Sun Devils to enter the fourth quarter with a 38-26 lead. The Buffaloes would not go away quietly as they used a 10-0 run to pull within two, 49-47, after Tayanna Jones' 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining.
After not allowing ASU to score, Colorado took over possession with just over 30 seconds remaining. Once again the Sun Devil defense would respond as Simmons stripped Colorado's Aubrey Knight of the ball. Both teams had players diving for the ball as a mad scramble ensued. The chase ended on the opposite end of the floor where Loera and Colorado's Peanut Tuitele battled for possession of the ball. The officials declared a jump ball and the possession arrow favored the Sun Devils with 19 seconds left.
After the Buffaloes committed a series of fouls to force ASU to the free throw line, Hanson drilled both of her attempts to give the Sun Devils a 51-47 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
The Buffaloes would get no closer as the Sun Devils held an opponent to under 50 points for the fifth time this season.
ASU closes out the weekend on Sunday (2 p.m. MST) when it hosts Utah. The game can be seen via ASU Live Stream and heard on KDUS AM 1060.