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Sun Devil WBB Travels to Los Angeles for contests at No. 5 UCLA, USC

Jan 28, 2021

Game Notes PDF

WHAT: Sun Devil WBB (8-4, 4-4 Pac-12) at No 5/5 UCLA 9-2, 7-2 Pac-12)
WHEN: Friday at 6 p.m. PST/7 p.m. MST
WHERE: Pauley Pavilion • Los Angeles
WATCH: Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Los Angeles 
RADIO: KDUS AM 1060
LIVE STATS: Click here

UP NEXT
For the first time in more than a month, the Sun Devil women's basketball team will be going on the road when it travels to Los Angeles this weekend for games at No. 5 UCLA (Friday at 6 p.m. PST/7 p.m. MST) and at USC (Sunday at 1 p.m. PST/2 p.m. MST).
 
TELEVISION/RADIO
Friday's game can be seen on Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Los Angeles (Brian Webber/Monique Billings). It can also be heard on KDUS 1060 AM. Coverage will start at 6:30 p.m. MST. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona's 2010 & 2019 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 17th season as the voice of ASU women's basketball. He will be joined by former Sun Devil head coach Maura McHugh.
 
STATE OF PLAY
As of Jan. 28, head coach Charli Turner Thorne expects to have all players with non-season-ending injuries available this weekend for the first time this season. Friday's game at UCLA will be ASU's fifth contest in 42 days. In addition to inactivity, ASU has also had to deal with inconsistent personnel due to COVID-19 protocols. In last weekend's games vs. Colorado & vs. Utah, ASU was without three major contributors – starting junior guard Iris Mbulito and freshmen posts Katelyn Levings (started first 10 games) and Maggie Besselink (started ASU's two most recent games before last weekend) – due to COVID-19 protocols. 
 
ASU used a virtuoso  defensive performance 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. Freshman center Imogen Greenslade became the fourth Sun Devil freshman to start this season as ASU went with its fifth different starting lineup of the season. Greenslade was joined by Simmons, junior Jamie Loera, Hanson and sophomore Eboni Walker. The Buffaloes, who were coming off an upset of then-No. 1 Stanford, 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 an ASU opponent this season. 
 
ASU's inactivity and key personnel losses caught up to it in 65-51 loss to Utah on Sunday. For the Sun Devils, Murphy's law was in full effect for the first three quarters on Sunday as they made only 21 percent of their shots (both from inside and outside the arc) and had accumulated only 28 points after 30 minutes. During the same span, the Utes connected on 51 percent of their shots, including 44 percent from long distance where they scored 21 of their points in the first three frames to take a 49-28 lead entering the fourth quarter.
 
Prior to last weekend, the last time ASU played it came through with a gritty effort in a 68-60 loss to then top-ranked Stanford. Although it did not produce the desired outcome, ASU – under the circumstances: missing starter Walker and one of its top bench contributors in senior Bre'yanna Sanders – came through with one of its best performances of the season following a shaky start. After falling behind by as many as 17 points, the Sun Devils fought back – getting within four points – before coming up short. ASU held the Cardinal nearly 20 points below its season average and became (at the time) the only Stanford opponent to fall by single digits (Stanford came into game with average victory margin of 36.9 ppg). Simmons (16 points) and Hanson (15 points), combined for 31 points for the Sun Devils, who outscored Stanford 56-49 over the final three quarters. On the defensive end, ASU held Stanford to what at the time was the Cardinal's second-lowest point total (68), its fewest 3-pointers (four) and lowest 3-point FG pct (21.1) and forced an opponent-high 17 turnovers. The game against Stanford was the second straight in which ASU started three freshmen – Simmons, Levings and Besselink (second career start). After not playing since Dec. 6, junior guard Iris Mbulito returned against Stanford but was limited in a reserve role. 
 
PAC-12 SUMMARY
Led by Simmons' 20 points, ASU started Pac-12 play with a 63-58 win over USC on Dec. 4. The Sun Devils dropped their next two league contests to Top 10 opponents (then-No. 9) UCLA 63-59 on Dec. 6 and at No. 6 Arizona 65-37 on Dec. 10. The loss to UCLA denied ASU its first 5-0 start since 2002-03. ASU rallied from 17 points down to tie and eventually take the lead, but was unable to come away with the upset as UCLA hit a pair of critical 3-pointers and two FTs down the stretch to escape with the win. The game against UCLA was Besselink's first after missing ASU's first four games recovering from a preseason injury. The Sun Devils played most of their game vs. UCLA and the ensuing four without Mbulito, who left the game in the first half of the UCLA contest due to injury. ASU was also without Simmons for the game's final 26 seconds. After the loss to Arizona, the Sun Devils captured wins in their next two contests: 56-48 at Utah (Dec. 18) and 56-53 vs. Cal (Jan. 1). Hanson tied a single-game school record with seven 3-pointers in the win over Cal. 
 
COVID-19 POSTPONEMENTS
The Sun Devils have had five games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols: at Colorado (Dec. 20), at Washington State (Jan. 8), at Washington (Jan. 10), vs. Oregon State (Jan. 15) and vs. Oregon (Jan. 17). 
 
SERIES NOTES VERSUS UCLA
• UCLA has won the last 10 meetings, including both of last year's contests: 68-66 in Los Angeles and 60-51 in Tempe. 
• The two teams met only once in the regular season in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with UCLA winning 71-63 in 2018 in LA and 61-59 in 2019 in Tempe. UCLA also claimed a 73-69 win in the 2019 Pac-12 Tourney quarterfinals. 
• UCLA swept the season series in 2017 – 69-60 in LA/55-52 in Tempe – and captured a third win in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tourney (77-68). 
• Second-year ASU assistant coach Nikki Blue had a decorated career at UCLA where she earned Pac-10 first-team honors four times and was named a WBCA All-American in 2006.                           
 
FOR STARTERS
For its contest against Colorado on Jan. 22, ASU used its fifth different starting lineup in just its 11th game as ASU was without starting junior guard Iris Mbulito and freshmen posts Katelyn Levings (started first 10 games) and Maggie Besselink (started ASU's two most recent games before last weekend). The lineup included freshman center Imogen Greenslade who became the fourth Sun Devil freshman to start this season. Greenslade was joined by Simmons, junior Jamie Loera, Hanson and sophomore Eboni Walker. ASU had the same starting lineup vs. Utah on Jan. 24.
 
SHAKING OFF THE RUST
Between the holidays and final exams, it has not been an unusual occurrence in the past to have anywhere between 7-10 days in between games in the month of December. ASU was already due for a large gap before having its game at Colorado on Dec. 20 postponed. The postponement created a two-week gap for the Sun Devils between their last game at Utah on Dec. 18 and their game against Cal on Jan. 1. It had been 25 years since the Sun Devils had two weeks or more between games in the months of December (Dec. 20, 1995 vs. South Carolina in a game played in Alaska) and January (Jan. 4, 1996 vs. Stanford). 
 
Life in the COVID-19 era forced the Sun Devils into an even longer break in the month of January. Two days after their contest vs. Stanford (Jan. 3), the Sun Devils learned they would not be able to play in either of their games the following week (at Washington State on Jan. 8 and at Washington on Jan. 10) due to COVID-19. It would also force the postponement of their games the following week vs. Oregon State (Jan. 15) and vs. Oregon (Jan. 17). When the Sun Devils took the court against Colorado on Jan. 22, they were competing for the first time in 19 days and for only the third time since their game at Utah on Dec. 18, a span of 35 days.                                  
          
NO I IN THIS TEAM
Five different players have led or tied for the team lead in scoring: Taya Hanson (6x), Jaddan Simmons (4x),  Eboni Walker (3x), Bre'yanna Sanders (1x), Sydnei Caldwell (1x). Hanson averaged 15.7 ppg in the six outings – including a career-high 21 points in ASU's win over Cal (Jan. 1), a contest in which she tied the single-game school record with seven triples – prior to ASU's most recent contest vs. Utah Hanson was nearly perfect from the line during that stretch (16-17). In ASU's win over USC (Dec. 4), Simmons became the first ASU freshman to score 20 or more points since Dymond Simon scored 24 in a win over Washington State on Jan. 4, 2007. All seven of Simmons' double-figure scoring efforts have come in ASU's last nine games.
 
RANKINGS OF NOTE
As of Jan. 28, ASU is 17th in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (55.2 ppg). ASU is also in the top third of the conference in second in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounds per game (second/15.1 rpg), 3-point FG pct. defense (third/29.1) and free throw percentage (fourth/71.2). Individually within the conference, Walker is seventh in rebounds (6.9 rpg), tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.7 rpg) and eighth in free throw percentage (78.8); Simmons is seventh in FT percentage (78.9); Hanson is fifth fin 3-pointers per game (2.2), 13th in scoring (12.6 ppg) and tied 12th in steals (1.7 spg) and Katelyn Levings is tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.7 rpg).
 
CAST OF CONTRIBUTORS APLENTY
• Hanson currently leads ASU in scoring (12.6 ppg), 3-pointers (26), steals (1.7 spg) and FT percentage (84.0) and is fourth in rebounding (4.4 rpg). She matched her career high in scoring coming into the 2020-21 season (14 points) twice – vs. SFA (Nov. 25) and at Arizona (Dec. 10) – before surpassing it with 15 points in ASU's win at Utah (Dec. 18). She surpassed it again (21 points) in ASU's win over Cal, a contest in which she tied the single-game school record with seven triples. She has pulled down six or more rebounds six times this season, including a career-high seven boards at Arizona (Dec. 10). On January 12, Hanson was named Canada Basketball's Player of the Week for December 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021 for her performances vs. Cal (Jan. 1) and Stanford (Jan. 3).  
• Walker leads the team in field goal percentage (46.6) and rebounding (6.9 rpg) and is second in steals (1.4 spg) and third in free throw percentage (78.8). Walker averaged a double-double (12.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg) in ASU's first two contests vs. Stephen F. Austin and VCU. She scored a career-high 14 points in ASU's win over San Diego (Dec. 13) and has pulled down nine or more rebounds four times this season. 
• Freshmen Jaddan Simmons has started every game and Katelyn Levings has started every game she has been available to play (10 of 12). Fellow freshman Maggie Besselink has also played a prominent role after missing the first four games of the season due to injury. Simmons became the first Sun Devil point guard to start a season opener as a freshman since 2016. Currently second on the team in scoring (11.2 ppg), Simmons had a career-high seven assists in ASU's win over Cal (Jan. 1). In the first Pac-12 series of her career (vs. USC, vs. No. 9 UCLA), Simmons led ASU in scoring (15.0 ppg) and knocked down 87 percent of her free throws (86.7). She led ASU in scoring again with 16 points in its win over San Diego (Dec. 13). One game later, Simmons scored nine of her 12 points in the fourth quarter of ASU's win at Utah (Dec. 18). Levings is averaging 6.4 ppg (fourth on the team), 4.8 rpg (third on the team) and 2.7 offensive rebounds per game (second on the team) while logging 23.7 minutes per game. Besselink has started two games and is currently second on the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg).  
• Senior Bre'yanna Sanders had a three-game stretch – Saint Mary's, USC, UCLA – in which she averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg, while knocking down 78 percent of her shots. Sanders had a career-high nine points vs. Saint Mary's (Nov. 30). She followed that with a pair of 3-pointers and a career-high eight rebounds while playing a career-high 28 minutes in ASU's win over USC (Dec. 4). Sanders currently leads the team in 3-point FG percentage (50.0/6-12) and is second in FG percentage (39.3). 
• Sydnei Caldwell has been ASU's top performer off the bench. The sophomore guard leads ASU's reserves in scoring (5.5 ppg) & steals (1.2 spg/third on the team). Caldwell scored a career-high 12 points in ASU's win over USD (Dec. 13).
 
FINDING A WAY TO GET IT DONE
ASU has had to show its toughness in the second half in seven of its nine wins. 
• In the season opener against SFA (Nov. 25), the LadyJacks got within one point (44-43) with 3:43 remaining. ASU closed the game on a 12-4 run over the final 3:33 of regulation and held SFA to just 2-of-8 shooting down the stretch. 
• Against VCU (Nov. 27), the Sun Devils held a 33-32 lead with 8:34 remaining and outscored the Rams 16-8 the remainder of the final quarter. 
• In their Pac-12 opener vs. USC (Dec. 4), the Sun Devils had to stave off a determined USC squad that came back from 15 down to tie the game two minutes into the fourth quarter. After USC pulled within two later in the quarter, ASU kept the Trojans from scoring over the last three-plus minutes of the game and Simmons hit three FTs in the final 12 seconds to seal the win. 
• Against San Diego (Dec. 13), ASU came back from a 10-point deficit in the first half and led the Toreros by two late in the third quarter. ASU followed with an 8-0 run and USD never got closer than five points the rest of the game.
• In their first road win of the season at Utah (Dec. 18), ASU came back from a 12-point deficit in the first half and eventually took the lead in the third quarter. After the Utes got within two points with 4:21 remaining, the Sun Devils dug in defensively and did not allow the Utah to score for nearly four minutes as the Utes got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
• Against Cal (Jan. 1), the Sun Devils outscored the Bears 37-25 in the second half as they overcame an 11-point deficit in the third quarter of their 56-53 win.  Taya Hanson led the way as she tied a school record with seven 3-pointers.
• Against Colorado (Jan. 22), the Sun Devils held off a last-minute rally by the Buffaloes, who had the ball down by two with 30 seconds remaining. After 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 a series of CU fouls, Hanson drilled both of her free throws to give the Sun Devils a 51-47 lead with 10 seconds remaining.  
 
YOUNG DEVILS
ASU's most recent starting lineup vs. Utah (Jan. 24) –  Simmons (12 starts), junior Jamie Loera (seven starts), Hanson (24 starts), Walker (nine starts) and Imogen Greenslade (two career starts) – has a grand total of 54 starts between them. It was the second straight game ASU was using its fifth different starting lineup of the season. Outside of Hanson, ASU's other four starters had an average of 6.5 career starts. On Nov. 30, head coach Charli Turner Thorne announced that junior post Jayde Van Hyfte would miss the remainder of the season due to injury. Van Hyfte started all 31 games last season. Starting junior guard Iris Mbulito was lost to injury in the first half of ASU's game vs. UCLA (Dec. 6). She missed ASU's next four games before returning in a reserve role vs. Stanford (Jan. 3). Eboni Walker was not available for ASU's contests vs. Cal (Jan. 1) and Stanford (Jan. 3). In last weekend's games vs. Colorado and vs. Utah, the Sun Devils were without three major contributors – starting junior guard Iris Mbulito and freshmen posts Katelyn Levings (started first 10 games) and Maggie Besselink (started ASU's two most recent games before last weekend) – due to COVID-19 protocols.
 
NOTES VS. NON CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
Including its 4-0 record this season, ASU is now 72-13 (.847) in non-conference play since 2013. The last time the ASU played as few as four non-conference games – as was the case in 2020 – was in 1976 when it also had four competitions out of conference. That season, 13 of its 17 games were against teams from the Intermountain Conference.
 
HOME SWEET HOME
ASU is 99-23 (.814) in home games the last eight seasons. ASU has won its last 29 home games vs. non-conference opponents in Desert Financial Arena.
 
AT THEIR BEST WHEN PLAYING THE BEST
ASU has four wins over Top 10 teams over the last two seasons. In 2019, ASU swept Oregon State for the first time since 2010-11 (first Pac-12 team to sweep OSU since 2012-13) winning 79-72 in 2OT vs. No. 10 OSU in Corvallis and 66-54 over No. 9 OSU in Tempe. In 2020, ASU became the first unranked team to defeat consecutive Top-5 opponents when it knocked off then-No. 2 Oregon (72-66 on Jan. 10) and then-No. 3 Oregon State (54-47 on Jan. 12).
 
And then there were the near misses: On Nov. 11, 2018, ASU lost to No. 4 Baylor 65-59, a game in which ASU led by as many as 14 in the first half and led going into the fourth quarter. Less than two weeks later (Nov. 23, 2018), ASU led No. 5 Louisville by six in the fourth quarter before the Cardinals escaped with a 58-56 win after scoring the winning basket with two seconds left. On January 18, 2019, ASU was within two points of No. 5 Oregon in the final minute before eventually falling 77-71 in Eugene. ASU's first game of the year 2020, saw the Sun Devils with a chance to tie or win in the closing seconds at No. 10 UCLA, but could not complete the upset in a 68-66 setback. On Feb. 7, 2020, ASU was seconds away from sweeping No. 9 Oregon State for a second-straight season before the Beavers staged a furious comeback, winning the game 64-62 at the buzzer. Last month, the Sun Devils came back from 17 down to eventually take the lead in the fourth quarter against No. 9 UCLA. The Bruins used clutch shooting down the stretch to win 63-59 in Tempe. ASU was also without freshman standout Jaddan Simmons for the last 26 seconds of the game. Most recently, the Sun Devils nearly rallied from another 17-point deficit against then-top-ranked Stanford on Jan. 3. ASU got within four points before eventually falling to the Cardinal 68-60. Defensively, the Sun Devils, who were without Eboni Walker and Bre'yanna Sanders, held Stanford to its then second-lowest point total (68), its fewest 3-pointers (four) and lowest 3-point FG percentage (21.1) and forced an opponent-high 17 turnovers.
 
THE 2020-21 SUN DEVILS – THE RETURNERS
Although lacking in experience compared with recent Sun Devil teams, the 2020-21 edition figures to be every bit competitive as its predecessors.
 
This is the second-straight season in which the Sun Devils did not return a scoring leader who averaged double figures the season before. Sophomore Eboni Walker led the way among returners after averaging 6.5 ppg last season. Walker played in every game in 2019-20, and led the team in FG percentage (51.9), was second in offensive rebounds (2.8 rpg/seventh in the Pac-12), third in rebounds (4.8 rpg), fourth in steals (0.9 spg) and fifth in scoring (6.5 ppg). 
 
The Sun Devils returned two players with starting experience in the form of juniors Jayde Van Hyfte (started all 31 games last season) and Taya Hanson (played in all 31 games with 12 starts). Hanson is the leader of among returners with 31 triples last season. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, it was announced on Nov. 30 that Van Hyfte would miss the remainder of the season due to injury.
 
A 2018-19 Pac-12 All-Freshman Honorable Mention selection, Iris Mbulito has shown several flashes of brilliance during her first two seasons in Tempe. She played in every game as a freshman and led the team in free throw attempts, was second in steals (0.7 spg) and tied for fourth in assists (1.6 apg). Last season, Mbulito finished third on the team in assists (2.3 apg), fifth in steals (0.9 spg) and tied for fifth in offensive rebounds (0.7 rpg). In July 2018, Mbulito was named Most Valuable Player of the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship after helping Spain claim the gold medal. 
 
 The team's lone senior, Bre'yanna Sanders came into the season with 61 games of experience. In ASU's upset of second-ranked Oregon last season, Sanders supplied the team with important minutes, hitting a triple and grabbing four rebounds. Also returning for the Sun Devils are junior Jamie Loera and sophomore Sydnei Caldwell. An outstanding 3-point shooter, Loera has been limited by injuries each of her first two seasons. Caldwell saw action in 18 games last season and will look to have an even bigger role this season.
 
THE 2020-21 SUN DEVILS – NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Last season's original signing class of Maggie Besselink, Keeli Burton-Oliver, Sydney Erikstrup, Katelyn Levings and Jaddan Simmons was ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation (BlueStar Basketball).
• A rising star in the Canadian national program, in the summer of 2019 Besselink was selected to Canada's U19 national team that participated in the FIBA World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. Unfortunately she was not able to play in the tournament due to an injury suffered during the team's training camp. Besselink was ranked No. 23 at her position by ESPN.com.
Burton-Oliver, ranked No. 12 at her position by ESPN.com, displayed tremendous consistency averaging a double-double in points (17.6) and rebounds (12.6) during her 107-game high school at Eastlake High School (Sammamish, Wash).
• A 2020 graduate of Beaverton High School (Beaverton, Ore.) and ranked No. 32 at her position by ESPN.com, Erikstrup was named All-State twice (second team in 2018 and honorable mention in 2020) and earned all-league all four seasons – freshman year at Lake Oswego High School and the last three years at Beaverton High School.
• Ranked No. 23 at her position by ESPN.com, Levings earned All-State honors from the OGBCA (first team), The Oklahoman (honorable mention) and Tulsa World (honorable mention) for a senior season in which she averaged 15.7 ppg. for Edmond Memorial High School (Edmond, Okla.).
• Simmons, ranked No. 31 at her position by ESPN.com, concluded her career high school as the all-time leading scorer in Green Bay metro history after finishing with 1,885 points (averaged 20.1 ppg for her 94-game career). The Green Bay Southwest High graduate was named to the Green Bay Press-Gazette's all-century team.
 
The Sun Devils added even more budding talent to their roster after signing Imogen Greenslade and Gabriela Bosquez in April.
• Joining the Sun Devils all the way from Australia, Greenslade has been a member of the New South Wales U20 Team since 2019. In 2019, Greenslade helped her U20 squad win a Silver medal at the National Championships.
• Bosquez transferred to ASU after playing her first two seasons at St. Edwards University (2018-19) and Blinn College (2019-20). In 2020, Bosquez earned Region XIV honors after playing in 31 games (30 starts) and averaging 11.9 points (second on the team), 3.2 assists (first on the team), 4.8 rebounds (fourth on the team) and 1.6 steals (second on the team). 
 
DOMINANT DEVIL DEFENSE
• ASU has allowed an average of only 57.2 ppg since the start of the 2014-15 season (a span of 212 games). It has held the opposition to 50 or less points 64 times during that stretch (including 11 times the last two seasons). The Sun Devils are 63-1 in those contests (only loss came vs. Cal 50-49 on Feb. 8, 2015).  
• ASU has allowed 13 or fewer points in a quarter 23 times this season. 
• ASU has averaged 16.3 points per game off turnovers this season.
• On Jan. 3, the Sun Devils, who were without Eboni Walker and Bre'yanna Sanders, held then-top-ranked Stanford to what at the time was the Cardinal's second-lowest point total (68), its fewest 3-pointers (four) and lowest 3-point FG percentage (21.1) and forced an opponent-high 17 turnovers.
• Despite playing for only the third time in 35 days – the first time since January 3 – and missing three significant contributors, Sun Devils used a virtuoso performance on the defensive end to come away with a 51-47 win over Colorado on Jan. 22. The Buffaloes, who were coming off an upset of top-ranked Stanford, 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,), Loera (tied career with three steals) and Sanders (tied career high with three steals) combined for 10 of ASU's season-high 17 steals.
• In 2018-19, ASU led the Pac-12 in scoring defense (58.2 ppg) for the second straight season and the third time in five years. 
• The 31 points scored by Maine on Nov. 29, 2019 represented the fewest given up by ASU since Harvard scored 29 on December 14, 2015.
• In historical back-to-back wins vs. No. 2 Oregon (Jan. 10) and No. 3 Oregon State (Jan. 12) last season, ASU held the Ducks and their top-ranked offense 23.5 points below their scoring average and kept the Beavers nearly 30 points below their scoring average of 76.5 points coming into the game. The two teams combined to shoot 18 percent (7-38) from the beyond the arc. ASU held Stanford to 55 points on Mar. 1, tying the Cardinal's lowest point total of the season.
 
COMEBACK KIDS 
The 2020-21 Sun Devils already have three double-digit comeback wins to their credit, erasing a 10-point, first-half deficit vs. San Diego (Dec. 13) a 12-point, first-half deficit at Utah (Dec. 18) and an 11-point, second-half deficit vs. Cal (Jan. 1). 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. The Sun Devils nearly rallied from another 17-point deficit against then-top-ranked Stanford on Jan. 3. ASU got within four points before eventually falling to the Cardinal 68-60. Last season, ASU 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 vs. Utah. 
 
NOTES FROM LAST SEASON
• After finishing with a 20-11 record, ASU extended its school record for consecutive 20-win seasons to seven. It was preparing to make its school record seventh straight trip to NCAAs before the cancellation of the season was announced on Mar. 12 due to Covid-19. 
• ASU finished among the Top 40 in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (21st/15.1 rpg) and rebound margin (34th/+6.6). 
• ASU became the first unranked team to defeat consecutive Top-5 opponents when it knocked off then-No. 2 Oregon (72-66 on Jan. 10) and then-No. 3 Oregon State (54-47 on Jan. 12). ASU held the Ducks and their top-ranked offense 23.5 points below their scoring average and kept the Beavers nearly 30 points below their scoring average of 76.5 points coming into the game. UO and OSU combined to shoot 18 percent (7-38) from the beyond the arc. The 30 points ASU scored in the fourth quarter vs. Oregon tied the second-highest point total scored in a quarter by an ASU team.
 
GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM
• In 2020 ASU had seven players named to the Pac-12's inaugural Academic Winter Honor Roll: Taya Hanson, Jamie Loera, Reili Richardson, Jamie Ruden, Kiara Russell, Robbi Ryan and Jayde Van Hyfte. ASU was also one of three schools that was represented by both its men's and women's basketball programs in the first ever 2020 Bracket for Brains and Diversity study for the Projected 2020 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments. The study was conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES). 
• A league-high and school-record-tying eight Sun Devil WBB players were named to the Pac-12 Women's Basketball All-Academic teams in 2018. The eight awards tied the school record for most student-athletes on the Pac-12's All-Academic Team. The 2006-07 team also had eight (two on first team, one on second team and five honorable mention).
• In 2017 ASU finished among the nation's best in combined team GPA. With a final team GPA of 3.672 for the 2016-17 academic year the Sun Devils finished fifth in the nation (the highest ranking in program history) among Division I institutions in the WBCA's annual Academic Top 25.