Sun Devil WBB posts season highs in points and shooting percentage in win over WSU
TEMPE, Ariz. – Less than 48 hours after posting season lows in points and field goal percentage, the Sun Devil women's basketball team put together its best offensive performance of the season with season highs in points and shooting percentage in a 67-61 win over Washington State on Sunday.
Jaddan Simmons (15 points, 6-6 FTs) and Taya Hanson (12 points, 7-8 FTs) both scored in double figures and combined to shoot 93 percent (13-14 FTs) from the line for the Sun Devils (10-7, 5-7 Pac-12), who shot 42 percent for the game.
Jamie Loera and Sydnei Caldwell added eight points each while also tying for the team lead in steals with two apiece.
Caldwell (eight points), Eboni Walker (four points) and Iris Mbulito (four points) combined for 16 points as the Sun Devil bench doubled up the Cougars' reserves in scoring 20-10.
As a team, the Sun Devils connected on 84 percent of their free throws (21-25) and were plus-18 on the boards. Katelyn Levings (six rebounds), Hanson (five rebounds) and Simmons (four rebounds) were ASU's top rebounders on Sunday. ASU's 28-16 advantage on the offensive boards resulted in more than twice as many second chance points (13-6).
Defensively, ASU put the clamps on the Cougars' offense for the better part of the game's first 32 minutes. Mbulito's basket with 8:23 remaining gave ASU a 53-38 lead.
The Cougars (9-9, 7-9), who own a pair of Top 10 wins this season over Arizona and UCLA, would not go away quietly. Down 57-43 after Simmons' layup with 5:33 remaining, the Cougars reeled off the game's next 11 points to get within three after three free throws by Charlisse Ledger-Walker with 90 seconds left.
When the Sun Devils needed an answer they went to Simmons who drained a pair of free throws on successive possessions to provide ASU with a 61-54 lead with 30 seconds left.
Although the Cougars refused to go away, scoring seven points in the final 24 seconds, the Sun Devils were able to clinch the win thanks to clutch free throw shooting by Walker (2-2 FTs), Levings (2-2 FTs) and Simmons (2-2 FTs), who went a perfect 6-of-6 from the line in the game's closing moments.
Ledger-Walker, who entered the game No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring, accounted for 10 of her game-high 29 points in the final quarter. While the freshman standout made over 50 percent of her shots (8-15 FGs), the Sun Devils bottled up her teammates limiting them to make just 32 percent of their shots (12-18 FGs).
Maggie Besselink, who made all three of her shots and scored all six of her points in the first half, combined with Hanson (six points), Simmons (five points) and Loera (five points) to score 22 of the team's 32 points over the first 20 minutes to give ASU a 32-27 lead at the break.
After the Cougars scored the first four points of the second half to get within one point, ASU came through with its best scoring run of the game as six different Sun Devils combined to score the game's next 13 points to give ASU a 45-31 lead after Simmons' layup with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Sunday's game was ASU's annual Pink Game in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness. The team unveiled new uniforms – white trimmed with pink – in honor of the event.
Next up for ASU is a road trip to the Bay Area for contests at No. 5 Stanford on Friday (7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT/Pac-12 Networks/KDUS AM 1060) and at California on Sunday (1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT/Cal Live Stream/KDUS AM 1060).