Sun Devil WBB concludes regular season with upset of No. 9 Arizona
TEMPE, Ariz. – Junior guard Taya Hanson (team-high 19 points/13 in second half and OT) and freshman guard Jaddan Simmons (15 points/11 in second half and OT) combined for 34 points to help the Sun Devil women's basketball team upset ninth-ranked Arizona 66-64 on Friday.
Freshman posts Maggie Besselink and Katelyn Levings scored seven points apiece. Besselink grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds (tying the single-game high by a Sun Devil this season) and senior Bre'yanna Sanders, who was honored as part of Senior Day ceremonies after the game, accounted for eight points.
For the Sun Devils (11-9, 6-9 Pac-12), it was their first win of the season over a Top 10 foe and their third in the last two seasons after knocking off second-ranked Oregon and third-ranked Oregon State in successive games last season. Coming into today's game, five of ASU's nine losses were to Top 10 teams. Three of those losses were by an average of 5.0 points: 63-59 vs. then-No. 9 UCLA (Dec. 6), 68-60 vs. then-No. 1 Stanford (Jan. 3) and 60-57 at then-No. 5 UCLA (Jan. 29).
Arizona (15-4, 13-4) was led by senior guard Aari McDonald who had a game-high 30 points.
ASU posted season highs in field goal percentage (46.7), 3-point field goal percentage (55.6) and tied a season high with 10 triples. Hanson hit five of her seven attempts from downtown, the fifth time this season she has hit four or more 3-pointers in a game and the second straight contest she had five makes from beyond the arc.
Iris Mbulito led ASU with four assists while Simmons and Sanders tied for the team lead in steals with two each.
It appeared the Sun Devils would not need an extra session after Simmons' 3-point play gave ASU a 52-44 lead with 4:20 remaining.
McDonald, who hit two free throws to tie the game at 55-55 with five seconds remaining and force overtime, scored eight points as part of an 11-3 run by the Wildcats over the last 3:18 of regulation.
Simmons' play in the extra frame belied her freshman status as she scored ASU's first seven points of overtime. Two free throws by Simmons gave the Sun Devils a 62-60 lead with 3:01 remaining.
After a field goal by the Wildcats forced the game's 10th tie, Hanson would answer the call as her 100th career 3-pointer gave the Sun Devils a lead they would not relinquish, 65-62 with under a minute remaining.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie or win in the closing seconds but the Sun Devils turned Arizona back, forcing a bad shot as time expired.
Up next for ASU is the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. ASU (No. 9 seed) will start play on Wednesday (2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT) when it faces USC (No. 8 seed) in the first round. The game will be shown on Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Los Angeles and can be heard on KDUS AM 1060. The full tournament schedule can be found by clicking here.