Sun Devil WBB comes through with ‘great team win’ in upset of No. 22 Colorado
TEMPE, Ariz. – Coming off an unplanned period of just over three weeks without having played a game, the Sun Devil women's basketball team started off Pac-12 play with a 57-52 overtime upset of No. 22 Colorado on Friday.
The Sun Devils (9-5, 1-0 Pac-12) became the final Pac-12 team to start league play after having their first six conference games – at UCLA, at USC, vs. Washington, vs. Washington State, at Oregon, at Oregon State – postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
Taya Hanson scored a game-high 17 points and tied her career high with seven rebounds while Mael Gilles just missed her fourth double-double of the season (eight points, 11 rebounds) while adding a career-high five rejections for the Sun Devils, who were playing without leading scorer Jade Loville.
Adding seven points each were Jaddan Simmons (four rebounds, three assists and three steals) and Gabriela Bosquez (two assists, one steal), who played nearly 36 minutes in the first start of her career.
Katelyn Levings came off the bench to score six points, grab four rebounds and swat a career-high four shots. Also scoring six points was Maggie Besselink, who also added four rebounds and three steals in her first appearance since November 27.
All of the aforementioned players, along with Jayde Van Hyfte, Ayzhiana Basallo, Sydney Erikstrup and Imogen Greenslade, contributed to a defensive gem as the Sun Devils held the Buffaloes (13-3, 2-3), nearly 18 points below their scoring average. Colorado's 52 points tied its lowest point total of the year. It needed the five additional minutes in overtime to reach that total after using a 12-4 run in the final four minutes of regulation to force overtime.
The first 14 points of the extra session were scored from the foul line – ASU 11-20 and Colorado 3-6. A 3-pointer by the Buffaloes in the final seconds was the only field goal of the extra session.
"We knew coming back after Christmas the biggest thing we needed to work on was better team defense. Our defensive mindset that we've normally had here and I really feel like it's coming," ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "When you make turnovers and don't make your free throws and you still find a way to win, and you do it without your leading scorer… I'm really proud of our team and how we just stayed with things. I thought it was a great team win."
Colorado used a similar path to take a one-point lead after the first 20 minutes. A layup by Greenslade gave the Sun Devils a 19-12 advantage a little more than three minutes into the second quarter. They would match that lead once more in the quarter after a 3-pointer by Hanson put the Sun Devils up 22-15 with 4:30 remaining.
After Hanson's basket, the Buffaloes rallied by using an 8-0 run over the last 2:44 of the half to take a 23-22 lead into the locker room.
The Buffaloes took their biggest lead of the game – 26-22 – after knocking down a 3-pointer to open the third quarter and extend their run from the first half to 11-0.
Hanson scored the game's next six points via a pair of long balls to start an 11-0 run for the Sun Devils. Gilles made it three consecutive triples for ASU and Besselink capped the scoring burst with a layup to give ASU a seven-point lead, 33-26.
A 3-pointer from Basallo later in the quarter gave ASU it largest lead of the game, 36-28, midway through the third quarter. Colorado responded with the final six points of the quarter to cut ASU's lead to 36-34, entering the final period.
Simmons, Levings and Besselink scored the first three baskets of the fourth quarter to once again put the Sun Devils up by eight. ASU would lead by eight twice more in the quarter before the Buffaloes rallied to extend the game.
The Sun Devils return to action on Sunday when they host Utah at 2 p.m. at Desert Financial Arena. Sunday's contest will be the program's annual Keep the Beat game for Heart Health Awareness. Starting at 12 pm, Taste of Tempe – an event connected to the game in which local restaurants will be offering free healthy food – will be hosted on the north side of Desert Financial Arena. Click here to read more on why Sun Devil Women's Basketball started this annual event.