Sun Devil WBB upsets No. 6 Arizona for second consecutive Top 25 win
TEMPE, Ariz. – Jade Loville (27 points), Taya Hanson (19 points) and Mael Gilles (19) combined for 65 points as the Sun Devil women's basketball team upset sixth-ranked Arizona 81-77 on Friday night.
The Sun Devils (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12), who scored 25 points more than the 55.7 points Arizona (17-4, 7-4) allowed coming into the game, led by as many as 14 points before having to make up a three-point deficit in the final minutes to win their third straight contest, and their second straight over a Top 25 team after defeating then-No. 19 Oregon 55-49 on Sunday.
"Obviously, Arizona is a tremendous team, so I am so happy for our team and our program," ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said after the game. "[It's a] rivalry game, a lot of hype, big game, Territorial Cup, lots that goes into it, and we just trusted the process and each other.
"I thought it was a great team win. You knew they weren't going away. You knew they were going to make a big run, and they did. I'm just really proud of this team. Jayde [Van Hyfte] stepping in with a big defensive play, making our free throws [at the end]. It was really fun."
The Sun Devils operated at high level of efficiency on a number of levels, shooting 91 percent at the free throw line – where they scored 31 of their points – and 54.5 percent (6-11) from long range. Especially important in the win was ASU's performance on the boards where it was plus-14 (42-28) for the game.
Gilles pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with her career-high night in scoring for her fourth double-double of the season. Loville, who has averaged 25.3 points during ASU's current winning streak, added a season-high eight rebounds. Also grabbing four or more rebounds were Hanson (five rebounds), and Jayde Van Hyfte and Jaddan Simmons, who had four boards each.
"We talked about it at halftime: We were controlling the game because we were controlling the boards," Turner Thorne said. "And if we kept doing that, we were going to be really happy after the second half. Mael is just a phenomenal rebounder, but I really think it was a team effort. Anytime she gets double digit rebounds, for some reason we usually have a good rebounding game. She really sets the tone for us. She does a great job."
The Sun Devils led by 14 twice in the third period, the second time coming after Loville's jumper gave ASU a 61-47 lead with 1:47 remaining. The Wildcats scored the last five points of the quarter to cut ASU's lead to single digits entering the final 10 minutes. Combined with its 16-7 run to start the fourth quarter, Arizona was able to tie the score at 68-68 with five minutes left.
Less than a minute later, ASU found itself on the wrong end of a 73-70 score.
Just when it appeared their chances at pulling off the upset were starting to fade, the Sun Devils answered the bell by scoring the game's next eight points – Loville 2-2 FTs, Gilles 2-2 FTs after personal foul on UA, Hanson 2-2 FTs after technical foul on UA, Loville jumper – to go up 78-73 with 85 seconds remaining.
The game would ultimately come down to the wire after Arizona scored the next four points to get within a single point, 78-77, with 47 seconds left. The Wildcats had a chance to extend their scoring run after getting another stop on the defensive end.
ASU would not be denied on this night as Van Hyfte drew a charge with 17 seconds left on the clock. Gilles was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and went back to the line where she finished off her perfect 10-of-10 performance from the charity stripe.
The Sun Devils prevented Arizona from getting the triple it needed to tie the game on the opposite end and Loville closed the scoring with a free throw to clinch the upset.
Up next for the Sun Devils is a rematch with the Wildcats on Sunday (12 pm MST) in Tucson. The game can be seen on Pac-12 Network, Arizona and heard on KDUS AM 1060. Sunday's contest will be the first of four consecutive the Sun Devils will play on the road in the span of eight days: at Arizona (Sunday), at Cal (Wednesday), at Washington State (Fri., Feb. 18) and at Washington (Sun., Feb. 20).