LOS ANGELES — The Arizona State women’s basketball team came back from a 16-point deficit to defeat USC 60-53 on Friday night, giving longtime head coach Charli Turner Thorne her 300th win at ASU.
Turner Thorne, in her 16th year with the program, is just the third coach in Pac-12 history to reach the 300-win mark, with the others being Tara VanDerveer (726 wins at Stanford) and Chris Gobrecht (312 wins at Washington and USC).
Turner Thorne played for VanDerveer at Stanford and served as a graduate assistant under Gobrecht at Washington.
For ASU (11-8 overall, 3-4 Pac-12), Promise Amukamara and Janae Fulcher tied for the team lead in scoring with nine points each. Joy Burke added eight points while Adrianne Thomas and Haley Videckis contributed seven points each for the Sun Devils, who outscored the Trojans 40-17 in the second half while shooting 59 percent from the field.
USC’s recent play belied its sub-.500 record coming into Friday’s game. After posting a 3-8 nonconference record, the Trojans (7-11 overall, 4-3 Pac-12) won their first four Pac-12 games before dropping road games last week at Cal and Stanford, currently ranked No. 7 and No. 6 in the country, respectively. USC nearly upset the former and was within five points of the latter in the final three minutes.
Early on, it appeared USC was going to be able to build on that momentum, dominating in all facets en route to a 36-20 halftime lead.
Cassie Harberts, who had game highs in points with 24 and rebounds with 14, scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half for the Trojans, who had a 12-2 advantage in second-chance points during the first 20 minutes.
USC continued to maintain a comfortable lead for several minutes coming out of the break. ASU reserve Elisha Davis, who had a game-high five assists, and Fulcher would get the Sun Devils within eight twice, but in both instances, the Trojans would respond with baskets of their own, the second of which was a 3-pointer by Ariya Crook that put USC back up by 11 at 47-36 with 12:47 remaining.
The Sun Devils answered with four straight points — two free throws by Thomas and a bucket by Videckis — to get within seven. From that point on, the Trojans would score only four points, and they did not make a shot from the field over the final 5:42.
A pair of free throws by Arnecia Hawkins and a 3-pointer by Videckis trimmed the deficit to 52-49 with 4:26 remaining, and a free throw by Harberts accounted for the only scoring over the next 2:40 until Amukamara, who scored all nine of her points in the second half, hit a 3 that got ASU within a single point at 53-52 with 1:44 left.
Amukamara’s triple was the start of an 11-0 barrage the Sun Devils would use to close out the game. ASU made both of its field-goal attempts and all six of its free throws over the final two minutes while forcing USC into a pair of missed shots and three turnovers.
While the Sun Devils’ efficiency on the offensive end was a critical element in their comeback, so too was their defensive effort, as they forced the Trojans into shooting 24 percent in the second half. USC went 9 for 11 from the field over the last nine minutes of the game.