ASU women upset by USC in Pac-12 tournament

SEATTLE — The Arizona State women’s basketball team was upset by USC 59-57 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

The Sun Devils (22-9) were led in scoring by Katie Hempen, who had 12 points. Also putting forth strong efforts for the Sun Devils were Kelsey Moos, who had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds; Joy Burke, who came one rebound short of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards; and Deja Mann, who scored 10 points.

USC (20-12) was led by Cassie Harberts with 14 points and Ariya Crook with 13.

Trailing by as many as nine in the second half and by six with less than four minutes remaining, the Sun Devils put together a late 6-0 run to tie the score at 57-57.

A free throw by Burke started the run and was followed by a layup by Mann that cut USC’s lead to three. Hempen’s fourth 3-pointer of the game, with 2:22 left, knotted the score for the first time since the start of the second half.

USC’s scoring drought, which had lasted nearly four minutes, ended when Kiki Alofaituli’s jumper put USC back on top 59-57 with 1:25 remaining.

ASU had its chances to tie or win it down the stretch but missed on a trio of 3-point attempts.

Defense dominated early, as the score was tied 12-12 after nine-plus minutes. Neither team led by more than three points until a 3-pointer by Hempen put ASU up 17-12. Hempen’s triple came in the middle of a 9-0 ASU run.  

Later in the half, it was the Sun Devils who had trouble finding the basket, as two free throws by Promise Amukamara represented ASU’s only points throughout the rest of the first 20 minutes. USC, meanwhile, closed with an 11-2 run to tie the score at 23-23 at the half.

The Trojans scored 19 of the first 30 points of the second half to take a 42-34 lead with 10:35 remaining.

The Sun Devils now must await word on their postseason fate, as the NCAA announces its field of 64 teams on Monday, March 17 at 4 p.m.