ASU WBB: ASU Devastated in Top-20 Matchup
ASU was able to live up to their name as the best 3-point defense in the Pac-12, but Washington was able to live up to their title as the best team in the Pac-12.
After leading for the majority of the first half, Arizona State was unable to match the strength of the No. 8 Washington Huskies. Washington switched up their style of play from sinking shots from behind the arc to attacking in the paint which caught the Devils sitting on their heels.
Entering into the game, the Devils had the challenge of marking one of the best offensive players in the Pac-12, while also shutting down the powerful 3-point game of the Huskies. Huge offensive rebounds pushed the Devils up over the Huskies early into the game, and gaining the lead carried the Devils through the rest of the half.
ASU held Washington to only 35 percent overall shooting in the first half and a mere eight percent from the 3-point line. Shutting down the Huskie’s game from behind the arc was huge for the Devils, but as it neared the end of the second quarter Washington began pushing in the paint to gain their first lead of the night. The lead was short lived as the Sun Devils were able to take it back before time ran out.
ASU needed to stretch their defense in the second half in order to shut down opportunities in the paint for the Huskies, but were unable to do so which devastated the team.
Washington managed to gain and maintain lead in the third quarter, which left the Devils having to fight in the fourth quarter. The young team was too flustered to gain composure and couldn’t find the strength to pull through in the final minutes of the game.
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An injury to Reili Richardson late in the fourth was no help to the already struggling ASU team who had to try and regain their composure without the poised presence of the young guard.
ASU finished sinking 46 percent of their field goals while Washington finished with 41 percent, but were able to pull off the win. The Huskies took 11 more shots than the Sun Devils and focused more on the quick shots they could put up in the paint rather than their usual style of play in sinking their 3-pointers.
“I figured it would go down to the wire and I’m pretty sure it would’ve if [Reili Richardson] hadn’t gotten hurt,” said head coach Charlie Turner-Thorne, “We didn’t quite execute our game plan, although we…held them about 27 points below their average.”
A huge contributor to the Huskie’s high scoring average is senior Kelsey Plum. Plum was shut down by the ASU defense, being held to only nine points in the first half, but came back in the second half and was able to finish out with 34 points in the game.
As for Plum’s success against ASU, Sophie Brunner said, “Good players stepped up and she stepped up…we just need to have collectively a better defense…and not let [Plum] get going, because when you give her any type of room or any type of confidence she’s going to take full advantage.”
Chantel Osahor also struggled to push through the Sun Devils’ defense as they shut down her 3-point game, only taking one three in the entire game and missing. What came to bite the Devils’ in the butt was Osahor being able to force her way into the paint, gaining 10 points for the team.
With young guards trying to defend such aggressive and talented players, they weren’t able to muster up the strength and were easily bodied off the ball to give up numerous points at close range.
Going into their long stretch of road games ahead, Quinn Dornstauder commented on the things the team needs to do better on offensively, stating that, “Just all around execution…getting into our flow and playing our own game.”
The Sun Devils look to bounce back as they are on the road for their next four games. Tough match ups as they head up to the Bay area to face Cal and Stanford for the second time in conference play.