LOS ANGELES — What had already been a horrid California road trip for No. 16 Arizona State, grew into a disaster on Sunday afternoon.
The Sun Devils (14-7, 5-5) were upset 65-50 to USC (12-9, 3-7) who was third-worst in the Pac-12 and had lost seven of eight games coming into Sunday’s matchup.
Arizona State dropped its third in a row and fourth in its past five games.
If anything, head coach Charli Turner-Thorne and her Sun Devils felt “exposed.”
“We got it handed to us,” Turner-Thorne said. “Our readiness and our toughness just weren’t at the level I expected.”
The loss was compromised by turnovers, a dull shooting performance (38 percent) and poor defensive play.
Most notably were the Sun Devils’ 18 turnovers converted into 16 Trojan points.
“We wanted to be under 13 (turnovers) today. Driving in and just getting yourself blocked, that was the difference in today’s game obviously, and we just didn’t have good poise and made bad decisions.”
Defensively, Arizona State let another opponent’s backcourt dominate. On Friday night, it was UCLA’s Jordin Canada who had 26 points.
Today, all three of USC’s starting guards had double digits scoring a combined 38 points. Sadie Edwards led the Trojans with 17, Courtney Jaco earned 11 and Minyon Moore had 10.
Arizona State’s young guards could not compare. Freshman Reili Richardson had two points, sophomore Sabrina Haines secured three and freshman Robbi Ryan added six.
“It’s just frustrating. It’s just hard right now. All these kids are so young,” Turner-Thorne said. “I would say our young kids are kind of in a slump.”
One of the main lapses on defense occurred when Moore hustled down the court and hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left while getting fouled from behind by ASU freshman Kiara Russell. Moore then converted a free throw to put the Trojans up 42-37 at the end of the third quarter.
“But then a four-point-play. Like a soft pickup man. I turn my back and we’d given up a four-point-play. That’s kind of how this weekend went,” Turner-Thorne said.
The Sun Devils still did lead for 22:53 of the game.
Through the first half, ASU led 26-25 and was up by as much at six (31-25) two minutes into the third quarter.
But with senior Kelsey Moos and freshman Jamie Ruden sidelined with injuries, down the stretch, the Sun Devils play appeared sluggish and fatigued.
In the second half, Arizona State was outscored 40-24.
“Sophie (Brunner) played 35 minutes the other night (UCLA). Her knee’s swollen and we’re just beat up and don’t have a really deep rotation right now,” Turner-Thorne said. “It’s a factor, but everyone’s tired and we’ve just got to grow from it.”
After a tough four-game stretch in California, the Maroon and Gold escape back home to where they’ve won eight of 10 games this season to face the Pac-12’s best in No. 11 Oregon State (20-2, 9-1).