That 9-2 record feels ever so long ago.
Before Dec. 30, Arizona State had marched into Pac-12 play on a fiery seven-game win streak.
It’s Feb. 3 and the No. 23 Sun Devils (14-8, 5-6 in Pac-12) have struggled through 11 treacherous games compiled of top-25 opponents, rough road battles and a few of the most talented players in the nation.
Arizona State fell 54-45 to No. 11 Oregon State (21-2) on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena, marking its fourth loss in a row.
Still, the Sun Devils put up a fight, and that alone was enough to (at some extent) please coach Charli Turner-Thorne.
“I mean when you hold Oregon State to 54 points you expect to win. So I thought we battled really well,” Turner-Thorne said. “Coming off of last weekend, I really loved the way we competed today.”
When halting the Beavers at just 54 points, a win usually does come. Oregon State entered the contest averaging 70.2 points per game, and has only scored below 54 points just once all season.
But ice-cold shooting at a 34-percent clip and the inability to control the boards is what ultimately brought down the Devils.
“That’s a really good team and every time we didn’t do something they pretty much just made us pay,” Turner-Thorne said. “We just needed to shoot a little bit better and gave up a few key offensive rebounds down the stretch.”
The Beavers out-rebounded the Sun Devils 39-34, won in second chance points 9-6, and nipped Arizona State with by two with 30 points in the paint.
“We just weren’t hitting them first and you saw they were just getting timely put backs and timely offensive rebounds,” said senior forward Sophie Brunner. “With a team of that caliber you can’t afford to give up second shots like that.”
Down low, senior center Quinn Dornstauder finished with 17 points and six rebounds, and Brunner added nine with 14 rebounds.
It was an effective night down low for Arizona State. But free throws were missed (ASU went 3-for-9 from the charity stripe), 3s were bricked (2-for-12 from deep) and the Sun Devils missed 39 of the 59 shots they took (33.9 percent overall).
“We just didn’t get the shots we wanted,” Turner-Thorne said. “When we were winning and doing really well we were getting more transition and more second shots. We’re just not getting that offense and that’s your 45 to 50 points per game.”
The Sun Devils did battle the Pac-12’s best down the stretch, trailing 50-45 with 2:28 left in the game.
“We felt great. We felt like we’ve got this. We’re going to take the game,” Turner-Thorne said.
“I will say that I thought we gave a great effort. I liked the effort. I liked how hard we played. I thought we were pretty connected and played pretty well together. We’ve just got to execute better.”
The Beavers’ five-point lead quickly grew to seven, and then nine as Arizona State missed on its last four chances on the court.
Despite the loss, a possible series split and a chance at ending a four-game skid lies ahead on Sunday at 12 p.m., when the Oregon Ducks (15-8, 5-6) bustle into Tempe.
“It’s a quick turn around,” Turner-Thorne said. “It’s a noon start so you know; recovery, recovery, recovery. Obviously it’s going to be more of a mental practice tomorrow, but we’ve just got to prepare. Come back tomorrow, get in the gym and start focusing on Oregon.”