Up by four points with 36 seconds left, Sabrina Haines put up line-drive 3-point shot that swished into the basket as she violently threw her fists forward in celebration.
The sophomore’s dagger sealed Arizona State’s 68-63 victory over Oregon (15-9, 5-7) as she was mobbed by a cluster of pink Sun Devil jerseys.
“W-h-e-w,” coach Charli Turner-Thorne spelled out.
Not only did the win snap the Sun Devils’ (15-8, 6-6 Pac-12) four-game losing streak, but It was their first win in 17 days. It had been 24 days since ASU last won at home.
“Nice to see our guards catch to shoot and our perimeter shooting finally showing up, which we knew it would,” Turner-Thorne said. “I think they just believed. They just relaxed and found the basket.”
Haines had a season-high 14 points and added five rebounds.
“This whole season I haven’t really been happy with how my shots have been falling,” said Haines. “Getting these couple to go in took all the weight off, so I finally felt relaxed... and I’m glad my teammates put me in a position to be successful.”
Adding to Haines’s breakthrough performance was freshman Reili Richardson who had eight points and eight assists.
Over the four-game losing streak, Richardson and Haines totaled just 19 points — On Sunday, the two put up 24.
“(Scoring points) definitely helps take pressure off these guys in the post.” Haines said. “People love to focus on them because they don’t have confidence in our shooting, but we have confidence in our shooting. And today, thank God it showed up.”
Turner-Thorne echoed Haines, emphasizing how key the guards’ shooting was this contest.
“How about that? I’m so happy for her (Haines),” Turner-Thorne said. “She’s obviously been struggling and she’s got a nice shot and for her to get going today is huge all of us. I mean she’s a shooting guard. We need her to be out there catching to shoot... Hopefully she’ll be catching to shoot for the rest of the season.”
Their 68 points was the Sun Devils’ highest total in seven games, and their highest output since ASU beat Washington State 68-49 on Jan. 13.
But in Turner-Thorne’s eyes, the win resulted from great defense transitioning into stellar offense.
“Big for us that we evaluated and adjusted and our defense got better as the game went on. That’s what good teams do,” Turner-Thorne said.
Next, the Sun Devils travel to the Apple State to face Washington State (9-13, 4-7) on Feb. 10, then No. 10 Washington (22-3, 10-2) on Feb 12.
When asked about preparing for Washington’s star seniors Kelsey Plum and Chantell Osahor, Turner-Throne made it clear she’s examining this road-trip one game at a time.
“You cannot look past Washington State,” Turner-Thorne said. “They have players out, but they have so much depth and they’re doing really well. I think our guards have grown up defensively, so I think we’ve matured.”