Starts are always promising if you have the advantage, but in any sport, it’s how you finish.
No. 19 ASU (2-2) suffered their second loss of the season against No. 5 Louisville (4-0) Friday night, 58-56 in game one of the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.
There was plenty of correlation between this game and the Showdown on the Rez against then No. 4 Baylor. Mostly the way the Devils finished in the fourth quarter.
ASU came out of halftime with strong defense holding the Cardinals to just eight points in the third quarter.
Senior Sophia Elenga, fresh off her career performance, scored 13 points off the bench for the Devils. Senior Charnea Johnson-Chapman added eight and grabbed nine rebounds.
This is the second close loss to a top-five team and the fourth quarter effort and finish was nearly equal in both.
Louisville rebounded from their low-scoring third for a 21-point fourth quarter that was sealed on a layup with two seconds on the clock.
ASU was fouled three times in the last 30 seconds and were perfect on free throws in all attempts. This allowed the Devils to tie the game before the final layup.
The bright spot was ASU’s performance in the first half. They fought several lead changes but their largest was six.
A win tomorrow against Southern Illinois could keep the Devils in the poll or even push the team up one or two spots given their performance against both Baylor and Louisville.
Tomorrow’s tip-off will be at 3:30 p.m. against the aforementioned Southern Illinois. It can once again be streamed here or heard on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.