The Arizona State Sun Devils (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12) fell to the No. 12 Oregon State Beavers (22-6, 14-4 Pac-12) Sunday. The game was a gritty one as the Sun Devils played well early, but the team wasn’t able to maintain their level of play.
OSU freshman Marie Gulich shot lights out scoring 36 points on 16-18 shooting from the field. “She’s a very very good player. She has the good size she knows how to play,” ASU junior forward Sophia Elenga said when asked about Marie Gulich’s performance.
From the first couple of minutes, the Sun Devils looked very comfortable shooting the ball. Regardless, Arizona State was not looking to be passive in a high stakes game against the 12th-ranked team in the country.
“We [had] to be a little more strategic,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I think we tried to be more strategic down the stretch and gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”
The defense showed up early for Arizona State as the team was playing a high energy full court press which caused the Beavers to turn the ball over four times in the first eight minutes of play.
However, the Beavers were also giving the Sun Devils problems which kept them from scoring points as well. At the end of the first quarter, ASU had the lead over OSU 16-11. There was rapid offense being played, lockdown defense on display and both teams were playing with high energy. This was only a sample size compared to what the rest of the game had in store.
Catch and shoot opportunities allowed the Sun Devils to keep building their lead. Elenga continued to play aggressively as she was able to get an and-1 basket in the first two minutes of the second quarter.
“Last home game, I was just going into have fun and just going hard,” Elenga said after she finished the game with 13 points and four rebounds.
The Sun Devils were playing well to capitalize on a first half that looked very complete.
Oregon State was giving the Sun Devils a tough fight as they were starting to cut down the lead. As a matter of fact, the Beavers took the lead as Oregon State scored 23 points in the third quarter. Arizona State was still hot on their tracks as they trailed by only two points heading into the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t come out like we needed to come out,” ASU sophomore Robbi Ryan said. “We need to bring it all four quarters.”
With 4:44 left in the fourth, OSU was shooting 61 percent from the field while also dominating inside scoring 38 points at the time. The Sun Devils were not as fortunate as they were shooting under 40 percent. With less than five minutes left, Arizona State was not displaying that same energy that was seen in the first half.
“I beg you. You have to be the more aggressive team,” Turner Thorne said. “I love this team. They’re fun to coach...We just got to put it all together.”
A late-game defensive effort allowed the Sun Devils to push the ball and cut the Beavers’ lead. Arizona State was trailing by two points with the score being 62-60 with 17 seconds left in the fourth. But the Sun Devils fell short as Oregon State beat the Sun Devils in the waining seconds.
ASU’s regular season may be over, but the Pac-12 tournament is just around the corner. Starting March 1, The Sun Devils will head to Seattle, Wash. and take on the conference.