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ASU Women’s Basketball: Seniors come up big in win over Washington State

Five straight

Richard Martinez/House of Sparky

After some first quarter struggles, the No. 18 Arizona State Sun Devils (15-4, 4-2 Pac-12) defeated the Washington State Cougars (9-9, 3-3 Pac-12) on the road 65-56 for their fifth straight win.

In the first quarter, the Sun Devils only put up six points and shot 2-for-16 from the field. However, their defensive efforts weren’t as bad as they held the Cougars to only 12 points. The first points came three minutes in from sophomore guard Iris Mbulito.

Things improved for both teams in the second quarter. The Sun Devils were finding more of an offensive rhythm going 8-for-18, but WSU still held onto their lead heading into halftime up 28-24.

Both teams had 18 points in the third quarter and senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley did what she does best and put up 11 points. The Sun Devils fell behind by 10 points in the third but were able to pull within four heading into the fourth quarter only down 46-44.

The fourth quarter was all Sun Devils. They maintained a strong defensive effort holding Wazzu to 23 percent shooting and 10 points.

With eight minutes left, senior guard Reili Richardson hit a 3-pointer to give the team their first lead since the first quarter. Richardson was scoreless in the first three quarters.

Wazzu wasn’t done and came within one with three minutes left in the contest. Tapley came up big for the Sun Devils putting in two free throws to extend their lead by three. With 29 seconds left, she scored a second chance layup which forced WSU to start fouling. Richardson went to the line and made all four free throws to send the Sun Devils back home with a victory.

The seniors were huge for the Sun Devils in Sunday’s game with guard Robbi Ryan and Tapley leading the team with 20 points apiece. Seventeen of Tapley’s points came in the second half. Richardson had 11 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter.

The Sun Devils outrebounded the Cougs 44 to 36 and they went on a 31-12 run over the final 12 minutes to win.

ASU will travel to Tucson to face No. 21 Arizona Wildcats on Friday night at 6 p.m. MST.