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ASU Women’s Basketball: Sun Devils can’t hold on, fall to No. 8 UCLA

2nd half struggles

Richard Martinez/ House of Sparky

After a triple-overtime win on Friday afternoon against USC, the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils (16-6, 6-4 Pac-12) weren’t able to stop the No. 8 UCLA Bruins (20-2, 9-2), falling 70-61 on Sunday.

Friday’s win left some questioning if fatigue played a factor in Sunday’s loss, as the Sun Devils failed to play a full 40-minute game.

“I think they were tired, and we talked about helping each other, but we didn’t do a very good job of helping each other,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We were fatigued today, that was obvious, but so is everybody. You have to have your toughness muscle kick in. Maybe it was more mental, as much as physical.”

The last time these two teams met was at the beginning of January, where UCLA won 68-66. Turner Thorne has talked many times about she believed that her team was capable of winning that game.

UCLA came in Tempe looking to turn things around after a tough 92-66 loss to the Arizona Wildcats Friday night.

The Sun Devils showed promising success early, ending the first quarter on a 8-0 run and taking a 20-15 lead.

Heading into halftime, the maroon and gold had a 34-32 lead.

Something that allowed the Sun Devils to have success was rebounding, something that Turner Thorne has preached all season long.

At the half, the Sun Devils were out-rebounding the Bruins 28-17 with 15 offensive rebounds, which led to second chance points.

However, things quickly fell apart for the Sun Devils in the second half and they never were able to recover from it. In the third quarter, they only had nine rebounds.

“That was the biggest thing we talked about at halftime,” Turner Thorne said. “If you limit them to one shot, game over, you win. Box out. We just have some kids who haven’t built that habit yet. It was disappointing.”

The Sun Devils have struggled this season with not letting up in order to play a complete 40 minutes and take home the win. A similar thing happened against Arizona a week prior. They went into halftime with a lead and ended up losing.

“I think we let our foot off the gas and we weren’t aggressive as we were in the first half,” senior guard Robbi Ryan said. “We weren’t as poised and we turned the ball over too much.”

The third quarter was all Bruins, as they pulled away with a 52-44 lead by the end of it. They put up 20 points total and shot 45 percent from the field. The Sun Devils had five turnovers and had one offensive rebound.

“We didn’t have a good third quarter,” Turner Thorne said. “We didn’t think we had a good first half, and we were up two but we thought get our box outs and keep pushing tempo, but we didn’t. We didn’t have that connectedness. We’ve got to do better when we don’t get calls and stay tough.”

The Sun Devils had a late fourth quarter push going on a 7-0 run, still down 64-58 with 1:23 remaining. However, UCLA answered with a layup and four free throws to seal the deal.

“They fought a little bit harder and better than we did,” Turner Thorne said. “It was a physical, aggressive game and the team that stayed the most physical, more aggressive was going to take it and that was them.”

Ryan and senior forward Jamie Ruden both had 15 points, with senior guard Reili Richardson adding in 12.

The Sun Devils will head to Corvallis to face No. 10 Oregon State Friday night at 9 p.m. MST.