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ASU Women’s Basketball: Taya Hanson’s record-setting night pushes ASU past Cal

Lethal from deep

Photo courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics

Taya Hanson lived behind the 3-point line on Friday night. Her school record of seven 3-pointers pushed Arizona State (7-2, 3-2 Pac-12) to a 56-53 win over California (0-8, 0-5).

Hanson led all scorers with 21 points in 37 minutes. This has been by-far her best game in a Sun Devil uniform.

“It’s a pretty awesome feeling,” Hanson said of her performance. “It’s just what I’m here to do.”

At times during Friday’s contest, Hanson was the only veteran on the floor. After a three hour and 30-minute delay because of COVID-19 precautions, the Sun Devils were short-handed. Only nine players suited up.

Forwards Eboni Walker and Bre’yanna Sanders were not among them. They were unavailable, but not due to injury or disciplinary issues.

“(Taya) is our leader,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “She knew she had to step up and she did.”

In addition to Hanson’s performance, the Sun Devils racked up a season-high 18 assists. Freshman guard Jaddan Simmons led the team with seven assists and added nine points, too.

“I think we are getting more comfortable running our offense,” Turner Thorne said. “We weren’t forcing things, especially in the second half.”

After not playing since Dec. 18 against Utah, Arizona State had to shake off some rust. The Golden Bears had their biggest lead of the game (11 points) a few minutes into the third quarter.

From there, the Sun Devils were able to cut away at the lead and come away with their third straight double-digit comeback win.

“It was a great display of toughness,” Turner Thorne said of her team’s performance and the adjustments made because of COVID-19. “I’m happy we’re not freaking out. They’re not letting anything bother them.”

The Sun Devils will return to action on Sunday at 4 p.m. local time to face-off against No. 1 Stanford, who beat No. 6 Arizona by 27 points on Friday night.