Even though Arizona State (7-3, 3-3 Pac-12) lost 68-60, there are a lot of positives to look at in the Sun Devils’ loss to No. 1 ranked Stanford (9-0, 6-0).
After only scoring four points to Stanford’s 19 points in the first quarter, the Sun Devils outscored the Cardinal 21-15 in the second quarter.
ASU continued to fight throughout the second half, but ultimately it was not enough to come out with the win.
“This team now knows they can play with anybody in the country,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
Freshman guard Jaddan Simmons led ASU with 16 points and six assists. Junior guard Taya Hanson scored 15 points as well.
“This game showed us that we can compete with the No. 1 team in the nation,” Hanson said. “And we’ve known that and kind of believed that we’re capable of those things. We’ve (shown) it in the past. And so it definitely feels a little better than the previous losses that we’ve taken.”
After missing a few games, junior Iris Mbulito returned to the lineup. She recorded four points in a limited 19 minutes of play.
“It was just fantastic having Iris back out there,” Turner Thorne said. “A lot of courage for her. She had one short practice under her belt. She was like ‘Charli, I want to play.’ She knew how much we needed her and we couldn’t have had that performance without her.”
Despite showing grit against the toughest team in the nation, Turner Thorne believes the Sun Devils could have won this game.
“We’re not about moral victories here,” Turner Thorne said. “It feels like a missed opportunity because I think our team was really locked in, and don’t give up those few rebounds down the stretch, execute down the stretch, we can take that game. At the same time, these are all new kids. They’re all new players, so I’m incredibly proud of them.”
Now 7-3 on the season, ASU will travel to Pullman, Wash. on Friday, January 8 for a matchup against Washington State.