It was a second-half comeback that allowed Arizona State (1-1) five extra minutes to try and take down Minnesota (1-1) on Friday night, but it was the Gophers who prevailed in a 66-59 overtime affair in Tempe.
“It’s early, but we really take this to heart. We know we can come out with that dub. We could’ve come out with that dub today,” senior guard Taya Hanson said.
Hanson was integral in the comeback that brought ASU back from as many nine points in the fourth quarter. She had eight of the Arizona State’s 14, including two triples. The senior finished the night with a team-high 16 points and three assists.
BACK 2 BACK TRIPLES— Sun Devil WBB (@SunDevilWBB) November 13, 2021
Taya makes it a one-possession game pic.twitter.com/QvOhbHrtqX
While the Sun Devils were able to climb back into the game, it was Jasmine Powell for the Gophers that kept her team in the driver’s seat. Powell found her rhythm after halftime, scoring all of her game-high 21 points after the break.
Powell had an answer for what seemed like every ASU bucket, including a contested three in overtime, that deflated Desert Financial Arena. The Sun Devils were outscored 12-5 in the final frame.
“Our goal was to make it tough for her to score,” Hanson said of the team’s pregame plan.
Coach Charli Turner Thorne noted that the team will use this early season struggle as a learning point not have another player they are trying to stop, beat them again.
While according to Turner Thorne, “basketball is a game of mistakes, and we made all of them (tonight),” there was one glaring weakness: rebounding. The Gophers outworked ASU on the glass 53-45. Sophomore forward Maggie Besselink led all players with 15 boards.
“Maggie is someone that brings that rebounding effort every game. We can’t just rely on her to get all the rebounds,” Hanson said. Her and Turner Thorne both emphasized that guards have to pursue the glass a lot more.
When Arizona State was able to pull in the occasional offensive board (they had 15 of them to be exact), they did not capitalize on the additional opportunities. They only tallied six second chance points off of those 15 rebounds.
“Teams are going to get tougher as the season goes on, but so will we,” Besselink said.
Despite the loss, Arizona State cemented the history of former player and coach Briann January. The team held pregame and halftime ceremonies honoring the career of January, who just finished her 13th season in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun.
January played in the maroon and gold from 2005-2009 where she won numerous awards and left ASU leading in multiple statistical categories. She also joined Charli Turner Thorne’s staff in 2017 and coached for two seasons, while still playing professional basketball.
No. 20 will hang in the rafters of Desert Financial Arena forever.— Ricky Weipz (@RWeipz) November 13, 2021
“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” - Babe Ruth in The Sandlot, 1993 pic.twitter.com/hu8TNmKS3E
The halftime ceremony concluded with January’s No. 20 jersey hanging from the rafters next to the likes of Ryneldi Becenti and Kym Hampton.
Next up for the Sun Devils will be their first road test of the year against the Cougars of BYU. The team will travel north for a Wednesday matinee with tip-off scheduled for 11 a.m. local time.