Now that Pac-12 season is in full swing for the Sun Devils, weekends at home are paramount in racking up some wins to compete with a very deep conference this season. On Sunday, Arizona State (9-6, 1-1 Pac-12) had the opportunity to get a home sweep to start conference play, but a slow start paved the way to a 72-63 loss to Utah.
21-4 was what the Desert Financial Arena scoreboard read after 10 minutes of action, and the Sun Devils were down by as many as 29 just before the halftime break. It was a 41-26 second half that helped ASU climb closer to the Utes, but they were unable to secure the sweep.
Leading scorer Jade Loville returned for the Sun Devils after not playing in Friday night’s upset over No. 22 Colorado. She tied a game-high of 20 points to go along with five rebounds.
The only other double-digit scorer for ASU was junior guard Ayzhiana Basallo, who tallied 11 points including a 3-6 shooting night from behind the arc. This is the kind of shooting night Sun Devils fans were waiting for after she lit up the three-point contest during the team’s preseason Moonlit Madness event.
Utah is a team led by two freshman that have been tearing up the Pac-12 this year: Gianna Kneepkens and Jenna Johnson. Kneepkens led the way with 20 points for the Utes and could be on her way to earning her third Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award.
Arizona State was a perfect 13-13 from the charity stripe, which helped their cause, but ultimately the slow start was too large to overcome. ASU never led once during Sunday’s game.
The upcoming schedule does not get easier for the Sun Devils, as they travel to No. 2 Stanford and California. The first game against the Cardinal is slated to tip-off at 7 p.m. local time.