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ASU Women’s Basketball: Devils win back-and-forth thriller against GCU

Historic fourth quarter caps off Sun Devil comeback

Zac BonDurant

In front of an electric crowd, the Arizona State women’s basketball (6-1) erupted in the fourth quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit against Grand Canyon (5-1) at GCU Arena on Wednesday.

In the final frame, the Sun Devils outscored the Lopes 35-18, a school record for points in a quarter.

The first 15 of those 35 points came unanswered, a run that flipped the script from an 11-point GCU lead to a four-point ASU lead.

“There was no point did I look at my players, and think they didn’t look confident. Like we weren’t going to pull out this victory,” coach Natasha Adair said.

Tyi Skinner led the way, setting a new career-high with 29 points, including a stellar 15-of-17 from the free-throw line.

Four Sun Devils hit double figures on the score sheet. Jaddan Simmons played all 40 minutes and tallied 14 points, including an 8-for-10 posting at the charity stripe.

Free throws made the difference all game, as ASU sank 29 of 38, while the Lopes struggled, going just 7-for-19.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with ASU jumping out to an early lead. After outsourcing GCU 20-12 in the first frame, the Lopes almost mirrored it exactly in the second, going on a 12-0 run and outsourcing ASU 19-12 to get within one point at the break.

GCU took control of the game in the third, going on an 18-6 run to take a nine-point lead. After Evan Zars sank a layup to extend the lead to double-digits to open the fourth, it seemed that the Lopes were on the brink of icing it.

Instead, the Devils picked the perfect time for the 15-0 rally and followed it up with a 10-2 rally shortly after to take a 70-61 lead with 1:11 to play.

After a barrage of free throws in the final minute, the Devils were 6-1.

GCU set a new school WBB attendance record, with 6,019 fans in attendance, filling more than 85 percent of the arena, which has a capacity of 7,000.

Postgame, Adair noted how playing in rowdy environments will help them as they move deeper into the season.

“This is a very young group in the sense of time spent together. I mean, this is only seven games that they have played together and for us to be in these environments, we’re learning so much about one another.

“But, the biggest thing that we’re learning is trust. When we’re in war together, and we’re battling together, we’re going to come together as one to get the win.”

After a 5-1 road trip, the Sun Devils return home on Friday, when they will host 7-1 UMass before welcoming 7-1 Missouri on Sunday.