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ASU Women’s Basketball: Ducks’ defense shuts down Sun Devils late

Kept it close

Zac BonDurant

Senior forward Jayde Van Hyfte stepped to the line with just under seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter. She nailed both free throws, cutting the Sun Devil deficit to five.

For Arizona State (9-8, 1-3 Pac-12), that was the closest they would be the rest of the game to regaining a lead in hopes of taking down No. 19 Oregon (14-5, 7-1) on Tuesday afternoon at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, losing 72-58.

Basketball is a game of runs, and it could not have been more true on Tuesday. After going up 7-0 in the opening minutes against Oregon, the Ducks would respond with a 17-0 run of their own and not lose the lead for the rest of the afternoon.

It was a defensive chess match between head coaches Charli Turner Thorne and Kelly Graves. Both teams threw different looks at each other, hoping to catch the other off guard and get a stop.

The best example of this came in the eight minutes between the end of the first half and start of the second. Arizona State surged towards the end of the second quarter, scoring on open threes or easy layups against Oregon’s 2-3 zone.

After Mael Gilles hit a midrange jumper at the elbow to start the second half (cutting the Oregon lead to just one point), Graves switched to a 3-2 zone that the Sun Devils struggled to find consistent ball movement against.

The Ducks’ extra length up top played a big role late in the fourth quarter, holding ASU to six points over the final six minutes of the game. While 13 turnovers is below Arizona State’s season average, Oregon converted 15 points off of their mistakes and shot 53 percent from the field.

The Sun Devils were led by Gilles who finished with team-highs of 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

This game was a makeup from the Jan. 13 matchup that was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols within Oregon’s program.

The good news is that the Sun Devils will have another shot at the Ducks right around the corner, as they will play them at Desert Financial Arena on Sunday afternoon. First, ASU will take on Oregon State on Friday night at 6 p.m. local time.