A season-to-forget for head coach Natasha Adair and Arizona State Women’s Basketball (8-20) ended valiantly Wednesday afternoon in a 80-71 loss to UCLA (23-8) in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
ASU guard Tyi Skinner held the ASU spotlight before, during and after Wednesday’s matchup, as she was announced as the lone Sun Devil selected to the All-Pac-12 team earlier in the morning.
Nobody was surprised when she followed up that announcement with a game-high 26 points. Skinner was the leading stimulus in an 18-point comeback for ASU that was reminiscent of its recent 17-point comeback against Oregon State.
“I’m proud of their resilience,” Adair said. “I’m proud of their fight.
Skinner jump-started a 13-2 ASU run in the fourth quarter when she nailed two three-pointers in the beginning of the quarter to cut the UCLA-lead to under-10 points. Meg Newman (2 points), Jaddan Simmons (17 points) and Treasure Hunt (6 points) all added buckets to bring ASU within a point.
With 3:15 remaining in regulation, Skinner drained her third deep-ball of the quarter for the 62-60 ASU-lead. It was the only time the Sun Devils would be out-front the entire game.
After a basket by UCLA, and some sloppy possessions by both teams, ASU took the ball under its own basket with just over 10 seconds remaining. They would need to go the length of the floor to get the game-winner.
Simmons took the shot in the paint, but it was heavily-defended and missed poorly off the top of the backboard. They went to overtime tied 62-62.
Both teams traded a pair of baskets to start the extra frame, but UCLA would finish the game on a 15-4 run anchored by a pair of three-balls from Bruin-sharpshooter Emily Bessoir. The buzzer sounded with UCLA on-top 80-71.
ASU finishes the season at 8-20, but there was some hope for the future following the post-game press conference when Skinner announced she will be returning to Tempe next season.