(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
In was a battle of Pac-12 unbeatens in Wells Fargo Arena as Arizona State took on Oregon State, the Sun Devils were unable to keep their winning streak alive, losing by a score of 68-57.
The loss snapped ASU’s 14 game winning streak and was only their second of the season. The defeat also left the Beavers in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12.
To say Arizona State (18-2, 7-1 Pac-12) had a frustrating game is an understatement. Katie Hempen led all scorers with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough to stop a red-hot Oregon State squad. The Sun Devils got off to a rocky start, shooting 37% from the floor in the first half and constantly turning the ball over. The Sun Devils just couldn’t execute on offense, and fell behind 27-22 at the halfway mark.
Things only got worse for Coach Charli Turner Thorne’s squad in the second half as Brunner got into foul trouble early, forcing her to sit much of the second half, and fouled out with six minutes left in the contest. Oregon State came storming out after the break staring on an 18-3 run to blow the game wide open, hitting shots from all over the court. Arizona State’s frustrations were evident as Turner Throne was assessed a technical foul at the 16:00 mark following some words with the officials.
“I was just frustrated,” Turner Thorne said. “Part of it was getting my team fired up to be honest, but part of it was that it was a very, very physical game…We just needed to play better.”
For Oregon State (18-1, 9-0 Pac-12), it was their eighth straight win and moves them atop the Pac-12 standings. While the Beavers didn’t shoot particularly well in the first half either, stout defense willed them to the five point lead at the half, and the Beavers came out of halftime on fire, shooting 66.7% from the field in the second half.
The Oregon State shooters were able to find open looks around the perimeter thanks to the solid play of 6-foot-6 center Ruth Hamblin. Hamblin had 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks on the day. With Brunner in foul trouble, Arizona State had problems keeping Hamblin out of the middle, and Oregon State took advantage by feeding the ball to the inside for easy buckets and kick-outs to perimeter shooters.
“I was disappointed that we didn’t do a better job of taking away their strengths,” said Turner Thorne of her team’s defensive performance. “We were tense, and when you’re tense you aren’t clearheaded.”