(Photo: Tyler Rittenhouse/WCSN)
After winning its last three games by an average of 20 points, No. 25 ASU women’s basketball (17-9, 8-6 Pac-12) dropped games to USC and No. 8 UCLA in a lackluster trip to Los Angeles.
The weekend started off slowly for the Sun Devils, who lost 77-62 after trailing by five at the half against USC.
ASU’s lack of effort on both sides of the ball was the key issue for the team as it lacked a connectedness as a result.
“We just didn’t play hard enough,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said to NBC Sports Radio. “We really weren’t happy with ourselves at halftime we knew we needed to play a lot harder and be more connected and talk.”
The talk at halftime propelled the Sun Devils to keep the game close throughout the second half, as the Trojans held an eight-point lead with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
ASU responded with a 10-5 run to pull within three early in the fourth. The run was too little too late, as the Sun Devils were outscored in the final period 24-14.
“We came out in the second half and made our runs we just didn’t sustain it,” Turner Thorne said. “This team has to learn how to sustain it on the road.”
The Sun Devils had chances down the stretch to make a run at the lead, but several key let-ups put USC ahead for good.
“We were very confident with four and a half minutes to go,” Turner Thorne said. “Two possession game that we were going to take it and then we just had some brutal let-ups. No execution and not getting back.”
ASU was able to compete with a top team in the conference in form of UCLA in its second game of the weekend, but fell 71-63.
The Sun Devils were able to jump out to an early lead in the first behind a combination of Robbi Ryan, who finished the game with 14 points, and Kianna Ibis and Courtney Ekmark, who poured in an additional 13 points apiece.
After the early lead, the Bruins were able to battle back as they took a 19-18 lead at the end of one. The second quarter was all UCLA as they opened on an 8-0 run to extend their lead.
ASU continued to battle from behind for the remainder of the game as it was able to draw the game within 56-54 with 8:21 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the team couldn’t close the mark the remainder of the game.
The Sun Devils will return to Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe as they will face off against in-state rival Arizona on Friday.