(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/ WCSN)
In what was the last regular season home game of the season, Arizona State women’s basketball fell 55-52 to No.15 UCLA in a thriller at Wells Fargo Arena.
“That game was right there to be taken,” Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “It was probably more us make your free throws and don’t foul down the stretch and things like that. But i’m really proud of our effort, it’s disappointing not to get the win on senior day but big picture, going into March I think we are kind of on the upswing.”
Early in the first quarter, the Sun Devils came out of the gates hot, starting the game on a 6-0 run. The Bruins would combat the run with two quick buckets of their own.
The intensity was high on senior night, as both teams locked up on defense. UCLA has the slight 7-6 edge half way through the first quarter.
Senior Sophie Brunner broke the scoring drought for both teams with a turn around jumper that gave ASU the one point advantage.
Behind a pair of free throws from Monique Billings, UCLA went into the second quarter leading 14-12.
Within seconds of the second quarter UCLA’s Kari Korver hit her second three-pointer and gave her team the 17-12 lead.
The crowd at Well Fargo erupted, as the Sun Devils went on a 6-0 run behind great offensive play going up 26-21, forcing UCLA to call a timeout.
After two minutes of not scoring a basket, the Bruins would respond with four quick points cutting their deficit to three points.
At one point in the second quarter the Sun Devils went on 11-0 run.
Behind 12 points from Brunner, nine from Haines and four lead changes the Sun Devils were on top 32-27 heading the half time.
The Sun Devils upped their lead to seven points after Dornstauder knifed a dime to a cutting Brunner for an easy lay-up.
UCLA took advantage of the smaller ASU lineup as Kennedy Burke scored an easy put back lay-up.
Both teams played tough but the Sun Devils held on to the advantage, heading into the final quarter up 39-37.
The Bruins would string together a 7-0 run midway through the quarter forcing the Sun Devils to call a timeout.
After the timeout, the crowd would get into the game as ASU went on 6-0 run going up by one point.
The scoring was back and forth as UCLA responded with two big three pointers from Panlina Hersler and Nicole Kornet, pushing their lead to 50-45.
With 2:20 remaining in the ball game freshman Reili Richardson drilled a huge three pointer to cut the deficit to just one point. On the next possession, Richardson made another key play coming up with a steal. The steal ultimately lead to Brunner shooting free throws and giving her team the 51-50 lead.
A few possessions later, ASU sent UCLA’s Canada to the free throw line, who eventually nail both and tie the ball game up at 52 all, with just one minute remaining in the final quarter.
Brunner has a chance to take the lead but missed a turn around jumper. At that point, the Sun Devils were forced to foul and they sent Canada to the line and she made another pair of free throws.
The Sun Devils had couple of looks at the basket but could not finish any of them.
The Bruins would go onto win the ball game 55-52.
Although the Sun Devils didn’t come out victorious they still have a positive attitude.
“It’s tough right now just because that was a hard loss,” Brunner said. “Once we regroup this week and go to Seattle, I think we have a good shot at, we just have to play our basketball. We are right with there with the good teams.”
Senior Kelsey Moos mentioned how great the crowd was for senior night.
“We are just really appreciative of all our Fans, ” Moos said. “There were times in the fourth quarter were it sounded like 6,000 people were in there (gym). They were giving us a lot of momentum, boosting us and we just appreciate them.”
Player of the game: Jordin Canada
UCLA’s Jordin Canada who had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assist. The junior point guard kept her team poised and hit four clutch free throws that ultimately gave the Bruins
Biggest concern: 55 percent
The Sun Devils got to the free throw line 20 time but only chased in on 11 of them. By a game that was only won by three points, missing out on nine points was crucial for the Sun Devils.
Stat of the Day: 5
The Bruins solidified the victory not by making a filed goal but making 5 free throws at the end of the game. UCLA finished the game shooting 83 percent from the line and only missing three free throws.
What’s next: Next Thursday, the team will travel to Seattle, Washington for the Pac-12 Women’s basketball Championship.