(Photo: Brooke Faber/WCSN)
In the final home game for seniors Promise Amukamara and Isidora Purkovic, Arizona State was able to outlast Colorado to claim a 59-46 victory on Senior Day.
Arizona State (26-4, 15-3 Pac-12) clinch second place in the Pac-12, and accordingly will enter the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle as the no. 2 seed, set up to play the winner of Oregon-Washington. The Sun Devils end the regular season on a five-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the conference.
Colorado (13-16, 6-12) was on a two-game win streak after back-to-back victories over Oregon and Arizona, but weren’t able to keep up with Arizona State’s hot shooting in the second half. The Buffaloes will likely enter the conference tournament as the no. 9 seed.
The Sun Devils came out of the locker room firing, opening the game on a 9-2 run, but Colorado responded with a quick 9-2 run of their own, locking the game back up at 11.
Colorado’s Lauren Huggins was able to knock down a three-pointer with just seven seconds remaining in the half, putting the Buffaloes up by one, but a quick inbound by Quinn Dornstauder allowed Elisha Davis to make her way down the court and hit a buzzer-beating jumper to put the Sun Devils ahead 22-21 at the half.
The game was close throughout the first half with both teams playing strong defense, but Arizona State flipped the switch in the second half and took over the game.
The Sun Devils played much more efficiently on offense, shooting 48.3% in the second half. Katie Hempen and Promise Amukamara led the way for Arizona State, scoring 15 and 13 points respectively.
The win ties the second most wins in a season in Arizona State program history with 26, and for Amukamara, there was no better time for it to come than on Senior Day.
“It’s overwhelming emotions,” said Amukamara of her final home game as a Sun Devil. “I’m going to miss my team and my coaching staff, but I think today my team really honored this day and played their hearts out.”
Player of the Game: Katie Hempen
It seemed like Colorado centered their defensive game plan on taking Hempen out of the equation, and they did so throughout the first half by using Jasmine Sobrov and Lauren Huggins to blanket her. Hempen did not get any shots off in the first half, but came out of the locker room and became the catalyst for an impressive offensive display by Arizona State. Hempen went 4-5 from deep on the night to lead all scorers with 15 points and broke Briann January’s program record for three-point field goals in a season (65). Hempen now has 67 made three-pointers on the year, and looks to knock down a few more as the postseason gets started.
Stat of the Night: 37:08
The Sun Devils got started early with an Elisha Davis three-pointer, taking the lead within the first 20 seconds of the game. Arizona State kept that lead for 37:08 of the game, allowing Colorado to lead the game for only 3 seconds. While the game was close in the first half, the Sun Devils put on an absolute display of dominance in the second, taking over the game on both ends of the court.
The Sun Devils clinched the no. 2 seed and a first round bye in the Pac-12 conference tournament, and will get back into action on March 6th in Seattle at Key Arena.