(Photo: Tyler Rittenhouse/WCSN)
In a game that was tight until the last possession, Oregon State women’s basketball handed ASU women’s basketball its first conference loss of the season, 57-54, on Friday at Gill Coliseum. The loss snapped the Sun Devils’ six-game win streak.
ASU had a chance to tie the game at the very end, but struggled to find a clean look as Courtney Ekmark attempted to shake her defender before forcing up a contested three-pointer.
“I didn’t like what we called at the end of the game,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We knew they were going to switch out on screens and we don’t have that quick release shooter.”
The Sun Devils’ options were limited on the last possession after the leading scorer Robbi Ryan (19 points) fouled out in the last minute of play. Fellow sharpshooter Jamie Ruden went down with a concussion in the second half.
“Jamie got a concussion, she got hit in the face on one play,” Turner Thorne said. “She would’ve made a difference down the stretch as one of our best scorers.”
ASU started the game on a strong note as it was able to extend its early lead to nine points multiple times, but was unable to stretch the lead to double digits.
Oregon State was able to storm back behind a crowd of over 4,000 as it finished the half hitting seven of its eight shot attempts. The hot streak narrowed the margin to 31-29 at the break. The Beavers were led by post Marie Gulich, who had eight points at the halfway point and finished the game with 20.
‘We didn’t play well,” Turner Thorne said. “To not play well in this hostile environment and have a one-possession game and have a chance to win, that’s the good news for this loss today.”
The Sun Devils were able to overcome an early switch to the zone defense by Oregon State behind a pair of threes from Courtney Ekmark, forcing the Beavers to switch back to a man defense.
ASU kept the margin slim late in the game until Gulich put the Sun Devils away for good. The Beavers ended the game hitting their last four shot attempts while ASU didn’t score a field goal in the last four minutes and only hit one of its last 10 shot attempts.
“For as bad as we were playing, they stayed positive, they didn’t put their heads down,” Turner Thorne said. “They knew they were missing shots they’d normally make, they knew they had some really bad defensive breakdowns, they didn’t play as hard as they could when they got tired, but they stayed with things, and I give our team a lot of credit for that.”
The Sun Devils (13-4, 4-1 Pac-12) will have a fast turn around as they will face No. 8 Oregon on Sunday, who entered the weekend as the only other team with an undefeated conference record.