With 9:55 left in the game, Promise Amukamara stepped behind the arc and nailed a crucial three-pointer to cut UCLA’s lead to six.
Following Amukamara’s basket, Haley Videckis hit from downtown and Micaela Pickens joined in by sinking back-to-back three’s.
The Lady Devils had just made four consecutive three pointers to make the score 45-44 with 6:14 left. The once 11 point deficit had vanished, and ASU was in position to pull out the victory over the Bruins.
However, what had the potential of turning into a comeback victory for ASU turned into a frustrating 58-50 loss to UCLA on Friday at Wells Fargo Arena. The Lady Devils are now 13-16 overall and 5-12 in Pac-12 play.
“It’s really frustrating because we know that we are the better team, and it’s just really hard right now. We’re just not finishing games and it just gets really frustrating,” Pickens said.
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne agreed with Pickens about not being able to finish games.
“We were really working toward a different result today, but this was kind of the story of our season where we play well enough to kind of position ourselves but we don’t close it out,” Turner Thorne said.
Throughout the first half, the Lady Devils did not play as sharp and forced 12 turnovers. Despite this sloppy play though, they still managed to take a 12-9 lead in the middle of the half with an Arnecia Hawkins three pointer. Adrianne Thomas also helped move the team’s lead to six after she converted a three-point play at the line.
The Bruins regained their composure though and led the Devils at halftime 29-25. ASU never led in the game again even though they were close on many occasions.
In the second, the Bruins had the upper hand, and the Devils did not score their first basket of the half until there was 15:43 remaining. After that, ASU continued to try and shrink the deficit and they eventually did with the string of three pointers. However, UCLA player Kari Korver converted a three on the other end, and her teammate Markel Walker followed it up with a jump shot.
To Turner Thorne, the three pointers seemed to be a change in momentum on the court.
“I thought ‘great let’s just lock them down and let’s get into defense mode.’ We just didn’t quite there. Credit goes to UCLA. I mean obviously they are aggressive, they are very talented offensively, they rebound well and we just didn’t make the plays,” Turner Thorne said.
With 2:17 left in the game, Janae Fulcher made two free throws to make it 50-54, but those were the last baskets ASU would make. Back-to-back jumpers by Jasmine Dixon and Alyssia Brewer sealed the victory for the Bruins.
Fulcher led ASU in scoring with 11 points and she was followed by Pickens and Videckis who each contributed ten points. UCLA was led by Korver with 17 points and Walker dished out nine assists.
The Lady Devils will play their final home game of the season against USC on Sunday at 1 p.m. and look for the team to work harder than ever on the court.
“We are going to come back tomorrow and work our butts off, and then we’re going to come back Sunday and just get better,” Pickens said.