ASU offense not enough to defeat Cal

Senior Alex Earl drives to the basket in a game against Cal on Feb. 4. Earl scored 10 points in the Sun Devils’ loss to the Golden Bears. (Photo by Sam Rosenbaum)

The ASU women’s basketball team had a strong offensive performance on Saturday, but was unable to get a win against Cal.

In the end, the Golden Bears (17-6, 8-3 Pac-12) capitalized on the Sun Devils’ (15-7, 6-5 Pac-12) mistakes and won 67–62.

With 12 seconds left in the game, the Sun Devils were down three points with possession of the ball and a chance to tie the game.

Cal freshman guard Brittany Boyd stole the ball and converted a fast-break layup to secure the victory.

Despite the loss, ASU had a strong offensive game.

They shot 47.8 percent from the field and three players scored in double figures.

However, the Golden Bears also had a good game shooting the ball.

Cal shot an impressive 57.7 percent in the first half and finished the game shooting 44.4 percent. Boyd led the Golden Bears’ offensive surge with 19 points and six assists.

Senior forward Kali Bennett had 13 points for the Sun Devils and said the team cannot rely on its offense to win games.

“Our team has always found a way to win through defense,” Bennett said. “Today we found a way to respond offensively. That’s not our bread and butter. That’s not what is going to get us anywhere.”

Coach Joseph Anders reiterated the message and emphasized that the Sun Devils need to return to their defensive style of play.

“We all know what kind of team we are,” Anders said. “We are a defensive basketball team and we are very good at it. We got to get back to playing our brand of basketball. We need to go back, look at the tapes, (and) figure out what we need to do in order to get that intensity back.”

Senior guard Alex Earl gave credit to Boyd, and said the Sun Devils must shut down key players from their opponents.

“We stuck a couple different people on her,” Earl said. “(We) really couldn’t keep her in front of us. I think we have lacked a little bit of focus in the last couple of games on really focusing on who we have to stop, and really stick to our game plan.”

Except on tape, Anders said it was the first time he has seen Boyd play and thinks she is going to turn out to be a strong player in this conference.

Senior forward Kimberly Brandon led the Sun Devils for most of the season, but was a non-factor against Cal due to an ankle injury suffered against Stanford on Thursday.

Brandon only played 17 minutes and scored four points.

She started the game, but the injury began to take its toll. Anders said she tried to fight it and come back, but the ankle would not hold up.

Late in the game, Cal instituted a full-court press on the Sun Devils, which created some points off turnovers for the Golden Bears.

Cal finished the game with 19 points off turnovers.

The Sun Devils will look to get back in the win column when they travel to Utah and Colorado this week.

 

Reach the reporter at ehubbard@asu.edu

 

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