In a back-and-forth game, UTEP defeated the ASU women’s basketball team 60-54 on Sunday. Inconsistency and 16 second-half fouls led to the Sun Devils’ second loss.
“We’re not consistent enough in our efforts on defense, and we’re still not coming out every possession and getting the shot we want,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
The Sun Devils’ (0-2) inexperience showed versus UTEP (2-0), the 2012 Conference USA season and tournament champions.
Redshirt senior forward Janae Fulcher went down with an injury at the 14:13 minute mark, which kept her out for the rest of the game.
ASU was up 45-43 with about four minutes left in the game, but couldn’t put away the Miners.
“We put ourselves in a position to win down the stretch, which is good for a young team in a tough road game,” Thorne said. “We had the opportunities.”
Although only hitting 64 percent of them, the Miners shot a total of 39 free throws. Twelve of those were shot in the last five minutes of the second half.
“They were being very aggressive,” junior center Joy Burke said. “Kind of just putting their head down and driving, and giving it to the post a lot who did a good job of finishing.”
The 6-foot-5 center scored seven points and grabbed 12 boards, but fouled out with about seven minutes left.
“We were out of position a lot of times, and we needed to step up and not bail them out,” Burke said.
Junior guard Adrianne Thomas scored a team-high 16 points for the Sun Devils, nine of them coming in the last five minutes.
“She really led a charge to try to win the game down the stretch,” Thorne said. “We need her to be that player that can make plays on both ends of the floor.”
Thomas hit a beyond-half-court buzzer beater at the end of the half, and threw a pass off a UTEP defender to herself and scored on a layup in the second half.
The Sun Devils got out in transition more in the second half, which they believe is their offensive strength.
“I thought toward the second half we improved on our transition,” Thomas said. “I felt if we would’ve stuck with it more in the first half, it would’ve been a different game.”
While the Sun Devils only cut turnovers down to 18 turnovers, Thorne thought they definitely executed on offense and passed the ball around better.
Overall, the young roster is going to have to learn as the season progresses, which Thorne knows will help them get ready for Pac-12 competition.
“These are great learning opportunities for us,” Thorne said. “Obviously where we’re at with our roster and situation, everything has to be preparation for Pac-12. It’s unrealistic to think we’re ready to be a top-20 program right now. We just have to keep getting tougher and keep getting better.”
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