The ASU women’s basketball team fell behind and stayed within striking distance but could never take control during the senior game versus USC.
The Sun Devils’ (13-17, 5-13 Pac-12) struggling offense dug them into a hole in the first half. ASU would come close but couldn’t erase the lead and lost 67-60 to the Trojans (10-19, 7-11).
ASU finished Pac-12 play in ninth place and USC in seventh.
“The two biggest keys were outrebounding them, controlling the boards and taking care of the ball. You just expect to finish those shots,“ coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I think we missed 11 layups in the first half.”
ASU won the rebounding battle 44-35 and committed only 12 turnovers.
But it shot 27 percent in the first half compared to 47 percent by the Trojans. It found itself down 36-23 after one half. ASU made just one of its nine 3-point attempts during that time.
“They really wanted this game, and I don’t know if we had the relaxed, focused approach that we talked about. But also, that’s been our Achilles heel all year: scoring,” Turner Thorne said.
However, the Sun Devils made this a game rather than a blowout. They came out strong in the second half.
“It just can’t be that deep of a hole. I’m happy we fought and didn’t let the time or score affect us, we just played basketball,” senior guard Micaela Pickens said. “We just have to do it sooner rather than later.”
The first 10 minutes of the second half saw ASU go on a 14-5 run to cut the lead down to 41-37. Senior Janae Fulcher contributed three baskets during that run.
In her last game at Wells Fargo Arena, Fulcher put up 17 points 13 rebounds.
“I have a true family here,” Fulcher said. “It’s been a very long journey. My role has changed every year, and I was so blessed to have the role that I did this year.”
It was also Pickens’ senior game as well.
Pickens shot poorly from the field, going 2-13 with eight points. But she secured nine rebounds in her last game in Tempe.
“It’s really sad that this is my last time on this floor,” Pickens said. “I really appreciate this program, and I’m happy I came to this program. It taught me a lot.”
But after that Sun Devil run in the second half, the Trojans finished the game.
With 2:53 minutes left, ASU was down by only five.
Then USC junior forward Cassie Harberts finished a layup and the foul. That started a 7-2 run by USC that put it away.
Harberts finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
ASU shot the ball 71 times, the fourth most all season. It shot 32 percent for the game though while USC shot 42 percent.
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