The ASU women’s basketball team lost in a way that seemed to epitomize a vital reason for its failures this year.
As it has been all season, the Sun Devils (13-18, 4-13 Pac-12) faltered when their offense did.
The Sun Devils shot 28 percent from the field for the game, leading to a 48-41 loss to Washington State in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
The Sun Devils will not qualify for the NCAA tournament or the WNIT. However, there is a slight chance they could be invited to the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
In the past, defense has kept games close for ASU, as was the case in the first half. It held the Cougars (11-19, 6-11 Pac-12) to just 13 points and 21 percent shooting.
ASU scored 18 points and shot 26 percent in the first 20 minutes.
However, the second half saw Washington State firing from all cylinders and taking control of the game by scoring.
“I thought we did a great job in the first half, and in the second half, we let (Cougars freshmen Lia) Galdeira get going,” associate head coach Meg Sanders said. “We’re a team where sometimes when things don’t go our way, we don’t have that confidence and experience to kind of just wipe that away and keep going. And that affects our offense.”
The Sun Devil struggled on both ends of the floor.
ASU gave up 35 points to the Cougars, letting Washington State shoot 48 percent in the second half. Offensively, the Sun Devils shot 30 percent in the second half. They missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts this game.
The breakout guard, Galdeira, scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Redshirt senior Janae Fulcher scored the game-high of 20 points for ASU. No other Sun Devil finished in double-figures or shot over 50 percent.
The Sun Devils did outrebound Washington, 43-32. Sophomore Promise Amukamara secured a career high 14 rebounds in the loss.
Although this has been a grueling season for these young, inexperienced Sun Devils, playing in the WBI would only be beneficial for this squad moving on.
“More games will help us become better,” Sanders said. “Having postseason experience, even if its not the NCAA tournament, shows them that you play so you can be playing in March and that you can continue your season through the end of the month. It’s a good model for them.”
With a sub-.500 record, the possibility of being chosen to play in the WBI is slim. Whether this game was the last for the Sun Devils or not, there’s no doubt this talented and seasoning squad can only improve from here.
“We’re very hopeful that if we have this opportunity, we will take advantage of it,” Sanders said.
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