ASU women’s basketball holds on for road win over Utah

The ASU women’s basketball team has grown accustomed to playing in games that come down to the final buzzer. That experience shone through Friday night.

The No. 14 Sun Devils (16-3, 5-2 Pac-12) were able to escape Salt Lake City with an impressive road win, 65-62, over the Utah Utes.

In the highly contested game in Salt Lake City, ASU was locked up in another tight game. The Sun Devils are now 8-0 in games decided by 5 points or less or in overtime. Also, ASU has a 9-0 record when trailing or leading by only 1 point in the final minute.


Coach Charli Turner Thorne said Utah is a hard team to beat in Salt Lake City.

“We knew we’d have to dig deep,” said Turner Thorne. “This is just a tough place to play and this is just a tough team to play against.”

The Sun Devils had the lead for a large majority of the game, but went down in the final minute before responding with the final four points, all on free throws, to grab victory from the jaws of defeat once again.

The Utes’ team leader, senior forward Michelle Plouffe, led the way again tonight for Utah, scoring 22 points.

Turner Thorne once again praised the Utes’ star forward.

“Plouffe is absolutely one of the best players in the conference,” Turner Thorne said.

Freshman forward Emily Potter, who has been lauded all season, was held to 9 points, but her scoring was not the story of her game.

Potter fouled out of the game with less than a minute left after fouling freshman forward Sophie Brunner, who sank both of her free throw attempts to put the Sun Devils up for good.

ASU hit 18 of its 23 free throw attempts, including four to close out the win, countering the Utes’s 11 of 17 mark at the line.

“We’re all about the free throw shooting,” Turner Thorne said. “Our kids shot it well this week and obviously that was a big part of the difference.”

For ASU, redshirt senior guard Deja Mann led the way with 18 points and redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen scored 14, including the Sun Devils’ last 2 points to seal the win.

Turner Thorne thought the entire team played well in the victory.

“I thought (Mann) and (Hempen) were great,” Turner Thorne said. “It was another great team effort.”

The Sun Devils will next take the court Sunday afternoon against the Colorado Buffaloes.

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger