ASU women’s basketball drops third in a row at California

After back-to-back losses against the rival Arizona Wildcats and the Stanford Cardinal, the ASU women’s basketball team knew it needed a win Sunday to get back on track and maintain second place in the Pac-12 standings. Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, they did not get it.

The Sun Devils (20-6, 9-5 Pac-12) fell 74-63 to the California Golden Bears Sunday night at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.

The loss is ASU’s third in a row, the team’s longest such streak since a three-game losing streak to end the 2012-13 season.

 
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As a result, the Sun Devils have dropped into a three-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 with Oregon State and USC.

The Golden Bears (18-7, 10-4 Pac-12) had two 20-point scorers in the game: senior guard Afure Jemerigbe scored a career-high 23 points and junior guard Brittany Boyd, hobbled with an injured ankle, scored 21, with 19 of those coming in the second half.

Redshirt senior forward Gennifer Brandon notched her 39th career double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Golden Bears.

Redshirt sophomore guard Katie Hempen paced the Sun Devils with 12 points off the bench.

The first half was closely contested, with Cal leading by just two after 20 minutes, but coach Charli Turner Thorne knew that her team had to adjust for the second stanza.

“I thought we had a solid first half and I knew they were going to come out and force their transition game on us,” Turner Thorne said. “We talked about it and we just didn’t do a good enough job of defending it.”

The Sun Devils were outrebounded by 11 boards by the Golden Bears depite Turner Thorne and her team knowing that it was the biggest piece of the matchup.

“We knew the game was about the boards and we didn’t get it done,” Turner Thorne said. “We just didn’t do a good job.”

Despite her team’s third loss in eight days, Turner Thorne believes ASU is improving.

“I feel like we’re getting back to where we were,” Turner Thorne said. “This was better than Friday night, which was better than last week, so we just need to keep getting better. We need to keep locking in on rebounding, and we just need to finish.”

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