No.16 ASU women’s basketball suffered its fourth Pac-12 loss in five games on Sunday, falling to the USC Trojans 65-50 at the Galen Center.
Heading into this weekend, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne knew her team's main focus was to eliminate mistakes while making the most of its opportunities. Instead, mistakes were a recurring theme during the Sun Devils' back-to-back defeats in Los Angeles.
“The turnovers I thought really just killed us,” Turner Thorne said through Sun Devil Athletics. “We talked about it going into this week. UCLA and USC have the best transition games in the conference, live ball turnovers to points.”
The Sun Devils had 18 turnovers against USC and 14 turnovers in their loss to UCLA Friday.
On Sunday, ASU jumped out to a strong start and led USC 26-25 at halftime, shooting a solid 45.5 percent from the field. But in the second half, the Sun Devils went cold, and the Trojans got hot. USC went 16 for 22 in the final two quarters for a blistering 72.7 percent.
In contrast, ASU had two separate four-minute stretches in the second half during which it did not score a single basket.
“We’re just not playing with poise right now,” Turner Thorne said. “We’re not as tough as we need to be. We can break down the basketball stats all we want. We just didn’t have the collection of toughness we needed to take that game and that’s disappointing.”
That collection of toughness may have something to do with an inexperienced ASU roster. Of the 10 women to play for ASU on Sunday, seven were underclassmen.
“This is a really tough stretch for us,” Turner Thorne said. “We just have to kind of find ourselves a little bit right now. Our young players are definitely slumping. They’re not really playing well enough for us to win.”
The veteran frontcourt senior duo of forward Sophie Brunner and center Quinn Dornstauder were the only Sun Devils to reach double-digit scoring with 14 and 13 points respectively.
Dornstauder also recorded 10 rebounds to get her third double-double of the season.
Despite being outplayed according to the box score, ASU stayed in the game until the final seconds of the thirds quarter.
With time dwindling down, USC freshman guard Minyon Moore took the wind out of ASU’s sails with a buzzer beating 3-pointer, all while getting fouled on the shot by Kiara Russell.
“It was a pretty awful way to end a third quarter,” Turner Thorne said. “I didn’t even see the play. I was turned the other way and all of sudden I see KiKi (Russell) chasing her player.”
Moore converted the four-point play at the free-throw line, and USC took a five-point lead to enter the final period of play. ASU never fully recovered from that point on.
ASU’s next game comes against another ranked opponent this Friday against No.11 Oregon State at home. The Beavers are an impressive 9-1 in conference to lead the Pac-12, and 20-2 overall.
“I don’t know if the commitment is at the level it needs to be right now,” Turner Thorne said. “I don’t know if we really got better this weekend. I know we have been tired and stuff, but so what? Everybody is tired.”
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