The last time ASU women's basketball faced the Utah Utes on Dec. 31, the Sun Devils took an early lead and successfully defended it for the entirety of the game. However, Friday's matchup was distinctly different as the Utes successfully completed a come-from-behind win, 58-56.
The Utes jumped out to an early 15-9 first quarter lead, and despite losing the lead and trailing for a large portion of the second half, they eventually came back to seal the win.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do,” sophomore guard Robbi Ryan said. “We didn’t rebound and that’s the difference.”
In addition to being out rebounded, the Sun Devils had trouble making baskets throughout the game, shooting 33 percent from the field and only making 5-17 threes on the day.
Despite the poor shooting performance, the Sun Devils entered the fourth quarter with a double digit lead.
However, the Utes caught fire from the field in the final quarter while ASU struggled to generate baskets, ultimately leading to the team's loss.
“You know that Utah is not going to go away, we were up big on them last time, and we just squandered away a lot of possessions,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We were turning the ball over in that stretch and missing layups and we let them back into the game, period.”
Ryan, who dropped 16 points while picking up two rebounds and two assists, led the Sun Devils in scoring. ASU was also boosted by redshirt junior guard Courtney Ekmark who picked up five points as well as nine rebounds.
Much like their last game at Oregon, the Sun Devils struggled to find an offensive rhythm, falling behind 10-0 early and not scoring their first bucket until the 5:03 mark in the first quarter.
Eventually the Sun Devils woke up and made it a 15-9 game at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, ASU found its offensive stroke, going on a 7-2 run in the first three minutes to pull within two of the Utes.
ASU did not look back, stretching the lead to 29-25 at the half, highlighted by a buzzer beating three from Ryan.
Both teams battled throughout the third but ASU continued to put up points, which kept its 43-32 lead safe heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, the Utes came alive by replicating their first quarter play and eventually cut the Sun Devil lead to three. ASU could not find the net which lead to Turner Thorne calling a timeout to stop the bleeding.
After the timeout, the Utes continued to press and kept the game close throughout the final few minutes.
Utah took the lead and held on through the last seconds, securing a 58-56 victory.
On Sunday, the Sun Devils will have chance to change their losing ways at home against Colorado. Ekmark is counting on this loss to provide motivation for her team.
“This one hurts and I hope that we all take it to heart,” Ekmark said. “Hopefully it will fuel us to come out even hungrier against Colorado.”