ASU women's basketball unable to keep up with No. 6 Stanford

No. 19 Sun Devils can't complete comeback and fall to 11-4 on the season

It wasn’t an ideal start for ASU women’s basketball on Friday night in Wells Fargo Arena.

After a double-digit deficit at halftime, No. 19 ASU (11-4 overall, 2-2 Pac-12) fought back in the second half, cutting the deficit to just a point, but ultimately lost 72-65 against No. 6 Stanford (13-1, 3-0) as the Cardinal wouldn’t relinquish the lead.

“We have to be better,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “You have to play for 40 minutes … they know it, and they just have to do something about it.”

ASU pushed the pace throughout the game, but couldn’t find a groove offensively especially in the first half. As the halftime buzzer sounded, ASU had shot just 10-for-36 from the field (27.8 percent) and trailed 34-22. 

As the Sun Devil offense remained stagnant throughout the game, Stanford continued to work through senior forward Alanna Smith, who finished with a game-high 25 points and six rebounds, and junior guard DiJonai Carrington, who knocked down several tough shots.

“(Smith) is a really great player,” senior center Charnea Johnson-Chapman said. “We decided that we needed to help each other. We fell short on that, and even when we did help each other, she is a really tough player and a really good player, so she is going to knock down some shots. We just need to do better on our assignment.”

Despite the halftime deficit, the Sun Devils started the second half with a new energy and confidence. With Johnson-Chapman, redshirt senior forward Courtney Ekmark and junior guard Robbi Ryan, who combined for 38 points, the Sun Devils made a run.

However, Stanford started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to balloon the lead to 57-47. ASU still had chances to win as it cut the lead to four points.

“That really hurt us this game,” Ekmark said. “I think we are all going to go home tonight and look at ourselves and see what we can do better to help the team.”

This isn’t the Sun Devils first close loss to a top-ranked team this season. ASU lost to Baylor by six points, after having a lead throughout the game, and to Louisville by two earlier this season. For Ekmark, she isn’t pleased with “morale victories,” saying she wants to beat these top-ranked opponents.

“It is frustrating because everyone on our team is really competitive and we want to win,” Ekmark said. “It is just going to take us coming together and just taking it because we are sick of losing these games. We are right there. It is our time to take them.”

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