ASU catches fire in fourth quarter, upsets No. 2 Oregon

The Sun Devils used a late 14-0 run to push the team ahead to win

After trailing for the majority of the game, ASU women's basketball (12-4, 2-2 Pac-12) used a late run to upend No. 2 Oregon (12-2, 2-1) 72-66 on Friday night.

Trailing by 10 entering the fourth quarter, ASU went on a 14-0 run to gain its first lead with just under four minutes left in the contest. During that stretch, ASU played lockdown defense, forcing the Ducks to miss six straight shots.

Despite getting outshot 49% to 34%, the Sun Devils dominated in the hustle categories against the Ducks. ASU forced Oregon into committing 17 turnovers and won the offensive rebound battle 13-9.

Ultimately, what put the Sun Devils over the top was stellar play from the team's senior class. Guards Robbi Ryan and Reili Richardson, as well as the front line of forwards Ja’Tavia Tapley and Jamie Ruden made a number of key plays to secure the victory.

Following the game, ASU head coach Charlie Turner Thorne praised the effort and poise of her senior class.

"I thought our seniors really stepped up. Playing great defense, getting big rebounds. They are doing what we know that they can do," Turner Thorne said. "They bring a sense of urgency to our team."

Turner Thorne remained confident in her team’s ability to prevail, even while facing a double digit deficit.

"I said going into this game that I thought that team (Oregon) was possibly the best team in the country and definitely looking like a Final Four team," Turner Thorne said. "I also told our team at halftime, when you win, celebrate like you won a national championship, because it means you are good enough to."

For Oregon, senior guard Sabrina Ionescu played as good as advertised. The 2019 John R. Wooden award winner was able to get to her spots most of the night, scoring 24 points on 10-19 shooting. 

The Sun Devils by no means played a perfect game. After the game, Richardson, who scored 12 points, noted the team's gritty style played a big part in securing the victory.

"That shows how tough we are," Richardson said. "We are gonna grind out the whole game and we are gonna fight no matter what.” 

Richardson was the epitome of that 'grind' according to Turner Thorne.

“She had the flu. She had 102 temperature this morning. So I was trying to get her in and out,” Turner Thorne said. “She’s a leader. She’s got the toughness of a champion and she showed that today.”

Turner Thorne believes the upset is the ceiling that her team can reach, placing the Pac-12 and the nation on notice.

“It was just a fun game to coach,” Turner Thorne said. "This early in Pac-12 (play), I think it really shows this team what they’re capable of. And (it) shows the country what we’re capable of.”

For ASU, things won’t get much easier on Sunday as they will face the No. 3 Oregon State Beavers (15-0, 3-0) at 2 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at ltochter@asu.edu and follow @Leo_Toch on Twitter.

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