ASU women's basketball swept by rival UA for first time in nearly 20 years

The Sun Devils' offense shot just 36% on the night

In front of a sell-out crowd, No. 16 ASU fell 59-53 to No. 18 UA Friday night in Tucson.

The Wildcats fed off the energy of the more than 10,000 fans in attendance to ultimately secure the victory.

The game was back and forth for the majority of the night, but the Wildcats (16-3, 5-3) took control of the game late in the third quarter. UA hit a buzzer-beating three to cap off a 12-4 run, pushing their lead to 39-33.

That third quarter stretch turned out to be the difference in the game for the Sun Devils (15-5, 5-3). ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne mentioned a litany of reasons for that rough patch. 

“I think we had a few turnovers in that stretch and a few defensive breakdowns,” Turner Thorne said. “We just left people wide open and we got a little soft.”

A lack of offensive execution doomed the team, she said.

“Our offensive execution has not been good,” Turner Thorne said. “We need to get in the gym.”

ASU was led offensively by senior guard Robbi Ryan, finishing with a career-high 25 points on 10-21 shooting. Ryan kept ASU within striking distance as she was able to hush the crowd with several big shots throughout the night.

With Friday night’s performance, Ryan reached the 1000-point mark in her career as a Sun Devil. Despite the career night, Ryan was disappointed following the loss, citing the crowd as a major factor for ASU’s uneven performance.

ASU senior guard Robbi Ryan (11) dribbles the ball in a 59-53 loss against UA on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at McKale Center in Tucson.

“When there’s large crowds and it’s a big game and a lot of noise, it’s tough to stay poised at times,” Ryan said. “I think we struggled in that aspect today.”

Ryan accounted for ten of ASU’s 20 field goals on the night, as the rest of the roster shot just 10-34 from the field.

Senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley noted what the team needs to improve on going forward. 

“(We need to) focus more on controlling the controllables," Tapley said. "We let a lot of stuff get to use like the calls and things like that which probably got us out of our game a lot.”

Tonight marked the second time this season that ASU has lost a tightly contested game against UA, with the Wildcats taking the first matchup in Tempe on Dec. 29, by the score of 58-53.

This is the first time the Wildcats have swept the season series since the year 2000.

The Sun Devils will head back to Tempe for a week off before hosting USC on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at and follow @Leo_Toch on Twitter.

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