ASU women's basketball loses its three-game winning streak in 75-71 loss to Utah

The Sun Devils allowed the Utes to shoot 55% from the field and 52% from three

ASU women's basketball saw its three-game winning streak end in a 75-71 loss to Utah in Salt Lake City Sunday afternoon despite 22 points from senior guard Reili Richardson and 50% 3-point shooting as a team.

The Utes came back from a nine-point first quarter deficit and dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Sun Devils 26-15 in the period. Utah shot 55% from the floor and 52% from three for the game.

Senior guard Robbi Ryan and senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley scored 10 points each, but both combined to shoot 33% from the floor.

After holding Utah to just 47% shooting overall in the first quarter, ASU's defense collapsed in the proceeding two quarters. The Utes shot 64% and 67% in the second and third quarters respectively.

Considering the Sun Devils' reputation on defense, Sunday’s performance was a worrying sign moving forward for head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s team.

Since the start of February, ASU (19-9, 9-7 Pac-12) has held opponents to under 60 points just twice. And in both of those games, against Colorado and Washington State, the Sun Devils allowed 59 points.

In comparison, in the 12 games before the start of conference play, ASU had just three games where it allowed 60 points or more.

Their rotations have been slower, and their defensive intensity hasn’t been at the same level it was in January. ASU has given up roughly 68 points per game in the month of February after allowing just 59 points per game the month prior. 

For a team that relies on defense to win games, this recent downward trend isn’t a coincidence.

Since sweeping the Oregon schools in January, both top-three ranked teams at the time, ASU is just 6-5 with narrow wins over Washington, Washington State and Colorado, all of which are three of the four worst teams in the Pac-12.

Utah (13-14, 6-10) stands as ASU's first loss to a team below .500 this season.

The Sun Devils come back home to Tempe for their next matchup on Feb. 28 against Cal at 8 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at kbriley@asu.edu and on Twitter @KokiRiley.

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