ASU women's basketball digs too deep of a hole in loss to Utah

The Sun Devils surged late, but a 24-point deficit was too large to bear

A 24-point deficit proved insurmountable in ASU women's basketball's 65-51 loss to Utah on Sunday afternoon in Tempe.

The Sun Devils eventually found a rhythm, outscoring Utah 23-16 in the fourth quarter, but after three periods, ASU had more turnovers (nine) than field goals (12). 

The Sun Devil offense looked confused for much of the game. It consisted of limited off-ball movement while the ball handler stood still, waiting for someone to make a cut.

"Miscommunication," freshman guard Jaddan Simmons, said was an issue. Simmons led the team with 13 points. "We want to make sure everyone's on the same page."

Head coach Charli Turner Thorne was frustrated by the team's effort above all else.

"Our biggest adjustment (needed) is offensive efficiency, they’re not doing what we want them to on offense," Turner Thorne said. "It's a lack of effort."

Turner Thorne said her team was "walking on offense" which was "unacceptable".

By the end of the opening 20 minutes, ASU was shooting 5-for-29 from the field with seven turnovers. 

Turner Thorne's squad was shorthanded, without starting freshman forward Katelyn Levings, freshman forward/guard Maggie Besselink or junior guard/forward Iris Mbulito. Without a lot of its size, ASU ran a zone on Friday in a win over Colorado and in the first half on Sunday. The Utes moved the ball well and found holes along the perimeter. 

Overall, Utah went 9-18 from three, with sophomore guard Kemery Martín hitting all five of her 3-point attempts on the way to a 25-point night.  

"We left her open," Simmons said. "We let her get hot."

ASU has been a team which works best allowing its defense to turn to offense and pushing up the floor with tempo. But, the Utes were establishing their half-court sets, and ASU struggled to run an offense without a faster pace until the fourth quarter. 

"Our defense affected our offense," sophomore forward Eboni Walker said. 

Turner Thorne said she cuts her team a little slack given who was out of the lineup and the fact that Sunday was just the team's second game since Jan. 3. She also said she expects to have her full roster back next week for the first time this year.

ASU's next matchup is on Friday, Jan. 29 at No. 6 UCLA. The Sun Devils played the highly ranked Bruins earlier this season, falling 63-59 in Tempe.


Reach the reporter at alexjweiner@gmail.com and follow @alexjweiner on Twitter.

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