Taya Hanson leads ASU women's basketball's comeback victory over Cal

The junior guard made seven three-pointers, tying a program record, to help the Sun Devils defeat the Golden Bears

ASU women's basketball came back from 11 points down in the third quarter to defeat Cal 56-53 in Tempe on Friday night after having the start time of the game delayed by three-and-a-half hours out of precaution for COVID-19.

The Sun Devils went on a 29-9 run after trailing 32-21 early in the third quarter, led by 12 second-half points from junior guard Taya Hanson.

But the Golden Bears nearly mounted a comeback late in the fourth quarter, cutting a nine-point deficit to one with 41 seconds remaining. Cal sophomore guard Leilani McIntosh drove to the basket with two seconds remaining but left a floater short.  

"We had to fight together and play with one another because there are going to be ups and downs," freshman forward Katelyn Levings said. "But, if we are fighting and playing our hearts out and working hard, it will be our game."

Cal quickly took advantage of a Sun Devil team that hadn't played a game in two weeks, jumping out to an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and increasing the lead to 28-19 to end the first half. ASU shot just 24% in the first half and committed 13 turnovers.

The Sun Devils began using more screens and off-ball movement to create open shots on the perimeter to jump-start their comeback after falling into a double-digit deficit early in the second half. 

ASU made five of 11 three-pointers after halftime, including four from Hanson. She led all scorers with 21 points, her college career-high, on 7-10 shooting from deep, tying an ASU record for most three-pointers made in a single game. 

"I have been out of (the) flow for a little bit, but tonight felt different and felt really good," Hanson said. "It's what I'm here to do, and it's what I am going to continue to try to do."

ASU (7-2) also limited its turnovers in the second half, committing just five while forcing nine from Cal (0-8).

With four players sitting out Friday's game, five of nine Sun Devils who took the floor were freshmen. 

"I am so proud of this team and our toughness," head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "We are missing two starters, three core players ... when we get back to full strength, we are going to be better for having to endure this."

ASU will take on No. 1 Stanford in Tempe next on Jan. 3 at 4 p.m. MST. 


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

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