Sun Devils Have Edge Late In Win Over Huskies, 57-53
Jan. 28, 2012
SEATTLE - Facing perhaps the most physical team in the Pac-12 Conference, the Huskies came out with enough intensity to match Arizona State. But the senior-laden Sun Devils made the critical plays down the stretch, spoiling the Huskies bid for a weekend sweep in a 57-53 win on Saturday.
Ultimately, the Huskies came away frustrated because they slipped in areas they could control - free throws and half-court defense. Washington made its first 12 free throws, and then went 3-of-12 the rest of the way, including two critical misses by Regina Rogers that could have tied the game with 18 seconds remaining.
It would hard to blame Rogers for this loss. The redshirt senior recorded her second straight double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, all against an Arizona State team that leads the Pac-12 in blocks. Jazmine Davis added 12 points, but made just 4-of-13 shots against the in-your-face pressure ASU's guards have made infamous in the league. Mercedes Wetmore also had 12, the second game in a row both starting UW guards have reached double-figures.
"In general, both teams played hard," said UW coach Kevin McGuff. "But Arizona State made the plays at the end, particularly on offense."
Washington fell to 11-8, 3-6 in the Pac-12, while Arizona State improved to 15-5, 6-3. The Huskies have now been involved in a handful of games that have come down to the final minute, only to come out disappointed at the end.
"The biggest thing now is that we continue to fight to get better," McGuff said. Trailing 54-52, McGuff drew up a play to get Regina Rogers the ball in the low block. With ASU fronting the UW post, the lob came over the top and Rogers was able to make the catch and go up with the ball. But Rogers couldn't finish, and then missed the corresponding free throws after the Sun Devils' foul.
Nine seconds later, Mollie Williams stepped up to the line with a chance to cut the ASU lead to one. The senior split her attempts, and Kimberly Brandon - who finished with 16 points - drained a pair of free throws to ice the game.
Need some supporting evidence for how tight the game was? There were 17 lead changes and five ties. Neither team held a lead larger than six points. For the crowd of 2,170 at Alaska Airlines Arena, it was a back-and-forth affair that had those in attendance on edge all night.
ASU went to the locker room at half with a 31-28 lead after Deja Mann hit a layup at the buzzer. During the break, McGuff implored his group to "be the tougher team," and the Huskies responded to start the second half. But ASU would never let the Huskies lead stretch to more than one possession, and it always seemed as if the Sun Devils had an answer.