Devils take down USC

Last time Arizona State (17-8, 9-6 Pac-10) played the University of Southern California (16-10, 8-7 Pac-10) the Lady Sun Devils pulled off a nail biter winning by just one point. Tonight in Tempe, ASU was able to eventually cruise in the second half and notch a comfortable 69-55 victory and sole possession of 3rd place in the Pac-10.

"I am really proud of the team," said ASU head coach Charli Turner-Thorne. "We are doing a better job with just staying in the moment. We took care of the ball, and we'll take 69 points any game! We adjusted and our toughness is starting to emerge for us."

The first half was a very tight ball game. Both teams trading baskets kept the game within a couple of points for the most of the half. Kimberly Brandon was the impact player in the first half for ASU scoring 10 points, most coming off of second chance points on offense. Along with Dymond Simon's 12 points and despite a good defensive effort ASU led just 30-28 at the half.

The second half was all about defense for the Lady Sun Devils. As the case all season long, ASU's play on this end of the court titled the game in its favor. It forced USC into some bad shots and played tough defense without fouling and allowing the visitors to parade to the foul line.

Despite their struggles on offense the Trojans were able to keep matters close and were trailing just 50-46 with 5:25 left in the game. However, Simon fueled a 12-2 run to give ASU a 64-50 lead with 1:20 remaining and the necessary cushion to earn their third win in a row.

. After being awarded her milestone achievement of 1,000 career points before the game, Simon proceeded to pace her team with 22 points. Kimberly Brandon added 15 points and six rebounds. Tenaya Watson has six assists for ASU. The Lady Sun Devils shot just 40 percent from the field but limited USC to 38.2 percent from that range and were exceptional from the free throw line converting 21 of 23 shots.

"It was a great team win, we need to continue to do that," Simon commented. "We need to keep our turnovers down and keep playing tough. Tonight our free throws were extremely important".

Up next for the Lady Sun Devils is UCLA at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday February 24th. Tip-off is at 8:30 M.T.

This contest will mark the last ever home for Simon and she believed his squad is stronger and more focused this time around to face the Bruins.

"We are enjoying being a good defensive team," Turner Thorne acknowledged, "it's going to help us finish strong. UCLA is a great team and I am excited to play them again".

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