Lady Devils Edge Ducks

The Oregon Ducks came into Wells Fargo Arena fresh off of a loss to the lowly Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. Easy win, right? None of the 2,648 at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday were breathing easy until Sybil Dosty blocked Tamika Nurse's shot as time expired and the Arizona State Lady Sun Devils (15-7, 9-2 Pac 10) escaped with a 52-51 win over the Ducks (10-12, 4-7 Pac 10).

"I thought Oregon played well. I will say that I think Oregon did a really nice job. The difference was we finished the shots Thursday night and I think we got a lot of the same looks," said ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne, "I don't think our defense was quite as sharp as it was Thursday and our guards knocked down shots Thursday that we didn't shoot as well (today). It's a quick turnaround with an 11 AM game, and we have two more quick turnarounds (this season)."

"Defense. Thank God for defense. That is why you work on it and you play it well. So when you don't finish your shots you can still win. Obviously we struggled."

Early on shots just weren't falling for ASU. The Ducks benefited from the return to the starting lineup of Nicole Canepa. Canepa led all scorers at halftime with 9 points on 4-5 shooting, including a basket with 4 seconds to play to tie the game at 26. The Ducks shot 50% in the first half, compared to ASU's 41%.

According to ASU forward Lauren Lacey, Charli Turner Thorne had a positive attitude despite the tie game at the break.

"She actually had a pretty positive take at halftime; she was trying to get us to loosen up. She actually told us to laugh, which was kind of different, but it worked. It loosened us up and it got us ready to go for the second half," said Lacey, who led the Devils with 8 first half points.

Oregon committed four turnovers to start the second half, and consequently ASU went on a 13-4 run to build a 39-30 lead sparked by ASU guard Reagan Pariseau's three pointer from the corner. Tamika Nurse broke a four minute scoring drought for the Ducks when her back-to-back baskets cut the ASU lead to 39-34. ASU responded with two consecutive baskets of their own, pushing the Sun Devil lead to 43-34 with 12:26 to play. The Ducks cut the Devil lead to 47-43 after a three point play by Ellyce Ironmonger with 6:50 left in the game.

The visitors kept hanging around until a spin move layup by Ellie Manou brought the Ducks to within one with 39.1 seconds to play. ASU guard Briann January drove the lane, but kicked the ball out of bounds with 17.1 left. The Ducks called timeout, and had the last shot with 12.2 to play. Nurse drove the lane was blocked by ASU forward Sybil Dosty. Manou got the offensive rebound for Oregon, but time had expired.

"Great team defense towards the end and I apologize for my two slip ups on offense, but you know that is what a game comes down to, solid team defense. We practice end of game situations and it definitely paid off today," said January.

"Charli at the end of the game told us that we were resting a lot, and that's not our style of defense. We can always push more, obviously we weren't, and we'll look at that and correct it so it doesn't happen again."

Turner Thorne praised her team's defense on the last play of the game.

"They just flattened out and went to a high-on ball screen and I thought Reagan (Pariseau) and Lauren (Lacey) did a great job. Lauren got a good hedge and obviously Sybil (Dosty), huge block, really controlled the paint and saw the play coming. That is going to be a big confidence booster and a big possession to take with us during the stretch of the season," said Turner Thorne, "We had our opportunities, we had our chances to put that team away and we'll keep working on that."

The Devils did a fantastic job controlling Oregon's leading scorer, Taylor Lilley. Lilley, who averages 13 points per game, and thanks to the defense of January, Lilley only managed five points.

"It was definitely a team effort; I didn't do that alone at all. When we want to focus on one player, if they want to take us one on one, they are going one on five. I give credit to our team; they had great help side (defense) the whole game. We know she is a great shooter and great scorer and we keyed in on her," said January.

"I thought we did a fantastic job on Lilley," said Turner Thorne, "I thought we did a better job in the second half on their post players. I thought we gave them some really easy things in the first half. Then second half we didn't give them quite as much and made them earn it."

The Devils now have some extra days off before they have to return to action for The Duel in the Desert next Friday against the Arizona Wildcats (9-13, 3-8 Pac 10). Arizona, just like the Sun Devils, is coming off a sweep of the Oregon schools.

"Give credit to Oregon. They are a hard-nosed team. When we played at Oregon it was another game like this where it came down to the wire. They came out and they brought it. We didn't come out ready to go and we need to come ready to go for the rest of our games," said Lacey.

Turner Thorne thinks the time off will help down the stretch.

"We get extra rest and extra practice these next few weeks, so we're going to try to take advantage of that and get better and get ready for U of A."

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