Lady Devils win Duel in Desert

The Arizona State Women's Basketball team does one thing well - they find a way to win ugly games. That is why the Devils are happy to walk away from Friday night's rivalry game with a 67-64 victory over the Arizona Wildcats in front of 3,782 at Wells Fargo Arena. While a victory is a victory, they know they must play a lot better if they expect to be successful next week in the Bay Area.

"The one thing this team has done consistently, and it might be the only thing we've done consistently, is we stay with things," ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "We position ourselves to pretty much win every single game we've played. That says a lot. That's a championship mentality."

"This is a rivalry game. All the records go out the window; everybody is going to leave it all out on the floor. They were fired up, we were fired up. It was a little sloppy. I thought we were just rushing; we would steal it and then give it right back to them. We need to be a little more disciplined than we were."

Briann January led the Devils with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.

"Charli always says, we do ugly. We might not always play the prettiest out of everybody but we always find a way to get it done," said January, "Every time we play these girls, anything can happen. They almost came on our floor and got a W."

"They definitely brought it today and we needed to step up a little better. We hit some big shots down the stretch and made some free throws. Everybody lays it out there on a rivalry game."

The Devils played a very sloppy first half and had 15 turnovers at the break. The Wildcats went on a 10-0 run to open a 20-13 lead with 9:22 to go in the half. Offense was lacking on both sides in the first half, as both teams shot under 40%. Arizona did a great job defensively on the Devils starting post players, Lauren Lacey and Sybil Dosty. Lacey and Dosty were held scoreless in the first half.

"This was a very, very tough game, from start to finish," said Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini, "It was a game almost like chess. We did a great job defensively first half on their posts; I don't think their starting posts had a point. We did a very good job doubling down and tried to attack. Both teams had a lot of turnovers at the half."

"I think U of A keyed on them. They doubled, I mean they doubled Sybil (Dosty) last time. We knew that they were going to double. I think it was a collective effort of not being patient and just needing to work harder on the block and go up stronger," said Turner Thorne, "We got some good looks and didn't finish. The bigger issue is the rebounding. We didn't establish an inside game at all in the first half. KT was huge and we know she can be for us. It is nice to have depth and have different people take turns."

Arizona State's defense keyed an early second half run, putting them up 44-39 midway through the half. The Wildcats kept answering every Devils' run, and eventually pulled even at 50. ASU didn't take the lead for good until 4:43 when Sybil Dosty connected on two free throws. ASU made 12 of 15 free throws in the game's final six minutes to clinch the victory.

The Devils had seemed to pull away after leading by 6 with less than 10 seconds to play. UA's Ashley Wisonant made two free throws with 3.8 seconds left, cutting ASU's lead to 65-61. Tasha Dickey then stole Reagan Pariseau's inbound pass and laid it in with the foul. Suddenly the Devils lead was just one with 2.5 seconds to play. Dymond Simon connected on two clutch free throws, and the Wildcats didn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

"Second half, once again it was a game of chess. We did a great job rebounding overall and on the offensive boards. It came down to mental toughness, and free throws," said Bonvicini, "I just don't think we capitalized on the opportunities we had. We let their press affect us too much. Our effort was great, we never backed down."

The Sun Devils received a major lift off of their bench. Kirsten Thompson and Kayli Murphy combined for 16 of ASU's 25 bench points.

"We had some great play off the bench," Turner Thorne said. "KT's been working extra every single day this week. She just had an outstanding game for us, five blocked shots, great interior defense, gave us some big offense. We might just reverse who's starting and who's coming off the bench. Our bench kept us in the game and probably won the game for us."

"Amazing. They stepped up huge. They actually made some runs for us, which is great. That just shows how deep we are as a team," said January.

The Devils were outrebounded 41-33, including giving up 19 offensive rebounds.

"We did a great job of keeping our composure and our coaches did a great job of helping us with that. We obviously didn't play as well as we wanted to, but we are getting two days off to rest because we have a big week coming up," said ASU Forward Lauren Lacey, "We have to forget about this game, it's a win, move on."

Moving on entails a trip to visit to the Bay Area to take on two top ten teams, the 9th ranked Cal Bears and the 6th ranked Stanford Cardinal. Those teams have given ASU their only two Pac-10 losses.

"Two top ten teams. It is going to be a tough stretch and on the road you never know what to expect. We just have to prepare and be ready for some tough basketball and be able to get through it. We know those two teams, we played them once already," said January, "We know what they are going to have for us, we just have to step up and get it done."

Turner Thorne knows her team will be ready to play.

"The thing about this team is the usually play to the level of their competition. Hopefully we'll play to their level next week. We're going to be very excited for those games, we know we have to play better, and we will."

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