Lady Devils Suffer Another Heartbreaking Loss

For a while there it seemed like the roles were reversed. ASU was the one dead in the water down ten points with five minutes left against #9 California. The Sun Devils were the team that made the furious comeback and took the lead late, but Ashley Walker stunned the Devils with the game winning bucket with 1.8 seconds to play and ASU suffered their third straight painful loss, 54-53.

The first half was very similar to the Stanford game just two nights before. A three by Dymond Simon gave ASU a 14-9 lead with 12:10 to play in the half. Alexis Gray-Lawson and Becca Tobin traded layups to make it 16-11 ASU, but then both teams went on a scoring drought. No team scored for the next 3:15 until Kelsey Adrian scored for Cal at the seven minute mark.

Kimberly Brandon's jumper with 4:35 to play in the half gave ASU its biggest lead of the game at 22-15. The Golden Bears closed the opening half on an 8-2 run that was capped by a jumper by Gray-Lawson to end the half with ASU leading 24-23.

The teams traded buckets to begin the second half and no team led by more than four points well into the second half. Ashley Walker hit a shot to extend the Bears lead to 40-37 with 9:32 remaining and that sparked a run by Cal that seemed to take the wind out of ASU's sails.

A three by Cal guard Natasha Vital gave the Bears a 45-37 lead with 7:17 to play. Though struggling to date this season, Lauren Lacey kept her team in the game with a few big shots down the stretch. Her first came right after Vital's three and cut the lead to five.

But it was Vital who stepped up for Cal when stars Walker and Devanei Hampton were struggling. She answered Lacey's three with a three-point play the old fashioned way to build the lead back up to eight with 5:47 to play. Alexis Gray-Lawson seemed to sew things up for the Bears as her layup gave Cal a 50-40 lead with just 4:51 left.

The Devils didn't die easy however, as a layup by Lauren Lacey cut the lead to eight and after a Cal turnover, Briann January nailed a three to make it just a five point game with 2:34 to play.

After two more Cal turnovers, Danielle Orsillo drove to the hoop for two to cut the lead to 50-47 with 1:18 to play. Alexis Gray-Lawson then was called for a double dribble, her fourth turnover down the stretch and Lacey tied it with a three with 51 seconds left.

On Sunday the go to girl for Cal was Natasha Vital. She drove right to the bucket for a layup on the other end and Cal regained the lead at 52-50 with 36 seconds to play. Dymon Simon then turned the ball over on the other end and ASU had to send Vital to the free throw line. She missed both free throws and it gave Simon a shot to redeem herself.

The junior point guard nailed a three with 8.4 seconds on the clock and ASU looked as if they were going to pull off the upset with an amazing 13-2 run in the final minutes.

The best way to describe the events that took place on Cal's final possession would be luck and being in the right place at the right time. Cal's inbound pass was long and over the head of Kelsey Adrian, but she corralled it. Adrian then blew a wide open layup, but the ball fell into the hands of Ashley Walker and her put back was good with 1.4 seconds left and Cal stunned the Devils. ASU did a great job in limiting Walker all day long, but in the end the Pac 10's leading scorer had the last laugh.

Dymon Simon led the way with 17 for ASU and Lauren Lacey found her groove again putting in 10. No other Sun Devil was in double figures. ASU held the talented duo of Hampton and Walker to just a combined 15 points, but Vital led the way with 19 for the Bears.

For the Devils, it could have been the biggest heartbreaker of their three tough losses in a row. ASU showed a tremendous amount of fight to rally against a top ten team, just a few days after coughing up a big lead of their own and losing a tough game. But all they can do now is move on and begin to work on the rest of the conference other than Stanford and Cal. ASU went undefeated against those teams last year and they will try to keep that going on Thursday night in Corvallis against Oregon St.

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