ASU Routs UCLA for Third Straight Win

One thing that has changed for the Arizona State Sun Devils since losing three straight games has been their defense. ASU used their stellar defense to force 28 UCLA turnovers and used defense to frustrate the Bruins and never trailed en route to their third straight victory, 68-44 in front of 7,322 at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday afternoon.

During their three game winning streak ASU (11-6, 3-2 Pac 10) has gotten out to fast starts and Thursday saw the Devils jump out to an early 9-0 lead behind the backing of nearly 6,000 elementary school kids on hand for the matinee. ASU held the Bruins scoreless until Doreena Campbell's jumper got UCLA (11-4, 2-2 Pac 10) on the board with 15:17 left in the first half.

After ASU led 13-2, UCLA went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 13-10, but that would be the closest the Bruins would get. The Devils didn't score for over six minutes, but then exploded for a 7-0 run to push their lead back to 20-10.

The Devils would lead by as many as 17 in the first half and took a 33-18 lead into the break. ASU's defense forced 17 turnovers in the first half and held UCLA to a season low allowing only 18 points in the first half.

Another common theme in the winning streak is a hot start to the second half. ASU has put their opponents away early and did so again on Thursday. ASU opened the second half on an 8-2 run to go up 41-20. UCLA would not get within 17 the rest of the way.

The Devils defense held UCLA to season lows with 44 points, just 30 rebounds and 36.6% shooting.

ASU's offense found their points from the free throw line, as Dymond Simon went 10-12 from the stripe to lead the Devils with 14 points. Kirsten Thompson was 6-6 from the stripe and scored 12 points in just 11 minutes of action. In total ASU went 24-29 from the line and went 18-22 in the second half to put away UCLA.

Since dropping their opening two Pac 10 contests, ASU has turned to defense to help them win three straight. The Devils have limited opponents to 44.3 points per game in three contests and have won by an average margin of 25.7 points.

"We are really locking people down," said ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne said, "our defensive mentality is here, and it's here to stay, everybody is out there working hard on team defense."

It was the third straight year ASU has turned the field trip day into a rout. UCLA was the first victim and last year it was Fresno St.

The Devils will go for their second straight sweep on Saturday afternoon when the USC Women of Troy (8-6, 2-1 Pac 10) come into Wells Fargo Arena for a 4PM start. The Women of Troy opened Pac 10 play with a home sweep over Oregon and Oregon State, but then fell at UCLA on Sunday. USC takes on Arizona on Thursday night before heading to Tempe.

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