"We have so many scorers on our team somebody was going to get hot," said guard Briann January, "We were a little shocked at first."
It was the first time ASU (20-6, 12-2 Pac 10) had been forced to win a game without shooting the ball well. ASU shot just 29% (9-31) in the first half and guards Dymond Simon and Briann January were a combined 3-17 in the first half. The Devils started the game 4-16. That is the main reason why the Wildcats held a 14 point lead with just under five minutes left to play in the half.
"This year I think we shot this poorly only a couple of times. I think we were a little spoiled," said head coach Charli Turner Thorne, "This was good for us to get a win and have to rely more on defense."
Ashley Frazier's jumper with 4:58 to play in the first half capped an 8-0 Arizona run to put them up 26-12. The Devils then slowly began to chip away at the lead. Sybil Dosty and Danielle Orsillo both scored and then Briann January hit a three to cut the lead to seven.
January hit another shot and Simon hit two free throws to cap an 11-0 ASU run to cut the lead to 26-23 with 1:22 left in the half. Dymond Simon committed a foul with just one second left in the half that sent Ashley Frazier to the line and she hit both free throws to give Arizona a 28-23 lead at half.
"I thought if we really brought it on all levels we could make it easier on ourselves," said Turner Thorne, "We missed layups. We missed open shots. It puts more pressure on the defense."
The second half belonged to ASU and Simon, though. The Devils 22-4 run turned a nine point UA lead right around and the Devils grabbed complete control of the game with their defense.
"We know if we are going to win a championship and progress in the postseason it is going to be defense," said Turner Thorne, "That is what separates us from a lot of teams."
Simon led the Devils with 18 points and was 4-5 from the field in the second half. The Devils shot 47.9% in the decisive half. Danielle Orsillo was the only other Devil in double figures, she added 11.
Ify Ibekwe had a monster game for the Wildcats. The sophomore only had 10 points, but pulled down 20 rebounds. Ashley Frazier and Courtney Clements had 13 for Arizona and Amina Njonku added 11 off the bench.
The Devils will bring the 12-game winning streak back to Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday to take on the Washington Huskies (6-18, 2-12 Pac 10). The Huskies play tomorrow against USC, but picked up an upset victory on Friday over the UCLA Bruins. Tipoff is at 6:30 on Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.