Frigid Offense Dooms Lady Sun Devils

LOS ANGELES - Today Arizona State's women's team started their post-Dymond Simon season chapter, and probably as expected the results were less than impressive. Yet, following a 70-65 loss to USC in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament, head coach Charli Turner-Thorne didn't attribute this defeat solely to the season-ending loss of her star guard.

"This was our first full game without her and we didn't do a great job," Turner-Thorne said. "They (USC) caught us at a great time obviously because we are making an adjustment without such a great player. But bottom line is we didn't play like ourselves today and we didn't play our defense. We played ‘dare you to shoot' defense.

"We really didn't need anybody to do something extra special. We need to play our regular Sun Devil defense and we didn't."

Arizona State (23-8) started the game strong leading 7-2 in just under four minutes of play. This is when the offense stalled and the defense simply couldn't stop the barrage of three-point baskets by USC (16-14).

The Women of Troy, playing on their home court at the Galen Center, went on a 22-4 run, and held a 25-11 edge with 7:35 remaining in the half. USC shot 50 percent from the field in the first twenty minutes, while ASU as just 38.7 percent from the floor and had a six plus minute stretch without a score.

"We definitely missed some bunnies, some of the easy shots that usually fall for us," admitted ASU guard Briann January.

The senior wore Simon's jersey as a sign of team unity. "It was a team decision," she said tearing up. "She's a big part of this team, so we wanted to show how much we care for her."

Simon tore her ACL, for her second time in her career, during ASU's regular season finale versus Stanford.

The Devils were able to stop the bleeding, and after Lauren Lacey's three-point basket, they went down to the locker room trailing just 34-28.

ASU was able to turn around their offensive fortunes, shooting 55.2 percent in the second stanza. Nonetheless, their defensive struggles continued to plague them, as USC converted at a 56.5 percent in this period.

The Women of Troy were in the control the entire second half, pushing there lead at times to double digits. The Lady Sun Devils were able to cut it down to 63-60 with 3:50 left, but a three pointer by USC's Heather Oliver on the ensuing possession ended any aspirations ASU would have for a comeback on Friday morning.

Danielle Orsillo paced ASU with 17 points, 11 of them coming in the second half. Lacy and January had 14 and 13 points respectively. ASU controlled the glass to the tune of 34-27, but committed 17 turnovers and were just 3-15 beyond the arc. Camille LeNoir led the way for USC with 18 points.

On Monday afternoon, ASU will learn when and where they will play in the NCAA tournament. It would be natural following this contest to have some apprehension concerning their post-season prospects, but Turner-Thorne remained optimistic.

"In March it is about toughness and it's about defense and rebounding," she said. "I don't think we played quite as tough or quite as good of team defense as we can. I think we can come back next week and do a lot better job at that.

"Everything is very correctable for us."

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