How Sweet it Is! ASU Advances to Round of 16

Danielle Orsillo missed all of last season with a devastating knee injury and struggled with her shot on Saturday. Briann January sprained her ankle during the game, Gabby Fage and Kate Engelbrecht struggled to score all season long. But with their season on the line, all of them stepped up and showed the heart of these Lady Sun Devils, who beat Florida State 63-58.

Orsillo's three with 32 seconds to play broke the tie and vaulted the Lady Sun Devils into the Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in school history. The play was a thing of beauty; Orsillo came off of a double screen and caught a pass from Briann January from the left elbow and drilled it.

"I've had some great teams and great players over the years," said ASU Head Coach Turner Thorne, "All made me proud but I don't think I've ever been more proud than I am tonight."

From then on it was free throws to clinch a trip to Trenton and ASU (25-8) went 6-6 from the line to put the finishing touches on a 63-58 upset victory over the 3rd seeded Florida State Seminoles (26-8) at Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, Georgia.

"I was ice cold the whole night," said Orsillo, who missed last season with a knee injury, "If there's one thing I've learned from my injuries, it's just to keep fighting."

"Anybody that's followed Danielle Orsillo's career knows she can be 0 for 18, and she'll hit the game winner," said Turner Thorne.

Orsillo admitted that she thought about passing up the shot.

"So many things went through my head during that shot," said Orsillo, "I was going to wait for Kate (Engelbrecht) to come free, but I'm like, no, I've got to shoot the shot and I've got to hit it, so that's what I did."

Turner Thorne knows that her junior guard has ice water running in her veins.

"That's the type of player she is and type of focus she has. She always wants to take the big shot. I was glad she took it, and I did believe in her."

There was a time when ASU's chances weren't looking very good. Already without leading scorer Dymond Simon, the heart and the soul of the Devils, Briann January, went down with ASU down nine with just over nine minutes to play.

January sprained her right ankle, went to the locker room, but later returned. January's injury lit a fire under the Devils and her return lifted them over the top and past the Seminoles.

"When Bri went down, it pumped us up," said Sybil Dosty who led the Devils with 13 points.

Kate Engelbrecht hit a three right after January left to cut the lead to six and Dosty's put back made it 40-36 Florida State with 8:41 to play.

January returned with 6:49 to play and ASU down five at 44-39. Her impact was almost immediate as she found Gabby Fage in the corner for a three and after Mara Freshour hit a shot at the other end, Fage nailed another from the corner and the Seminole lead was just one.

Jacinta Moore stretched the lead back to three with a layup, but January tied it up with a three of her own with just over five minutes to play.

January picked up her fourth foul just 17 seconds later and put Alysha Harvin at the line where she hit just one of two free throws. Kayli Murphy then put ASU up 50-49 on a jumper and after Harvin couldn't hit a three on the other end, Dosty scored inside to stretch the lead to three.

Courtney Ward's three with 1:37 to play tied the score up at 54-54. January missed a three, but Florida State couldn't take the lead because Jacinta Moore missed a layup. That is when Orsillo hit the shot that put ASU up for good.

"I thought we defended the first couple of options really well, and then we didn't defend the third," said FSU head coach Sue Semrau, "They came up with the big bucket. It's kind of the way basketball goes."

Mara Freshour's attempt at a tying three was off the mark with 24 seconds to play and January grabbed the rebound, was fouled and sank two free throws to make it 59-54. Engelbrecht hit a pair of free throws before Orsillo iced it with a two free throws to end the game.

"I'd put it in her hands again," said Semrau, "We've done it enough times, and I'd put it in her hands again."

"We ran a play that we've run multiple times in practice," said Freshour, "We go through special situations, different special situations everyday at practice. It was something we were completely comfortable running. I felt I was wide open, and it's just the end of the game and I didn't put enough legs into it"

ASU's defense held Florida State to their worst three-point shooting game of the season. The Noles shot just 21.4% from beyond the arc.

Dosty led the way with 13 points and nine rebounds for ASU. Engelbrecht added 12 points, January had 11 and Orsillo scored 10. Gabby Fage had six points, the seldom used Australian connected for two crucial threes.

The Devils advance to the Trenton regional semifinal on Sunday against the winner of the Texas A&M/Minnesota game which will be played tomorrow. The time of the game on Sunday has yet to be determined. The Aggies are the likely opponent barring a Gopher upset and A&M went 26-7 and routed Evansville in the first round of the tournament.

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