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January 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Game thread: Arizona State at Washington

HUSKIES LOSE: In an entertaining matchup, missed shots and missed FTs hurt the Huskies, losing 57-53 on Saturday. “In general, I thought our halfcourt defense wasn’t good enough,” McGuff said of his team allowing ASU to shoot 46.8 percent from the field. “We’ve got to be better than that if we’re going to beat a really good Arizona State team.” UW also has to be better from the FT line, shooting 6-of-15 in the second half. None seemed to hurt more than Rogers’ two with 33 seconds left and the Dawgs down two points. UW still had a chance, but didn’t attempt a three-pointer late as ASU made three of its final four shots from the line. Rogers finished with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. Anders said he intentionally threw three different guards at Davis to slow her down, and the freshman was 4-for-13 from the field for 12 points, six boards and five miscues. But the story was all at the line. UW had 12 more attempts than ASU (9-for-12), and it should have taken advantage. “I wasn’t taking my time,” Rogers said of the missed FTs late, hitting the back of the rim. “Free throws win games. Coach focuses on free throws every practice and we as a team talk about free throws every practice. It is very important.” The next step for UW seems to be finishing. Like against Utah or even back to the Oregon and Oregon State losses, little hiccups late are hurting the team. For ASU, it’s been a quiet emergence. The Sun Devils have won their past five games, getting an offensive lift from Brandon to complement the traditional defensive strength. Brandon had 16 points, six boards, and three blocks against UW. “When you get to be a senior at this point in the season, you know your numbers are limited — you only have seven games left in the regular season,” Anders said of Brandon’s mindset. “There is an urgency that comes about you and it’s really great to see her step up and show what’s she’s capable of.” But while Brandon was a force, Mann was the player hitting shots at key points in the game — like any time UW thought it was going to regain the lead late. Mann finished with 12 points and four assists. ASU (15-5. 6-3 Pac-12) is now tied with Cal for second in the conference, the Bears losing 74-71 to No. 4 Stanford in overtime on Saturday. UW (11-8, 3-6) drops to a tie with Utah for 11th place.
BREAK TIME: Taking my own timeout to write. It’s a close one, though, ASU leading 50-47 with 3:30 remaining . Rogers has 18 points and Bennett has been on the bench for a while.
WHERE’S BACKUP?: Rogers at times has four players draped on her, but she’s still finding ways to make the basket drop. With her 16 points and nine boards, UW is clinging to a 46-45 lead with 6:36 left in the game. Washington isn’t getting any offensive back from the bench, however, the reserves getting outscored 16-0. In the game.
SCOREBOARD: Arizona is on a four-game losing streak after a 78-68 loss to Washington State today. No. 4 Stanford is up 40-35 early in the second half against California and Utah leads USC 37-36 with 11:40 left in their game. At Hec Ed, the Huskies continue to be a perfect 11-for-11 from the FT line, Rogers making a career-high eight, to only trail 37-36. There’s 14:36 remaining in the game.
HALFTIME: Rogers is 6-for-6 from the line, leading UW with 10 points at the break. ASU is definitely crowding her inside and keeping a good cover on Davis (2-for-5) to limit the Huskies offensively. Wetmore has helped get a flow, scoring nine points. But UW’s bench is getting outscored 10-0 and the team nearly has more turnovers (nine) than rebounds (11). Meanwhile, the Sun Devils are driving on the Huskies to outscore the home team 12-8 in the paint. Brandon leads with 10 points. UW is going to have to get more aggressive in the second half if it wants to win this game.
MANN UP: There was a long discussion about the play between Bennett and Rogers, the latter screaming a curse word after being hacked on a putback inside. Rogers got the call, making the two FTs. But Mann quickly answered for the Sun Devils. She hit a three-pointer and a soft runner to put ASU up 31-28 with three seconds left in the half.
TIE GAME: UW is on a 6-0 run to tie the score at 26 points apiece after a pair of FTs by Wetmore. The sophomore G has nine points overall. There’s 2:21 left in the half.
FREE POINTS: UW coughed up eight points on eight turnovers, trailing 21-15 with 7:27 left in the first half. The Huskies are shooting 50 percent from the field…when they keep possession of the ball.
QUICK CHANGE: The lead has changed five times in the opening 10 minutes. ASU appears to be settling in however, forcing back-to-back turnovers out of the timeout. The Sun Devils are up 16-13 with 9:41 on the clock.
GOOD RIDE: Wetmore has been on the block, shooting 11 of 44 from the field in her past six games. She’s riding hot to open the game Saturday, hitting her first two attempts, including a three-point. It’s helped UW stay within 12-9 with 12:57 on the clock. Brandon is doing her thing for the Sun Devils, however, leading ASU with 4 of 6 shooting for eight quick points. Wetmore is defending her at times and the matchup isn’t working.
DOUBLE SHORT: It may work in a latte, but in a defense? ASU has the 5-foot-8 Pickens helping Bennett (6-5) on the double team against the 6-3 Rogers and it resulted in a foul on Pickens. Rogers, who made the ensuing FTs, has scored the opening four points of the game to give the Huskies an early 4-2 lead with 17:18 on the clock.
There doesn’t seem to be much drop-off since coach Charli Turner Thorne opted to take a nine-month sabbatical from her post with the Arizona State women’s basketball team. While she’s dabbled in broadcasting and served on boards in her field, the Sun Devils under the leadership of long-time assistant Joseph Anders have kept up a defensive presence in the Pac-12 and pieced together a nice four-game win streak.
Tied for third in the conference, ASU (14-5, 5-3 Pac-12) faces another solid defensive team in Washington (11-7, 3-5) at Edmundson Pavilion. The Sun Devils are holding conference opponents to a Pac-12-leading 51.8 points while the Huskies rank third in the conference in holding opponents to 36 percent shooting from the field.
A difference between the team is ASU isn’t as skilled offensively, but still finds a way to win games. UW has offensive juice in redshirt senior Regina Rogers and freshman star Jazmine Davis, yet, when pressured or playing lax, the Huskies have trouble finding the hoop.
UW believes it worked out some of those kinks in practice since losing to No. 4 Stanford and California last week. The Huskies are also 8-2 at Hec Ed, always getting a boost offensively from playing before the home crowd. But it is on a three-game losing streak to ASU.
The team is on the court now warming up — and hitting shots around the horn. Will that stick with the Sun Devils up in their grill? You know how it all starts…here’s your starting lineups:
F Kimberly Brandon
F Micaela Pickens
C Kali Bennett
G Deja Mann
G Olivia Major
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Tonight’s officials are Robert Scofield, Wanda Szeremeta, and Lorena Ahumada.



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