Women's basketball falls to Xavier
Katie Rutan walked into the interview room, glanced around and hesitantly asked for directions.
"Where do I go?" she said.
It was the only time all day she sounded like a freshman.
Rutan made three consecutive 3s during a first-half run that put Xavier ahead to stay, and had a steal and layup that ended No. 14 ARIZONA STATE's comeback and sent the ninth-ranked Musketeers to a 59-46 victory on Saturday.
Xavier (2-0) never trailed after Rutan came off the bench to lead a 13-point run, making her three attempts from behind the arc. The freshman from Ambler, Pa., took quick shots without hesitation.
No shy freshman here.
"Never, never, never," Rutan said. "I'll never be shy. I just launch 'em."
Her ability to hit one long shot after another has already earned her a nickname. Teammates call her Brad Redford, a reference to the long-distance shooter on Xavier's men's team.
"I was excited," said forward Amber Harris, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds. "I felt like I was watching Brad Redford."
Rutan hears it all the time.
"It's a compliment, though," she said.
Rutan also had a steal and layup after the Sun Devils (2-1) cut the lead to 38-36 in the second half. The Musketeers then took control with some of their usual defense, holding the Sun Devils to one basket over the next 11 minutes, 17 seconds.
Last December, the Musketeers went to ARIZONA STATE and lost by 18 points to a team that would reach the elite eight. The Sun Devils return only two starters from that team. Dymond Simon, who was the leading scorer last season, is still recovering from a knee injury.
"This is life with seven new players," coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
Their inexperience showed during that 11-minute stretch, when the Sun Devils went 1 of 15 from the field and had nine turnovers. They finished with 21 turnovers overall.
"It gets frustrating when you throw the ball away on 10 of 13 possessions," Turner Thorne said. "It's not like we made the same mistake. We were very creative. We made different ones every time down. We took turns not getting things done throughout the game."
Danielle Orsillo led ARIZONA STATE with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
Playing with the highest ranking in school history, Xavier got off to a ragged start before Rutan got into the game and put her imprint on the offense. She finished with 13 points.
"We brought her in here to make shots," coach Kevin McGuff said. "If she passes up a good shot, I'll probably take her out. She might as well keep doing what she's doing."
The 13-point run put Xavier ahead 20-8. The Musketeers led 28-23 at halftime even though Ta'Shia Phillips, their dominant center, didn't take a shot and played only 10 minutes because of foul trouble. The Musketeers got the ball to her inside for a basket that opened the second half. Phillips finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Xavier was one of the nation's top defensive teams last season, holding opponents under 50 points a school-record 16 times. The Musketeers allowed only 53.8 points per game last season, ninth-best in the nation.
During those decisive 11 minutes in the second half, they looked like themselves.
"The chemistry's going," Harris said. "We're staying together and keeping our composure during games. This is a good win for us. We've got stuff to prove because people aren't really looking at Xavier because we're Xavier."