Women's basketball comes up short in upset bid of Rutgers
The Arizona State women's basketball team came up short in its upset bid of No. 13 Rutgers on Saturday, falling to the Scarlet Knights 59-52 at the San Juan Shootout.
Deja Mann scored a career-high 11 points for the Sun Devils, who were in the game right until the very end despite shooting 29 percent for the game, including 10 percent (1-10) from beyond the arc.
Rutgers (6-0) was led by the duo of April Sykes (14 points) and Khadijah Rushdan (13 points), who combined for 27 points.
After trailing by as many as 14 in the first half, the Sun Devils gradually chipped away at the Rutgers lead throughout the game. A 5-0 run to start the second half got ASU to within 33-30 with 15:29 left.
Rutgers would eventually increase its advantage to nine points before an 11-3 ASU scoring blitz got the Sun Devils within a single point, 44-43. Promise Amukamara, who scored all seven of her points in the second half, would account for five points during the scoring run.
Sykes would hit jumpers on Rutgers' next two possessions, the latter a 3-pointer to give the Scarlet Knights a 49-43 lead.
The Sun Devils would fight back and once again get within one point after Janae Fulcher's free throw pulled ASU to 51-50 with 1:34 remaining.
That's as close as the Sun Devils would get as Rutgers would score the next eight points to secure the win.
Several players played key roles in helping to keep ASU within striking distance in the second half.
Kali Bennett, who was named to the San Juan Shootout All-Tournament Team, scored four points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had a career-high four steals. In addition, Fulcher and Micaela Pickens each scored eight points for the Sun Devils, who left several points on the floor after an 11-of-23 performance from the free throw line.
Alex Earl (3-pointer), Bennett and Jada Blackwell all hit baskets to give the Sun Devils a 7-0 lead a little more than three minutes into the game. ASU would lead by as many as eight in the first half after a layup by Fulcher gave it a 10-2 advantage with 12:59 left.
The Scarlet Knights would quickly answer going on a 12-0 run to take a 14-10 lead which was capped off by Briyona Canty's 3-point play.
Rutgers' scoring run would eventually become 25-4 as it extended out to a 27-14 lead after Canty's layup with 6:47 left in the half.
Rutgers would lead by as many as 14 before the Sun Devils used an 8-2 run over the last 4:29 of the half to trim the deficit to 33-25 at the break.
The Sun Devils return to action next weekend when they host the ASU Classic. The Sun Devils will open play on Friday when they take on Eastern Washington at 10:30 a.m. The second game of the doubleheader (25 minutes after ASU-Eastern Washington) will feature Illinois State vs. Arkansas State.