ASU Basketball: Sun Devils fall to Utes; now on three-game skid

After a 4-0 start to Pac-12 play, ASU women’s basketball is now riding a three-game losing streak, following a home loss to Utah.

Despite trailing ASU 43-32 at the start of the fourth quarter, Utah came storming back, scoring 26 points in the quarter and giving the Utes the victory over the Sun Devils.

“We’re just in a tough stretch right now,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We’re not playing well, we’re not healthy, and we have to play ourselves out a bit.”

Megan Huff led Utah in scoring with 16 points, and she also tallied 14 rebounds. Also scoring 16 points was Robbi Ryan for ASU, who led the Sun Devils in scoring.

Utah started the game on fire, as they dashed to an early 10-0 lead over the Sun Devils. Kiara Russell ended the scoring drought for ASU, converting on an and-one opportunity with 5:03 left in the first quarter.

ASU subtly inched back into the game at the end of the quarter, as the score was 15-9 at the end of the first.

The Sun Devils shot poorly in the first quarter, shooting 17.6 percent from the field, opposed to Utah’s 46.2 percent.

Following the dismal first quarter, the Sun Devils came out shooting in the second. Arizona State opened the quarter on an 11-2 run, helping ASU gain its first lead.

Robbi Ryan hit a 40-foot shot as time expired in the first half to extend the ASU lead to 29-25. At the half, Ryan led ASU in scoring with 12 points. After shooting below 20 percent in the first quarter, Arizona State shot 50 percent from the field in the second quarter.

ASU extended its lead in the third quarter with the help of a 6-0 run to begin the quarter and stellar defense. The Sun Devils held Utah to a measly 20 percent from the field in the third, helping ASU hold a 43-32 lead at the end of the period.

Utah clawed its way back into the game; however, starting the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run and shrinking the Sun Devil lead to three.

The game came down to the wire with ASU leading 52-51 with less than a minute left in the game. Utah took its first lead since second quarter with 30 seconds left on a Huff layup.

ASU did not take advantage of its opportunities when the game was within one score, leading to the Utes prevailing by a score of 58-56.

While the Sun Devils were only out-rebounded by three, coach Turner Thorne said the team’s inability to get boards contributed to the loss.

“It’s all about the boards,” Turner Thorne said. “We got the stops, we didn’t get the rebound. That’s something we’ve been pretty good at and something we haven’t been very good at since we’ve been in this little funk.”

Today was Kids’ Day at Wells Fargo Arena, and Ryan said it gave her team energy throughout the game.

“It was great,” Ryan said. “We love Kids’ Day; they bring a lot of energy. We just appreciate all our fans and everybody who comes to support us.”

The next game for ASU is Sunday against Colorado. Arizona State stomped the Buffaloes the last time these teams squared off in the 72-47 Sun Devil win.

Courtney Ekmark said she hopes the loss fuels the team for their next contest against Colorado.

“Obviously this one hurts, and I hope we all take it to heart,” Ekmark said. “Hopefully it will fuel us to come out even hungrier against Colorado.”

Sunday’s game against Colorado will begin at 2 p.m. local time, and it will be televised on Pac-12 Arizona.