Jalyn Brown scored a career high-tying 20 points for the second time in as many games for the Sun Devils, who improved to 7-2 this season.
Entering the final quarter, the Sun Devils appeared to be playing out a script very similar to the one that ended with them capturing one of their most impressive wins of the season in last Friday’s 66-49 win over South Florida: A close first half (ASU led the Bulls 24-21 at the half) preceded a third quarter in which the Sun Devils scored as many points in 10 minutes (24) as they had in the entire first half. The Sun Devils led by 21 going into the fourth quarter and never looked back on their way to the 17-point win.
Fast forward to Dec. 1. Tied with Pacific 28-28 at the half, the Sun Devils unleashed an offensive barrage in the third quarter as they shot 60 percent and more than doubled the Tigers in scoring 27-13. Simmons (3-3 FGs, 7 points), Brown (3-4 FGs, 6 points), Trayanna Crisp (2-3 FGs, 6 points) and Kadidia Toure (2-2 FGs, 4 points), collectively scored 23 points while shooting 83.3 percent (10-12 FGs).
The Tigers did not go down without a fight as they started the final period with a 15-2 run that got them within a single point with more than half the final quarter still to be played.
Elizabeth Elliott, who led Pacific with 24 points, tied the game at 60-60 with three minutes left. Kadie Deaton, who finished with 15 points, once again tied the game at 63-63 with two minutes remaining.
Needing to be at its best when the game was on the line, ASU dialed up the intensity to a height the Tigers were unable to match on either end of the floor. By the time Pacific scored its next point, a free throw by Elliott with 21 seconds remaining, it was to cut ASU’s lead to eight. Prior to that free throw, Simmons had scored seven points during a 9-0 run that ended up clinching the win for ASU.
For the second straight game, ASU tied a season low with only 10 turnovers. The Sun Devils forced twice as many turnovers which they turned into 18 points.
Journey Thompson led ASU with eight rebounds while Simmons had seven. Also adding strong supporting contributions were Trayanna Crisp (8 points, 4 assists, 2 steals), Maggie Besselink (7 points, 6 rebounds) and Kadidia Toure (7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals).
The first two quarters were almost like two different games within a half. After combining for 38 points in the first quarter (20-18/Pacific), both offenses cooled off in the second quarter. The 18 points both teams were able to muster (10-8 ASU) were fewer than half of what they scored in opening stanza.
Brown was the most dominant and efficient player on the floor in the first quarter as she scored 11 points, making all but one of the six shots she attempted.
Despite Brown’s offensive performance and ASU knocking down 67 percent of its shots (8-12) in the first quarter, the Sun Devils found themselves on the wrong side of a 20-18 score after the first 10 minutes. Part of Pacific’s offensive success was due in part to the six second chance points it was able to score thanks to a 6-0 advantage in offensive rebounds. The Tigers broke the fifth tie of the quarter after Liz Smith’s layup beat the buzzer to give the Tigers a two-point edge.
One consistent theme that prevailed in both quarters was the short distance between the two teams on the scoreboard. Brown’s layup four minutes into the opening quarter gave ASU a 10-5 lead, the largest lead held by either team in the half.
The Sun Devils close out play in the Briann January Classic on Saturday when they face Xavier at 4 p.m. MST. ASU’s game will be preceded by Pacific taking on Temple at 1 p.m.
Press Release courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics – Steve Rodriguez