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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats stymie Sun Devils, get fourth conference win of the season

Logan Cook

Arizona’s Jalea Bennett (33) passes the ball to Malena Washington (14) during the women’s basketball game in McKale Center on Feb. 17.

The Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team forced the tempo early with frenetic defense and timely offense, beating ASU on Friday in front of a lively crowd in McKale Center.

Arizona came out of the gate faster than their typical style for the majority of the season, leading at the half thanks in large part to limiting turnovers on their end. The Wildcats, who are at the bottom of the Pac-12 in assist to turnover ratio, managed to turn the ball over only three times in the first half.

“We were smarter and made better decisions,” said Arizona head coach Adia Barnes. “I liked our intensity from the get go.”

Key seniors have led the way all season for the Wildcats, but quiet senior Lauren Evans had one of the baskets of the season as she penetrated the lane with the game on the line and floated one up off the backboard to put Arizona on top by three with just 16.1 seconds remaining. ASU could not respond and followed with a missed shot and Malena Washington rebound which secured the victory for the Wildcats.

“Coach had been saying be aggressive, so I was aggressive,” Evans said. “It felt great to hit that shot.”

Evans, who is from the Phoenix area admitted to being energized to play her hometown team in Tempe, especially since this is the last game she will be able to play in front of close friends and family while donning Arizona colors.

For ASU, forward Sophie Brunner and center Quinn Dornstauder did their part in trying to pull the Sun Devils to victory, contributing 33 of the 58 ASU points. However, the Sun Devils as a team shot just 38.1 percent and couldn’t find enough plays to overcome the scrappy Wildcats.

The Wildcats now travel to Tempe and face ASU in a rare back-to-back match up with the Sun Devils on Sunday.

“We’ll just make some small adjustment after film tonight and then just go out there and play as hard as we did tonight and give ourselves a chance,” Barnes said.

Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.

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