The Arizona State women’s basketball team couldn’t have played more differently than it did when it last faced UCLA. The No. 18 Sun Devils turned the ball over 11 times — just three times in the first half — and won 87-70 Thursday in front of 1,607 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.
In a loss at UCLA last month, the Sun Devils (17-5, 8-4 Pac-10) turned the ball over 28 times and attributed the loss to their inability to protect the ball.
“Our first half was tremendous,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “All in all, just an awesome team win.”
ASU dominated the first half. The Devils led 43-26 at the break, ending the half on an eight-point run. Forward Kristen Kovesdy led ASU scorers with 18 points, 14 in the first half when she was 7-for-11 from the field. “(Our guards) hit some big shots,” Kovesdy said. “When they hit shots outside, the defense has to go out and guard them, so it opens up the paint for me.”
Five players scored in double-digits for ASU, including guard Danielle Orsillo, who finished with 10 points, seven assists and no turnovers. UCLA (12-9, 7-5) did not get a single point from any player besides guards Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis in the first half.
Though the Bruins rely heavily on those three — all are in the top 10 in the conference in scoring — they did so to an extreme Thursday night. Forward Lindsay Pluimer had 11 second-half points, but UCLA got just four points all game from its bench. Quinn led the Bruins with 30 points, and Blue scored 16.
UCLA had three technical fouls, all in the second half, and an intentional foul on Willis, who hit ASU guard Briann January in the face as Willis was apparently trying to block January’s attempted layup. Willis also had a technical foul.
“I think that was uncharacteristic of UCLA,” Turner Thorne said. “Whatever people want to say about them, I don’t think they would normally get three technicals in a game. They’re more poised than that. That was unusual.
“I think we did play some great defense and we did play some great offense and I think we did frustrate them.”