BOULDER, Colo. – Adrianne Thomas connected on a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds left as No. 14 Arizona State pulled out its second-consecutive, nail-biting win, defeating Colorado 68-66.
Deja Mann (17 points), Thomas (12 points) and Sophie Brunner (12 points) all scored in double figures for the Sun Devils (17-3, 6-2 Pac-12), who remained unbeaten in games decided by five points or less or overtime (8-0).
The Buffaloes (12-7, 2-6 Pac-12) fought back from a 10-point first-half deficit and would lead by as many as three points in what turned out to be a back-and-forth second half.
The Sun Devils tied their season low with 10 turnovers, while not letting Colorado hit a single shot from downtown, breaking a streak of 285 games in which the Buffaloes had at least one 3-pointer.
ASU lost the rebounding battle for only the fifth time this season as Colorado had a plus-seven advantage (42-35). Leading ASU’s rebounding effort was Kelsey Moos, who posted her third double-digit rebounding performance (11) of the season to go along with five points.
The last five minutes included five ties and eight lead changes as neither team could pull away.
A free throw by Thomas with 2:43 remaining brought ASU within a single point, 66-65. The score would not change over the next 2:15, until Moos hit the first of two free throws to tie the game at 66-66 with 28 seconds left. Moos missed the second and it appeared Colorado would have the final opportunity to win the game in regulation with the shot clock turned off.
They would never get off a shot.
Colorado turned the ball over on its ensuing possession and the Sun Devils took advantage of the transition opportunity. Promise Amukamara found Thomas, who got fouled as she went to the basket. Thomas hit the free throws and the Buffaloes turned the ball over in the backcourt on a traveling violation with 1.1 seconds left, clinching the win for ASU.
Two days earlier the Sun Devils needed a pair of defensive stops and clutch free throw shooting in a 65-62 win at Utah. Sunday’s win appeared to follow the same script. One player who had a starring role in the final minute of both games was Amukamara. On Friday against Utah, Amukamara forced a turnover with ASU up by one with nine seconds left and then came up with a steal to prevent the Utes from attempting a potential game-tying 3-pointer. On Sunday, it was Amukamara who forced the turnover to set up Thomas’ game-tying free throws and it was also Amukamara who forced the player she was guarding into a traveling violation in the closing seconds.
The Devils led by as many as 10 in the first half following a 15-2 run that put them up 24-14 with 7:26 remaining. ASU would go cold at that point as Colorado scored the next seven points to get within three, 24-21.
Consecutive baskets by Quinn Dornstauder and Mann would put the Devils back up by seven, but the Buffaloes would score 10 of the last 16 points of the half to get within three, 34-31, at the break.
Thomas had seven points in the first half to lead ASU, which shot 43 percent during the first 20 minutes. The Buffaloes only shot 30 percent, but were aided by an 11-11 performance at the free throw line.
With the win on Sunday, the Sun Devils came away with their first Pac-12 road sweep since 2011.
The Sun Devils return to action on Friday when they host Oregon at 6:30 p.m. The game will be streamed live at http://pac-12.com/videos/arizona-state-university and can be heard on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.