March 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES - The Arizona State women's basketball team nearly overcame a nine-point deficit in the final minutes before having its comeback attempt fall just short in a 63-59 loss to the No. 25 UCLA Bruins.
Senior guard Danielle Orsillo (14 points, three assists, five steals), junior guard Tenaya Watson (13 points, 3 steals) and sophomore guard Alex Earl (11 points, 3-5 3-point FGs) led the Sun Devils' offensive effort on Thursday night.
UCLA (21-7, 14-3 Pac-10) had four players score in double figures paced by sophomore forward Jasmine Dixon, who scored 14 points (6-12 FGs) and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Bruins shot 51 percent for the game and held a slight rebounding edge (35-33) over the Sun Devils, who recorded a season-high 16 steals.
The Sun Devils (17-11, 9-8) found themselves down by nine points following a layup by UCLA sophomore guard Rebekah Gardener, which gave the Bruins a 56-47 lead with 2:37 remaining.
Watson and Orsillo would make two free throws on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to 56-51 before a jumper by UCLA junior guard Darxia Morris extended the Bruins' lead back to 58-51 with 1:33 left.
A layup by Watson once again brought ASU to within five points, 58-53.
The two teams would alternate one-of-two free throw efforts over the next three possessions, which left the Bruins with a 60-54 lead before a three-point play by junior forward Becca Tobin cut the deficit in half, 60-57, with 16 seconds left.
After Gardener made one of two free throws Orsillo immediately came down and hit a jumper to make it a two-point game.
The Bruins then turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play giving the Sun Devils a chance to tie or win, however Orsillo had the ball stripped as she was attempting her shot with one second left.
The Sun Devils got off to a slow start offensively as the Bruins scored 14 of the first 15 points to take a 14-1 lead nine minutes into the game.
ASU would answer the Bruins' start with a 22-9 run over the next nine minutes to take their first lead of the game, 23-22, following a pair of free throws by redshirt sophomore center Kali Bennett.
A free throw by UCLA senior guard Erika Tukianinen with 1:13 remaining sent the teams to the locker room tied at 23-23.
Orsillo (five points), Watson (four points) and Bennett (four points) combined to score 13 of ASU's 23 first-half points.
The Sun Devils close out the regular season portion of their schedule on Saturday (12:30 PT/1:30 p.m. MT) when they face the USC Trojans at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
The game can be heard live on The Fan AM 1060.