March 16, 2012
STOCKTON, Calif. - The Arizona State women's basketball team had its 2011-12 season come to an end on Friday night as it fell to Pacific, 77-62, in the first round of the 2012 Postseason Women's National Invitation Tournament.
The Sun Devils (20-12) were unable to overcome a 36-percent shooting effort and 19 turnovers in addition to a Pacific squad which connected on 44 percent of its field goals, including 67 percent (6-9) from long range. Also helping Pacific's cause was a 27-of-32 performance from the free throw line, the most made free throws by an ASU opponent this season.
The Tigers (18-13) had four players - Gena Johnson (16 points, 5-9 FGs, 6-6 FTs), Kendall Rodriguez (15 points, 4-8 FGs/3-3 3-point FGs), Ashley Wakefield (14 points) and Erica McKenzie (11 points) - score in double figures as they tallied the most points by a Sun Devil opponent this season.
The Sun Devils trailed by nine at the half and would face their first double-digit deficit of the game (35-24) 12 seconds into the second half.
ASU would get as close as six before the Tigers used a 15-5 run to take a 55-38 lead with 10:30 left.
With their season on the line, the Sun Devils made one last run, using a 17-6 scoring burst to once again cut Pacific's lead to six, 61-55, with five minutes left. Earl, who tied her career high in scoring, accounted for 10 points during the run.
ASU had a chance to cut further into Pacific's lead, but a turnover switched the momentum back to the Tigers, who increased their lead back to nine points after a 3-pointer by Rodriguez.
The Sun Devils would get no closer the rest of the way as they were outscored by the Tigers 16-7 in the last five minutes of the game.
Early on it did not appear the game would feature much in the way of offensive fireworks as the two teams had combined for only 21 points more than 11 minutes into the game.
Neither squad would lead by more than three points until a layup by Wakefield put Pacific up 29-24 with 1:28 left. Wakefield's basket was part of a 13-2 run the Tigers used to close out the half to take a 33-24 halftime lead.
The Sun Devils shot 30 percent from the floor in the first half, but were able to supplement their offensive output with a 10-of-13 effort from the free throw line. Brandon led the Sun Devils with nine points and six rebounds while Jada Blackwell came off the bench to add six points and four rebounds.
ASU played without its leading scorer off the bench, Janae Fulcher, who missed the game due to a concussion suffered last week.