One defensive lapse, a snafu on an inbounds pass and a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end cost the Utah women’s basketball team on Sunday against Arizona State.
But after the 83-81 loss to the Sun Devils, the Utes couldn’t help but look back at the beginning of the contest, when Arizona State jumped out to a 15-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Although Utah (10-3, 1-1) fought back into contention, the start was a sticking point for Utes coach Lynne Roberts.
“We’ve got to mature as a team. You can’t wait like eight minutes to be, ‘Okay, now we’re going to start focusing on the game plan,’” Roberts said. “That’s the lesson learned from today.”
The Utes (10-3, 1-1 Pac-12) trimmed the deficit to seven points at halftime, and it remained a seven-point Sun Devils lead going into the fourth quarter. But after a 6-0 run was capped by junior Daneesha Provo’s three-point play with 1:11 left in the game, Utah tied it at 77.
On Arizona State’s next possession, Jamie Ruden hit a 3-pointer to put her team back in front with 45 seconds remaining. Four free throws by Utah, two by Tilar Clark and two by Megan Huff, put the Utes in front 81-80 with 22 seconds remaining before Ruden worked her way into the paint for a layup to retake the lead with 13 seconds to play.
Utah, after calling timeout, saw its inbounds pass stolen by Sophia Elena, who made one free throw with three seconds remaining. A 25-foot 3-pointer by Utah’s Erika Bean hit off the rim as time ran out.
“I’m proud of our team for fighting back. The start of the game just crushed us,” Roberts said.
Huff led the way for Utah with 22 points, and Provo finished with 18.
The biggest problem the Utes had with Arizona State was junior forward Kianna Ibis, who finished with 30 points.
Utah senior center Emily Potter only finished with two points as the Utes turned to a lineup featuring Huff, Provo, Clark and Tanaeya BoClair down the stretch. Boclair was effective in the post with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
“I just felt like Arizona (State) attacked us and we just kind of backed up a little bit,” Provo said. “That was like the first game I felt like we did that.”
• Arizona State starts the game with a 13-2 run and leads by 15 points after the first quarter.
Kianna Ibis scored 30 points to lead ASU while teammate Robbi Ryan added 14.
Utah is paced by Megan Huff (22 points) followed by Daneesha Provo (18), Erika Bean (13), Tilar Clark (12) and Tanaeya BoClair (12).