TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State followed one its most forgettable games in the Arizona series with one of its most memorable.
Taya Hanson scored 19 points, including hitting five 3-pointers, and Jaddan Simmons scored eight of her 15 points in overtime to lead the Sun Devils to a 66-64 overtime victory over No. 9 Arizona on Sunday.
Maggie Besselink had seven points and 13 rebounds for the Sun Devils (11-9, 6-9), who lost 65-37 at Arizona on Dec. 10.
“Oh my gosh, that game was so bad,” said Arizona State coach Charlie Turner Thorne of the first meeting.
“We were young and it was early. I knew we would be better, in terms of the physicality and the pressure. I just wanted them to empty out and stick together, and they did.”
Aari McDonald scored 30 points and Bendu Yeaney had 14 points for the Wildcats (15-4, 13-4), who have their first two-game losing streak of the season.
Arizona State, which entered the season with no returning starters, broke a three-game series losing streak.
“For what we’ve been through and where they are at, to beat them, this is up there in all-time wins, especially in the UofA series, as an underdog,” Turner Thorne said “Just super special.”
Arizona State made 10 of 19 3-pointers and Hanson’s fifth made it 65-62 with 56 seconds left in overtime.
Yeaney hit a layup with 27 left to cut the deficit to one before Simmons made one of two free throws with 13 seconds left. Cate Reese’s 15-footer missed at the buzzer.
“They were fantastic,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “They were confident. They wanted to win, and they took it from us.”
The Sun Devils entered shooting 32.7 percent from the field, 25.8 percent from three-point range.
“Clearly, we have struggled to shoot well this year,” Turner Thorne said. “I just knew it would eventually show up for us.”
McDonald, who hit two free throws with five seconds remaining in regulation to send it to overtime, has scored in double figures in 85 straight games, the longest active streak in Division I.
McDonald said earlier this week she would enter the WNBA draft rather than return to school for another year.
Arizona has secured the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 tournament this week, but it has much loftier goals in McDonald’s final season by earning the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005. The Wildcats would have made it last year but the tournament wasn’t played because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Arizona State has persevered through a difficult season. The Sun Devils lost seven games to the pandemic, and five of their nine losses have been to top 10 team,
Arizona will play a quarterfinal game in the Pac-12 tournament Thursday.
Arizona State will play California in a play-in game Wednesday in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
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