Trailing almost the entire game, Arizona State’s Promise Amukamara made two pivotal defensive plays in the final 30 seconds to set up the tying and winning possessions in the Sun Devils’ 64-62 win over Oregon State Friday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Down 62-60 with 40 seconds left, the junior guard came up with a loose ball under her own net and found Adrianne Thomas on the other side to tie it, then swiped a steal to end up at the line, where she connected on the winning point.
“I knew we needed a stop,” Amukamara said. “All I was thinking about was getting the stop and keeping my player in front of me, and I happened to get the steal.”
It was the No. 15 Sun Devils’ third win in a row decided by three or fewer points and their seventh of the season, not including three other overtime victories. The victory also was the 20th in the past 21 meetings between ASU (18-3, 7-2 Pacific-12) and the Beavers (12-9, 4-5), who fell just shy of their first win at Tempe since 1996.
“Another good example of us playing to our strengths,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “In the BCS conferences, there’s upsets every day. The ranking means you’re going to get everyone’s best effort, and we got their best effort. Let’s not let them have it again. We are finding a way to win, and every win is huge.”
Having played the nation’s 11th-strongest schedule with losses to Penn State, Notre Dame and Stanford, OSU and its underclassmen-dominated lineup showed little intimidation from ASU’s ranking early on.
After Elisha Davis put ASU ahead, 8-7, the Beavers put together a 13-0 run with threes off the fingers of Sydney Wiese, Ali Gibson and Gabriella Hanson. Arnecia Hawkins brought the Sun Devils back within single digits, 24-16, grabbing her own rebound after a missed finger roll. Katie Hempen of ASU knocked down a smooth jumper with 45 seconds remaining until the half to close it to four, only to be answered with a three from the Beavers’ Khadidja Toure.
Down seven at the break and most of the early second half, Amukamara took one to the basket down low to cut the lead to 50-48 with 12 minutes on the clock. After two scoreless minutes, Hempen tied it at 50-50. Toure gave the Beavers another lead, 52-50, and Hanson put OSU up, 56-51, with a line drive jumper from the key plus one free throw. Wiese, the freshman from Phoenix’s Pinnacle High School, banked one off the glass to give the Beavers a seven-point edge with 1:35 remaining, only to foul out to a standing ovation on the other end.
Adrianne Thomas cut it to 60-57 from the line, and Toure answered with another acrobatic move on the OSU end. ASU’s leading scorer, Deja Mann ,drained a three with 50 ticks to cut it to 62-60, before the Amukamara play to Thomas.
“Our coaches really prepare us for those tight situations,” Thomas said. “Whenever we do get to those, nobody’s really nervous because we have confidence in ourselves.”
On her steal, Amukamara ran the length of the court and landed hard with 14 seconds. She hit the first free throw for the lead, but the second ended in the hands of Hanson. The Beavers couldn’t get a shot off and fouled with 1.6 seconds, as Thomas made the second of two free throws to take the 64-62 lead. Jamie Weisner, who leads the Beavers with 14 points per game but was limited to two on 1-of-9 shooting Friday, missed the three at the buzzer.
Thomas led all players with 17 points, and tied Amukamara (game-high four assists) with four steals.
“She hasn’t played a Pac-12 game fully healthy,” Turner Thorne said of Thomas, who sprained her ankle after Christmas. “She kept us in it when we were struggling.”
Mann also scored 11 points, Sophie Brunner scored 10 with seven rebounds, Hempen scored 10, and Kelsey Moos grabbed 10 boards.
Deven Hunter led the Beavers with 13 points and nine rebounds, Hanson scored 12 (three-of-three from long range) with eight rebounds, and Ruth Hamblin collected eight and eight with two blocks. Wiese, who averages 13, scored nine.
“It was kind of in the window when I was away, so we didn’t get very far with her,” Turner Thorne said of recruiting Wiese. “By the time we made contact, she was committed to Oregon State, but I think she’s a very nice player.”
ASU is back in action versus Oregon at 1 p.m. Sunday, while the Beavers travel to Arizona at noon the same day. The Ducks (12-8, 3-6) defeated the Wildcats (4-16, 0-9), 84-72, Friday in Tucson.