An offensive explosion fueled Arizona women’s basketball’s upset over rival No. 11 ASU to snap an 11 game losing streak and beat the Sun Devils for the first time since 2011.
The Wildcats led the whole game and pulled away in the second half on Sunday, winning 68-49.
The victory comes on the heels of a frustrating 60-36 loss to ASU in Tempe, Ariz. on Tuesday in which the Wildcats scored only 10 points in the second half.
Arizona led by as many as 21 points in its first Pac-12 conference win of the season.
Leading Arizona (5-18, 1-11) was the senior duo of forward Erica Barnes and guard Carissa Crutchfield. They combined for 34 points and 8 rebounds on 60.9 percent shooting the field.
“Obviously we needed this one,” Barnes said. “We pulled together, stayed together, played together. We just did everything together and it feels good.”
Arizona’s defense improved substantially over its 11 conference losses. The Wildcats held ASU (20-4, 9-3) to 49 points, 25.6 points less than their season average of 74.6 points per game.
ASU’s 49 points were its lowest total of the season and the fewest points scored against Arizona since January 1997 when the Sun Devils scored 42 points.
“Coach always talks about giving more effort,” junior guard Keyahndra Cannon said. “That’s what we did today.”
In addition, the Sun Devils were held to a 31.9 percent field goal percentage, which is 12 percent less than their season average of 43.9 percent from the field.
“I want to give credit to our team,” UA head coach Niya Butts said. “We executed the defense game plan.”
This is Arizona’s first win since Dec. 29 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and the program’s first win over ASU since February of 2011, when the Wildcats beat the Sun Devils 73-61.
Butts said she hopes this win will provide a boost for the team coming down the stretch, especially with two tough games looming against California and Stanford.
“We talked about it in the locker room, nobody is going to give you anything,” Butts said. “You have to go in there and you have to make plays. We have to take what we did today and try to work on it.”
The Wildcats have four days off before taking on California on Friday in Berkeley, Calif., and will have plenty of time to game plan for their rematch with Cal.
—Follow Rpberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555