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Forget final four

Poor shooting sinks Devils' campaign

 by Chris Ramirez
 published on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BUMMER: Psychology grad student Frank Bevacqua shows his disappointment as he realizes the women’s basketball team is going to lose during a live viewing of the game held at Wells Fargo Arena Monday. /issues/news/700434
Eric Binns / THE STATE PRESS
BUMMER: Psychology grad student Frank Bevacqua shows his disappointment as he realizes the women’s basketball team is going to lose during a live viewing of the game held at Wells Fargo Arena Monday.
 

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The ASU women's basketball team's run toward the Final Four came to a screeching halt in the Greensboro Regional Championship.

The Sun Devils were soundly defeated by Rutgers, 64-45.

Despite the game's being the biggest in program history, the Sun Devils will soon want to forget Monday night as the team played arguably its worst game of the season.

ASU's offensive woes, which were prominent during its first and second games of the NCAA Tournament, returned after a one-game hiatus against Bowling Green Saturday.

Against Rutgers ASU shot 33 percent from the field, including six of 21 in the second half.

The Sun Devils were also
dominated on the boards by Rutgers, who outrebounded ASU 48-26 and grabbed 13 more offensive rebounds than the Sun Devils.

Rutgers' control of the low post was most evident in the second half. With just more than six minutes to play and ASU desperately needing to catch a break, the Scarlet Knights rebounded the ball five straight times on one possession.

Grabbing two of those rebounds was Rutgers sophomore center Kia Vaughn.

The six-foot-four-inch Vaughn proved to be a match up nightmare for ASU as no Sun Devil could stop Vaughn on her way to collecting 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Rutgers freshman guard Epiphany Prince also hit the double-double mark with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and junior forward Essence Carson tallied 11 points with eight rebounds.

Yet the Scarlet Knights' leading scorer was speedy junior guard Matee Ajavon, who put up 20 points after hitting nine of 10 shots from the free throw line.

For ASU, sophomore guard Briann January was once again the leading scorer after missing Saturday's game against Bowling Green because of lingering effects of a concussion.

January, who started the game, scored 12 points while sophomore guard Danielle Orsillo returned to her roll of coming off the bench. Orsillo added nine points.

Senior forwards Aubree Johnson and Emily Westerberg were relatively quiet in what turned out to be their final game as Sun Devils.

Johnson scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, as Westerberg, who played most of the second half with foul trouble, had six points.

Before the game got away from them in the second half, the Sun Devils kept the game close early.

ASU managed to battle back after Rutgers gained an early 6-0 lead by going on a 14-4 run to give itself a four-point lead.

ASU then closed out the final eight minutes of the first half by scoring just five points and was down 31-25 at halftime.

Rutgers, however, was the first of the two teams to shake off an early second-half shooting slump and slowly built a lead that reached 24 points with four minutes remaining in the game.

And it was the Scarlet Knights' defense, not the Sun Devils' "D" that dictated the game.

The Rutgers players forced eight steals and blocked four shots to prevent another ASU tournament comeback.

Reach the reporter at: christopher.d.ramirez@asu.edu.



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