Arizona State hires Adair as women’s basketball coach

Lauren Roberts/Salisbury Daily Times / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State has hired Natasha Adair to coach women’s basketball.

The school announced Sunday the former Delaware coach will replace Charli Turner Thorne, who retired earlier this month after 25 years leading the Sun Devils.

“For nearly three decades, I’ve had the honor and privilege to coach and develop women student-athletes and am grateful for the opportunity to continue to do so here at ASU and in the Pac-12,” Adair said in a statement. “From the moment I stepped onto campus, I knew this was the place for me to build and grow our women’s basketball program to a national power.”

A former player at South Florida, Adair spent the past five seasons at Delaware, where she went 95-58 with consecutive 20-win seasons. She was named the Colonial Athletic Association coach of the year after leading the Blue Hens to the WNIT semifinals and led the program to its first NCAA Tournament in nearly a decade this season.

Adair spent the previous three seasons at Georgetown, leading the Hoyas to consecutive WNIT appearances after taking over a program that won four games the year before she arrived. She went 35-31 in two seasons at College of Charleston after spending 14 seasons as an assistant at Wake Forest and Georgetown.

“Charli’s retirement leaves a legacy spanning 25 years, and in looking for the next leader of Sun Devil women’s basketball we wanted a coach who could build off a long-tenured culture of success with respect for the past while also establishing their own unique identity to drive the program forward,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said. “We’re excited to have found that person in Natasha and look forward to the next era of Sun Devil women’s basketball.”

Arizona State’s Turner Thorne retiring after 25 seasons

Alex Gould - The Republic
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TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State women’s basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne is retiring after 25 years.

Turner Thorne announced her retirement Thursday, a day after the Sun Devils lost to Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.

Turner Thorne turned Arizona State into a national powerhouse after being hired in 1996. She led the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament 14 times, including five trips to the Sweet Sixteen and two to the Elite Eight.

The 55-year-old Turner Thorne is the winningest coach in Arizona State history and second in the Pac-12 to Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, her former coach, with a record of 500-308.

Turner Thorne played four seasons at Stanford before embarking on a coaching career that started when she was a graduate assistant at Washington, followed by an assistant job at Santa Clara and four seasons as Northern Arizona’s head coach.

Arizona State went 20-60 in the three seasons before Turner Thorne was hired and she built the program back up, leading the Sun Devils to their first league championships in history during the regular season and Pac-10 tournament.

Arizona State had a school-record run of six straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2014-19 and qualified for the postseason 23 times under Turner Thorne. She took a leave of absence during the 2011-12 season and led the Sun Devils to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2013-14.

The Sun Devils struggled with injuries this season, finishing 12-14 overall and 4-9 in Pac-12 play.

No. 12 UCLA avoids late collapse, beats Arizona State 66-52

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES- With the memory of their triple-overtime loss at Arizona State still fresh two weeks later, the UCLA Bruins weren’t about to let the rematch slip away on their home court.

Jaylen Clark had 16 points and nine rebounds in his third straight start and the 12th-ranked Bruins avoided a second-half collapse to beat the Sun Devils 66-52 on Monday night for their third consecutive win.

The Bruins (20-5, 12-4 Pac-12) led by 17 in the first half before the Sun Devils began their comeback bid.

“Unless it stayed over 10, I knew it was coming,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

ASU (10-16, 6-10) closed to 46-45 on a basket by Marreon Jackson that capped a 24-12 surge to open the second half.

David Singleton’s 3-pointer beat the shot clock, sparking a 14-2 run that kept UCLA ahead for good. The Bruins made five of seven free throws during that span.

“We really started to ramp up the defense,” said Jules Bernard, who had 16 points and made all seven of his free throws. “We just really picked up our intensity.”

DJ Horne, Jay Heath and Jackson scored nine points each for the Sun Devils, whose three-game winning streak ended.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins.

Clark made some crowd-pleasing plays, highlighted by a steal and fast-break dunk in the final 30 seconds. His steal and fast-break layup were part of UCLA’s 18-10 run to close the first half.

“I feel like for this team I’m the Energizer bunny,” Clark said. “I try to be as animated as possible after making crazy plays like that just to get everybody going. I love taking the ball and going down lighting up.”

Johnny Juzang returned to score 10 points after missing Saturday’s game against Washington with a hip injury when he fell off a scooter. He missed his last eight shots in the Bruins’ earlier triple-overtime loss to the Sun Devils and then missed his first two Monday before scoring.

The Bruins were without Tyger Campbell, who hurt his left shoulder on the first possession of Saturday’s game against Washington but played the rest of the way. He participated in shootaround, but his shoulder hurt too much to play. Also sitting was Peyton Watson, who sustained a left knee injury in that same game.

Horne rallied the Sun Devils within six to start the second half. With his team trailing by 13, he scored nine of its first 11 points to close to 38-32, capped by his back-to-back 3-pointers. Heath and Luther Muhammad picked up their third fouls during the same stretch.

ASU kept up the pace on offense and the Bruins went cold on their end. The Sun Devils ran off seven points in a row, with Jamiya Neal’s 3-pointer getting them to 43-39. UCLA missed six of its first eight shots in the half.

“They challenged everything,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said. “I think that was the finest defensive performance we have faced all year.”

BIG PICTURE

Arizona State: The Sun Devils are trying to close out the regular season strong. Of their four remaining games, the only opponent with a winning record is Colorado. After visiting the Buffaloes and Utah, they return home to host Cal and Stanford. ASU beat Utah in the previous meeting and lost to the other three schools. “We won three in a row and we were right there in this game,” Hurley said. “We just have to execute better in the half court.”

UCLA: Just one of the Bruins’ four remaining regular-season games will be played at Pauley Pavilion, where they are 13-1. Their other three are at Oregon, last-place Oregon State and Washington. Only the Ducks have a winning record, but they’ve lost two in a row.

INJURED JAQUEZ

Jaquez wears braces on both ankles and doesn’t practice in order to be able to play in games. He’s been bothered by ankle injuries at various times this season, but has started all 24 games in which he’s appeared.

“Most guys wouldn’t be playing,” Cronin said. “He would not desert his team, though.”

Jaquez arrives early to get treatment and do rehab work. He came in averaging 12 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

“Today I felt really good out there, the best I’ve felt in a really long time, so I was really happy,” he said.

UP NEXT

Arizona State: At Colorado on Thursday in the middle of a three-game trip. The Sun Devils dropped the first meeting by 18 points.

UCLA: Visits Oregon on Thursday to open a three-game trip. The Bruins lost the first meeting by three points in overtime.

Arizona State holds on, knocks off No. 6 Arizona 81-77

Patrick Breen-Arizona Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State jumped on its biggest rival early and kept it going until late in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 14 points.

The Sun Devils knew Arizona would have a response – and were ready for it.

Jade Loville scored 27 points, Mael Gilles added 19 and two big free throws, and Arizona State withstood a late rally to knock off No. 6 Arizona 81-77 Friday night.

“Just toughness, the resolve that we weren’t defeated,” Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We’ve been down plenty this year in big games and come back and won. It’s the confidence in their defense right now. It’s a one-point game, we’ll get a stop.”

The Sun Devils (12-8, 4-3 Pac-12) dominated through three quarters, building a 14-point lead while keeping the Wildcats mostly in check.

Arizona (17-4, 7-4 Pac-12) rallied behind its defense, holding Arizona State without a field goal for nearly five minutes to cut the lead to three. Arizona State answered with a quick 8-0 run to go up 78-75 with 1 :25 left, but Arizona’s Shaina Pellington hit two free throws and scored in transition after an Arizona State turnover to cut the lead to one.

The Sun Devils missed two shots on the next possession and Arizona got the ball to Pellington, but she was called for an offensive foul.

Giles then hit two free throws and Pellilngton shot an airball 3-pointer with 3 seconds left. Loville sealed it by hitting 1 of 2 free throws. Arizona State went 31 for 34 from the free-throw line in a foul-filled game.

Pellington finished with 30 points and Cate Reese added 18 for Arizona.

“They handed it to us from the get-go,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “They had more intensity, played with with a sense of urgency, guarded us, hit shots. We never responded.”

Arizona moved up two spots in this week’s AP Top 25 following lopsided wins over No. 24 Oregon and Oregon State last week.

Arizona State also has a bit of confidence after beating the Wildcats 66-64 in overtime last season in Tempe and sweeping the Oregon schools last week.

The Sun Devils carried it over into the start against their rivals behind Loville.

The Boise State transfer hit all four of her shots to score 12 points in the first quarter, and Arizona State turned six offensive rebounds into eight second-chance points.

The Sun Devils shut the Wildcats down and had a good offensive flow in the second quarter, using a 12-0 run to take a 42-34 halftime lead.

“We had to start with a punch and make a statement because it’s our home court, so we take it personal,” said Arizona State’s Taya Hanson, who had 19 points.

Arizona found a better offensive rhythm in the third quarter and tried to make a run at the Sun Devils, but was still down 61-52 despite hitting 6 of 12 shots.

The Wildcats had one last run in them.

Arizona turned up the defensive pressure and Pellington scored six straight points to cut Arizona State’s lead to three. Reese hit a 3-pointer and scored on a layup on consecutive possessions to put the Wildcats up 73-70, but the Sun Devils were able to grind out the win.

“Things we are usually pretty good at, we were not tonight and we lost,” Barnes said. “We deserved to lose.”

BIG PICTURE

Arizona had numerous defensive breakdowns and was outrebounded by 15 to lose for the fourth time this season.

Arizona State grinded the game down the way it needed to and crushed the Wildcats on the glass to win its second straight rivalry game in Tempe.

LITTLE BALL MOVEMENT

Arizona has been good at sharing the ball most of the season, but played a lot of one-on-one as players tried to make plays to erase the early deficit. The Wildcats finished with 10 assists on 25 made field goals and had 11 turnovers.

“An indication of poor offense is only 10 assists,” Barnes said. “No way we should have 10 assists the way we score. Ten assists is an indication of not sharing the ball.”

UP NEXT

The desert rivals meet again Sunday in Tucson.

Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley fined, suspended after confrontation

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
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TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley was fined $20,000 and suspended for the Sun Devils’ game against Southern California for a confrontation with the officiating crew following a game this weekend against Stanford.

Hurley and guard Jay Heath were both suspended and forward Jalen Graham was publicly reprimanded for verbally confronting an official who was exiting the court after Stanford’s 79-76 win on Saturday night.

“The actions of the head coach and student-athletes were in clear violation of the Conference’s standards of conduct, and will not be tolerated,” Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a statement Sunday night. “The Pac-12 and its membership has established regulations requiring all institutional personnel, especially head coaches, to conduct themselves in a sporting manner, and those involved in this situation failed to meet those standards.”

Hurley was frustrated after the Sun Devils attempted one free throw in the first half and was given a technical foul for arguing 30 seconds into the second half.

He became irate after Stanford’s Brandon Angel was fouled on a 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left and hit three free throws, yelling and pointing at the officials as they left the court.

Heath and Graham joined their coach in yelling at the officials.

Top-seeded Oregon knocks out ASU, advances to Pac-12 semis

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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LAS VEGAS — LJ Figueroa scored a season-high 21 points, Will Richardson had 17 points, seven rebounds and nine assists and top-seeded Oregon eased into the semifinals with a 91-73 victory over Arizona State on Thursday in the Pac-12 Conference tournament.

Oregon did not miss consecutive shots in the final 15 minutes of the game until the 1:30 mark when it was in front 60-35. The Ducks made six straight for a 41-23 lead and seven consecutive to go up 54-33.

Eugene Omoruyi had 15 points and six rebounds for Oregon (20-5), which has won six straight games to reach 20 wins for the 11th straight season. Amauri Hardy added 11 points and Chandler Lawson 10.

The Ducks shot 59% from the field, including 10 of 18 from distance – with three apiece from Omoruyi and Figueroa, and two by Richardson.

Richardson recently returned from a thumb injury, on Feb. 3, that forced him to miss Oregon’s run of eight wins in nine games in December and January. He was coming off a career-high 22 points in a regular-season finale against rival Oregon State, and the Ducks are now 11-2 with him in the lineup.

Alonzo Verge Jr. led Arizona State (11-14) with 28 points and eight rebounds. Remy Martin added 16 points with six assists.

Arizona State forward Kimani Lawrence was helped off the court with 13 minutes left and did not return, finishing with five points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. Fellow big Jalen Graham fouled out with six points at the 6:28 mark of the second half.

On Wednesday, Verge scored on a challenged drive in the lane with 11 seconds left in a 64-59 win over Washington State.