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February 22, 2020
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How Arizona State upset No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Oregon State

How Arizona State upset No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Oregon State
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The sheer wattage of the smile on Arizona State guard Reili Richardson’s face as she jumped into teammate Robbi Ryan’s arms at the end of Sunday’s game against No. 3 Oregon State offered convincing indication of just how good a weekend it was for the Sun Devils.

So does knowing that Richardson, according to her coach, found the energy to celebrate after she had also played against No. 2 Oregon two days earlier with a 102 degree temperature.

Even the flu, it turns out, was no match for one of the greatest weekends in Division I history.

And in the moments after the unranked Sun Devils won their second game in less than 48 hours against a team otherwise poised to take over the No. 1 ranking, senior Ja’Tavia Tapley stood in the center of the team huddle and led the cheers in Tempe.

It was the first time all weekend that Tapley allowed herself be the undisputed center of attention. But even in an ensemble cast that earns its curtain calls with defense more often than not, there was no one more instrumental to a collective performances for the ages.

It’s why she is the espnW player of the week after totaling 16 points and six rebounds in a 72-66 win against the Ducks and 14 points and six rebounds in a 55-47 win against the Beavers.

There is plenty of historical context for the scale of what Arizona State managed in beating the No. 2 and No. 3 teams, opponents that entered those games with a combined 27-1 record. Something like it might happen occasionally in the Final Four, but it hadn’t happened in the regular season since 2010 — when Stanford beat No. 4 Xavier and No. 1 UConn in a three-day span — and certainly not by an unranked team. But who needs history to be our guide? Consider all the remarkable events that Arizona State managed to overshadow in the present alone.

No. 6 Baylor ended No. 1 UConn’s 98-game home winning streak on Thursday, then kept its focus in routing Oklahoma State. So good when she put up a double-double against the Huskies, NaLyssa Smith totaled 30 points and 15 rebounds against the Cowgirls. And that neither UConn’s Olivia Nelson-Adodo nor Oklahoma State’s Natasha Mack made much noise this week tells you all you need to know about the kind of defense Baylor’s Lauren Cox played.

Thursday also saw No. 9 NC State, No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 11 Florida, No. 17 Maryland and No. 24 Michigan lose against unranked opponents.

Heck, even after Arizona State wrapped up its weekend sweep, Iowa’s Kathleen Doyle put up 31 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in a double-overtime win against No. 12 Indiana. She almost out-Ionescu-ed the Oregon guard who recorded her 22nd career triple-double the same day. And that after Doyle scored 21 points in the win against the Terrapins earlier in the week.

All of it was amazing. Any of it would have assured the various protagonists player-of-the-week honors in something resembling a normal week. None of it matched what the Sun Devils did in beating two teams that hadn’t lost a game all season on the U.S. mainland.

Arizona State isn’t a program built for individual accolades. There have probably been Arizona Coyotes coaches less associated with line changes than Sun Devils boss Charli Turner Thorne. No one on the current roster averages more than 25 minutes per game. That’s the norm.

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