TEMPE, Ariz. -- The shots weren't falling with enough regularity, the rebounds were hard to come by and the fouls were too numerous for Arizona State's liking, but the Sun Devils won Friday night the way they have often this season -- with defense.
Elisha Davis scored 16 points and had five steals and Sophie Brunner added 15 points and seven of the Sun Devils' 17 steals to help No. 8 Arizona State beat rival Arizona 61-49.
The Pac-12-leading Sun Devils (16-3, 7-0) ran their winning streak to 13 games and remained the only undefeated team in the conference. ASU's current ranking ties the highest ever for the program, and Friday's win tied the Sun Devils' best start to conference play in school history.
The Sun Devils, the Pac-12's top scoring defense in conference play, have held 17 of their last 18 opponents well below their average point total per game. The Wildcats came in scoring 59.1 points a game.
"We don't talk about rankings and stuff, but we know we're going to get everybody's best effort," Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne said. "We can obviously help people build their resume for postseason. These were the expectations we had, that we would be the team to beat."
Turnovers hurt Arizona (11-8, 2-5). The Wildcats had a season high 27 turnovers, which was also the most ASU has forced in a game this season. Malena Washington led Arizona with 14 points and seven assists and Breanna Workman added 13 points and seven rebounds.
After a closely contested first half, the Sun Devils took a six-point lead thanks in large part to Arizona's 8 turnovers in the third quarter. But ASU's missed shots kept the Wildcats in the game despite their miscues, and Arizona trailed 37-36 on a Lauren Evans layup with 3:01 to go after falling behind by 6 points earlier in the period.
Arizona State went on a 10-4 run to end the quarter, though, and led 47-40 through three with Brunner scoring 8 points in the quarter.
Davis knocked down a 3 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to put the Sun Devils ahead 50-40, but the Sun Devils went almost five minutes without scoring a point. Arizona couldn't capitalize, scoring only one basket in that stretch.
"We've been in this position before as a unit," Davis said. "Our experience showed as far as not allowing it to be one- or a two-possession game."
A 3 from Arnecia Hawkins at the 2:00 mark bounced high above the rim and through the net, giving the Sun Devils a 59-43 lead and sealing the victory.
The Wildcats led 18-17 at the end of the first quarter despite committing six turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game. Arizona held Arizona State to one shot consistently on defense and made 7 of 11 shots. The Wildcats also had a huge rebounding edge (19-7) in the first half.
Workman scored seven of her points in the opening quarter.
"This was a bit of a wakeup call for us," Turner Thorne said.
Both teams struggled with turnovers and making shots in the second quarter. ASU led by as many as four points, 24-20, but the score was tied at 26 at halftime.
"I thought we played well enough to win in the first half, but the third quarter, we're going to have to look at the film," Arizona coach Niya Butts said. "When you have 27 turnovers, it's hard to win even when you do a great job on the boards like we did."
ARIZONA: Guards JaLea Bennett and Keyahndra Cannon are the only two Wildcats to have started every game this season. ... Washington added 7 assists. ... Arizona out-rebounded ASU 35-20.
ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils also opened the 2014-15 season with 7 straight conference wins. . ASU has won 22 of the last 25 meetings against Arizona and is 56-27 against the Wildcats overall. ... The Sun Devils honored several former players at halftime from throughout school history, including current WNBA player Briann January.
The two teams will play again on Sunday.
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