ASU women’s basketball plays explosive second half to beat Washington State

This win marks seven straight for the Sun Devils over the Cougars and 17th on the season

ASU women's basketball pulled out its third consecutive win in dominant fashion with a 77-51 victory over Washington State at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The Sun Devils (17-7, 8-4) had to use some halftime adjustments to outlast the Cougars.

As they went into the locker room at the end of the first half, ASU shot 38 percent from the field and only had a 28-21 lead over the cougars.

“Offensively, I would say we really worked on being able to move the defense and move the ball,” junior forward Kianna Ibis said. “It definitely got us in better position for offensive rebounding.”

For Ibis, the first half was a struggle as she only had five points on 2-7 shooting. In the second half, she improved, and she was 5-6 from the field, getting four rebounds and adding a three to her stat line. 

Joining Ibis in double figures was junior forward Courtney Ekmark, who had 18 points and six rebounds in the game. Sophomore forward Jamie Ruden had 12 points and sophomore guards Reili Richardson and Robbi Ryan had 10 points each.

In the second half, the Sun Devils put together a strong shooting performance, connecting on 65.5 percent from the field and adding four threes.

“We executed our dribble drive a lot better in the second half,” Head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. 

ASU came out of the locker room looking to increase its lead. Jumping out to a quick 7-0 run and never looking back. That lead continued to grow the rest of the way until the final horn.

The use of the 2-3 zone the entire game made the Cougars shoot the ball from outside the paint. The Cougars (10-14, 3-9) shot 34 percent for the game and saw a comeback garnished by missed shots. 

“We didn’t want them to punish us inside,” Ibis said. “We challenged them to take outside shots.”

Ekmark said that the focus in zone was rebounding and communication.

“It’s something that we don’t very often (playing zone),” Ekmark said.” “If we just really talk and help each other it looks good.”

On the court, the communication was key as the Sun Devils defense shut down Cougars junior guard Alexys Swedlund in the second half. Swedlund connected on three of four of her 3-pointers in the first half and only made one the rest of the game. 

The Sun Devils have come alive on the boards since the blowout loss to Stanford, winning the rebound margin comfortably since then. 

“Our biggest goal in this game was to have a great rebounding effort,” Turner Thorne said. “Bottom line, if we limit Washington State to one shot… we felt we would win.”

In the game, Arizona State out-rebounded Washington State 49-23, and two of the leading rebounders were junior forwards Sophia Elenga and Charnea Johnson-Chapman. 

UP NEXT

ASU will head to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans (15-7, 5-6) on Friday at 8 p.m. MST and the No. 9 UCLA Bruins (18-4, 9-2) on Sunday at 2 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at sbemanue@asu.edu or follow @SebastianEman24 on Twitter. 

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