ASU survives third quarter scare versus Colorado in first round of Pac-12 tournament

Ekmark scores 15 in second half to pull the team away from a surging Buffaloes run

The No. 5 seed ASU women's basketball team survived a huge run in the third quarter from No. 12 seed Colorado to win 66-49 in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. 

Redshirt senior guard Courtney Ekmark led the Sun Devils with 18 points, scoring 15 in the second half. She hit a flurry of threes in the third quarter to keep ASU afloat with their lead.

Junior guard Robbi Ryan chipped in with 13 points and five assists. Junior guard Kiara Russell scored seven points and dished three assists.

Colorado senior guard Alexis Robinson scored 19 points for the Buffaloes on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-9 from three. 

Junior guard Quinessa Caylao-Do scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds for Colorado.

ASU came out strong in the first half, building a 29-17 lead at the end of the first half. However, the Sun Devils came out of the locker room flat, not scoring until the 4:12 mark in the third quarter.

Ekmark and Robinson traded a series of threes late in the third quarter in a sharpshooting battle. For a stretch, Robinson scored 12 straight points for Colorado and Ekmark scored three straight field goals for the Devils in the third quarter.

But the Sun Devils answered with a 23-9 fourth quarter to push the lead back to 17, their biggest of the game.

"Just whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I want to do," Ekmark said. "And if hitting shots is it, then that's what I'll do." 

Overall, the Sun Devils played poorly versus a full-court trap and a 2-3 zone in the third quarter, committing six of the team's 16 turnovers overall in the third quarter. But after the third quarter, ASU settled in, and started breaking the trap throughout the fourth quarter.

"Got caught a little bit deep on the sideline ... but we got the ball centered," coach Charli Turner Thorne said when asked about how the Sun Devils dealt with Colorado's pressure. "We basically diffused it by getting the two-guard front and keeping the ball centered."

ASU will now face the No. 4 seed UCLA Bruins in the second round of the tournament on Friday, Mar. 8 at 12:30 PM MST.


Reach the reporter at jhorst2@asu.edu and follow @HorseySeven on Twitter.

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