ASU women's basketball Pac-12 season comes to an end in semifinal loss

The loss gives the Sun Devils a week to prepare and rest for the NCAA tournament

ASU women's basketball could not catch a break in its game against Stanford, as shots were highly contested by the Stanford Cardinal defense. The Sun Devils lost in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament to the Cardinal, 58-46.

ASU opened the game with a midrange make by junior forward Kianna Ibis and that would be the only made field goal all quarter.

After Ibis’s early field goal, the Cardinal ended the first quarter 13-3 and gave themselves breathing room for the rest of the game. 

Every player on the Stanford Cardinal were able to play in the game and showcased why Stanford is one of the best teams in the country. 

The challenge of playing Stanford defensively saw the Sun Devils struggle to connect on shots all game long.

“It is their length and their size,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “But they are just scout specific and they do a great job.” 

The Sun Devils were unable to have the same type of game against Stanford as they did in the quarterfinals versus Oregon State. The Sun Devils shot 31 percent from the field as redshirt junior forward Courtney Ekmark and Ibis combined six points and shot a combined 23 percent. 

The semifinal matchup showcased the Sun Devils playing three games in three nights. Low energy played a part in the game as the Sun Devils were slow out of the gate.

“I know in their hearts, their passion, they wanted it,” Turner Thorne said. “But fatigue is real. I don’t know if it was that or maybe we squeezed too hard. We really wanted it.”

The Sun Devils first half saw shots continued to fall in and out and the Cardinal defense caused out of motion in the offense for Arizona State.

“Obviously it was a struggle. But we tried to stay calm, stay collected and play together and play for eachother,” sophomore guard Kiara Russell said. “Connectedness is a huge key to the game, so we just tried to stay together and do what we can do out there.”

Stanford were in control at half as they led 32-18 and were poised to return to the Pac-12 championship game for the 15th time in 17 seasons. 

One player that was lights out for Stanford was freshman guard Kiana Williams. She erupted for 14 points in the first half and finished with 24 points in 22 minutes. 

“We do a great job of moving the ball,” Williams said.  “So the shots that I get they’re open, so I have to knock them down.”

For the Sun Devils, junior center Charnea Johnson-Chapman had an impressive Pac-12 tournament and showcased some for the 6,889 fans in attendance Saturday night.

“Just wanting to be there for them (teammates) and being that person that brings energy and making sure we all stay together and we all play together,” Johnson-Chapman said. “I plan to keep doing that for the rest of the season.” 

Johnson-Chapman finished with 10 point and seven rebounds in the lose. 

As the lead was 26 early in the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils were able to put together a 16-2 run to end the game and only loose by 12 to Stanford. 

“You guys have been watching the character level on this team all year long,” Turner Thorne said. “You know that’s all we talk about.” 

Arizona State showed what they can do in tournament games as they made the semifinals and Turner Thorne said the team can only improve in team offense.

“We did last year and had a really good performance in the NCAA Tournament,” Turner Thorne said. “We’ll look forward to doing the same this year.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @SebastianEman24 on Twitter. 

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