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No. 21 ASU women's basketball claims revenge against rival Arizona

The matchup saw Sun Devils senior forward Kianna Ibis eclipse 1,000 points for her career


ASU redshirt senior Courtney Embark drives past two defenders as ASU defeats University of Arizona on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona.

As the ball crossed the net, Sun Devils senior forward Kianna Ibis didn’t realize the rarity of what just unfolded. 

Ibis saw an open opportunity and converted an easy layup to extend the Sun Devils' early lead over UA. 

But with the basket, Ibis became the 23rd player in the program's history to eclipse 1,000 points for her career as her team ultimately claimed revenge against the rival Arizona Wildcats, winning 60-47 on Friday night in Wells Fargo Arena.

“It just felt great,” Ibis said. “I wasn’t really focused on that. I had no idea until the fans were telling me and I was like, ‘Oh, man, that is cool.’ It was a fun game, and I am glad that we came out with a win tonight.”

No. 21 ASU (15-6, 6-4 Pac-12) suffered a 51-39 loss in the first matchup against UA in Tucson on Dec. 30. Ibis and redshirt senior forward Courtney Ekmark said they didn’t want to suffer another gut-wrenching loss to the team down south.

“(Arizona) got one on us, so that just motivated us even more to come out and restore the order tonight,” Ekmark said.

ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne described Ibis and Ekmark as the go-to duo.

Ibis and Ekmark came through on Friday night in Tempe. Ibis tallied her second double-double of the season with 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Ekmark finished with a team-high 20 points and a season-high seven rebounds. 

Ekmark finished just three points shy of tying a career-high in points, but she definitely found joy in her performance against Arizona (14-7, 4-6). She scored the first points of the game for either team, opening with a three-pointer from the right wing off the backboard.

When asked about her performance against a rival and whether she called "bank," Ekmark laughed.

“I did … in my head,” Ekmark said. “That was a great way to start the night.”

Coming into Friday night, redshirt sophomore Aari McDonald averaged 25.2 points per game for Arizona. It would be a tall task to shut down McDonald, who finished with 28 points, but Turner Thorne said she was pleased with the team's overall effort.

Other than McDonald, no Wildcat scored more than five points.

“We came in with a mindset to not let anyone getting started,” Sun Devils senior center Charnea Johnson-Chapman said. “(McDonald) is a great player, though, so she is going to get what she got. We just had to make sure that it wasn’t everyone who got on.”

ASU women's basketball heads to Washington to take on the Washington State Cougars on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8:00 p.m. MST. 

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