2018 Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament: ASU zooms past Arizona, 76-47
It always feels good to get a win over your rival. For 6-seeded Arizona State, it must've felt especially good to beat No. 11 Arizona in dominant fashion for the third time this season, 76-47, in Thursday’s first round of the 2018 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Eight of nine Sun Devils who took the court at KeyArena in Seattle contributed to the balanced scoring effort. Kianna Ibis posted 13 points and was supported by Sophia Elenga and Charnea Johnson-Chapman, who added 11 and 10 points, respectively. JaLea Bennett and Sam Thomas led Arizona with 11 points each.
ASU’s fast-moving offense paired with its in-your-face defense proved to be simply too much for the Wildcats, who didn’t get on the board until 3:42 remained in the first quarter.
Arizona did not score again until 9:11 in the second quarter, at which point ASU was already up by 16. The ‘Cats actually ended up outscoring the Devils 18-17 in the second period off a series of plays by guards Lucia Alonso and Marlee Kyles, but they still trailed 34-20 heading into intermission.
“We just really got punched in the face from the get-go,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. “Not handling their physicality.”
Heading into halftime, Charlie Turner Thorne told Pac-12 Networks' Jill Savage that she was “not real happy” with her squad’s performance on the glass, despite the comfortable lead.
Arizona State picked it up plenty in the third and fourth periods, out-rebounding Arizona 33-19 on the night and never letting the Wildcats closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
The final scoring margin was 29 points, besting ASU’s win margins of 25 and 24 over Arizona in their mid-February series.
Barnes commented after the game that Arizona’s lack of effort made it seem like their minds were on spring break.
“I expected a lot more energy. I expected more fight and enthusiasm and we just didn’t have that tonight,” Barnes said. “But in this program, in the future, our minds won’t be on spring break. I’ll tell you that right now. And we will come to the Pac-12 Tournament. We will fight and we will compete and we will show a lot more heart than we showed here and that’s a guarantee.”
Next up for the Sun Devils is No. 3-seeded Oregon State Friday at 8:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network. The Beavers’ last loss came on Feb. 2 in a three-point decision to Stanford.
ASU’s two defeats to OSU this year are by a combined seven points. The two teams saw each other on Sunday in the regular-season finale, when Oregon State topped Arizona State 64-60 in Tempe.
“I think it’s advantageous for us even though they’re a great team and they’re a little bit more rested,” Turner Thorne said after the game. “We’ve had two really close games with them and so it’s all about consistency.”