In a defensive battle, ASU women’s basketball found their scoring touch in the second and fourth quarters en route to a 76-57 win over Buffalo.
A week after a three games in three days stretch in Cancun, the Sun Devils were set to take on the 4-0 Buffalo Bulls in the first game of the ASU Classic Tournament. Arizona State looked to stay perfect at home, as they came into Saturday’s game 3-0 at Wells Fargo Arena.
With both teams coming in well rested, it appeared early on that they needed to warm-up. The first basket of the afternoon was a layup by Charnea Johnson-Chapman two minutes after the opening tip.
It took Buffalo three-and-a-half minutes to score their first points. The rest of the first quarter was gritty with there being more total turnovers than field goals. It was 14-11 after one.
The second quarter from the beginning was played a lot smoother than the first for both squads. ASU shot a very good 55 percent from the floor while Buffalo made half of their shots.
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Kianna Ibis led the way for ASU with 14 points in the first half. Meanwhile, Cierra Dillard scored a game-high 15 points. The score was 42-32 Devils.
The start of the third quarter looked very similar to the first with terrific defense and a couple of struggling offenses.
ASU failed to score a field goal until there was 5:47 remaining on the clock. The Sun Devils still managed to outscore the Bulls 10-9 and led by 11 going into the final frame.
The fourth was a back-and-forth battle for the first five minutes. Buffalo applied pressure with a full-court press, but ASU maintained their composure and were able to slow the pace down.
With about five minutes remaining, Bulls center Cassie Oursler fouled out. One minute later, Bulls forward Summer Hemphill also committed her fifth foul. With two starters out for the remainder of the game, a Buffalo comeback possibility was over.
Arizona State earned the victory 76-57. Ibis finished with the team high 18 points to go along with six rebounds. Sabrina Haines scored 17 off of the bench and Reili Richardson scored 5 points with 10 assists.
Arizona State was able to put up more points than any other opponent this season against Buffalo’s zone defense.
After the game, Kianna Ibis said, “Moving the ball, reversing it and being patient opens a lot of things for us” when asked about how the team strategized facing the zone.
Charli Turner Thorne talked about slowing down the Bulls, “Our team defense held them about 20 points below their average, which was our goal. Minus the fouling… we played really good team defense.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s matchup against UC Riverside, Turner Thorne said, “They are tested… they held Stanford to 53 points… They’re a tough, hard-nosed team.” The Sun Devils will win the ASU Classic if they can stop a hot Highlanders squad.