Despite struggling from three and their star player fouling out, ASU basketball defended their home court Sunday, defeating the USC Trojans in another close Pac-12 game.
After a heart-breaking loss on their home court to the hands of UCLA, the No. 16 ranked Arizona State women’s basketball team were able to bounce back and redeem themselves against conference foe USC, winning 68-59.
It was an all-around effort for the Sun Devils in their victory as 10 out of 11 players who got playing time scored. The leading scorers for the Sun Devils were Kianna Ibis and Courtney Ekmark, who each had 11 points.
As a team Arizona State, usually a good shooting team, struggled mightily from behind the three-point line. They shot 4-for-17 for the game, and 0-for-7 in the second half. USC struggled as well, only making 5 threes on 23 attempts.
Coming out of the gates, USC had more energy than ASU and were able to have a big effect on the Sun Devil’s offense. Led by junior guard, Minyon Moore, the Trojans’ defense had constant pressure on the ball and even jumped out to a seven-point lead with 1:26 left in the first quarter.
At the end of the quarter USC led the Sun Devils 18-14 and a big factor in that was the Trojans were able to keep the Sun Devil’s leading scorer Kianna Ibis, to zero points.
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In the second quarter, Ibis started to get it going a little hitting three shots from the field and a free-throw to tally seven points for the quarter. Robbi Ryan added another eight points for the Sun Devils as they were able to take a 34-31 lead going into the half.
USC’s aggressive mindset on defense started to backfire on them as they began to pick-up a lot of fouls. Already not a very deep team, the Trojans had to go to their bench more than often because four of their players picked up two fouls before the half even ended.
In the fourth quarter, two big factor players fouled out. For Arizona State it was Ibis, and for USC it was senior guard Aliyah Mazyck. Mazyck finished the game as the Trojan’s second leading scorer, and their team missed her desperately in the final stretch. For the Sun Devils, they knew that once Ibis was gone the rest of them would have to step up.
After the game, center Charnea Johnson-Chapman was asked about the mindset of having to pick up the load after Ibis fouled out.
“Whenever Kiannas out I feel like that’s the mentality of everybody because she’s such a big part of the team,” Johnson-Chapman said.
The team was able to respond to Ibis leaving the game and did not struggle scoring. Arizona State’s bench outscored USC’s 31-14 and that was a big factor in how the game ended.
Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Throne was very pleased with her team’s effort in the victory.
“I was really happy with our game today because we just were really really tired off of last weekend off the Oregon trip,” Turner Thorne said. “I was just really excited with our bench today. I thought our bench was amazing and I’m really excited to build off this.”
At the end of the game Arizona State had a six-point lead with 1:43 left in the game and they never gave USC the chance to come back thanks to some clutch free-throw shooting. Ekmark was a big part of that going 4-for-4 from the charity strike in the final minute to secure the victory for ASU.
Arizona State split this weekend against the LA school with today’s victory over USC. The Sun Devils are now 14-6 overall and 5-4 in conference play. USC dropped to 11-8 with a 1-7 Pac-12 record.
This upcoming week is rivalry week for the Sun Devils. They will host their in-state rival University of Arizona Wildcats on Friday. The Sun Devils will have a chance to redeem themselves after an embarrassing loss in December in Tucson.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.