After trailing by one at halftime, No. 20 ASU basketball outscored Washington State 34-18 in the second half to win 61-46.
Arizona State opened a three-game stretch against the three worst teams in the Pac-12 Thursday night in Pullman against Washington State.
As life has been in the Pac-12 this season, it didn’t come easy for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State struggled in the first half shooting just 34 percent from the field as they trailed 28-27 at the break after trailing by as many as eight in the second quarter.
In the second half, the Sun Devils got hot.
Robbi Ryan hit a pair of 3-pointers with a Kianna Ibis jumper sandwiched in between to create an 8-0 Sun Devil run to open the third quarter.
Arizona State never looked back as they would go on to outscore the Cougars 21-9 in the third quarter.
The defense held the lead in the end as Washington State shot 5-for-26 in the second half after shooting 13-for-30 in the first half.
Washington State’s two best players, guard Chanelle Molina and forward Borislava Hristova, have combined for 36.9 points per game this season.
On Thursday night, they scored a combined 19 points on 8-for-29 shooting with the team’s third leading scorer, Alexys Swedlund, scoring just
three points as she was in foul trouble all night.
For the Sun Devils, Ibis had another big game scoring a game-high 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Ryan tied her season-high with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc.
Freshman Jamie Loera, a Moses Lake, Washington native, made her first career Pac-12 appearance after being injured through Pac-12 play. It was her first appearance since Dec. 20.
Guard Kiara Russell did not play for the Sun Devils.
Next up for Arizona State (16-6, 7-4 Pac-12) is Washington Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils defeated the Huskies 61-41 in their only meeting last season in Tempe behind 15 points from forward Courtney Ekmark and 14 points from Ryan.
Washington (8-16, 1-11 Pac-12) lost a tough one Thursday against Arizona as the Wildcats closed the game on an 18-8 run to defeat the Huskies 69-59.
Last season, Washington head coach Jody Wynn refused to shake ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne’s hand in the postgame handshake line after forward Sophia Elenga scored with nine seconds left in an 18-point game.
Turner Thorne tried to shake Wynn’s hand again after going through the handshake line but Wynn walked straight to the locker room.
This will be the team’s first meeting since that exchange. We’ll see if there’s any leftover emotions from that encounter last season. Tip off Saturday is at 3 p.m. MT.