Winners of its last four games in conference play, ASU basketball moved to third in the Pac-12 in a 66-49 victory of the Buffaloes.
After only playing two games in the last two weeks, Arizona State women’s basketball came in with the mindset to show no rust.
Although it came in bunches, the Sun Devils got the job done in a 66-49 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes Friday night in Tempe.
With the victory, ASU (17-6, 8-4 Pac-12) moves to third-place in the Pac-12 while Colorado (11-13, 1-12 Pac-12) dropped to last in the conference.
Leading the way for ASU were seniors Kianna Ibis and Courtney Ekmark, who combined for 32 points. Ibis finished a near double-double (18 points, nine rebounds), while Ekmark added 14 points on a very efficient 6-for-9 performance from the field.
“We were super eager to play,” said Ekmark. “Now the key for us is keeping that momentum.”
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On the other side of the court, Colorado again lacked its lead scorer, senior Kennedy Leonard.
Leonard has missed the Buffaloes last nine games after suffering a foot injury in Colorado’s previous game against ASU. That hole continued to show for the Buffaloes, who finished 34.7 percent (17-for-49) from the field and 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from deep.
As a whole the Sun Devils controlled the pace of the game.
ASU led for nearly 37 minutes of the contest, but allowed the Buffaloes time and time again the battle back into the game.
After carrying a 20-point lead early in the third, ASU allowed Colorado to cut the deficit to 11 by the middle of the quarter.
It was at that point, the Sun Devils knew they couldn’t let up.
“She (head coach Charli Turner Thorne) told us when we’re up, we need to stay up,” said Ibis. “We can’t have let ups and she kept emphasizing that every possession matters. We knew we needed to get this win.”
From that point on ASU outscored the Buffaloes 25-18, with its largest lead coming at 22 in the final couple minutes.
And two categories that proved to be difference makers for both teams came in free throws and second chance points.
ASU finished plus-11 on second chance points, a place where Turner Thorne emphasized the need to maintain the team’s energy and effort.
“We’re trying to get better down the stretch by winning the 50-50 balls,” said Turner Thorne. “It hasn’t been a strength of our team, but it’s always been one of our program. We’re trying to get more of those hustle plays.”
The Sun Devils also finished 7-of-12 from the line, while Colorado struggled mightily shooting 13-for-26 (50%).
Those points proved to be crucial for both teams down the stretch.
The Sun Devils continue the two-game homestand with the Utah Utes (18-6, 7-6 Pac-12) Sunday at 2 p.m. MST.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.