ASU Basketball: Defense, Ibis key in season sweep of Beavers

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 11: Arizona State Sun Devils mascot Sparky the Sun Devil stands on the court during a first-round game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the USC Trojans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. USC won 67-64. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 11: Arizona State Sun Devils mascot Sparky the Sun Devil stands on the court during a first-round game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the USC Trojans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. USC won 67-64. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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ASU basketball completed the season sweep of No. 9 Oregon State as stifling defense and a bounce-back game from Kianna Ibis spearheaded the effort.

It looked like we were heading towards another tight game between Arizona State and Oregon State.

After the first meeting between the two schools finished in double overtime, the Sun Devils led by just three at halftime.

The third quarter pushed all the momentum towards Arizona State as the Sun Devils began the second half on a 13-0 run.

ASU never looked back as they outscored the Beavers 25-13 in the third quarter to defeat the Beavers 66-54 earning a season sweep over a top-10 team.

“I’m so happy for this team. Last weekend was rough. We weren’t ourselves and we didn’t play with our usual toughness and teamwork,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I predicted we would respond well today. I knew we were going to play well, but Oregon State is so good. I just thought we just took it at them and really defended well and just got back to who we are.”

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Kianna Ibis wasn’t herself last weekend physically as she sat out last week’s practice. In the Bay Area, Ibis finished with scored 10 points combined against Cal and Stanford on 4-for-21 shooting.

On Friday, after scoring 28 points in the first meeting against the Beavers, Ibis dropped 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

“Physically, I felt a lot better. Just overall, last week was not a good weekend for our team. Today (Friday), we came hungry and with a sense of urgency,” Ibis said. “We really stepped up in the third quarter. We were playing as if it was our last conference game and we just felt connected.”

The Sun Devils were shorthanded. Jamie Ruden was out for the Sun Devils with a hand injury and guard Kiara Russell only played four minutes as she was under the weather.

Enter Iris Mbulito.

Mbulito played point guard when Richardson was on the bench as was aggressive finishing with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

It’s her highest output of conference play as her role continues to increase.

“Before every game, I try to have fun and just try not to be stressed, help my teammates and be aggressive,” Mbulito said. “I just go to the basket and be aggressive and help my teammates.”

In the end, it was their defense that propelled the Sun Devils to the victory. Oregon State entered the game Friday night second in the conference in field goal (48.2) and 3-point (39.5) percentage.

The Sun Devils limited the Beavers to 44 percent shooting and 22 percent from behind the arc. Guard Destiny Slocum averages 16.7 points per game, but finished with three points on 0-for-5 shooting as she fouled out.

Guards Mikayla Pivec and Aleah Goodman scored a combined 34 points with the rest of the team scoring 20 points on 8-of-21 shooting.

“Our on-ball screen defense got better, transition defense got better, our help-side got better,” Turner Thorne said. “Those three things were lacking last weekend, especially in our first game (versus Cal). We were all a lot better this weekend.”

As of this writing, Arizona State is fourth in the conference as the top four teams get a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament. ASU would need UCLA to lose at least one game and defeat No. 6 Oregon Sunday.

More importantly, however, is what this win means for their NCAA Tournament resume. The Sun Devils entered the week as a No. 8 seed in ESPN’s latest Bracketology. Even if they were to lose to Oregon Sunday, they should move up to a higher seed.

Next. ASU Basketball: Dominant third quarter surges Devils past OSU. dark

ASU will have another opportunity to boost their resume against the sixth-ranked Ducks Sunday on Senior Day.

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.