Seattle – It took a little over six minutes for Arizona to get on the board against Arizona State on Thursday night.
By then, the Wildcats were already facing a double-digit deficit, and the gap would only widen from there in a 76-47 ASU win in the Pac-12 Tournament day one nightcap.
Kianna Ibis had a game-high 13 in a balanced effort for the Sun Devils (20-11, 10-8) — as one of eight players to score at least six points — while the Wildcats (6-24, 2-16) were paced by 11 each from Sam Thomas and JaLea Bennett.
“Besides the four or five minute stretch in the second quarter, I thought it was a great team win,” said ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. “I loved our energy, loved our effort. Balanced scoring. Really locked in defensively.”
Locked in may be an understatement, with the Sun Devils allowing a season-low two points in the first quarter to the Wildcats.
Arizona State held a 15-point advantage after the first, but the Wildcats played their cross-state rivals nearly even in the second to trail by 14 at the break.
Arizona would find itself unable to build on that strong quarter, as the Sun Devils started the second half on a 10-0 run. The Wildcats would fail to get the deficit back within 20 until the game’s final minute.
“I felt that Arizona State was extremely aggressive from the get-go,” said Arizona head coach Adia Barnes. “We didn’t respond. It took us a while, until mid-way through the second quarter. We fought back a little bit harder. But I just felt like it just wasn’t a good night for us overall, offensively or defensively.”
Arizona State now faces Oregon State in the nightcap at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, a rematch of both teams’ regular season finale on Feb. 25. The Beavers pulled out a 64-60 in that game in Tucson, and are 2-0 in the season-series after a 57-54 win in Corvallis on Jan. 12.
- Arizona State sweeps the season series with Arizona 3-0. The Sun Devils won both regular season matchups, 75-50 in Tucson on Feb. 16, and 69-45 in Tempe two days later.
- Kiara Russell tied a career-high with nine steals for Arizona State.
- Arizona’s 19 rebounds were the fewest ever for a team in a Pac-12 Tournament game.