The 10th ranked Oregon State Beavers Women’s Basketball team plays host to the 19th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils in game 19 of the season. Tip-off is slated for 2 PM PST on Sunday, January 20th. Go to the game in person, watch on the PAC-12 Network, or check out the team’s Twitter page for ways to follow along live. Let’s take a closer look at the Sun Devils.
#19 Arizona State (12-5 overall, 3-3 conference)
Last season: 22-13 overall, 10-8 in PAC-12 (6th), lost in second round of NCAA Tournament
The 19th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils come into Gill Coliseum after a going toe-to-toe with the 5th ranked Oregon Ducks. The Devils dropped that contest, 71-77, to bring their conference record to .500 on the season. Though they have five losses so far, they haven’t lost badly in any of their contests, and their only double digit loss was to rival Arizona. Their other four losses have come against top ten ranked teams in #3 Baylor, #4 Louisville, #5 Oregon, and #6 Stanford by seven points or less.
The Beavers and Devils met three times last year, with the Beavers winning the first two matchups before the Devils took the third in the PAC-12 tournament. Those three games were decided by a total of 11 points, and this upcoming game figures to be just as close.
Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne is in her 22nd season with Arizona State. That means her seniors were likely in diapers when she was in her first season at the helm. She has taken the Devils to 13 NCAA Tournaments, including in each of the last five seasons. Turner Thorne is one of those coaches that’s fun to watch on the baseline with her animated coaching style.
Who to watch
#42 - Kianna Ibis, Senior Forward
An All-PAC-12 selection last season, Ibis picked up where she left off, leading the Devils in scoring once again at 13.9 points per game. She has appeared to warm up for conference play too as in three of her last four games she has scored more than 20 points while shooting 65.9% from the field. She didn’t have great showings in the regular season contests against the Beavers a year ago, but made up for it in the final contest with a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
#11 - Robbi Ryan, Junior Guard
She’s one of those players that gets under your skin for some reason. Perhaps it’s her style of play and intensity that’s in your face. But if she played for your team you’d love it. Beaver fans will likely remember Ryan from last year’s closely contested games where she would elevate her play. You can bet she’ll do the same this year, so it’s likely she’ll do more than her 7.1 point per game average.
#22 - Courtney Ekmark, Senior Guard
The former UConn Husky, Ekmark, hit five three-pointers last year against the Beavers in the PAC-12 Tournament. This year, the current law student is the Devils’ second leading scorer at 9.8 points per game and has hit more than twice as many three-pointers as any other player on the team with 38.
I said Friday’s night game would come down to free-throws (boy that was off), but I’d be happy to be wrong again. All three contest’s a year ago were highly competitive and I don’t expect this one to be any different. Arizona State’s big-three of Ibis, Ryan, and Ekmark will manage to keep the Devils in striking distance well into the fourth quarter before the Beavers can seal the win.