Arizona State rolls past UTSA in season opener
By Ethan Schmidt // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, AZ – The ASU women’s basketball team hosted the UTSA Roadrunners on Sunday afternoon and the new unit found early success as they got the win, 74-42.
The Sun Devils (1-0) put together a full team effort, getting each player involved throughout the game. ASU had three players finish in double-digit scoring and each player had their fair share of time on the court.
“First game jitters aside, I think we did a pretty good job of honoring the day,” said ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne. “I thought it was a good team win. It’s nice to be able to spread out our minutes.”
Junior guard Sabrina Haines came out with the hot hand, shooting 80% from the field in the first half for ten points. She finished with a team-high 16 points.
“We are super excited for this season,” Haines said after her strong performance. “We’ve definitely been preparing and working hard during the offseason.”
Kianna Ibis had a dominant performance in the paint for the Sun Devils, setting career game bests in points and rebounds. The junior forward shot 8-for-12, matching Haines for the team-high with 16 points while snagging nine rebounds.
“It feels really good to finally be back playing,” Ibis said. “I know the freshmen were excited, we were all excited.”
The Sun Devils scored 48 points in the paint against UTSA (1-1). Many of the close scoring chances were thanks to capitalizing on turnovers and scoring in transition.
“What they did today, they do every day, sometimes even better,” Turner Thorne said about this year’s team. “They maybe need to defend a little bit better, but they are scoring, rebounding, they just get it.”
Redshirt junior Courtney Ekmark made her ASU debut after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The former UConn Husky dropped 12 points and corralled six boards. Ekmark also played a team-high 26 minutes.
“She’s absolutely tough as nails,” Turner Thorne said. “The thing that Courtney can do, which is really going to help us with such a small rotation, is she can play really hard when she’s tired. She’s just relentless. She can play hard for however long she has to play. That level of toughness is really going to help us.”
UTSA’s Marie Benson was a one of the bright spots for the Roadrunners on Sunday afternoon. She collected a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
This was the first of seven games this November for the Sun Devils. ASU has four games in the first week of the season.
The Sun Devils travel to Fresno St. on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. MST.
Ethan Schmidt is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Women’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Ethan on Twitter @TheEthanSchmidt .