Kianna Ibis stepping up as ASU’s starting forward

By Dylan Carter // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports

TEMPE, AZ  —  In college basketball, there are certain implications left behind once a group of players graduates. Responsibility will be shifted, rotations will be changed and newfound opportunity will arise for the team’s young talent.

The spotlight has shifted to junior forward Kianna Ibis to start this year.

The departures of Sophie Brunner, Kelsey Moos and Quinn Dornstauder this past offseason shed the Arizona State women’s basketball team of their three leading rebounders. Now in a starting role, Ibis has the perfect chance to embody the two-way player she’s worked to become.

Arizona State forward Kianna Ibis // (Photo: Weston DeWitt / Blaze Sports)

The 6-1 forward averaged 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds for the Sun Devils last season. Playing under Moos and Brunner, Ibis was often overshadowed.

Her talents were highlighted late in the season as injuries plagued their starters, but she hasn’t yet had the playing time or touches she needed to produce.

“Since they’re gone, we have to step up and be bigger role players for this team,” Ibis said. “We had to crash every possession.”

Their hard work on the glass translated perfectly to the box score, as the Sun Devils out-rebounded the UTSA Roadrunners 42-31. Ibis snagged a career-high nine rebounds including three offensive boards. She also set a career high with 16 points in the victory.

Ibis’ defensive effort was unmissable.

Her defensive IQ stood out as she clogged passing lanes and deflected multiple passes throughout the contest. Her vexing on-ball pressure and two steals in the game allowed the team to push their tempo and score on the fastbreak.

As a scorer, Ibis has multiple talents. Her low-post presence is nicely complimented by a soft touch from the midrange. She’s a capable ball-handler for her position and commands the ball nicely, as evidenced by her three assists in the first outing. Despite shooting and missing just one three-pointer in that game, her 7-16 shooting from behind the arc in the 2016-2017 season would suggest that she’s a threat from deep.

With the team’s frontcourt rotation changed and a developing roster, Ibis holds a large responsibility this season. Her tenacity on the glass will be vital in ASU’s competitiveness against PAC-12 competition. Under the tutelage of head coach Charli Turner-Thorne, Ibis’ development as a jack-of-all-trades has huge implications on the team.

“This is the healthiest that she’s been and we knew when we signed her that she was really special,” Turner-Thorne said.

The Omaha-native suffered a devastating ACL tear in her right knee in 2015. This injury began a long recovery process which involved several setbacks. Now, with two seasons of experience under her belt and a slew of minutes at her disposal, Ibis has the chance to dominate once again.

Dylan Carter is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Women’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at dylanhuntercarter@gmail.com or follow Dylan on Twitter @DylanHCarter .

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