Sun Devils play a complete game and defeat No. 23 Cal
By Ethan Schmidt // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, Ariz — Arizona State women’s basketball used a whole team effort to defeat No. 23 California and remain undefeated at home and in Pac-12 play on Friday night.
The 25th-ranked Sun Devils (12-3, 3-0 Pac-12) took the lead and never looked back to secure a win over a ranked opponent for the first time this season.
“It was a great game and just a fun opportunity for our young team to come out and beat a top team,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I thought we played a very complete game.”
Starting point guard Reili Richardson reached a new career high in assists with 11. The sophomore showed why she leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio when she found her teammates for scores all night without a single mistake.
“Number one on the court, number one in my heart, and number one in the nation,” ASU guard Robbi Ryan joked about the stat after the game.
ASU combined for 23 assists and four turnovers as a team.
“What’s not to like about Reili’s game,” Turner Thorne said. “She is just out there finding the right person at the right time at the right place. She is an unbelievable playmaker.”
Junior forward Kianna Ibis led the way in scoring for the Sun Devils. She posted 26 points on Friday night just after scoring a career-high 30 points against Utah on Dec. 31st.
“She is a great scorer and I think her confidence is just growing and growing,” Turner Thorne said. “The difference between Kianna in November and in January is she is not hesitating.”
Ibis finished 11-of-22 from the field and snagged six rebounds.
“My mentality right now is to keep staying aggressive,” Ibis said. “Whenever my teammates find me and I’m open, they always pass it to me so why not do something with it.”
Aggressiveness was key as she had to battle against Cal’s Kristine Anigwe throughout the game. Anigwe, a Phoenix native, almost mirrored Ibis with 24 points of her own on 10-of-14 shooting and added seven rebounds for the Golden Bears.
In addition to Ibis, Robbi Ryan and sophomore Jamie Ruden also scored in double digits for the Sun Devils. Ryan had 13 points with two makes from beyond the arc, and Ruden notched 14 points in just 16 minutes played.
“I think a big, key part of it was we just stayed poised and kept doing our thing,” Ryan said. “We kept helping each other and never freaked out and stayed disciplined.”
However, Cal did not go down without a fight on the road.
The Golden Bears shot 54 percent from the field and outscored the Sun Devils in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 56-50 after three periods of play.
Cal junior guard Asha Thomas tallied 25 points and generated offense with her quickness. Thomas shot 50 percent from the field against ASU.
The Sun Devils are finding success in all aspects of their game and now seeing production out of several different players.
“You can’t win in this conference just going to a couple of people, you have to have a balanced scoring attack,” Turner Thorne said. “We have our go-to players and they are really stepping up well for us right now.”
ASU welcomes in another Bay Area opponent on Sunday afternoon. The Sun Devils will take on the No. 24 Stanford Cardinal in another important Pac-12 showdown. Tipoff between ASU and Stanford is set for Sunday, Jan. 7th at 2 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 .