Sun Devils take care of No. 24 Stanford, stay undefeated in PAC-12 play
By Ethan Schmidt // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, Ariz — Arizona State women’s basketball hosted No. 24 Stanford on Sunday afternoon and secured a 73-66 victory to remain undefeated both on home court and in PAC-12 play.
The Sun Devils dominated the boards and out-rebounded the Cardinal, 47-24. ASU capitalized on offensive rebounds with 22 second chance points and held Stanford to just two second chance points.
“Our come group just keeps taking turns and making plays,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “The key to this game was controlling the boards. I’m really proud of them. We executed the game plan – control the boards, take away [Stanford’s] transition – and mixing up our defenses helped us out.”
ASU had five players finish with five or more rebounds. Junior center Charnea Johnson-Chapman led the way with nine boards.
“I just wanted to come and do what my team needed me to do,” Johnson-Chapman said.
Johnson-Chapman tied her career high in scoring with 16 points against the Cardinal. The California-native was perfect from the field going 6-for-6.
However, ASU’s usual scorers struggled on Sunday afternoon. Both Reili Richardson and Kianna Ibis got into foul trouble early and had to sit for a good portion of the first half.
Richardson had 11 points and shot 3-of-8 from the field with five made free throws. Ibis tallied only nine points after scoring 30 points, a career high, against Utah on Dec. 31 and 26 points against Cal on Jan. 5.
“I’m really grateful that we are a well-rounded team,” Johnson-Chapman said. “If someone might have an off-day, because everyone has off-days, we have other people who step up and they take on that role and they do what they have to do to help the team.”
Stanford got off to a hot start in the first quarter and went on a 15-2 run in a three-minute stretch. The Cardinal received the positive end of most of the foul calls in that stretch and Turner Thorne seemed displeased early on.
“We got some tough calls and that’s the way it goes,” Turner Thorne said. “I think the calls could’ve gone either way and we had a great crowd helping us with that. But that’s not anything you can control.”
Things really turned around for the Sun Devils in the second quarter when they took the lead back, 35-27. ASU went on an 11-0 run over a four-minute span and Stanford was held scoreless for almost five minutes to end the first half.
The Sun Devils and Cardinal battled back and forth and ASU hung on to a 50-46 lead at the end of a tightly contested third quarter.
After Stanford tied the game at 50 to begin the fourth and final period of play, ASU took over from there. The Cardinal could not keep up with the Sun Devils’ ability to score with any given player in the rotation as guard Robbi Ryan drilled a crucial three and Kianna Ibis scored on a second chance opportunity.
“It was just a great, big team win today,” Ryan said. “It was awesome. Everybody contributed. We all worked hard and had each other’s backs and that really made the difference.”
Guard Kiara Russell pushed the pace for the Sun Devils with her quickness. The sophomore recorded five steals for a new career high.
“I just had my hands up,” Russell said. “It’s easy when your teammate pressures the ball so you just read the next drive. The crowd’s energy was unbelievable today. The atmosphere in the gym was crazy.”
The Sun Devils (13-3, 4-0 PAC-12) have now beaten two ranked teams in a row after beating No. 23 Cal on Jan. 5 and No. 24 Stanford on Sunday.
“Charli always says not to worry about the number that’s by the name,” Russell said. “We just go out there and we play basketball, that’s it.”
ASU will travel north for two major road tests. The Sun Devils face No. 16 Oregon State on Friday, Jan. 12, and the ninth-ranked Oregon Ducks on Sunday, Jan. 14.
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 .