In seesaw battle overpowered by a defensive force, the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-2) beat the Buffalo Bulls, 76-57, on Saturday afternoon.
After coming back from the Cancun challenge winning only one of three games, ASU knew it needed to get back into winning, and the Sun Devils performed.
Through the first two quarters of play, both teams were shooting comfortably over 45 percent from the three and inside; however, Buffalo showed awareness on the defensive end, as they were able to force turnovers in the passing lane with their zone, defense making it difficult for ASU to distribute the ball.
“Coach says whenever they play zone on us we just need to shred it,” ASU forward Kianna Ibis said, “Usually moving the ball, reversing it and being patient helps open up a lot of things for us. Being able to move the ball was our game plan.”
Buffalo’s perimeter defense was one of the many things, the Sun Devils were not expecting. It forced Arizona State to find other methods of scoring. Getting the ball in the paint and executing on the pick and roll were two of ASU’s most reliable offensive tactics.
“They [Buffalo] did a real good job just ball-hawking the whole game,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said, “We played really good team defense”
Arizona State, on the other hand, was also willing to put in the extra defensive effort.
If Buffalo was creating turnovers, the Sun Devils were doing much of the same. ASU’s Sabrina Haines took a charge in the second quarter to get their defense rolling. There were moments when both teams’ offenses were flourishing. Buffalo’s Cierra Dillard came out consistent to score 15 points for the Bulls by halftime.
This matchup was a display of hustle and assertiveness. The Sun Devils had the advantage on the offensive end as ASU’s Kianna Ibis scored 14 points before the half. Arizona State was leading at the half 42-32.
Heading into the third quarter, it took some time for ASU to get back in their offensive game. As a result, the Sun Devils gave up two crucial turnovers which cut their lead to six.
“When we scouted them they weren’t much of a pressing team,” said Ibis, “Some of us got a little too excited. Coach wanted us to be poised and calm down and pass because there were many open players.”
Arizona State showed signs of frustration coming back from halftime. The Sun Devils found it difficult to keep the turnovers under control. On the other hand, the turnovers could have been the reason ASU exploded to play more aggressively on defense.
The Sun Devils capitalized near the glass, grabbing 47 total rebounds with 20 of them being on the offensive end.
“We were really not happy with our rebounding last week and we came back and out rebounded them by 18,” Throne said. “That’s kind of where we need to build so we can control the games.”
ASU matched Buffalo in points in the paint with 28, which kept the game even. Arizona State on the other hand had the advantage to score 24 points off turnovers efficiently and 32 off the bench, compared to Buffalo scoring 19 off the bench.
Moving forward, the Sun Devils will face off against UC Riverside Sunday at 2:30 MST.
ASU guard Reili Richardson, who dished out ten assists, said it was key to get the ball moving and score however possible. Richardson also said that “taking pride in our defense and stopping them [UC Riverside],” will be something to keep in mind.