Revenge is a dish best served cold, and if you were to describe the defense of No. 21 ASU (15-6, 6-4), it was stone cold.
The Devils shut down the Arizona Wildcats in a 60-47 win on Friday night.
It was a telltale sign from the first half that ASU had complete control on defense, as they surrendered just 13 points to the Wildcats after the first 20 minutes
This was the fewest points allowed in the first half by the Devils this season.
“Remembering what last game was like against them, we just said we’re not going to give them what they want this time,” senior Kianna Ibis said. “We’re going to get up in them and not let them score. We wanted to bring the heat.”
“I am excited for that defensive effort, especially in a big game like this,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne added.
Defense shined, as did Ibis. She had 19 points and 10 rebounds, her second double double of the season. Coming into this game, she had scored 999 career points, and on her first basket surpassed 1000 career points. She is ASU’s active leader in points scored.
“It felt great,” she said. “I wasn’t really focused on that. I had no idea until the fans were telling me. I was like ‘oh wow that’s cool’. It was a fun game and I’m glad we came out with the win tonight.”
Ibis’ head coach was happy for her senior too.
“I’m so happy for (Kianna) and she’s doing an unbelievable job for us right now,” Turner Thorne said.
A big key to the defensive effort was holding off Arizona’s leading scorer Aari McDonald. McDonald finished with 28, but had 22 shots. In the first half, she finished with 7 points on 8 shots.
“That was key to stop her early,” Turner Thorne said. “You knew you weren’t going to shut her down, but do it early and build a little bit of a cushion.”
The Devils were more than happy to flip the script based on their previous matchup with Arizona.
“They got one on us so that motivated us even more to come out and restore the order tonight,” senior Courtney Ekmark said.
This could be the seniors’ final matchup with the rival Wildcats, and for them to finish with a win on their home court was something Turner Thorne thought about prior to the game.
“That is part of your legacy,” she said. “There is postseason this and that, but it’s ‘how did you do against U of A?’ They have a pretty good record in their tenure here, so good for them.”
The win is rewarded with a weekend off for ASU. Their next matchup will see them in Washington when they face the Washington State Cougars (7-13, 2-7) followed by the Washington Huskies (8-14, 1-9) for the first and only time in the regular season.
The game against Washington State will tip off at 8 p.m. from Pullman on Thursday, February 7th. The game is scheduled to be streamed by WSU, but will be on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.