(Photo: Eliav Gabay /WCSN)
Like a championship prize fight, both Arizona State University and the University of Florida took and threw their punches throughout the game. In the end, however it was the Arizona State women’s basketball team who were left standing at the end, taking down Florida 69-63.
The Gators set the tone early with three quick layups, jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead. Florida opened with a swarming defense. The Sun Devils responded with suffocating defense of their own, grabbing the lead with a 7-0 run.
ASU held a 7-6 held at the first quarter media timeout after the chaotic opening minutes.
The Sun Devils forced seven Gator turnovers in the first quarter, highlighted by a five second count at the 3-minute mark that made the ASU bench erupt.
The Sun Devils closed out the quarter with a tip in by senior forward Kelsey Moos with less than a second left on the clock putting them up 16-12.
ASU was able to expose the holes in the Gator’s 2-3 zone. The Sun Devils were able to get open looks with ease in the first half, as crisp passing paid dividends for the team in gold.
A 6-0 run by Florida combined with a lengthy scoring drought from the Sun Devils would lead to the Gators reclaiming the lead with two minutes remaining in the first half.
The two teams went to the half deadlocked at 30 following some lead trading to close out the last minutes of the second quarter.
Florida opened the half in a man-to-man look, and immediately looked stronger on defense than they had before.
The Gator’s tough defense propelled them on an 8-1 run and a 38-31 lead two minutes into the quarter.
A three pointer by Florida guard Dyandria Anderson put the Gators up 43-34 and gave them their largest lead of the game with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
ASU senior Kelsey Moos responded right back with a three of her own, cutting into Florida’s lead.
After some points from the charity stripe, the Sun Devils got right back into the game, trailing by five with 4:24 left on the third quarter clock.
A flurry of scoring by the Gators to close out the third quarter put them up 51-39, the first double-digit lead by either team all game.
ASU came back in fury in the fourth quarter.
After a huge bucket by senior forward Sophie Brunner, the Sun Devils pulled within one at 56-37 with 3:36 left in the game.
ASU took the lead back with an and-one from senior center Quinn Dornstauder that sent Wells Fargo Arena into a frenzy with less than three minutes remaining on the game clock.
The Sun Devils clamped down on defense and stole this one from the Gators, closing out the win.
Player of the Game: Kianna Ibis
The sophomore forward provided a huge boost off the bench with 12 points, leading her team in scoring.
Biggest Concern: Free-throw shooting
The Sun Devils can’t expect to win any more games shooting what they did from the charity stripe. ASU went a dismal 11-24 from the line.
Stat of the Night: 19
The Sun Devils grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and scored 16 second chance points off of them.
The Sun Devils will travel to Lexington to take on Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Sunday. The game will tipoff at 11:00 AM MST.