SEATTLE (AP) On the brink of a third consecutive close loss to No. 10 Oregon State, Arizona State suddenly found the winning combination.
Courtney Ekmark scored 18 points and the Sun Devils held Oregon State without a field goal over the final 5:14 to rally for a 57-51 victory in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday night.
”So, now it’s March Madness and you want to be playing your best basketball,” Arizona State coach Charlie Turner Thorne said. ”To see this team just come together today and dig deep, and I think went on a 13-0 run or something to close it out and just take the game, was really special.”
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Arizona State missed its first nine shots of the fourth quarter, but the Beavers managed just a pair of baskets for a 50-44 lead.
Kianna Ibis finally connected for the Sun Devils with 3:38 remaining, triggering the game-ending 13-1 run. Ibis’ jumper from the lane put Arizona State in front 51-50 with 2:02 left.
Ibis hit a jumper from the left side to make it 53-50 with 1:08 remaining and the Sun Devils closed it out from the free throw line.
”I would just say the sense of urgency,” Ibis said of the late rally. ”Like, we were coming down to the last quarter and we knew we had to take it, so we just tried to stay as aggressive as we could.”
Arizona State (21-11) advanced to Saturday’s semifinals against No. 16 Stanford (21-9), which beat Southern California 69-59.
Ibis finished with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and Robbi Ryan added 12 points for the Sun Devils, who lost 57-54 to Oregon State and then 64-60 in the regular-season finale.
Mikayla Pivec and Katie McWilliams each had 14 points for Oregon State (23-7), which shot just 2 for 15 in a five-point fourth quarter, including 0 of 5 from 3-point range.
”I thought ASU played a really good game tonight,” said Oregon State coach Scott Rueck. ”They came out aggressive just like they did last Sunday, and did a great job on the boards. We didn’t match that intensity early, and I think that kind of set the tone for the game, and then you’re behind the 8-ball. Burned a lot of energy trying to get back in the game.”
The Sun Devils scored the first four points of the third quarter to extend their lead to 30-21. Oregon State chipped away, finally going in front 41-40 on Pivec’s layin.
McWilliams’ 3-pointer from the left corner at the buzzer put the Beavers up 46-44 entering the final period.
”I don’t know what the score was at that point, but I felt like things were flowing better than they had been, especially from the first half,” McWilliams said. ”I don’t know. I thought it was a good shot, but it wasn’t enough to pull it off today.”
Kat Tudor converted a three-point play to put the Beavers up 21-18 with 2:06 left, but the Sun Devils scored the final eight points of the half.
Oregon State made 10 of 14 shots in a 25-point third quarter, including 5 of 6 beyond the arc.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils face No. 16 Stanford in the tournament semifinals Saturday night.
Oregon State: The Beavers are awaiting an NCAA bid.