AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Robbi Ryan scored 16 points and Kianna Ibis added 14 to
lead No. 7 seed Arizona State over No. 10 Nebraska 73-62 in the first round of
the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
The Sun Devils opened up a tight, defensive struggle with a 14-0 run late in
the third quarter. Jamie Ruden scored five in the stretch and the Sun Devils
pushed the lead as high as 16 early in the fourth quarter when Reili Richardson
converted a 3-point play.
The Sun Devils (22-12) led the Pac 12 in scoring defense and made the
Cornhuskers struggle for every basket, allowing them few second-chance points.
Arizona State dominated the rebounding 49-27.
Nebraska’s last chance came on a 3-pointer by Jasmine Cincore that cut the lead
to 68-59 with 2:03 left. But 30 seconds later, Sincore was called for an
unsportsmanlike play on a charge when she collided with Ryan’s chin. Ruden and
Courtney Ekmark then made two throws to get the lead back to 11 with 1 minute
left and the Sun Devils put it away from there.
Arizona State moves on to the second round for the fifth straight season with a
chance to make the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years.
Taylor Kissinger scored 15 points for Nebraska (21-11).
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers’ loss ends what had been one of the biggest surprise
seasons in the country. Nebraska won just seven games in 2016-17 but turned
things around to be a Big Ten title contender late in this season. Coach Amy
Williams had said before the game she worried her team couldn’t match the Sun
Devils on the boards and she was right. Arizona State was more physical under
the basket and quicker to the ball on the long rebounds.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils turned in other defensive gem, smothering the
Cornhuskers’ ball handlers on the perimeter and disrupting shooters. The Sun
Devils held Cornhuskers guard Maddie Simon, who came in averaging 10 points, to
no points Saturday. She took just one shot in 15 minutes.
Arizona State plays the winner of Saturday’s matchup between No. 2 Texas and
No. 15 Maine in Monday’s second round.