Arizona State overcomes slow start to beat UCF

Guard-forward Courtney Ekmark scored 20 points as Arizona State rolled past UCF 60-45 Friday evening in Coral Gables, Fla., in a first-round game of the Portland Region of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Ekmark opened the second half by scoring the first 8 points of the third period for the fifth-seeded Sun Devils (21-10) and more than doubled a 10-point first half to 22 points late in the quarter.

Forward Kianna Ibis scored 12 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double as the Sun Devils enjoyed a 42-27 advantage in rebounding.

Guard Kay Kay Wright scored 18 points to lead the 12th-seeded Knights (26-7).

After a cold first half that saw them go just 9 of 23 from the field, the Sun Devils went 9 of 15 in the third period and opened up a 46-24 cushion with under two minutes left in the quarter.

They ended up shooting 43.1 percent for the game to 32.1 for the Knights.

After trailing 48-30 after three quarters, the Knights scored the first 6 points of the fourth to close to within 12 before Ibis ended the run with a free throw and Ekmark followed with a short jumper in the paint to get the Sun Devils back up by 15. It was never closer than 12 the rest of the way.

Both teams got off to slow starts. The Sun Devils had only one field goal - an Ekmark 3-pointer -- in their first seven attempts and the Knights started the game 1 of 11 from the field.

The Sun Devils were 8 of 16 the rest of the half however, leading 12-7 at the end of the first quarter and by double digits for most of the second before going to the locker room up 26-16 at the end of the half.

The Knights were only 6 of 27 from the field in the first two quarters.

The Sun Devils are making a program-best sixth straight appearance in the tournament and have won at least one game in 12 of their last 13 appearances, including their last six.

--Field Level Media