By Andrew Bell
In one of the most bizarre selection Mondays in NCAA women’s basketball history, it was announced that Arizona State made the NCAA Tournament for the sixth consecutive season. It is also the sixth consecutive 20-win season for the Sun Devils.
The reason for the bizarre Selection Monday was because of what occurred earlier in the day. During an ESPNU segment, the field of 64 was accidentally revealed three hours prior to when the Selection Show was supposed to air.
The NCAA and ESPN issued an apology on Twitter for the mishap and they moved the show up to 2 p.m. local time.
— NCAA WBB (@ncaawbb) March 18, 2019
“In 30 years doing this, this has never happened before,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We were starting practice. Our team was actually just finishing up stretching when someone said, ‘Uh, someone leaked the bracket…It’s all good. I hate sitting in that room and the anticipation. I am going to be totally transparent. I am totally cool with someone showing me on the phone who we are playing and where we are going.”
Regardless of what time it was announced, the only thing that matters for Turner Thorne is that her team is on its way to the tournament. The Sun Devils are the No. 5 seed and they will play the No. 12 seed University of Central Florida (UCF) at Miami University.
If ASU defeats the Golden Knights, they would play the winner of No. 4 Miami and No. 13 Florida Gulf Coast.
ASU has been led by seniors Kianna Ibis and Courtney Ekmark, who are the two highest scorers on the team. Ibis is averaging over 14 points per game while Ekmark is averaging 10.2.
— Charli Turner Thorne (@ASUCoachCharli) March 19, 2019
The veteran players are both looking forward to one last Big Dance.
“This is the most fun time of the year,” Ibis said. “March is a fun time of year. We just try and take it day by day and not over think things. We just like to enjoy the process.”
ASU tips off this Friday, March 22 against UCF. A time has yet to be determined. The Sun Devils are one of six teams from the Pac-12 in the tournament.
“I think playing the top teams in the country all season is definitely going to help us,” Ekmark said. “We know that we can play with them so that’s just going to give us confidence going into this tournament that we can beat anyone.”