Sun Devils Host Huskies In Search of Tenth Victory at The Bank
By Dylan Carter // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TEMPE, Ariz — The Sun Devils (15-7, 6-4) are back in Tempe after a hectic trip through the bay area which resulted in a split of their two matchups. Now, they’ll seek their tenth home victory of the year against a struggling Washington team.
An all-around effort led the Sun Devils to a commanding 57-42 victory over No. 25 Cal in their previous contest. Guard Courtney Ekmark led the way with a well-rounded performance with 12 points, eight rebounds, an assist and a steal. Each of the eight players who logged 10 or more minutes in the outing scored and rebounded at least once.
It’s this kind of team effort that’ll be important heading into this weekend of hoops. After falling out of the A.P. Top 25 in this week’s poll, ASU will try to defend their homecourt and regain some stature in the PAC-12 standings. Arizona State, with a record of 6-4 in conference play, is currently tied for fifth in their conference.
This is the Sun Devils’ first time facing the hobbled Huskies this year.
Washington’s Amber Melgoza is entering the contest on a hot-streak, having scored 20 or more points in three of her last four games. She’ll likely be pestered by ASU’s starting point guard Reili Richardson, who has been entrusted by coach Charli Turner Thorne as the team’s defensive hound in the backcourt.
“We ask her to do a lot,” Thorne said. “We’re trying to push the ball every possession. She’s usually guarding the starting point guard on the other team.”
As for the frontcourt, forward Kianna Ibis and Charnea Johnson-Chapman will continue to operate in their high-low offense. Ibis was a key contributor in the victory over Cal and has performed notably better on her homecourt. Washington’s bigs are relatively young and inexperienced compared to Ibis and Johnson-Chapman which gives ASU a major advantage. The duo should be poised for another strong outing.
Defense has been the strong suit for Arizona State this season and should be on full display on Friday evening. Most recently, ASU held the Golden Bears to their lowest point total of the season and forced them into just 28 percent in the game. Through defensive rotations and great anticipation of their opponents, the Sun Devils lead the PAC-12 in scoring defense by allowing just 57.5 per game.
Prior to tip-off, Arizona State will host their 32nd annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day where they offer a free basketball clinic for local youth. Girls eighth grade or younger can participate at the Weatherup Center on S. Rural Road at 5:00 P.M. As for the game, ASU will tip off against Washington at 8:00 P.M. and can be heard on Blaze Radio Online Mixlr with Shaun Salehi and TJ Mathewson on the call from “The Bank”.
Dylan Carter is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Women’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at email@example.com or follow Dylan on Twitter @DylanHCarter .