Sun Devils travel east to take on No. 13 FSU
By Ethan Schmidt // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
TALLAHASSEE, FL — The Arizona State women’s basketball team (7-2) hits the road for a tough non-conference battle against No. 13-ranked Florida State on Sunday.
ASU and Florida State meet for just the sixth time ever with the Sun Devils leading the series 3-2. The last time they played, ASU won, 68-56, in Tempe back in December of 2015.
“The game against Florida State is a fun game for us,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “It’s a top-ranked team on the road. It’s a great challenge.”
Florida State is off to one of its hottest starts in program history at 9-0 this season after reaching the Elite Eight last year. The Seminoles are looking to begin the season 10-0 for the third time in program history.
Seminoles head coach Sue Semrau is a big reason for their success. She is the winningest coach in school history with a career record of 401-233 over 20 seasons with four ACC Coach of the Year awards.
FSU is averaging 90 points a game in the 2017-18 season, outscoring opponents by over 32 points. The team is shooting near 50% from the field and out-rebounding opponents by more than 16.
“It’s going to be important to know personnel, and locking down the big three (Alix, Thomas and Wright),” ASU junior forward Kiana Ibis said. “And making sure they don’t touch the ball and making sure they don’t get points that they are used to getting. We just have to be ready and prepared to lock them down.”
Senior forward Shakayla Thomas has been outstanding this season for the Seminoles. She is averaging over 21 points and nearly eight boards a game.
Point guard AJ Alix, a graduate transfer from TCU, is averaging 13.2 points a game and leading the team in assists. Redshirt senior guard Imani Wright, a transfer from Baylor, is averaging 15.6 points a game.
Both the Seminoles and Sun Devils continue to excel defensively. Arizona State allows just 53.6 points per game while FSU’s scoring defense is allowing just 57.6 points per game. The Sun Devils have not allowed an opponent to reach 70 points this season.
ASU is fresh off a win in the ASU Classic Championship last Sunday. However, junior guard Sabrina Haines was helped off the court with an apparent knee injury and returned to the bench on crutches.
The severity of her injury and whether she will play or not has not been officially announced. Haines is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.2 points a game behind Ibis.
“We have to make up for her scoring and I think we just need to keep playing how we know how to play,” sophomore guard Reili Richardson said. “We don’t have a deep bench already so the guards have to get more minutes and we have to play smart.”
ASU forward Jamie Ruden and guard Robbi Ryan, both sophomores, have found roles in the Sun Devil offense.
Ruden is averaging 10 points a game and is shooting 50% from the field and behind the three-point line. Ryan has added to the offensive mix with 8.8 points a game.
Florida State hosts ASU at the Donald L. Tucker Center. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. MST on Sunday, Dec. 10.
Ethan Schmidt is a beat writer for Blaze Sports covering ASU Women’s Basketball. You can reach out to him at email@example.com or follow Ethan on Twitter @TheEthanSchmidt .