Sun Devils Travel to Bay Area for Important PAC-12 Weekend
By Ethan Schmidt // Women’s Basketball Beat Writer for Blaze Sports
NORTHERN, Cal. – The No. 25 Arizona State women’s basketball team heads to Northern California for critical Pac-12 bouts against Stanford and No. 23 Cal.
The Sun Devils (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12) found success against both Bay Area teams when Stanford and California visited Tempe at the beginning of January. Those two wins were the last of a six-game winning streak for Arizona State, including four straight to start Pac-12 play.
ASU has gone on a 1-3 skid since, falling to the Oregon schools on the road and losing for the first time at home to Utah on Jan. 19.
Now, the Sun Devils are in a four-way tie for fourth place in the Pac-12 with No. 17 Oregon State, California and Utah. No. 13 UCLA and Stanford are tied for second and No. 7 Oregon stands tall in first.
With wins this weekend, ASU can climb its way back up in the Pac-12 standings and potentially the AP poll rankings as well.
Stanford (Friday, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT)
Arizona State secured a 73-66 victory over Stanford in Tempe back on Jan. 7. Charnea Johnson-Chapman tied her career high in scoring with 16 points and Reili Richardson added 11 points in the win.
The Sun Devils dominated the boards and out-rebounded the Cardinal, 47-24. ASU capitalized on offensive rebounds with 22 second chance points and held Stanford to just two second chance points.
However, Friday night’s match-up is believed to be a completely different game.
“They are going to rebound like they have never rebounded before because we outrebounded them by 23 and that was the biggest difference in the game,” ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said.
Friday marks Stanford’s ninth game against a ranked opponent this season when it hosts the No. 25 Sun Devils. The Sun Devils have to rise to the challenge against a tough Stanford team in Maples Pavilion this time around.
“Stanford is obviously a storied program, very well coached, very disciplined very tough and they’re getting better,” Turner Thorne said. “I think they are better now than they were the first time we played them.”
Stanford guard Kiana Williams is the Pac-12’s second-leading freshman scorer in conference games (10.3). Senior guard Brittany McPhee is averaging 15.3 points in nine games since returning from injury.
No. 23 Cal (Sunday, 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MT)
The No. 25 Sun Devils and No. 23 Golden Bears find themselves in the same spots of the AP Poll rankings both teams were in when they squared off in Tempe on Jan. 5.
In the first match-up, ASU took the lead and never looked back to earn its first win, 80-71, over a ranked opponent all season. Sophomore point guard Reili Richardson reached a new career high in assists with 11 in the game.
Junior forward Kianna Ibis led the way in scoring with 26 points for the Sun Devils. ASU combined for 23 assists and only four turnovers.
California junior guard Asha Thomas and junior forward Kristine Anigwe paired for 49 of the Golden Bears 71 points. The two continue to be top players for the Golden Bears heading into Sunday’s match-up.
Anigwe paces the team with 17.9 points per game which is top three in the Pac-12 conference.
The Golden Bears have won their last four of five games since last playing the Sun Devils. The only loss came at the hands of No. 13 UCLA on Jan. 19.
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.