(Photo Credit: Steve Rodriguez/Sun Devil Athletics)
No. 20 Arizona State (22-6, 11-5) will travel to Eugene to play the Oregon Ducks (13-14, 4-12) on Friday night. Following a rough patch of three consecutive losses in early February, the Sun Devils pieced together two wins last weekend against Colorado and Utah.
In the previous matchup between these two schools, ASU came away with a 97-94 victory. Following that loss, the Ducks defeated Utah by 22 points, but since then have dropped five consecutive Pac-12 conference games.
Senior center Joy Burke came off of the bench in this first meeting and scored 22 points, while grabbing 15 rebounds as well. Freshman guard Chrishae Rowe scored 39 points against the Sun Devils, but couldn’t take care of the ball, finishing with eight turnovers.
ASU will grab the win tonight if they can accomplish the following three tasks:
– Limit Rowe and sophomore forward Jillian Alleyene
While Rowe finished with 39 points in the first game, Alleyene tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late in the contest. Seven of those were offensive rebounds, and if Arizona State wants to complete the season sweep over the Ducks, they will need to box her out and force some one-and-out possessions.
– Slow down the game tempo
Oregon likes to run-and-gun on offense, usually hoisting up a shot in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock. If ASU can prove their defense won’t back down early on and force either bad shots or have Oregon keep the ball out of Rowe and Alleyene’s hands, it will go a long way towards an ASU road victory.
– Find the weaknesses in Oregon’s defense
Burke tore up the Ducks’ post defense in early February, but I expect Oregon to come out a lot stronger down low tonight. The perimeter offense will need to be on point when they are given open opportunities.
Arizona State and Oregon will tip off at 8:00 p.m. MST at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
You can reach Brendan Kennealy on twitter at @BrendanKennealy or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org