(Photo: Drew Martin/WCSN)
After losing their first game in conference play against Oregon State, and then bouncing back on Friday night in a win against UCLA at home, the No. 8 Arizona State Sun Devils (19-4,10-1 Pac-12) will get set to take on USC (17-6, 5-6 Pac-12) on Sunday at 2pm in Tempe.
The Sun Devils managed to get a narrow 4-point victory against UCLA behind Katie Hempen’s 20-point performance.
The Trojans have a young squad with seven of their players being underclassmen. They have struggled in conference play as of yet, but managed a notable three-point win over UCLA at home in early January.
USC has also been using their height to their advantage. With six players over six-feet tall, they use their size effectively inside.
This will be the second stop of USC’s Arizona road-trip; they are coming off of a 10-point victory in Tucson on Friday.
Keys To The Game:
Contain Courtney Jaco
USC’s junior guard has been on fire as of late. She is lighting it up from beyond the arc, going 4-for-4 in their last game, adding to her game high 24-point performance. The Sun Devils are going to have to make sure they play tight defense and not allow her to get open on the three-point line.
Keep USC off of the charity stripe. They are shooting 70 percent from the line this season. If the devils allow them to get to the line, they will be giving this young team the advantage, giving them free offensive opportunities and risking getting into foul trouble.
ASU’s senior guards Elisha Davis and Katie Hempen are going to have to be aware of their court position against USC’s defense. The Trojans are averaging 10.5 steals per-game. This could cause major trouble for the Sun Devils if they aren’t careful, giving USC the chance to get out and play in transition, an area in which they thrive.
The X-factor for this game is Elisha Davis. She is going to be controlling the tempo and mood for the Sun Devils. She has been the defensive spark ASU has needed as of late. She will be responsible for keeping USC’s Courtney Jaco under control. She leads her team in assists and is averaging just over eight points per-game. She is going to keep the Sun Devils on track in this tough match up.
While USC is a talented team, they are just too young to compete with this battle-tested ASU team. The Sun Devils have too many weapons coming off the bench to let this one get away from them. It may be close in the first half, but ASU will pull away in the second half.