(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)
Arizona State looks to get back to their winning ways this Friday as they travel to Boulder to take on Colorado.
Although the loss to Oregon State snapped a 14-game winning streak for ASU, the Sun Devils (18-2, 7-1 Pac-12) have moved up to 11th in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 Poll. In that 14-game streak, the Sun Devils won all but one of their games by double-digits.
The Buffaloes (9-10, 2-6 Pac-12) have struggled in conference play so far, only notching two wins against Utah who is last in the standings. Colorado has lost two straight and are looking to pull off the upset on their home court.
Keys to the Game:
-Shut down the Starters
Four out of five Colorado starters average double-digits points every game, led by talented junior forward Jamee Swan with 14.2 points per game. The Sun Devils will need to maintain intensity on defense and force the Buffaloes to look to their bench players for scoring help on offense.
-Take the Ball Away
Colorado ranks last in the conference in turnover margin at -5.79 turnovers per game, indicating a sloppy offense and lack of ability to hold on to the ball. Arizona State, is especially talented at taking the ball away from opponents, with a turnover margin of +2.85 turnovers per game good for second in the Pac-12. If the Sun Devils continue this trend, their defense will create plenty of opportunities to get out in transition and get some easy fast-break buckets.
The Buffaloes rank last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing their opponents to score an average of 70.6 points per game. With players like Katie Hempen catching fire as of late and Sophie Brunner playing well down low, the Sun Devils have an opportunity to score well above their season average of 71.9 points per game.
In the game against Oregon State last Sunday, Katie Hempen had one of her best offensive games of the season, shooting 8-14 including 6-8 from behind the arc, but Arizona State still only managed to score 57 points. This lack of overall scoring was much in part to the absence of ASU’s top post threat Sophie Brunner, who quickly got into foul trouble and was forced to sit for much of the second half. The X-factor in this one will be whether or not Brunner will be able to stay out of foul trouble and produce for a Sun Devil team that looks much better with her in the lineup.
The Sun Devils were unhappy to see their winning streak come to an end, but it should provide ample motivation for Coach Charli Turner Thorne’s team. Arizona State should be able to get back on track in this game and defeat Colorado by double-digits.
Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. at Coors Event Center in Boulder, Colorado.