(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/WCSN)
The No.23 ranked Arizona State Sun Devils are in Las Vegas for the weekend, competing in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.
On Friday, ASU will battle against its first top 10 opponent of the season, Maryland. The Terps are ranked No.6 in the country and are a perfect 4-0. This is the first time the teams will play each other since the 1978-79 season.
On Saturday, the Sun Devils will also go head-to-head with St. John’s (1-2).
ASU women’s basketball is coming off its first loss of the season. The Sun Devils are 2-1, after falling to a tough Marquette program 75-63. The Golden Eagles scored efficiently against ASU, as they made 61 percent of their shots and went on a 17-2 run in the final quarter.
Even though the Sun Devils dropped a game, they received a huge performance from freshman guard Robbi Ryan, who scored a team high 19 points. The true freshman is currently leading the team is scoring with 11 points per contest, through three games.
The Sun Devils will have their hands full with a program that leads the country in a few categories. The Treps pull down about 26 rebounds a game, which is the highest in the country so far. In addition, the program shares the ball at a high level as they average 26.3 assist per game, which is also the highest in the nation. The team also does not struggle to find the rim. Maryland is second in scoring, as they score around 102 points per game.
Arizona State owns a plus-16 rebound margin, which is 12th in the nation. The Sun Devils can score the basketball as well, as they average around 74 points through three games.
Last time out, Maryland defeated Niagara University 96-64. The Treps have a talented freshman guard Destiny Slocum, who scored 25 points against Niagara. Slocum was named Big Ten Freshman of the week on Monday.
Maryland has four players averaging 11 points or more per contest through just four games. The scoring leaders are: senior forward Shatori Walker-Kimbrough with 14.8 per game, Slocum with 14.5 per game, senior center Brionna Jones with 13.8 per game and freshman guard Kaila Charles 11 per game.
This will be a great early test for the Sun Devils, who have great potential but are still solidifying their identity early on.
St. John’s is coming off a 62-50 loss to No.22 Miami. In that contest, sophomore guard Akina Wellere had a career high scoring night, contributing 19 points. Wellere shot well from behind the arc, making 5-of-7 from deep.
As a team, the Red Storm shoot 34.0 percent beyond the arc.
St. John’s plays aggressive defense, as they have the third best scoring defense in the Big East Conference. The Storm have some size inside the paint: 6’1 senior forward Jade Walker, 6’3 junior forward Imani Littleton and 5’10 junior guard Crystal Simmons.
The team also averages the most blocks per game in their conference respectively and the three of those players account for 13 of the team’s 21 total blocks this season.
Walker leads the team in scoring with 12 points per game. Wellere and senior Aaliyah Lewis both are tied for second on the team in scoring, putting in 11 points per contest each.
The last time these teams went head-to-head was Dec. 8, 1990, and the Sun Devils were victorious as they won 83-77.
Friday’s game against No. 6 Maryland will tip off at 2 p.m. MST. Sunday’s matchup against St. John’s will begin at 2:00 p.m MST.