(Photo: Brooke Faber/WCSN)
Media day for the four teams playing in Tempe took concluded earlier today, including Arizona State and their opponent, Ohio. Here are highlights and notes from the event.
Ohio and Arizona State haven’t faced off this year, or ever for that matter, but Arizona State Head Coach Charli Turner-Thorne says you can usually compare a team to another, and that’s not the case with Ohio.
“Usually you play a team, you’re like, oh, they’re like this team, like Villanova, like Utah,” Coach Turner-Thorne said, “[Ohio] — we’ve played some five out but not quite with this personnel, so it is different and their motion is different.”
While Arizona State has had to face off against teams that are generally much taller and bigger than they are, Ohio is similar to ASU in the fact that they’re a smaller team. Ohio often has to rely on their three-point shooting, and their players think strong outside shooting can help them win this game.
“I think that’s one of our strengths. We like to shoot the ball. We find each other, get open, easy shots,” said Junior guard Kiyanna Black who averages 16.1 points per game, leading the Bobcats.
It’s been 20 years since the Ohio Bobcats have been to the NCAA Tournament, and head coach and MAC Coach of the Year Bob Boldon has only been with Ohio for two, but an appearance is just the beginning in his mind.
“Surely it’s a step in the right direction, but hopefully it’s something that we can continue to build on and make sure it’s not 20 years before we come back to this thing,” Boldon continues, “that’s the challenge.”
Another challenge for Ohio? Finding a way to defend against the Sun Devil’s offense, where the scoring never comes from just one individual because Turner-Thorne’s mass substitutions allow for ASU to wear out teams without getting tired themselves.
“They can sustain winning because if they get in a little bit of foul trouble early, they’ve got people they can go to and they play incredibly hard,” Coach Boldin said, “and when you play eight, nine people, your kids can play hard, when they know they can take a break and come sit down for a few minutes.”
Arizona State and Ohio face off at 3:30 p.m. MST at Wells Fargo Arena for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.