(Photo: Brooke Faber/WCSN)
On Friday night, the No.8 Arizona State Sun Devils (22-4, 13-1 Pac-12) will take on the Washington State Cougars (12-13, 3-11 Pac-12) for the second time this season.
In the previous matchup between ASU and Washington State, the Sun Devils were able to talk away with a dominating 18-point victory in Pullman.
ASU is coming off yet another thrilling win on the road against Stanford. The Sun Devils looked again to no one other than Sophie Brunner in the last seconds remaining in over time. The junior standout was able to hit another game winning shot, propelling her team past the No. 15 Cardinal.
The Cougars have struggled for the last month, losing eight straight, with their last win coming against USC on January 15.
Things are just about opposite for the Sun Devils. They have won four straight and look hungrier than ever as they move into the last few games of their Pac-12 schedule.
Keys To The Game:
Playing smart around the basket
With WSU having already totaled up 106 blocks this season, ASU’s Quinn Dornstauder and Sophie Brunner are going to have to make sure that they are smart around the basket. Having Katie Hempen and Elisha Davis open on the perimeter should help open up the Sun Devils offensive game if the Cougars’ interior defense gives them any trouble at all.
Containing Dawnyelle Awa
The Sun Devils are going to have to make sure that they are not only aware of where Washington State’s senior Dawnyelle Awa is on offense, but more importantly on defense. She is leading the cougars in steals with 42 this season. She will be looking to pick the pockets of Katie Hempen and Elisha Davis to give her team some extra offensive possessions.
Continue to be strong on the boards
The last few wins from ASU have been close ones, with the defining feature allowing them to pull out those close games being their rebounding margin. They have been dominant on the glass thus far, and if they continue to do this they should have no problem with the cougars.
Sophie Brunner, to say she has been dominant as of late would be an understatement. While I don’t believe ASU will need her to hit another game winner on Friday, she is vital to this Sun Devils team. She is leading her team in scoring so far and will give ASU an offensive spark as she looks to carry her team past Washington State for the second time this season.
Given that WSU is on a long losing streak and ASU has been on absolute tear winning its last four games, I think the Sun Devils will make it five on Friday. After their nail-biting win against Stanford they are going to come ready to play and will take this game with ease. The Sun Devils have come too far and are entirely too battle-tested to lose this game so late in the season.