The Arizona State Sun Devils women’s basketball team will start off the first round of the NCAA tournament at home against 15-seed New Mexico State University.
This is the 14th time theses two schools have played each other in school history, but none more important than this matchup in the NCAA tournament.
The Sun Devils are coming off of a loss against UCLA in their last game of the regular season and a loss to the Cal Bears in the Pac-12 tournament, but will look to turn things around after being awarded a 2-seed.
Despite not winning the Pac-12 championship, the Sun Devils were awarded the 2-seed, their highest seeding in school history. This was likely due to the fact that they shared the regular season Pac-12 title.
Keys to The Game:
While it may seem obvious, this is something the Sun Devils have been struggling with lately. If they want to make a decent run in the tournament, they will have to get their shooting woes in check. They need to get their shooters on track early in the tournament, as they have been shooting extremely poorly in their last three games.
The Sun Devils have to use their experience in their favor. In the tournament, backcourt play is crucial, and with the experience and talent of senior guards Katie Hempen and Elisha Davis, ASU without a doubt has one of the most talented guard combos in the country. The Sun Devils need to use this to their advantage; Davis and Hempen need to come ready to play.
ASU is an undersized team, which shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge in this match up because NMSU is also undersized. The Sun Devils can really exploit the talents of 6-foot-4 center Quinn Dornstauder. She is averaging 9.6 points per game, but has the opportunity to have another breakout game much like she did in her 24-point performance against UCLA.
The X-factor against NMSU is Quinn Dornstauder. As I said earlier, the Sun Devils need to focus on exploiting the size of the Aggies. If they can get the ball inside to their center, this will give them a major offensive boost. ASU should also focus on what they do best—defense; Dornstauder should be able to rack up a few blocks to add to her versatile stat sheet.
I believe that ASU will take this game no problem. They will be back at home in front of their home crowd after resting from their second round loss in the Pac-12 tournament. The Sun Devils should be able to smoothly move on to the round of 32 to take on 7-seed Tennessee.