(Photo: Brooke Faber/WCSN)
After two games that were decided at the buzzer against Stanford and California we decided we had to talk about it.
We’ve assembled our best to give you their insights (and my own) into those two games and the news that Arizona State will get a home regional if they earn a top four seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
What was your initial reaction to hearing ASU will get a home regional if they earn a top 4 seed?
Terra Pinckley: Well one lucky team not only gets to face ASU, but the Curtain of Distraction as well if ASU does end up getting a home regional, and if folklore is to be believed that gives the Sun Devils an advantage. Besides for the Curtain of Distraction, it will be great to see how much the fan base as a whole contributes to what could be a historic run for the Sun Devils. The Sun Devils have only witnessed one loss at home all year, so this can only help them in the tournament.
Drew Martin: Well obviously my first reaction was a positive one. Arizona State plays great basketball when they’re in Wells Fargo Arena. Over the past two seasons, the Sun Devils are 26-3 at home and 14-8 on the road. If ASU can get one of those top four seeds, it will give them a greater chance to make a deep run into the tournament.
Gavin Schall: It can’t be understated just how positive of a development that was. Arizona State was facing the prospect of essentially going on the road to start their tournament and potentially succuming to an early round opponent. Now the Sun Devils with a strong finish will open in the comfy confines of Wells Fargo Arena where their only loss on the season was on a buzzer beater last Sunday to California.
What do you make of Quinn Dornstauder’s play against California-Stanford, is she going to need to be more consistent for ASU to get a win?
Terra Pinckley: Dornstauder was on the court for thirteen minutes against Cal, but only got three shots off in that time, which probably hurt ASU in the long run, seeing how she had 22 points in the game before against Stanford. Dornstauder seemed to be frustrated against Cal, especially having to deal with their strength and size, but I don’t think that’s reason to be concerned for her going forward. Not many teams ASU faces are as big as the Golden Bears are, so Dornstauder should have an easier time putting up numbers closer to, if not more than, her average of 7.6 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game to finish out the season.
Drew Martin: Quinn Dornstauder was incredible to watch against Stanford, dropping 22 points in only 25 minutes of floor time, and I think that she really showed her potential. That being said, she disappeared in the following game against Cal, scoring 0 points. Dornstauder is a talented player, but she is extremely raw. She is the tallest player on the ASU roster at 6-foot-4, and the Sun Devils will definitely need her against Oregon State to matchup with the Beavers’ 6-foot-6 Ruth Hamblin. If Dornstauder can begin to consistently play like she did against Stanford, Arizona State will be a much better team.
Gavin Schall: Dornstauder was the only reason Arizona State was in the game against Stanford dropping nine of the team’s first 11 points and opening up 4-4 from the floor while her teammates shot under 30% over the same stretch. Against a taller California team the Canadian big couldn’t get quite the same positioning she did against Stanford and it cost her, those mid-range shots that she relies on not dropping from a little bit further out. For the Sun Devils to make a deep tournament run she’s going to need to play at that Stanford level or at least close to it. Having an elite big coming off the bench isn’t a weapon many teams can claim.
Do you think ASU wins the Pac-12?
Terra Pinckley: The Sun Devils have already lost two Pac-12 games, and haven’t even played their second game against Oregon State in Corvallis yet. Oregon State has only lost one Pac-12 game to Washington and while OSU still has a game against Stanford, it’s in Corvallis. If Arizona State were to win the Pac-12 they would have to start by winning tonight. OSU isn’t going to drop two more games to teams like Arizona and Utah, they’ve just been too dominate. The Beavers have been winning by a margin of 16.9 points per game against Pac-12 opponents this season, and there’s no reason to believe they’ll be slowing down. ASU would need to win tonight and then run the table, and I just don’t see that happening.
Drew Martin: I think who wins the Pac-12 will be determined by today’s matchup against Oregon State. The team that wins this game should go on to win the conference, especially ASU since their remaining conference schedule is relatively weak. It’s very tough for me to call the game, but I believe that ASU will be able to sneak out of Corvallis with the upset and win-out to take the Pac-12 regular season title.
Gavin Schall: No I’d rather bet the field. Arizona State showcased the kind of resiliency to come back against Cal that makes them one of the elite teams in the country, but the game also highlighted some chinks in the Sun Devils armor. California opened up a big lead by dominating ASU with their strength and athleticism. Arizona State is going to face a similar challenge against Oregon State. If the Sun Devils upset the Beavers tonight they’ll have as good of a chance as anybody. Yet, Oregon State would still be tied for first with two conference losses and with the Ducks just a game back the Sun Devils would still have their work cut out for them.
Where the slow starts against Stanford/Oregon concerning for future games against more athletic teams?
Terra Pinckley: They were a bit concerning, especially since ASU had been getting out to fast starts all season. The Sun Devils were in the habit of going on 10-0+ runs coming out of the gate, and then against Stanford and Oregon, they were on the losing side of those runs. It would have been more understandable if Arizona State had just slowed down the past couple of games and kept the first half close, but it seemed like they were groggy coming out of the tunnel.
Drew Martin: No, I don’t believe so. If anything, I think that those games were a testament to how resilient and talented that this Sun Devil team is. Coach Charli Turner is one of the best coaches in the country and is great with adjustments, so I don’t think that slow starts will be a problem down the road, regardless of how athletic the team is. The Sun Devils just need to execute whatever game plan Turner Thorne has laid out for them from the opening whistle rather than waiting until halftime to flip the switch.
Gavin Schall: I felt claustrophobic just watching ASU in the first couple of minutes of that game, as the Devils struggled just getting the ball up to the three point line. It’s going to be an on going issue against athletic defenses as Sun Devils for all of their strengths don’t necessarily have elite skill players on the offensive end. Defensively Arizona State had a lot of trouble stopping penetration, particularly against the Cardinal. All that being said the Sun Devils figured it out in the second half of both games, and the experience will only help ASU start off on a strong note against top teams in the future.