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ASU Women’s Basketball: Sun Devils eager to open non-conference slate

(Photo:Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN)

The 2016-2017 Arizona State women’s basketball campaign will begin Friday afternoon in Tempe.

The Sun Devils will open their season against Illinois State of the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Redbirds hail from the Missouri Valley Conference, and will look to play spoiler in the season opener.

“I think we’ll be ready this weekend, I really do,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “I think you’ll see an offense that’s coming, but it’s a work in progress.”

Illinois State is an incredibly inexperienced squad. Sophomores Katrina Beck and Viria Livingston are the two top scoring returnees for the Redbirds with Beck averaging a team high 5.9 points and Livingston close behind at 5.5 points.

The Redbirds finished 8-22 overall last year, winning only two road games on the year.

Friday night will mark the debut of several new freshmen additions to the team, including likely starting point guard Kiara Russell. Russell, along with her fellow freshmen, will look to make an immediate impact for a Sun Devil team in need of stellar backcourt play.

Senior leaders like forward Kelsey Moos are prepared to make the transition from high school to college ball as easy as possible for the freshmen.

“We just try to be really encouraging of them,” Moos said. “It can be a lot of pressure as a freshman, and we’re just trying to help them day by day.”

The Sun Devils will be back in action for the first time since being upset in last year’s NCAA Tournament by Tennessee, and will look to start their season on a high note.

I think the fans are really going to enjoy watching this team,” Turner Thorne said. “The combination of our senior front court with all these young kids, people are really going to enjoy it.”

The game will tip at 4:00 MST at Wells Fargo Arena, and will be streamed online through Pac-12 Network.

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