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ASU Women’s Basketball: Sun Devils prepare for rivalry weekend

(Photo: Nicole Hernandez/WCSN)

After a tough loss against No. 9 Washington last Sunday, Arizona State is looking to bounce back strong this weekend with back-to-back games against their in state rivals, the Arizona Wildcats.

In the Sun Devils 57-70 loss against the Washington Huskies, they gave up 29 points to Pac-12 star Kelsey Plum and 18 points to Osahor Chantel. Before that game, Arizona State won two close matchups against the Oregon Ducks 68-63, and Washington State 61-58.

ASU hasn’t had a player in the last three games who has strongly stood out on the offensive end. The scoring has been fairly even, but Sophie Brunner has lead the way averaging almost 14 points a game.

Arizona on the other hand is coming off a 70-62 win against Washington State where LaBrittney Jones scored 22 points and Malena Washington scored 21 points. Before that game however, the Wildcats struggled mightily, losing seven games in a row.

The 12-13 Wildcats started the year off strong, but quickly struggled once they started playing against the much tougher Pac-12 opponents. Arizona won 9 games before conference play and only had two loses to North Texas and Kansas. In conference play they are only 3-11 with their three wins coming against Utah and Washington State twice.

The Wildcats have struggled to control the ball this year, evident by their 17.4 turnovers a game. ASU will look to take advantage of this by frustrating the Wildcats and forcing a lot of turnovers with their good defense.

Arizona’s offensive leaders are senior forward LaBrittney Jones and senior guard Malena Washington. Jones is averaging 14.8 points and 6.9 rebounds a game, while Washington is putting up 12.6 points a game.

Arizona State dropped out of the AP Top 25 this week after its most recent loss. Despite dropping out however, they are the team receiving the most votes (48) not in the rankings. If things rolls the Sun Devils’ way, they could see themselves back in the Top 25 next week.

As the season comes down to the final four games before the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, Arizona sits in dead last in the conference standings and ASU is right in the middle of the Pac. The Sun Devils are 7-7 against Pac-12 teams and are currently in sixth place. Arizona State will be looking for a weekend sweep to try and improve their conference standing and possibly get back into the AP Top 25 as the regular season ends.

Arizona will host the first game Friday, which will tip off at 7:00 p.m. MST at the McKale Center in Tucson. On Sunday, the two teams will face each other again in at the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe with the tip off at 4:00 p.m. MST. Both games will be available on Pac-12 Networks.

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