The No. 9 Arizona State University Sun Devils (24-4, 15-1 Pac-12) embark on their final road trip of the regular season as they get set to take on USC (18-10, 6-10) on Friday night in Los Angeles.
In their previous matchup in Tempe earlier this month, it was anything but an easy win for the Sun Devils who won in thrilling fashion in a one-point victory.
The Sun Devils star junior forward Sophie Brunner hit a game winning free throw with 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock, earning her team the win.
Since their last matchup, USC has lost three of its last four games, with their only win coming against Washington State.
This game could turn out to be one of the most important games of the season as ASU needs to win out and have Oregon State lose one of its games this weekend in order to secure the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament.
Keys To The Game:
In their last game against the Trojans, ASU allowed them to get to the line more than they should have. USC is a young team and they like to drive the ball to the hoop, they will be looking to draw the foul every time they come down the court, looking for that extra offensive boost. The Sun Devils will need to avoid giving the Trojans opportunities from the charity stripe to prevent them from getting into the game.
Protect the paint
ASU struggled in the first half with transition defense. They will have to better contain USC’s sophomore forward Kristen Simon in the paint. The Sun Devils are going to have to stay active of defense as well.
ASU may get out to an early lead in this one but the key for them will be to not take their foot off the gas. ASU knows what this young USC team is capable of and if they aren’t careful, there could be a repeat of the last game.
The X-Factor for this matchup is Sabrina Haines. USC relies heavily on their guard play, while ASU relies heavily on its defense. The Devils will look to their standout freshman Haines for another solid performance from the guard who has strong defense but is known for her offensive presence.
I think the Sun Devils learned their lesson, never underestimate any conference opponent, even when you’re playing on your home court. Having said that I think the Sun Devils will come in looking to get an early lead. I think ASU will win in dominating fashion in the Galen Center on Friday night.