The ASU women’s basketball team has defended its home court and now must start its four-game road trip.
While it’s going to be the Sun Devils’ (10-6, 2-2 Pac-12) toughest trip, it’s one for which they’ve been preparing.
They travel to Boulder, Colo., on Friday to play No. 21 Colorado. After a Saturday of rest, the Sun Devils then head to Salt Lake City to face Utah.
The Sun Devils have not been away from home much this season.
Their nonconference schedule consisted of three straight games in Las Vegas for the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout where they went 2-1.
They had another road tip in the beginning of December. ASU’s East Coast trip featured a game in Rhode Island and one in Massachusetts, where it went 2-0 and played some of its best basketball of the season.
“I think they like the road,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Obviously, three of our four first games were on the road. We had one home game in November. I think we got them ready. I looked at the schedule and saw the four conference games (on the road), and I said, ‘I think we’ll be ready for that based on our preseason schedule. I think we’ll be OK.’”
Senior Micaela Pickens has similar feelings.
“The thing is, we’re really good on the road,” Pickens said. “Last weekend, we had bad defense and bad shooting. Most of the times we’re really good on the road. We’re more disciplined on defense and don’t settle on offense.”
As confident the Sun Devils may be, they have some tough matchups this weekend.
The Buffaloes (13-2, 2-2 Pac-12) are no joke. Their only two losses have come to then-No. 4 Stanford and No. 7 California, when they only lost by four to the Golden Bears.
Colorado averages 69 points per game, which is fourth in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes are 13-0 when they score more than 55 points. In Colorado’s two losses, its opponents managed to hold them to less than 50 points.
Colorado senior guard Chucky Jeffery is one of the most dynamic players in the Pac-12. At 5 feet 10 inches tall, she’s lethal in all aspects of the game.
She averages 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals per game. In the Pac-12, she ranks No. 14 in scoring and is in the top 10 in those three other categories.
As it always does, defense is going to play a big role this weekend.
“I think it’s just going take a lot of mental focus, recovering and just sticking with the gameplan — defense,” sophomore guard Promise Amukamara said. “Just get it done on defense, and the offense will come.”
Amukamara will most likely have the defensive assignment on Jeffries.
“I think we just need to take away key players, like the point guards, really key in on them and pressure them,” Amukamara said. “Just stop their transition and get to the ball fast.”
The Utes (9-6, 0-4 Pac-12) are a defensive and a 3-point shooting team. They hold teams to an average of 55 points per game, good enough for third in conference.
On offense, the Utes efficiently use the long ball. They average six 3-point baskets a game and are first in the Pac-12 in 3-point field goal percentage at 34 percent.
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