The ASU women’s basketball team has had spurts of tenacious defensive and rebounding performances throughout the year.
Once the Sun Devils find a steadiness in their play, they could see success.
They started conference play giving up season-highs in points allowed (77 each) in two losses to the Washington schools.
They managed to have two of their three best rebounding performances of the season, grabbing 52 rebounds versus Washington and a season-high 54 rebounds versus Washington State.
ASU proceeded to hold Oregon and Oregon State to 45 and 55 points respectively, and capture its first two Pac-12 wins. However, it was out-rebounded in both games, as it recorded its season-low in rebounding versus Oregon State, securing only 25.
In the past two games against Utah and Colorado, the Sun Devils have allowed 47 percent shooting by opponents and have been averaging only 28 rebounds per game.
Tough road start
The Sun Devils are in the thick of a road-heavy conference start.
“Our team with this level of experience — I mean, six of our first eight are on the road — that’s tough,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We just have to work hard and get through it.”
They won both home games but have yet to win a Pac-12 road contest.
ASU responded well after its first two conference losses, but must do it again if it wants to avoid plummeting to the bottom of the Pac-12.
Taking care of the basketball
ASU’s main priority used to be cutting down its turnovers. That isn’t the case as of late.
In its first eight games, ASU averaged 21 turnovers per game. In its last four games, it has dropped its average to now 16.
“That’s really big,” Turner Thorne said about her team’s turnover count. “In the Pac-12, a turnover is two points. They’ve been a lot of unforced (turnovers), and I feel like we’ve made progress in that, and that’s giving us extra possessions, which is great.”
While offensive execution is nowhere near perfection for the Sun Devils, they have cut down on unforced turnovers which are going to be huge for their efficiency moving forward.
Back to a tougher, typical Pac-12
While the Pac-12 had one of its weaker seasons last year, the Pac-12 is back to being a power conference in college basketball.
“There’s not much comparison (to last year),” Turner Thorne said.
The Pac-12 currently boasts four nationally ranked teams: No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 California, No. 19 UCLA and No. 20 Colorado.
Stanford was the only nationally ranked team at the end of the 2012 season.
Last year, the Pac-12 saw only two teams make it to the NCAA tournament – Stanford and California.
Turner Thorne expects that four or five teams may end up making it to the tournament.
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