The ASU women’s basketball team will look to defend its home court this weekend versus the Washington schools.
The Sun Devils (11-9, 3-5) played only two home games in the month of January. Of all the Pac-12 schools, ASU was the only team to play six road games in its first eight games.
The Sun Devils take on Washington State Friday night and will finish the weekend Sunday morning against the Washington.
The main story of this team has revolved around its youth and how it is learning as the season progresses.
Fans could only hope a road-filled first half can prepare ASU for the rest of conference play.
When coach Charli Turner Thorne was asked if she was “grateful” that her team had the tough road schedule early on, she said, “Grateful might be a little exaggerated, but I’m grateful that it’s over, and I’m excited for some home games.”
Washington State (6-13, 2-6) gave ASU a ton of trouble in their matchup. Offensively, WSU shot 41 percent from the field and a whopping 64 percent from three-point land.
On defense, the Sun Devils were burned from the perimeter. Cougars sophomore guard Tia Presley exploded for her season-high 27 points and four assists against ASU.
ASU gave up a season-high of 77 points and scored a strong but inefficient 65. It only shot 34 percent for the game.
Redshirt senior forward Janae Fulcher had one her best offensive games of the season against Washington State, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
It was a pretty similar case in ASU’s loss against Washington (14-5, 6-2). The Sun Devils gave up 77 points, including seven 3-pointers, both for the second time in one weekend.
The perimeter defense was absent that whole weekend and that will need to change in order for ASU to see success this weekend.
“We definitely need to play better defense than we did last time,” Turner Thorne said. “That was our biggest shortcoming. We’re definitely better than we were. We’ve grown, and we’re looking forward to playing these teams again.”
On offense, the Sun Devils lit up the scoreboard. They posted 74 points, but were carried by one of their best bench scorers. Sophomore Jada Blackwell scorched the Huskies for a career-high 29 points and grabbed eight boards.
While they carried out horrid defensive efforts against the Washington schools, they had two of their three best rebounding performances of the season.
They had a plus-16 rebounding margin against the Huskies and a plus-22 margin versus the Cougars.
If ASU repeats it rebounding rate, makes similar defense efforts to those it made last weekend and has decent offense, it should come out of this weekend moving up the conference rankings.
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