Women’s hoops embraces homestand

The ASU women’s basketball team is No. 8 in the Pac-12 standings after a road trip filled first half of conference play.

The Sun Devils (11-9, 3-5 Pac-12) played six of their first eight conference games on the road, going 1-4 away from Wells Fargo Arena.

They won out at home versus the Oregon schools.

The last time they failed to defend their home floor was on Dec. 2 in a close game against No. 17 Dayton during the ASU Classic.

ASU will get to play in friendly territory more often as the season progresses.

Seven of the Sun Devils’ next 10 games will be at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils currently are 3-6 away from Tempe and 6-2 on their home floor.

“It’s a great advantage for us,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Good teams are good on the road though. I’m excited; the players are excited. It was just a really tough first eight games.”

Junior center Joy Burke is also glad to back.

“I love playing at Wells Fargo Arena,” Burke said. “It’s definitely my home. I love the fans, the crowd (and) the band. I just feel so at home here.”

Turner Thorne said playing back in Tempe will be good for the young team experiencing their first Pac-12 schedule.

“Two-thirds of our team has never played a Pac-12 season,” Turner Thorne said. “They’re like, ‘Oh, OK, I get it now.’ I’m hopeful it’ll be positive for this group.”

 

Rebounding woes

The Sun Devils displayed their abilities to crash the boards earlier in the season, but as of late, their rebounding totals have fallen off.

ASU has been out-rebounded the last six games. Three of those have ended in losses.

“I don’t think we’ve been a great rebounding team all year,” Turner Thorne said. “We’ve played better rebounding teams, and they’ve exposed us.”

Hustle is half the battle when it comes to rebounding and the Sun Devils need to improve that.

“We’ve been challenging them that it is an effort thing,” Turner Thorne said. “It’s both ends of the floor, that’s the thing. Definitely an area of concern.”

ASU had two of its three best rebounding games of the season against the Washington schools. The Sun Devils secured 52 rebounds vs. Washington and a season-high 54 rebounds against Washington State.

 

Pickens ready to go

Senior guard Micaela Pickens was limited versus USC and did not play versus No. 19 UCLA.

Pickens has had a lingering right-foot injury but should be active this weekend, Turner Thorne said.

She said Pickens had aggravated it in a past game.

Pickens had started in 18 of the 20 games this season. She leads the team with 18 3-point field goals made. Pickens is also the only Sun Devil with more than 10 blocks and 20 steals.

 

Reach the reporter at gdemano@asu.edu