ASU women’s hoops looks to right ship at home vs. Utah, CU

The ASU women’s basketball team will look to find success as it starts its string of six remaining conference games, five which will be at home.

Freshman guard Arnecia Hawkins drives toward the basket against a Washington defender on Feb. 3. The women's basketball team hopes to get back on the right track at home against Utah and Colorado. (Photo by Molly J. Smith)

Freshman guard Arnecia Hawkins drives toward the basket against a Washington defender on Feb. 3. The women’s basketball team hopes to get back on the right track at home against Utah and Colorado. (Photo by Molly J. Smith)

The Sun Devils (11-13, 3-9 Pac-12) take on Utah (13-10, 4-8 Pac-12) at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, then ASU plays No. 21 Colorado on Sunday in Tempe.

The Sun Devils had tough road games against these two teams about a month ago. They have dropped their last seven of eight.

By no means were these games out of reach.

“I mean, we had poor second halves and couldn’t score the ball,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We honestly didn’t play well on either side.”

Most losses for the Sun Devils this year have been due to inconsistency. It seems to be their defense is clicking and their offense isn’t or vice versa.

In some games, they have rebounding the ball well, but then they can’t take care of the ball once they have it in their possession. In games it has won, ASU has been able to sustain great efforts across the board.

On the defensive end, the effort has been there. Those efforts need to be more detailed. With different teams come different strengths and weaknesses to cover.

“We can’t allow star players to do what they do well,” Turner Thorne said. “We still don’t understand the importance of that. It’s that attention to detail on defense.”

When ASU plays Utah, it must deal with talented forward Michelle Plouffe. The junior averages 16 points and seven rebounds per game, which are the fifth and ninth best marks in the conference.

The Sun Devils had a tough time guarding Utah and allowed them to shoot 24 free throws. The Utes scored 20 of their 66 points from the stripe.

On the backside of the weekend, the Sun Devils must deal with one of the most dynamic players in the conference.

Utah senior Chucky Jeffery can do it all and showed ASU in their last meeting. The 5-foot-10 guard finished the game with 19 points, 16 rebounds, two steals and one block.

Sustaining offensive production was a big problem for ASU in that contest. The Sun Devils shot a decent 36 percent, but a dismal 13 percent in the second half, making only four field goals.

ASU was outrebounded as well 47-31.

“For both I think the boards are important,” Turner Thorne said. “Offense obviously, too, setting good screens, helping others create shots.”

The
Sun Devils haven’t won a home game since Jan. 13 and will try to change that up
this weekend.

Reach the reporter at gdemano@asu.edu