As tough as the regular season may have been, the ASU women’s basketball team still feels confident as it starts the Pac-12 tournament.
The Sun Devils (13-17, 4-13 Pac-12) could be playing their last game of the season this Thursday in Seattle at the KeyArena when they face Washington State (10-19, 6-12).
ASU is the No. 9 seed in the conference tournament and Washington State is the No. 8 seed.
The winner will go on to play the Pac-12’s top seed, No. 4 Stanford, on Friday.
The Sun Devils have lost nine of their last 11 games. The Cougars lost their last six of seven.
“We didn’t beat them this year, and we know they’re a good team,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “But we feel like we didn’t play our best against them, and you have to credit them for that.”
ASU lost both of its games versus the Cougars this season. In its first matchup, it gave a season-high 77 points, sporting poor perimeter defense.
The second matchup saw the Cougars shoot 41 percent and the Sun Devils shoot a dismal 25 percent in another double-digit loss.
“That’s been an ongoing battle this year,” Turner Thorne said. “Just our discipline on defense, finishing and getting buckets on offense. … Those are the two things we’ll really emphasize going into the Pac-12 tournament.”
The inexperience from this young team has resulted in a season full of inconsistency in all aspects. They haven’t played a game in which they dominated in all aspects.
Redshirt senior Janae Fulcher made the most of her last game at Wells Fargo Arena last Sunday. She scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, accomplishing her third career double-double.
This could be her, and senior Micaela Picken’s, very last collegiate game.
“I mean, you never know. We still have the Pac-12 tournament, so we are very hopeful,” Fulcher said. “We’re guaranteed one more game, and we’re going to fight with every bit that we have in us.”
The Sun Devils will also have a tough defensive assignment on the recently rewarded Washington State freshman guard Lia Galdeira. This week Galdeira acheived All-Conference, All-Defensive and All-Freshmen team honors from the Pac-12 media.
She currently averages 14 points per game, the highest average in the conference for a freshman. The last time the Sun Devils met Washington State, she scored 20 points.
This team may be young and still learning, but it has shown its ability to compete with top teams. If the Sun Devils don’t compete at a high level Thursday, it will be the last time the team plays for a while.
“I really feel like our team feels like, ‘Hey, bring it on,’ with anybody,” Turner Thorne said.
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