No. 19 ASU women’s basketball faces ‘great challenge’ this weekend

The No. 19 ASU women’s basketball team has faced off against two ranked opponents, and the Sun Devils have won both games so far this season. They hope to repeat their success this weekend against No. 15 California and No. 4 Stanford.

Coach Charli Turner Thorne knows that this weekend will be a measuring stick for her club.

“I think this is a great challenge for us,” Turner Thorne said. “We’re going to see where we’re at, because I don’t know. We’ll find out Friday at 11.”

The Golden Bears (12-3, 4-0 Pac-12) have met expectations following a trip to the Final Four last season. Of their three losses, two came to teams ranked in the top two spots in the AP poll.

Cal’s leading scorers are junior forward Reshanda Gray, who scores 16.5 points per game, and junior guard Brittany Boyd, who nets 13.1.

The Cardinal (15-1, 4-0 Pac-12) have followed a similar path to the one they’ve taken over the past few years, their only loss coming to No. 1 UConn. Along the way, Stanford has taken down four top-25 teams this year, including a six-point win over Tennessee.

Stanford is led by senior forward Chiney Ogwumike, who averages 27.3 points and 11.8 assists per game, by far the team leader in both categories. Second in points is junior guard Amber Orrange who puts in 10.4 points per contest.

Both teams are undefeated in conference play heading into this series, so ASU will try to catch up in the Pac-12 standings by putting a dent into the records of the Cardinal and the Golden Bears.

While the practices have been the same, the Sun Devils have been focusing on certain aspects of the game to get them prepared for the big weekend, according to senior forward Adrianne Thomas.

“I think we are really focusing on our rebounding and defense more,” Thomas said. “Cal and Stanford are such good teams offensively and defensively and rebounding on both ends of the court.”

Turner Thorne reiterated that rebounding will be a key for the upcoming weekend.

“We’ve got to rebound better, and we’ve got to take care of the ball,” Turner Thorne said. “Those are probably the two biggest keys for that game.”

The Sun Devils tip off against Cal on Friday at 11 a.m. then have two days off before facing Stanford on Monday at 5 p.m.

 

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger