ASU women’s basketball heads to mountains after tough weekend split

With this past weekend’s split with No. 19 California and No. 4 Stanford in the rearview mirror, No. 14 ASU women’s basketball team will take to the road to try and grab back some momentum in the mountains.

“In the Pac-12 there are no easy games,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Everybody is just good.”

The Utes (8-9, 1-5 Pac-12) started the year on a down note, losing four of their first six games. Utah responded by claiming a five-game winning streak, then a five-game losing streak, which was ended Sunday at Washington State. The Utes will look to carry the momentum of getting their first conference win in their last game.

Senior forward Michelle Plouffe has been a star for the Utes this season, averaging a double-double of 17.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Emily Potter has been a pleasant addition to the Utes’ rotation, scoring 11.9 points and grabbing 7.2 rebounds per contest this season.

The Utes don’t have a quality win so far this season, so they will try to make a splash on the national scene by beating No. 14 Sun Devils.

The Buffaloes (11-6, 1-5 Pac-12) started out the season ranked inside the AP Top 25 but have underachieved this year, falling out of the rankings in the most recent poll. Colorado won its first nine games in a row before a loss to No. 5 Louisville started a skid of six losses in eight games.

Sophomore forward Arielle Roberson has been the statistical leader for the now-struggling Buffaloes, scoring 13.3 points per game and pulling down 8.1 rebounds. Junior forward Jen Reese has provided valuable minutes off the bench, scoring 12.1 points per game and grabbing 5.7 boards.

The Buffaloes will try to get back on track with two games at home this weekend and climb back in the rankings.

After its loss to Stanford, ASU wants to win the next two games to gain confidence back to continue to run through its Pac-12 schedule.

Although Turner Thorne admitted that the Sun Devils have not had great practices recently, she knows that her team will have to pick up their effort in practice to improve.

“Toughness is built in practice,” Turner Thorne said. “It’s built through working hard every day in practice.”

Turner Thorne is not worried about her team responding to the loss to Stanford and playing the next two games on the road.

“We’ve rebounded well this year,” said Turner Thorne. “That’s our toughness kicking in.”

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