After opening up Pac-12 play with a 72-47 win over Colorado, ASU women’s basketball travels to Utah looking to hand the Utes their first home loss.
For their second conference game, Arizona State will attempt to accomplish a feat not yet done this season. That is to beat the 10-2 Utah Utes at home, where the Utes are 8-0. In fact, no one has come close, with only one opponent losing by less than 21.
But, Utah has yet to host a team as talented as Arizona State having not yet play a team that is currently in or has votes in the AP Top 25 Poll.
The Sun Devils made a statement by blowing out Colorado by 25 on the road for their first Pac-12 game. ASU has won three in a row by a total of 115 total points.
This game could come down to whichever team can control the paint. Utah’s strength is their bigs, especially Emily Potter and Megan Huff.
They each grab more than eight rebounds per game and are the Utes’ top two scorers. It will be up to ASU’s interior defense to step up and make sure the two don’t get going.
Another key for ASU will be creating turnovers. They force an average of 18 per game this season, and this is an area where they can exploit the Utes. Both Utah losses came where they turned the ball over more than their opponents. They lost the ball 17 times during each of those games.
A major difference in this game could prove to be ASU power forward Jamie Ruden. Coming off of the bench, Ruden has scored 16.3 points per game over her last three, making seven out of nine threes during this stretch.
If she continues to shoot well, she could open up the paint by drawing a Utah big out to guard her. This can allow ASU’s Kianna Ibis or Charnea Johnson-Chapman to have more room to work with down low, where the two have scored well this season.
This is a tough test for Arizona State, but a game that they should end up winning. ASU has not come close to losing to a currently unranked team this season.
They beat up Buffalo by 19, a team which currently has a higher RPI than Utah. A win by ASU may be enough to propel them into the top 25 once again.