ASU women’s basketball opened Pac-12 play 2-0 and now begin a stretch of four straight games versus ranked opponents Friday versus No. 23 Cal.
The Sun Devils, coming off a dominant win at Colorado and a thrilling win at Utah, began Pac-12 play just as they had hoped: 2-0.
The Sun Devils are coming off a tight 83-81 win over Utah Sunday in which the Sun Devils scored the most points in a quarter in program history tallying 34 points in the first quarter.
After leading by as many as 17, Utah came storming back to take the lead with under a minute to play in regulation. Forward Jamie Ruden hit a go-ahead three-pointer and the game-winning layup in response to Utah taking the lead to seal the close victory for the Sun Devils.
Beginning Friday, No. 25 Arizona State will embark on their toughest stretch of the season as their next four opponents are all ranked in the most recent AP Top 25.
First up are the 23rd-ranked California Golden Bears.
Cal is 10-3 and 1-1 in conference play splitting games with the Los Angeles schools defeating USC 76-64 and getting destroyed by then-No. 11 UCLA 82-46.
The Golden Bears led for the majority of the game with four players finishing in double-digits with forward Kristine Anigwe recording a team-high 16 points and 13 rebound. Cal shot 45 percent from the field while holding USC to 38 percent shooting.
It was a different story against the Bruins as California only shot 28.6 percent from the field with Anigwe recording another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Last season, Arizona State took both hotly-contested meetings as ASU won the first meeting in Tempe 72-62 in double overtime and won the second meeting in Berkeley 54-45.
This will be a big test for center Charnea Johnson-Chapman as she’ll most likely be matched up with Anigwe inside.
If Johnson-Chapman can defend her well, and the Sun Devils can limit Cal on the offensive glass, that should be a recipe for success.
The Sun Devils will look to continue run of hot shooting, especially from behind-the-arc, with Arizona State converting 22 of their last 50 attempts (44 percent) over the past three games.
Forward Kianna Ibis is coming off a career-high performance of 30 points against Utah with forwards Courtney Ekmark and Jamie Ruden continuing to be a three-point threat.
Point guard Reili Richardson continues to be an effective floor general for the Sun Devils leading the nation in assist to turnover ratio at 4.69 (75 assists to 16 turnovers).
Arizona State will look to start off their first home conference game with a victory before Sunday’s matchup with No. 24 Stanford. Tip off of ASU-Cal is set for 8 p.m. MT Friday on Pac-12 Arizona.