No. 21 ASU basketball looks to follow their male counterparts Friday night as they host Arizona, who won the first meeting 51-39 back in December.
Dec. 30, 2018, was a night to forget for the Sun Devils.
Arizona State, coming off a grueling non-conference schedule, opened Pac-12 play in Tucson against the Arizona Wildcats in what was Arizona’s toughest game of the season.
The Wildcats started fast thanks to guard Aari McDonald. The redshirt sophomore scored nearly half of Arizona’s points finishing with 24 points on on 9-for-17 shooting.
Arizona State had one of their worst shooting performances in recent years as the team mustered only 39 points on 13 made field goals in a 51-39 defeat.
The Wildcats, due to the speed of McDonald, got forward Kianna Ibis in early foul trouble and head coach Charli Turner Thorne said it affected their rotations.
Due to solid defense by the Wildcats and missed open shots from ASU, the Sun Devils never got into a rhythm offensively leaving Tucson with a sour taste in their mouths.
The rematch is here for the Sun Devils.
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Arizona State is coming off a split against the L.A. schools last week falling to UCLA on a game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds and defeating USC Sunday pulling away in the fourth quarter behind a stingy defense.
ASU will look to get Ibis more involved this weekend after scoring 21 points on 9-for-25 shooting in both games combined, including fouling out against the Trojans.
The early foul trouble in the first meeting prevented Ibis from getting into the game, but some of her struggles in that game (11 points on 4-for-13 shooting) was the defense of Wildcats forward Dominique McBryde.
McBryde and the Wildcats did a great job preventing entry passes to Ibis in the post and they really limited her from the perimeter.
Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said Thursday that she thinks the game could be called tightly considering the rivalry and how physical both teams play.
It’s a big game for both. Arizona State, after going 1-1 last weekend, fell to a No. 5 seed in the latest ESPN Bracketology. The top four seeds get to be a host site for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
For Arizona, they arguably need this win more as they currently sit in the First Four Out after also splitting the L.A. schools last weekend defeating USC and falling to UCLA in triple overtime.
Arizona State looking to avoid getting swept by Arizona for the first time since 2000 as the Sun Devils have won 24 of the last 28 meeting against the Wildcats.
A win for the Sun Devils will also keep them in the running for a top-four seed in the Pac-12 Tournament as they trail Oregon State and Stanford by two in the loss column.