ASU basketball returns to action for the first time in over a week to host Colorado and Utah in a short two-game home stand before heading back on the road.
In their road trip last week, the No. 19 ranked Sun Devils women’s basketball team finished the weekend 1-0 after their game against Washington was cancelled due to inclement weather.
In the lone game that they were able to play, the Sun Devils were able to defeat the Washington State Cougars. ASU’s defense was a big factor in that game. They were able to hold to Cougars to only 18 second half points after they were trailing at halftime.
This weekend Arizona State will host the mountain schools: Colorado and Utah. Colorado will come to town on Friday the 15th, and Utah will play on Sunday the 17th.
In the first game between these two teams earlier this season, the Sun Devils were able to come out of Boulder with a 76-70 victory.
The key to the game was not hard to see as senior, Kianna Ibis, truly dominated the game. Ibis scored a game-high 27 points on 10-18 shooting and knocked down two three-pointers. She also was able to get to the free throw line and was a perfect 5-5 from there.
The rest of the Sun Devil was able to contribute, but it was from a variety of players. 10 ASU players were able to score a bucket, but no one other than Ibis hit double-digits.
More from Devils in Detail
- Sun Devils Primer: Game 2 vs Oklahoma State
- Sun Devil Insight: Quarterback Room
- Arizona State Spotlight: Kenny Dillingham
- Arizona State 2023 Season Opener: Off To A Good Start
- Arizona State vs USC Prediction and Promo (Expect Offensive Fireworks)
For Colorado it was a different story. Only six players got in the scoring category for the Buffaloes and four of them were able to hit double-digits.
The Buffaloes were led by senior guard, Kennedy Leonard, who had 20 points in the game to go along with five steals and four assists. Leonard is the leading scorer on the season for Colorado, but she hasn’t played since the game against ASU on January 6th.
After the Arizona State loss, Leonard went to team doctors to talk about her foot that had been bothering her and they diagnosed it as a foot sprain.
Leonard has missed nine games because of the injury and the team has gone 1-8 in that time. It is not certain if Leonard will return for this game against ASU, but it will be a big factor in whether or not the Buffaloes have a shot against this ranked Arizona State team.
The Buffaloes as a team have struggled mightily in Pac-12 play this season. They are 1-11 in conference play and just picked up their first win last week at home against USC. The season has not been very nice to them at all as they have lost the majority of their conference games by double-digits, including a loss at Oregon two weeks ago by the score of 102-43.
This upcoming game for Colorado may not mean a lot in terms of standing, but it will mean a great deal in mentality. Coming off their first win in conference play, they are going to look to build off that and try to even gain momentum going into next season with only six games left on their slate.
For Arizona State, currently ranked No. 19 in the nation this game is a must win. A loss against a 11-12 Colorado team will hurt their seeding for the upcoming NCAAW tournament drastically. Look for Kianna Ibis to have another big game as this team will start to look for their seniors to step up in the crunch time of this season.
The Utah Utes are going to be out for revenge against Arizona State this Sunday. The last meeting between these two ended in an off-balance jump shot that was banked in by Reili Richardson to steal the game from Utah and hand them their first loss of the season.
The Utes were on a tear to start this season, they had a record of 18-1 were coming off a fresh victory over then No. 6 Stanford and had gotten all the way up to be ranked No. 14 in the nation. Then it just seemed to all fall apart.
Since the victory over Stanford, the Utes are currently on a four-game losing streak including two bad losses against UCLA and USC. They also have fallen completely out of the rankings.
The offense is still there for the Utes, but it seems that their defense is not what it was to start the season. A defense that on average holds the opposing teams to 63.7 points per game, the Utes let USC put up 84 against them, and UCLA put up 100.
Senior Megan Huff is still doing her thing for Utah, she is currently 21st in the nation with 20.2 points per game and had 23 in their last game against UCLA.
For Utah to turn it around and finish the season on a high note heading into the tournament, they are going to need to get their defense back on track and play like they did early in the season. This team is one of the most talented teams in the country and they showed everyone that in the first 19 games of the season.
For Arizona State this game they are going to need to try to keep the Utes down. Try and run up the score and not let them get any kind of momentum. Last time against Utah they waited until the final minutes to come back and win the game. This time they will need to put their foot on the pedal at the beginning and keep it there the entire game.
This weekend and the rest of the season will have a big impact not only on how the Sun Devils are ranked for the NCAAW tournament, but the Pac-12 tournament as well. They are going to want to finish the season with as much momentum and positivity as they can to try to make a deep run this March.