Following an opening win over UCF, ASU basketball squares off with fourth-seed Miami in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
After traveling nearly 2,400 miles to Coral Gables, Arizona St. faces one final obstacle on its road to make it to Portland: host school and No. 4 seed Miami.
The Hurricanes won their first round game against 13th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 69-62 behind a strong fourth quarter performance.
The Sun Devils won their opening game against UCF 60-45, behind a big performance from senior Courtney Ekmark. Ekmark nearly surpassed her season-high with 20 points against the Knights.
Here’s what to expect for ASU’s second round matchup with Miami.
What we can expect: The Hurricanes (25-8) enter the NCAA tournament a number four seed after finishing the year ranked No. 19 in the nation. Miami was seeded fourth in the ACC tournament before an opening game loss to Syracuse 92-85. The Hurricanes finished 12-4 in ACC play and hold a home record of 17-2 this season.
For the Sun Devils it will be the 11th ranked opponent the team has faced this season. ASU lost in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament to UCLA 73-69, after finishing conference play ranked fifth in the conference.
All-time the Sun Devils do own a perfect record against Miami (3-0), with the last matchup coming in 2014, where the Sun Devils won 65-61 in Coral Gables.
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Key Stat: 11.8- The per game rebounding average of the Hurricanes starting forward Beatrice Mompremier. The redshirt junior recorded a double-double in Miami’s opening round victory over FGCU (21-10) and finished the regular season with 359 rebounds for the ‘Canes. Alongside Mompremier is senior Emese Hof, who is averaging 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
“They are very versatile,” ASU senior Kianna Ibis said. “They can run the floor really well. We just know it’s a team effort guarding them.”
As the team’s leading rebounder, Mompremier also recorded double-digit rebounds in 26 of Miami’s 33 games this season. The Sun Devils will need to limit the inside presence of Mompremier if the team is going to control the advantage on the glass.
X-Factor: Scoring early- Miami is known for its high volume offense which is run behind their pair of bigs, who carry the load on offense. In order to keep pace the Sun Devils will need to get on the board early a place where the team . The Hurricanes have outscored opponents 632-506 in the first quarter of games this season and average 74.1 points a game.
“I think Miami is very similar to a lot of the Pac-12 teams we play,” head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “Obviously our goal is to slow them down, but we’d also like to keep the pace up with them.”
Against a tough ASU defense that holds opponents to 57.8 points per game, on 40.2 percent from the field, Miami will need to be efficient on offense in order to score. The deciding factor will be which side prevails, either the potent Hurricane offense or the stingy Sun Devil defense.
The Sun Devils take on Miami Sunday, with the tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.