ASU Basketball: Arizona State vs. Stanford Preview
ASU Basketball, ranked No. 18 in the latest AP Poll and riding a seven game winning streak, begin Pac-12 play Friday vs. No. 13 Stanford.
Arizona State is back in action Friday after last playing nine days ago versus Holy Cross. The Sun Devils struggled to get things going in the first quarter, trailing 11-8, but they were able to turn it around and outscored the Crusaders 55-22 in the final three quarters to win 63-33 and improve their record to 9-2.
Arizona State was able to get contributions from everyone on the court, with three finishing in double-digits. Forward Sophie Brunner led the way for the Sun Devils with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Forward Kianna Ibis and guard Robbi Ryan combined for 22 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench.
The Sun Devils once again displayed stifling defense holding Holy Cross to just 28 percent shooting and 18.2 percent from three-point range. Arizona State out-rebounded Holy Cross 41-27 and forced 19 turnovers.
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It was a strong way to end the non-conference slate as ASU looks to carry the momentum into the Pac-12 opener versus Stanford. The Cardinal, ranked No. 13 in AP Poll, is sitting at 10-2 and are coming off a win versus Yale Wednesday. The Cardinal won the game 102-44, allowing no more than 13 points in a quarter versus the Bulldogs.
Stanford shot lights out from the field shooting 54.5 percent and 55.6 percent from three-point range. Four Cardinal players finished in double-digits, including forward Erica McCall and guard Karlie Samuelsson.
McCall finished with 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes, while Samuelsson finished with 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including 4-for-5 from three-point range, in 23 minutes.
This sets up the Top-20 showdown Friday afternoon in Tempe, Arizona. Arizona State won both meetings last season, winning 49-31 in Tempe last December, and a 63-61 overtime thriller in February in Stanford, becoming the first Pac-12 school ever to sweep the regular season home-and-home series against Stanford in consecutive seasons.
This game will come down to whether Stanford can break down Arizona State’s defense. The 31 points the Cardinal scored in the first meeting last season was the fewest points Stanford has ever scored in a game. Stanford shot 25.6 percent in the first meeting and 42.4 percent in the second meeting.
It will be interesting to see how Sun Devils play in their first conference game, considering the youth on this team. There could be some early jitters from the freshman, but games versus Maryland, Florida and Kentucky will definitely help easing those butterflies. They have experience playing ranked opponents.
It’s important for Arizona State to start strong, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The defense will always be there for ASU, but they need to start off strong shooting from the field. The Sun Devils tend to get off to slow starts, and ASU can’t afford to get into an early hole.
Arizona State will lean heavily on Brunner and senior forwards Kelsey Moos and Quin Dornstauder to get the team in a groove early. Sun Devils will look to play from the paint out looking to get easy buckets inside and potentially get Stanford into foul trouble.
Tip-off of Arizona State-Stanford is at 4 p.m. MST and can be seen on Pac-12 Networks.