Remember when I said last week that the games against No. 6 Stanford and the formerly No. 24 California could define No. 19 ASU’s season? If those games didn’t already say enough about this team, surely this weekend will.
Coming off their first home loss and a weekend split of the Northern California schools, the Sun Devils (12-4, 3-2) travel north to Oregon to face two top-10 powerhouses in No. 5 Oregon (15-1, 4-0) and No. 10 Oregon State (14-2, 4-0).
Last week, the focus was on high-scoring post players in Stanford’s Alanna Smith and Cal’s Kristine Anigwe. The challenge transitions from the frontcourt to the backcourt. But how good of a backcourt are the Devils soon to be dealing with?
If there is at least one name you need to know on this team - if you didn’t already know - it’s Sabrina Ionescu. To get the praise out of the way early, she has more triple-doubles than any other NCAA basketball player in history; man or woman. She has five this season, 15 in her career.
All five of Oregon’s starters are averaging double-digits in points, with Ionescu leading the way at 19.3. As a result, the team is averaging 91.13 points per game. Last week against USC, they steamrolled the Trojans in a 93-53 rout.
A team that can score that high loves to move the ball and score quickly on possessions. ASU will have to slow down Oregon offensively and find ways to exploit the Ducks defensively.
This game will tipoff Friday at 7 p.m. It will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Network or heard on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.
With the Beavers, there is a duo of guards who lead the way in Destiny Slocum and Mikayla Pivec. The two are averaging about 14 points per game, even two total points apart up to this point.
The Beavers need credit for who they played so far this season. Most notably a 10-point loss to No. 1 Notre Dame on Thanksgiving weekend. They’re currently taking a six-game winning streak into this weekend.
The Beavers are 9-0 at home this season in a town that is known for it’s love of their women’s team; a team that has featured great alums like Marie Gulich and Pinnacle’s own Sydney Wiese. The team is averaging 4,000+ fans at every home game, so there is certainly no shortage of support.
This past weekend was two types of ASU performances; one with poor defense and underdeveloped offense, and another that fought hard, showed patience and grit on both ends of the floor. The question is which team is showing up in Oregon?
We’ll have to find out.