For what could be the last time this year, No. 21 ASU (14-6, 5-4) has a chance to get revenge on bitter rival Arizona (14-6, 4-5) this Friday in Tempe. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and can be viewed on the Pac-12 Network or heard on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060.
Revenge would be sweet for the Devils after their road trip to Tucson earlier this season.
If one word could describe the matchup, coach Charli Turner Thorne would use “intense”.
“It’s rivalry week,” she said. “We were already supposed to have beaten them and we didn’t. Regardless of rankings it’s always much more intense because it’s your rival.”
The Devils were held to their lowest scoring total of the season that game (39) and could not slow down Aari McDonald who scored 24 of Arizona’s 51 points.
“Every year is different,” Turner Thorne said. “I think (head coach of U of A Adia Barnes) is doing a great job. They’re bringing in some good players and the three transfers they have right now are helping them a lot.”
Included in that crop of transfers is McDonald, who transferred from Washington a year ago. She is loudly making an impact in her first year of eligibility as a redshirt sophomore.
McDonald is currently second among the NCAA’s leading scorers, averaging 25.2 points per game. She hasn’t been alone however.
Freshman Cate Reese has provided a massive impact in the post, collecting rebounds and scoring in double digits. She even recorded a double-double in her first collegiate game; she has five this season.
On the rise for the Sun Devils has been junior Reili Richardson. Richardson has been impactful in more ways than one during the conference portion of the schedule.
Aside from her recent buzzer beater against No. 14 Utah and her sinking the clutch free throw against Cal, she scored a season-high 16 points against No. 9 Oregon State in ASU’s upset victory in double overtime. She scored 10 of the 16 points in the overtime periods.
“She’s a good floor leader and good decision maker,” Turner Thorne said. “She’s looking to shoot, which is awesome, and to score and come up big in some big games.”
Adding to it, senior Kianna Ibis has scored in double digits in five straight games, including a 28 point, 13 rebound double double against Oregon State; both of which are season highs.
The Devils will have their hands full. Not just because it is their rival opponent and they’re looking for revenge, but students from Arizona will travel to Tempe for the game. Coach Turner Thorne had nothing to say about the visiting students, but she did have a message for ASU’s 942Crew.
“Our 942 Crew needs to step up,” she said. “They need to represent like they do at the men’s game. Let’s go! It’s a big game! Bring it! Don’t let their students outshine you.”