Two weeks after its comeback win against Utah, Arizona State will be back on the hardwood this weekend to host California and No. 1 Stanford at Desert Financial Arena.
On Friday at 3 p.m., the Sun Devils will take on a California team that is still searching for its first win of the season. The Bears are led by freshman guard Dalayah Daniels, who is averaging 12 points per game.
Look for free-throws to be a key in this matchup. California ranks first in the Pac-12 in fouls per game (12.3). Arizona State is second in the conference in free throw percentage (76.8 percent), so look for them to try and get to the line as much as possible, too.
On Sunday at 4 p.m., No. 1 Stanford will look to stay undefeated against the young Sun Devils. The Cardinal are led by sophomore guard Haley Jones, who leads the conference in rebounds per game (10.1) and is sixth in points per game (15.4).
Stanford is the best team in the conference when it comes to rebounding, passing and defense. On Dec. 21, they beat No. 10 UCLA by 12 points and will face another ranked opponent in No. 6 Arizona before taking the floor with the Sun Devils.
Arizona State is coming into the week with eight votes in the latest AP poll and a lot of rest.
“We’re definitely a little bit rusty,” coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “But in the grand scheme of things, with two-plus months to go in the season, I think it was well worth (the break).”
Turner Thorne also gave an update on junior guard Iris Mbulito, who has been out with an injury since the opening minutes of the UCLA game on Dec. 6.
“(Iris) is coming along really well,” Turner Thorne said with a convincing smile on her face. “We’re hoping she can join us sooner rather than later.”
The Sun Devils could use Mbulito’s help if she were to return at some point this weekend. In the four games before the injury, Mbulito averaged 20 minutes per game and provided some extra leadership on the floor.