WHAT: No. 15 Sun Devil Women’s Basketball (20-5, 9-4 Pac-12) at No. 22 Cal (17-7, 9-4 Pac-12)
WHEN: Sunday at 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT
WHERE: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.
TELEVISION: Pac-12 Networks
RADIO: NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 (coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. MT)
Coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season, the No. 15 Arizona State University women’s basketball team faces a pivotal game on Sunday (4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT) when it closes out its road trip to the Bay Area against No. 22 Cal.
Sunday’s game, the last of three consecutive on the road for ASU, will be a matchup of two of the three teams currently tied for second place in the Pac-12 standings. Joining the Sun Devils (20-5, 9-4 Pac-12) and Bears (17-7, 9-4) in the league’s runner-up spot is USC (16-9, 9-4). The Trojans will be involved in Sunday’s other Pac-12 contest involving two teams in the top half of the league standings as they will take on Oregon State. Other than conference leader Stanford (23-2, 12-1 Pac-12), Oregon State might be the hottest team in the Pac-12 as the Beavers have won six of their last seven and currently own the Pac-12’s longest winning streak (four games). The only blemish on OSU’s record over the last seven games is a 64-62 loss to the Sun Devils on Jan. 31 in Tempe. An OSU win on Sunday would create a three-way tie for third place while a USC victory would tie the Trojans, who ASU defeated in early January, for second place with the winner of the game between the Sun Devils and Bears.
Regardless of what happens on Sunday, there is still a lot of basketball left to be played as every team will have four games remaining over the final two weeks of the regular season. That being stated, every win a team can claim becomes an important one as only two games separate the six teams that trail Stanford (Washington and Washington State are tied for sixth place/7-6).
Which brings us to Sunday’s ASU-Cal game...
The contest will be a rematch of a hard-fought battle between the two teams last month in which the Sun Devils prevailed 68-59 in Tempe. Behind a breakout performance from freshman center Quinn Dornstauder, who scored a career- and team-high 13 points, the Sun Devils were able to overcome an eight-point deficit and a nine-percent shooting effort from long range (1-11) to get the win. In addition to Dornstauder’s career day, Promise Amukamara and Deja Mann also scored in double-figures, with 11 and 10 points respectively. Sophie Brunner had the top rebounding game for the Sun Devils, pulling in eight boards to go along with five points and four assists. Kelsey Moos and Adrianne Thomas also added eight points each.
The Sun Devils and Bears have both gone 5-3 since their first meeting. The common denominator in four of the six combined losses has been Stanford which swept both ASU and Cal. ASU’s most recent loss to Stanford came on Friday, 61-35.
After shooting 32 percent in its loss at Arizona last Sunday, the Sun Devils once again struggled to get the ball in the basket on Friday as they shot 24 percent against the Cardinal. Despite their struggles on the offensive end, the Sun Devils gave a strong defensive effort as they forced 17 turnovers while not allowing Stanford to connect from long range, the first time Stanford has failed to hit a triple in more than a year.
After Sunday’s game, the Sun Devils will prepare for their final home stand of the season when they host Colorado (Fri., Feb. 21) and Utah (Sun., Feb. 23). ASU will then close out the regular season on the road at Oregon (Fri., Feb. 28) and at Oregon State (Sun., Feb. 2).
Sunday’s game at Cal can be seen live on Pac-12 Networks. Rich Cellini (play by play) and Tracey Bailey (analyst) will call the action.
The game can also be heard live on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060. Coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. MT on Sunday. Veteran broadcaster and the state of Arizona’s 2010 Broadcaster of the Year Jeff Munn is in his 10th season as the voice of ASU women’s basketball.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
• ASU was one of three schools – current No. 6 Stanford and Colorado – to start Pac-12 play with only one loss in non-conference play. For ASU, it was the sixth time since 1986-87 (first season of Pac-10/12 play) that it entered league play with only one loss.
• With their win over Arizona on Feb. 4, the Sun Devils have now won 20 or more games 10 times since the 2000-01 season. Only Stanford (13) has accomplished the feat more in the Pac-10/12 during that span.
• The storyline of ASU’s success this season has been teamwork. Ten Sun Devils have scored in double figures; seven have led/tied for team lead in scoring; seven have led/tied for team lead in assists; and five have led/tied for team lead in rebounds
• The Sun Devils have been ranked as high as No. 11 in the AP poll this season (Feb. 3).
• ASU’s non-conference schedule included a pair of wins over Top 25 teams. The Sun Devils defeated then-No. 11 North Carolina 94-81 in OT at the Cancun Challenge on Nov. 29. On Dec. 30, ASU came from behind to beat then-No. 20 Syracuse, 63-60, in Tempe. ASU’s only loss in non-conference play came on the road in the season’s second game to a San Diego squad, which had its best start in school history winning its first 15 games (19-6 as of Feb. 14). The Sun Devils led by as many as 11 in the first half of their 85-78 loss at Washington State (Jan. 3). The difference in the game for ASU proved to be 15 missed free throws (28-43). ASU recorded its third win against a Top 25 opponent when it defeated then-No. 15 Cal 68-59 in Tempe on Jan. 17, ending the Bears’ Pac-12, regular-season winning streak at 19 games. The Sun Devils dropped their first contest to a ranked opponent when then-No. 4 Stanford came to Tempe and defeated ASU 80-56 on Jan. 20. Stanford would hand the Sun Devils another defeat, 61-35, on Feb. 14 in Palo Alto.
• ASU is No. 22 in NCAA’s most recent RPI (Feb. 10). ASU is one of five Pac-12 schools among the Top 55: Stanford (No. 2)/Cal (No. 18)/Oregon State (No. 34)/USC (No. 53).
• ASU’s earlier 10-game winning streak tied the second-longest run in program history. The string was ASU’s longest since it won a school record 15 straight in 2009 (after losing first two Pac-10 games won next 15). ASU’s recent five-game winning streak in Jan. - Feb. represented the 21st time since 2001 that it has had a winning streak of five or more games.
• ASU has scored 80 or more points 9x this season, has shot 50 percent or higher 8x and has had 15 or more assists 15x, including a season-best 26 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• ASU has held to opposition to 25 percent or less from 3-point range 10x this season. On Jan. 26, ASU did not allow a 3-pointer at Colorado, ending CU’s streak of making at least one triple in 285 straight games. On Feb. 14, ASU held Stanford without a 3-pointer, the first time the Cardinal did not connect from long range in more than a year.
• After averaging 20.9 turnovers in its first nine contests, ASU is averaging 14.4 in its last 16 games. ASU has had 16 or fewer turnovers 11x during that span, including a season low of seven vs. Oregon State (Jan. 31).
• Twelve of ASU’s wins this season have come when they were either trailing or ahead by only one point or tied at some juncture in the last five minutes of regulation. The Sun Devils are 11-0 in games decided by five points or less AND/OR overtime.
• In the final minute of its Pac-12 wins that have been decided by three points or less (vs. UCLA, at Utah, at Colorado, vs. Oregon State, vs. Oregon), ASU has shot 57 percent from the floor and is +5 in turnover margin (1/6).
• As of Feb. 15, ASU is ranked among the top third in the Pac-12 in rebounding defense (1st/34.8 rpg), offensive rebounds (2nd/14.7 rpg), FG pct. (3rd, 42.7), scoring margin (4th, +6.6), steals (4th/8.5 spg), FT pct. (4th/68.3) and turnover margin (4th/+1.3).
• ASU has won the battle of the boards in all but eight games this season. They are 4-4 in those contests – at San Diego (Nov. 13 - L), vs. Miami (Dec. 21 - W), vs. UCLA (Jan. 12 - W), vs. Stanford (Jan. 20 - L), at Colorado (Jan. 26 - W) vs. Oregon State (Jan. 31 - W), at Arizona (Feb. 9 - tied in rebounds - L), at Stanford (Feb. 14 - L).
• ASU’s bench is outscoring the opposition’s bench by an average of 15.2 points per game (30.8-15.6). It has scored 40 or more points 4x, including a season-best of 53 vs. Oregon (Feb. 2).
• Freshman Sophie Brunner (78), senior Joy Burke (62) and freshman Kelsey Moos (58) have combined for 198 of ASU’s 367 offensive boards.
• Ten different Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season – Mann (15x), Hempen (11x), Brunner (10x), Burke (9x), Thomas (9x), Moos (8x), Amukamara (7x), Davis (4x), RS-sophomore Eliza Normen (1x) and freshman Quinn Dornstauder (1x).
SERIES NOTES VS. CAL (CAL LEADS 32-31)
Cal took the lead in the all-time series following its 67-62 win in Tempe in 2012. The Bears also came out on top last season, 66-53 in Berkeley. The Sun Devils won the most recent meeting 68-59 last month in Tempe.
Cal won the first meeting of 2010-11 (67-55) in Berkeley before the Sun Devils evened the regular season series with a 45-44 win. Deja Mann’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Sun Devils the win. The two teams met again in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament where Cal defeated ASU 48-43. It was the fourth time in five seasons that the two teams met the Pac-10 Tournament.