November 21, 2010
#4 (USA Today)
The Lady Vols welcome another BCS conference opponent to The Summitt. Arizona State hasn't played much anyone of note, winning with moderate margins against Northern Arizona and UC-Riverside. Tennessee is in a whole different ballpark for them, so this should be fun. Don't think they're a pushover, tough; Virginia was a tough test for a while, and there's no reason to think this game will be any different.
Expected starters are below:
If you're like me, you look at those Sun Devil rebounding numbers and think one of two things: either they're great on the defensive end or they fire a ton of threes. The answer, oddly, would be neither of those; they just don't shoot well. I'd expect Arizona State to play an inside-out game that uses Kali Bennett as a distribution point and has her clean up the mess - Bennett has 5.5 offensive boards per game. Don't be fooled, though; ASU puts up a ton of shots and doesn't make many of them, so offensive rebounding opportunities abound.
Of course, that also belies the obvious thing that jumps out at you here - that's a lot of height for a Lady Vol opponent. However, it also looks like there's a lack of mobility and a lack of a true PG. That's kind of a big deal, since Arizona State coughs up the ball like it's going out of style with 37 turnovers so far against the likes of Northern Arizona and UC-Riverside. That bodes well, as the Ladies just turned in their best defensive performance of the season (well, the last 32 minutes of the Virginia game, at least). Arizona State is a lot deeper than Virginia, though, even if they can't shoot to save their lives - 1-17 for the season from beyond the arc, 65% from the line, 36% from the field - again: Northern Arizona. UC-Riverside. Kelley Cain. Alicia Manning. Pancake.
I'm not sure that Glory will get the start - I expect if Baugh's ready to go, then she'll end up on the floor. Other than that, it looks like ASU is a poor (wo)man's Tennessee; height, some slashing guard play, balanced scoring, an emphasis on rebounding and putbacks, Only problem? They're playing the real thing. And it doesn't hurt that Simmons and Bjorklund have opened the season on fire, and Cain put on a ball distribution clinic against Virginia. Fun things to watch for, in no particular order:
- Bjorklund's insane hot streak from beyond the arc; hopefully she won't need to hit 6 again, but who would complain?
- Can someone pick up a double-double? Stricklen's the only one on the board so far (Cain seems likely, and I still want to see her get a triple-double but I don't want to come off as greedy).
- How does Simmons respond after having her first off game?
- Can Glory Johnson make up for her game against Virginia and hold onto her starting spot as the interior heals up?
Game tips at 2 - audio is available (in case you missed it up there). See y'all in the gamethread.