February 23, 2010

Away in the desert

Here comes another challenging weekend for the Cardinal. Although this hasn't been a great season for the Arizona schools, road games against them are never a gimme for the Cardinal. The Cardinal will need to play whole games, not just second halves like the first time around.

Kayla was a star performer in those first two Arizona games. It will be extra sweet if she repeats this weekend in front of her hometown fans.

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Cardinal were discombobulated by the Sun Devil's aggressive defense for about 14 minutes and were still a couple of points behind at halftime in our prior game. But the Sun Devils couldn't keep up the pressure for 40 minutes, and the Cardinal stepped up their game and won by 23 points. Kayla was the top scorer with 23 points.

The Sun Devils have had considerable success since then. They've won four games (against Cal, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona) and barely lost two (by four points to Washington State!, by one point to Oregon). I'm sure Charli will have them fired up and eager to avenge the loss at Maples.

I expect that this probable last matchup between their top scorer, fifth year senior Danielle Orsillo, and our top defender, Ros, will be especially intense.

One thing that hasn't changed for the Sun Devils this season is their fan support. They average almost 3000 fans at home games. Wells Fargo Arena should be rocking on Thursday.

Arizona State's win-loss record (16-9 overall, 8-6 conference) places them in a tie with USC for 4th in the Pac-10, their RPI (64) places them 6th, and their strength of schedule (57) places them 9th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

Arizona Wildcats

The Cardinal's prior game against the Wildcats bore some similarities to the ASU game. We had a terrible first half and were behind by two at halftime. The major problem in this game was the Wildcats' offense. Led by their fabulous freshman Davellyn Whyte, they shot 57% in the first half to the Cardinal's 35%. The Cardinal tightened their defense and took control in the second half for a 21-point victory. Kayla was again the top scorer, with 27 points, but this time she shared that spot with Nneka.

The Wildcats have won three conference games since then (Washington State, Washington, Oregon State) and lost two (Oregon, Arizona State). Their top players are still among the best in the Pac-10:

  • Ify Ibekwe is the leading rebounder and fifth-best in the nation with 16.5 rebounds per game. She has the third-most steals (2.28 per game) and is the #11 scorer (14.0 points per game).
  • Davellyn Whyte makes the third-most three-pointers (2.32 per game) and is the #4 scorer (16.5 points per game).
Arizona's win-loss record (12-12 overall, 6-8 conference) and their RPI (124) place them 7th in the Pac-10, their strength of schedule (56) places them 8th.

Here are their 2009-10 statistics and their roster.

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