UK Hoops Travels West to Face No. 15/15 Arizona State Sunday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a solid defensive performance to start the season Friday vs. Rice, where the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team limited the Owls to just 26.8 percent shooting from the field, the Wildcats will look for more of the same Sunday when they face an early season road test at No. 15/15 Arizona State. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.
The game will be broadcast live on the UK Sports Radio Network with Keith Elkins calling the action on 630AM WLAP in Lexington. The game will also be televised on the Pac-12 Network with Krista Blunk and Mary Murphy calling the action. Live stats will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky opened its season in impressive fashion on Friday night, defeating Rice 72-39 in its home and season opener. Kentucky shined on the defensive end by not allowing a Rice field goal until the 7:51 mark in the second quarter. The Wildcats forced the Owls into 23 turnovers on 10 steals and turned those turnovers into 30 points. UK also won the points in the paint battle 36-18. Rice was held to just 16 points in the first half, marking the first time UK had limited an opponent to 20 points or less in the first half since 2013 vs. Grambling State.
|Kentucky at Arizona State
Sunday, Nov. 15 - 5:30 p.m. ET
Tempe, Ariz. - Wells Fargo Arena
Game Notes: UK | ASU
Three UK players posted scoring efforts vs. Rice that rank in the top-10 for the most points in a first varsity game. Junior forward Evelyn Akhator and freshman guard Maci Morris both had 16 points, which tie for fifth all-time for a varsity debut game. Fellow freshman guard Taylor Murray chipped in 12 points, good for the 10th-best varsity debut scoring effort. Akhator posted a double-double joining an impressive 17 rebounds with her 16 points.
Arizona State, ranked No. 15 in both the USA Today/Coaches Preseason Top 25 and Associated Press Top 25, is the first of seven currently ranked foes the Wildcats are set to face this season. UK, which is ranked No. 17 in the USA Today/Coaches Preseason Top 25 and No. 18 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, has been ranked for 115 consecutive weeks, a program record.
Sunday’s game will be the season opener for the Sun Devils, who are coming off a 29-6 record last year when they went 15-3 in the Pac-12 to finish second in the league. ASU advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2014-15 and return four starters from that squad.
Arizona State is coached by Charli Turner Thorne, who is in her 19th season as the head coach of the Sun Devils. Turner Thorne is the winningest coach in Arizona State women’s basketball history, while her 354 wins rank second most in Pac-12 history. The coach has guided ASU to 10 NCAA Tournament, including two Elite Eight finishes and a pair of Sweet 16 finishes.
ASU returns their leading scorer, rebounder, 3-point shooter and assists leader from last year’s squad. Senior guard Katie Hempen leads the way after averaging a team-best 12.0 points per game last season, including 2.4 assists per game and 76 3-pointers for a .380 clip. Junior forward Sophie Brunner finished with 11.9 ppg last season with a team-best 7.6 rpg and hit .543 from the field. Two other starters return for ASU in senior guard Elisha Davis, who averaged 7.5 ppg and 4.5 apg, and junior forward Kelsey Moos, who average 6.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg.
The Sun Devils lost guard Promise Amukamara from last year’s team, who was averaging 10.9 ppg, 2.0 apg and 1.8 spg, but add four newcomers in freshmen guards Sabrina Haines and Armani Hawkins, freshman forward Kianna Ibis and freshman center Charnea Johnson-Chapman.
Last year, Arizona State averaged 67.7 points per game, while limiting opponents to 55.9 points per game. The Sun Devils outrebounded their opponents 36.3-31.3 and shot .361 from 3-point land.
Sunday’s game marks the first all-time meeting between Kentucky and Arizona State and also the first time Matthew Mitchell has faced Arizona State in his head coach career at UK. The Sun Devils are one of two Pac-12 schools UK is scheduled to face this season with the other being Colorado on Sunday, Nov. 22 in Lexington.
For more information on the Kentucky women’s basketball team, follow @UKHoopCats on Twitter and Instagram, or like Kentucky Women’s Basketball on Facebook.