The 9-1 Arizona State women’s basketball team returns home to face the Miami Hurricanes at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, still just two spots removed from the national polls.
The Sun Devils blew away the Titans of Cal State Fullerton Dec. 14, 81-55, behind freshman center Kelsey Moos’ 19 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-10 shooting. Leading scorer Deja Mann (12.3 ppg) was held to two points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Moos is averaging 8.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while fellow first-year player Sophie Brunner is posting similar numbers (8.9 and 5.8). Senior guard Adrianne Thomas averages 10.2 points, as well.
The Hurricanes (6-3) are coming off a 63-58 home win over Coppin State on Sunday and are led by 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Caprice Dennis, who has averaged 17.8 points in six games after only scoring 2.4 per game as a freshman.
After losing its top three scorers from the 21-11 team that lost to Iowa as an eight seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago, the Canes fell to Richmond (57-50) and Middle Tennessee (66-51) without Dennis in the lineup early this season. A six-point win over Missouri is their highest quality victory, and Minnesota defeated them 74-67 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Sophomore forward Keyona Hayes (11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg), junior guard Suriya McGuire (9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg), senior guard Krystal Saunders (8.7 ppg), freshman guard Jessica Thomas (8.1 ppg), and 6-foot-2 junior forward Jassany Williams (6.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) are the key threats surrounding Dennis.
Miami is coached by Katie Meier, who is fresh off leading Team USA to a gold medal in the Under-19 World Championships in Lithuania this past summer and shared the AP Coach of the Year Award with Geno Auriemma and Tara VanDerveer in 2011.
The Hurricanes are in search of an unprecedented fourth-consecutive trip to the Big Dance.
At halftime, the Sun Devils will retire the No. 21 jersey of former player Ryneldi Becenti, and the Native American Day festivities will also include the national anthem in the Navajo native language. Following the women’s game, the men will be playing Texas Tech at 4:30 p.m.