The No. 19 Arizona State women's basketball team begins a difficult four-game stretch this week in which it will face three Top 25 teams in an 11-day span. ASU's first assignment comes on Friday when it hosts No. 15 and 2013 NCAA Final Four participant Cal at Wells Fargo Arena.
Friday's contest will have a special 11 a.m. start time as part of `Sparky's Kids to College Field Trip Day.' Now in its eighth season, `Sparky's Kids to College Field Trip Day,' is an initiative designed to introduce fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders to a college campus.
In addition to Cal, included in the aforementioned stretch of games will be contests vs. No. 4 Stanford on Monday (5 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena) and at current No. 21 Colorado a week from Sunday (Jan. 26). The Sun Devils will also face another formidable opponent in the form of Utah (in Salt Lake City) next Friday in between the Stanford and Colorado games. ASU will have a similar stretch the middle of next month when it faces Stanford and Cal (both on the road) and Colorado (at home) in succession.
ASU (14-2, 3-1) enters Friday's game vs. Cal in sole possession of fifth place in the league standings. The Sun Devils are one-half game behind fourth-place USC (11-6, 4-1) and one game behind Stanford (15-1, 4-0), Cal (12-3, 4-0) and Washington State (10-6, 4-0 Pac-12), who are the lone remaining unbeaten teams in conference play.
No. 15 California comes to Tempe toting a five-game winning streak. Like the Sun Devils, the Bears have been just as resilient in close games as they are 4-1 in such contests with two of those wins coming in the last two weeks – 101-98 OT win vs. Oregon two weeks ago and a 57-55 win at Colorado last week.
The Sun Devils came into Pac-12 play with a 10-game winning streak, which came to an end on Jan. 3 at Washington State (85-78). Two days later the Sun Devils were able to gain a split on their first Pac-12 road trip after defeating Washington 78-60.
The storyline of ASU's success this season has been teamwork. Nine Sun Devils have scored in double figures this season; six have led or tied for the team lead in scoring; four have led or tied for the team lead in rebounds; and five have led or tied for the team lead in assists.
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