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Marquette Women's Basketball Preview: at #21 Arizona State

The Golden Eagles find themselves in a familiar situation as they kick off a five game road trip.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ok, let's take another swing at this.

As was the case coming out of the FIU Turkey Slam, Marquette has won 2 consecutive games. In their next game, MU will square off with a nationally ranked Pac 12 team as they attempt to win three consecutive games for the first time since Carolyn Kieger became the head coach.

The difference here is that instead of #7 Oregon State visiting the McGuire Center, it's the Golden Eagles that will be the visitor on Saturday when they play #21 Arizona State.

It definitely appears that Marquette is taking huge leaps and bounds forward this season.  The Golden Eagles have won four of their last five games, and I must remind you that this is while playing with eight freshmen and just two returning players that barely count as "returning" due to their previous experience.  Last year, after nine games, Marquette was just 2-7 with wins over Loyola-Chicago and UW-Milwaukee.  I can't tell you that FIU, Richmond, Wisconsin and Auburn are necessarily better than those squads, but I can tell you that after MU threw a scare into Oregon State, there's a very real possibility that MU goes into Tempe and comes out with a win on Saturday.

Allazia Blockton's Big East Freshman Of The Year campaign continues as she picked up her second Freshman of the Week award this past Monday.  She's leading Marquette in scoring at 16.2 points per game and is second on the team in rebounding, pulling down 7 boards a game.  Those numbers have Blockton as the only player in the league to rank in the top six in both categories.  Uh huh.  There's multiple players who rank in the top 10 in both, and here's that list: Megan Podkowa (DePaul), Danaejah Grant (St. John's), Caroline Coyer (Villanova), and Tori Schickel (Butler).  Why do I point this out?  Well, the first three names on that list were all on the Big East's pre-season all-conference team.  Blockton's been THAT good.  She's going to have to keep it up to get that FOY award, though, as Schickel is also a rookie this season, and she's got the advantage of leading the league - all of it - in rebounding.  Beating out someone averaging a double-double's kind of hard to do.

Game #10: at #21 Arizona State (6-3)

When: Saturday, December 19, 2015, at 4pm Central
Where: Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona
Audio/Visual: It looks like the game will be streamed live by ASU right hereLive stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

I mentioned #7 Oregon State up there, so that brings up the issue of Arizona State's placement in the Pac 12 this season.  The Beavers are the favorite in the league, earning all 11 votes that they could get in a polling of the league's coaches.  The 12th vote, which belongs to OSU's Scott Rueck, went to Arizona State.  The Sun Devils didn't end up in second place, though, as they finished two points behind Stanford in that poll.  That was corrected in the Associated Press' preseason poll, which had ASU at #15 and Stanford at #16.

Things have shifted over the first six weeks of the season, as Arizona State is now 4th out of the five teams in the Pac 12 in the AP poll.  Stanford slipped past them, as did UCLA.  That seems a little unfair, as two of their losses were to teams that were ranked at the time: #18 Kentucky at home and #2 South Carolina at a neutral site.  Then again, that third loss was to unranked VCU, and that one was at Wells Fargo Arena, too, so you can see how the voters might be kind of displeased with the Sun Devils.

With all of that said, Arizona State's coming into this game with a three game winning streak, including their last two on the road.  They got their first win over a ranked team this season in the middle game of that streak when they ventured to Ice Station Zebra Syracuse and got the W against the #19 ranked Orange.  Their most recent win, a 60-29 demolition of Hartford while out east to visit Syracuse, was the 400th career win for head coach Charli Turner Thorne.

Marquette's going to have their hands full in the middle against Arizona State.  Junior center Quinn Dornstander leads ASU in scoring at 11.8 ppg, and amongst the players that have appeared in all nine contests, she leads the team in rebounding at 5 per game.  I make that clarification because Sophie Brunner, an all-Pac 12 selection a year ago, is officially leading the team in rebounding at 6.3 boards per game, but she's only appeared in three games this season.  Brunner, ASU's active leader in career rebounds, suffered an ankle sprain against South Carolina and has not played since.  Senior guard Elisha Davis stands just 5'3" tall, but she leads the Sun Devils in assists at a strong 4.8 helpers each time out.