Glass Half-Full | The Boneyard

Glass Half-Full

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Great basketball game ! Baylor is a very physical, superb basketball team. Griner is great and so is Simms. Only one other team in WCBB plays defense like Baylor and it's us. We competed hard for forty minutes and generally played very well. We lost by five points, to the consensus best team in the country, on the road, in Texas, before Christmas and after several days off for exams, on national television, in a game that received as much pre-game hype as possible and we only were ready to play one of our three outstanding freshman at this point against this caliber of team. We are a really, really good team.

I thought the game changed at or around the 11:00 minute mark of the second half when Baylor extended its defensive pressure and began to attack the dribble. It caused turnovers and took our offense out of synch. It is exactly what we should have done back to Baylor. We did not pressure Simms' dribble enough and allowed the Baylor guards to pass the ball to Griner at times without contesting the entry pass. The most effective way to defend the post is to harass the guards and pressure the entry passes. We need to contest every post pass. Moreover, once Griner catches the ball we need help as soon as she puts it on the floor which she does a surprising amount. It is pretty early in the season to expect a team to consistently make that kind of rotation. These things are easily fixable.

On offense, I thought we played pretty well except for the above-mentioned stretch when Baylor turned up the heat. We should continue attacking the basket against Baylor. We need to attack a little differently instead of simply trying to out quick Griner to the hoop, but the answer is not to abandon the drive. We need to penetrate and dish in the lane, we need to put a body on Griner when our guards drive (similar to what Pope was doing to the UConn centers when Simms would penetrate). Geno and CD know a hell of a lot more basketball than I do. They will fix it before we meet Baylor for the National Champ. in March.
 

VAMike23

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Great [first] post! Welcome to the BY [Asylum]

I think that adding Breanna Stewart next year could--if she is utilized 'correctly' on the defensive end--also make entry passes to BG more difficult. Stewart should not play behind BG but should instead be positioned to intercept, prevent or steal as many entries as possible. We have Buck and Dolson to play behind her in the lane.

But you're right -- ball pressure is the tried and true way of harassing the entry. We lose Tiff next year but perhaps by then BBanks will have learned how to really utilize her defensive talents against Sims and other guards. She is a bit green still, but there is much basketball yet to be played this year.
 
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Great [first] post! Welcome to the BY [Asylum]

I think that adding Breanna Stewart next year could--if she is utilized 'correctly' on the defensive end--also make entry passes to BG more difficult. Stewart should not play behind BG but should instead be positioned to intercept, prevent or steal as many entries as possible. We have Buck and Dolson to play behind her in the lane.

But you're right -- ball pressure is the tried and true way of harassing the entry. We lose Tiff next year but perhaps by then BBanks will have learned how to really utilize her defensive talents against Sims and other guards. She is a bit green still, but there is much basketball yet to be played this year.

Thanks. This team is loaded with tough, hard-nosed competitors and is a true joy to watch. Tiff has become a warrior. Kelly is competing as hard as anyone who has ever had the privilege to wear a UConn uniform. Hartley is right there as well. In fact, I thought you could see Simms trying to intimidate Bria at one point late in the game (they were clearly jawing) and Bria promptly took the ball the length of the court and scored. Steph Dolson really tries hard and Heather fought hard for every inch of court. By the way, Heather is a significantly better rebounder, in my opinion, than she has ever been given credit for. The kid boxes out. And, Kaleena is a delight to watch even when she is not shooting. That kid hustles. All we need is for Geno to light a fire under Stokes and Banks (sounds like a law firm) and get their intensity up and man. In any event, this team has the "come home wearing your shield or being carried on it" attitude and I love it.
 

EricLA

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yep agreed. well said. i think Geno realized/felt Kiah and Brianna were clearly not ready. i hope they improve on the trajectory Stef did last year because they will be needed. or i should say, the depth will provide greater insurance. i think with Caroline playing sub par, which she has done for a number of games this year, indicates she may not be ready to play at an elite level. perhaps the injuries have taken too much of a toll on her body.

but if Caroline is ineffective, having Kaleena and Heather gives you a guard/wing and post player off the bench, but if you consider starting Kaleena, or taking Caroline more out of the picture, you really need Brianna to step up...
 
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yep agreed. well said. i think Geno realized/felt Kiah and Brianna were clearly not ready. i hope they improve on the trajectory Stef did last year because they will be needed. or i should say, the depth will provide greater insurance. i think with Caroline playing sub par, which she has done for a number of games this year, indicates she may not be ready to play at an elite level. perhaps the injuries have taken too much of a toll on her body.

but if Caroline is ineffective, having Kaleena and Heather gives you a guard/wing and post player off the bench, but if you consider starting Kaleena, or taking Caroline more out of the picture, you really need Brianna to step up...
I agree with you. I just wish he had used Brianna more in the previous blow-outs. t
There is no experience like game time.
 

VAMike23

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yep agreed. well said. i think Geno realized/felt Kiah and Brianna were clearly not ready. i hope they improve on the trajectory Stef did last year because they will be needed. or i should say, the depth will provide greater insurance. i think with Caroline playing sub par, which she has done for a number of games this year, indicates she may not be ready to play at an elite level. perhaps the injuries have taken too much of a toll on her body.

but if Caroline is ineffective, having Kaleena and Heather gives you a guard/wing and post player off the bench, but if you consider starting Kaleena, or taking Caroline more out of the picture, you really need Brianna to step up...

I think there is a mental side and a physical side to Caroline's knee situation, both of which should slowly improve as the year goes on.

Mentally it's going to be a gradual thing as she gets more and more accustomed to the physical limitations, but physically I think she will actuallly gain a bit more performance over time as the last 10% of the healing/strengthening process takes place. Yes it's been over a year but I still think that she can get a bit more out of that knee before she has completely topped out. IOW, the ceiling will be lower than it was before, but she's not quite at that ceiling yet.

RE: Kiah and Brianna , they are not likely to emulate Stef's growth curve from last year for the simple reason that necessity is the mother of invention. Stef was put in a very tough spot and she rose to the challenge, to put it mildly. Bria was also thrown into the deep end right away and came away BE FOY. Stokes and Banks will probably have a more typical growth curve, with Stokes being the more likely of the two to log a significant number of quality minutes by tournament time. She can do well off the bench at the 4 or the 5, unless the other guy's jersey says 'Griner' on the back. In that case, you need a much stronger base than Stokes currently has. Think HB (and Samarie last year). I think some posters here were too quick to dismiss Stokes' near-term prospects based on how she did against a one-of-a-kind player.
 

JS

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Great [first] post! Welcome to the BY [Asylum]
More like welcome back, I think.

Laughsalot has a Boneyard pedigree, just hasn't posted in recent times.

I'll echo the sentiment.
 

MilfordHusky

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Last night was a heavyweight fight that Baylor won in a close decision on points. UConn was going for the TKO in the 12th round, but couldn't quite get it. Considering the talent and coaching level, it may be the best game of the year--at least until the spring.
 
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More like welcome back, I think.

Laughsalot has a Boneyard pedigree, just hasn't posted in recent times.

I'll echo the sentiment.
JS: Thank you and you are, as per usual, correct.
 
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