How would you defend this UConn team? | The Boneyard

How would you defend this UConn team?

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alexrgct

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I thought this would be an interesting way to look at the team. If you think about how you would play UConn if you were trying to gameplan for them with your own talented group of girls, it helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of UConn better.

Now, I know that, on defense, I need to actively try to take away some things from UConn's offense, and doing so will mean I need to concede UConn being able to do other things. So what do I try to stop, and what do I concede?

At this stage, it seems clear to me, that I want to prevent the following:

-Letting KML get open three-pointers. She's deadly if she can shoot in rhythm.
-Letting Bria and Tiff get points in the paint. They can both be effective from long range, especially Bria, but I'd rather let them try to do their damage from 20+ feet away.
-I don't want Stef getting the ball in position for high-percentage shots

Given this, my defensive gameplan involves the following:

-UConn seems all-too-willing to settle for long-range shots and to get away from trying to get the ball into the post. I am happy to cater to that tendency.
-Additionally, anything I can do to get Stef in foul trouble or tire her out, I want to do. UConn's other posts are not serious threats on offense.
-I instruct my defenders to keep Bria and Tiff in front of them at all costs. That does not mean simply concede the three-point shot, but if forced into the choice, concede long-range rather than letting them drive to the basket.
-I dare Kelly, Kiah, Brianna, and Heather to shoot. I don't exactly dare Caroline to shoot, but if forced into a choice, I'd rather she shoot it than pass to Bria or KML.
-Whoever's guarding KML better stick to her like glue. Under no circumstances do I concede long-range shots from her. If she can beat you with a dribble drive, so be it. I'd rather let her try to attack with dribble penetration, backdoor cuts, and runners/floaters, all of which are worth two points, than let her beat me from three-point range.
-UConn was vulnerable to good pressing teams last season and are a bit turnover-prone this season. If I have the personnel to press, I do so until UConn proves they can break it.
-Any game plan is obviously going to include trying to prevent offensive rebounds. However, since
UConn takes a lot of outside shots and is kind of small, they tend to send guards to the rim area in anticipation of rebounds. My guards need to be especially cognizant and vigilent with respect to this.

On offense, I have a greater set of challenges. Defense is always a calling card of UConn's and is especially so this season. Their nine-deep rotation includes some players who aren't big-time threats on O, but all nine are big-time threats on D. Generally speaking, I'm going to develop a game plan that I think exploits individual matchup advantages and caters to my strengths, but what do I try to do specific to UConn?

-UConn is going to press. If you can break their press, they sometimes are a little slow getting to their basket. As soon as you do break their press, or even in anticipation of doing so, send someone right to the basket.
-UConn can also be inconsistent on the uptake when it comes to backdoor cuts. These two items are very small vulnerabilities in an otherwise very stiff defense, but you exploit what you can.
-UConn has personnel to keep my bigs out of optimal post position or to front them well if they get there. I still have to make getting the ball into the post a priority. Getting Stef out of the game makes UConn's offense less multi-dimensional, and if I make Kelly work on D, especially in the post area, I may be able to tire her out or get her into foul trouble as well.

What would you suggest an opponent do in addition to or instead of what I've listed? And do you think Baylor and or A&M has the horses to do so?
 

alexrgct

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Note: my thread title really should have said "How would play this UConn team" rather than specifically defend. Can't edit thread titles once posted. :(
 

EricLA

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can't argue with any of that. so far this year i'm completely confused as to why Stef is only averaging 11 PPG in 20 minutes per game. i get that he's been playing Kiah and Heather a lot, but Stef is supposedly the 2nd best post player in the nation and she's not being given the opportunity to do so by the guards, espeecially when they go jacking up well over 30 3-pointers per game. i think the towson game was better from the perspective of 3 pointers vs. 2 pointers taken, but i don't get why she's not being given the opportunity to score more.

side note - she's averaging only 7 shot attempts per game. but she's hitting over 60% of her shots. it's great to say "well she can score at will against smaller teams". well she isn't able to do that against better teams, and you could also argue that KML and Bria are going to knock down 3's so why bother taking those either?

so having said that, i'd focus much less on stopping UCONN's inside game and devise a game plan to take the guards out of the game. pressing is great, but if it allows for UCONN shooters to get open 3 point looks, it could be a problem. but UCONN is the #2 team in the nation. having a game plan, and executing it once the game starts, are two different things...
 
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can't argue with any of that. so far this year i'm completely confused as to why Stef is only averaging 11 PPG in 20 minutes per game....

Given that Stef hasn't been "needed" yet, limiting her to 20 minutes gives Geno an opportunity to try other stuf (i.e Heather, Kiah etc).
How many minutes did Ms. Dolson play in the Stanford game
 

Wbbfan1

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I would place my defensive efforts on Bria & KML. Do whatever a team could do to keep the ball out of the hands of those two players. Take my chance the other 3 players could not score enough points to win the game
 

pap49cba

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We may see the answer to this question Tuesday night. The old saw is that teams that press don't like to be pressed themselves. TAMU is going to press us the entire game and pressure the wings.
 
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We are going to find out alot about UCONN next Tuesday. Texas A&M is a forty minute pressing team. UCONN is an excellent pressing team in their own right. Now we are going to learn if they can handle the press from a great pressing team like A&M. I'm sure UCONN will also be pressing A&M. The team that handles the press the best is going to win the game.
 
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I would play a box and one with my best defender on Bria at the start of the game and KML when she came in. Shut down their best scorer and let the other 4 try to beat you. The prblem even if that works is scoring enough on the other end. Doubtful at best that that can be done. Even Balor with have it's hands full with this team.
 

Icebear

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My defense would be, "Your honor the UConn Huskies can not be held responsible for the performance of their opponents. The definition of basketball is that one takes the ball and puts it in the basket. Basketball competition requires that one do that more frequently than one's opponent. Sadly, it is a task others have been unable to do a rate comparable to Ms. Hayes, Dolson, Hartley, Doty, Faris, and most recently Ms. Mosqueda-Lewis."
 
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Box and one. The one which actually may be the two best defenders alternating coverage of Kaleena to deny her the ball. With two defenders alternating covergage you can keep a fresh defender on Kaleena at all times. Try to pressure and frustrate. If she doesn't get the ball she can't shoot it. Without a defender shadowing her, she gets too many wide open shots. Bria and Hayes will score but Doty and Faris are not scoring threats at this time. Bria and Kaleena are the consistent scores. You just have to try to take one of them out of the game. If Kaleena sits, then Bria gets the defensive attention. You have to minimize the scoring of one or both. Hayes may or may not score a lot. Plus the UCONN players haven't shown the ability or desire to pass the ball into the post thus deminishing Stef's scoring. Stokes and Banks are not scoring threats.
 

huskeynut

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Good post Alex. Interesting discussion.

Our opponents must also figure out how to defend a twin towers set - Kia and Stef. Kia up high is a good passer. Put Stef down low and you have a big problem. We saw it last night against Towsen. I don't think you tire Stef out this year and her defense seems to be much improved as is her awareness of defensive positioning.

Trying to keep Tiff and Bria out of the lane is easier said than done. Both have a quick first step and have good speed. Tiff drives everyone crazy because she is left handed and most teams forget that.

As to the 3's, Geno is comfortable with about a third of the shots being 3's. So, if the team passes the ball four to six times per set, someone will be open for a 3, either Bria or Tiff or Caroline or KLM. Ball movement is the key to getting an open 3.

The defensive choice is do you let us shot the 3 or pressure the 3 and hope the to stop the dribble drive. Much of this could depend on how effective Stef is in the low post. If Stef is effective, your defense will have to sag into the lane and open up the jumper from 15 to 22 feet away.

The key is can A & M and Baylor press full court. I'm not sure. It doesn't seem to be part of Baylor's game and I have no idea about A & M. If you choose to press us, our key is to get the ball to Stef at the half court. Her height, vision and passing ability can negated the pressure.

As to our pressuring both, our their guards quick enough and good enough passers to break it. If nothing else, our press takes time off the clock and gives the opponent less time to set up and run their half court offense.

So if your are playing Uconn, you pick your poison. Stop the penetration of our guards and let them shot the 3 and hope they have an off night.

Play Stef up straight and try to deny the entry pass to the post. If you front her defensively, you are subject to the lob for a layup. Which means you are collapsing your defense into the lane. Stef can also kick out to the guards for an open shot if you collapse on her. If she comes out to the top of the key, do you let her shoot the 15 footer which she can make or come out and defender out there.

We have four potent scorers. You can't stop them all.

One key to both games will be controlling the boards. If we control the boards and limit our opponents to one shot, we can win.

I like our chances against A & M. Against Baylor at Waco, it's a toss up that could go either way.
 

Icebear

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Box and one. The one which actually may be the two best defenders alternating coverage of Kaleena to deny her the ball. With two defenders alternating covergage you can keep a fresh defender on Kaleena at all times. Try to pressure and frustrate. If she doesn't get the ball she can't shoot it. Without a defender shadowing her, she gets too many wide open shots. Bria and Hayes will score but Doty and Faris are not scoring threats at this time. Bria and Kaleena are the consistent scores. You just have to try to take one of them out of the game. If Kaleena sits, then Bria gets the defensive attention. You have to minimize the scoring of one or both. Hayes may or may not score a lot. Plus the UCONN players haven't shown the ability or desire to pass the ball into the post thus deminishing Stef's scoring. Stokes and Banks are not scoring threats.
The box and one is a good choice but I might tilt it on end as a diamond and 1, thus, also, providing relatively direct coverage on Stef, as well.
 
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The box and one is a good choice but I might tilt it on end as a diamond and 1, thus, also, providing relatively direct coverage on Stef, as well.
Either way, you need a shadow on Kaleena and on Bria if Kaleena is not on the floor.
 

MilfordHusky

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My defense would be, "Your honor the UConn Huskies can not be held responsible for the performance of their opponents. The definition of basketball is that one takes the ball and puts it in the basket. Basketball competition requires that one do that more frequently than one's opponent. Sadly, it is a task others have been unable to do a rate comparable to Ms. Hayes, Dolson, Hartley, Doty, Faris, and most recently Ms. Mosqueda-Lewis."
Nice work, Father Icebear, Esq. :)
 
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Against the Starters - Box and 1 (Bria being the 1)
When KML comes in the game Concentrate on Bria and KML, and force the other three players to beat you.
Give up offensive rebounds to get back in transition.

on offense, get the ball into the post as much as possible, and IMO, the most important thing, take care of the ball.
 
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Don't guard Kelly away from the basket. Let her jack up all the threes she wants.
 

sarals24

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I don't know, we are pretty knowledgeable over here! ;)
 

Kibitzer

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I answered this question, sort of, before it was asked. I posted last October 26th as follows (from here on is my pre-season post, faithfully re-created):

Let's go over to the other side for a moment.

Here on the Boneyard we worry and fret about the challenge of shutting Diggins down. Or Griner. Schimmel. Ogwumike sisters. One 'Yarder has us losing 7 or 8 games.

I look at this picture and I try to think like a coach that has UConn on their schedule. Think what the scouting report looks like.

"Dolson. Deny entry pass by any means. Unstoppable one-on-one in the low post.

"Hayes. Don't leave her open on the perimeter. Jeff Walz tried that once.

"Hartley. She can shoot.

"Doty. Ten treys in a row before she got hurt.

"Faris. Clutch.

"KML. She can shoot. From anywhere.

"Banks. Give her a first step and she's gone."

And so on.

No wonder I like our chances. In every game.
 
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Aggies are not the team they were last year. Not as deep. They are also not a big 3pt. shooting team. My guess is that after A&M gets to the key, they will attack the paint. Then play inside and out with Bone and Carter. Both teams will try and capitalize on runouts. This is going to be a very physical game. Husky guards finally get the ball to Steph.
 
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