Improvements from game 1

Discussion in 'UConn Women's Basketball' started by HuskyNan, Jan 11, 2017.

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  1. HuskyNan

    HuskyNan Administrator

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    I've noticed a bunch of improvements in the Huskies since game 1 against Florida State with two standing out:

    1. Passing, and therefore turnovers, is vastly improved, like 1000%. For the first several games, the Huskies were passing to the bench, the photographers, or no one at all with somewhat alarming regularity. IMO, that was because players were in unfamiliar roles and seeing teammates in unfamiliar positions on the court. Hence the "looking like an elementary school team" comments (nope, still not over that). Anyway, it's pretty clear everyone on the team is getting a better feel for which teammate will cut any which time and understanding how to predict how long it will take someone to stride to the basket. The passing isn't perfect yet, but it's been really, really good with stretches of spectacular here and there.

    2. Everyone has shown a willingness and ability to push herself to expand her game and this has made the Huskies potent on defense and downright scary on offense. Gabby is the most obvious sign of this but others have grown enormously in the last couple of months. Lou doesn't stand around on the perimeter, she'll put the ball on the floor and drive, she'll make a pull up jumper, and she'll pass the ball. Kia's improvements are mostly mental - she's put her demons behind her, the difficulty of this is something we shouldn't underestimate. Saniya - you go, girl. We've seen flashes of her wanting to be a senior leader for an entire game and last night she showed she's perfectly capable of doing so. I could go one, but you get the point.

    There are other improvements but those are all I have time to orate upon during my lunch hour. The drawback of sharing a cubicle with my boss.
     
  2. JoePgh

    JoePgh

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    And I would add that with the notable exception of the Maryland game, the front court players are managing to stay out of foul trouble. That is an area where the experience of last year's team is most notable -- everyone commented last year about how UConn games never take the full two hours that TV allots to them, because UConn rarely fouls and even more rarely sends opponents to the free throw line.

    I'm not sure why the Maryland game is an exception, but it certainly was. I don't think the game would have been particularly close (15-20 point margin) if Gabby and Napheesa had managed to stay out of foul trouble. I certainly hope that the foul syndrome doesn't reappear against South Carolina or other good teams in the tournament.
     
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  3. BostonCanuck

    BostonCanuck

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    Fully agree on both points. Gabby and Kia are showing incredible leadership right now in the areas of attitude and effort level. Lou and Pheesa are executing their scoring games to perfection, and their prowess on defense is now up to the UConn standard. Lou in particular is really enjoying herself, as evidenced by the continual smiles and chuckles. All of this is contagious and is now lifting the other players, especially Saniya and Natalie. It has become a perfect example of team ball, and is an absolute joy to behold.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  4. bags27

    bags27

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    I have a memory like a (I forgot what it's called, but I use it with flour). But I do vaguely recall foul trouble in the Notre Dame game, and certainly in the Baylor game, where Geno sent in the freshmen to run out the clock in the first half.

    I don't think by any means this issue is resolved. Geno believes that Pheesa and Gabby can somewhat compensate for lack of size with quicker hands (swatting the ball when its brought down), jumping the pass, and getting to the spot (for charges) more quickly. But even in the presser last night, he implied that UConn can still be exposed, and I'm pretty sure this is what he meant.
     
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  5. bags27

    bags27

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    Awesome points! This one goes to Geno's constant surprise with this team. I believe the kids have highjacked the coaches this year. The coaches thought they knew the limits of the team, and team just got together and said: "oh, no you don't." It's a wonderful thing when the students teach the teacher.
     
  6. UcMiami

    UcMiami How it is

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    Nice post Nan - and I think on the passing, Gabby is showing a lot of improvement - she has been the most creative passer on the team, but early on she was occasionally seeing things that just weren't there and trying to make impossible passes. She has kept the creativity flowing, but has made fewer really bad passes in the last 4 or so games. With such an efficient team, having a little more patience on offense is a good idea and the whole team seems to be calmer in that regard.
     
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  7. meyers7

    meyers7 Smarty Pants

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    I think the other thing that helps with this is the fact that UConn is not deep. So the Core Four and Chong are getting a lot of playing time together. Only really adding in Butler and CD3 intermittently when the game is being decided. Having the same players on the floor most of the time always helps the chemistry.
     
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  8. bags27

    bags27

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    it's almost possible to disaggregate individual improvements along the way:
    1. Pheesa & Gabby showed great development already in November, with Gabby getting a second "boost," as UcMiami notes, with recent improved passing
    2. Lou took a bit longer to show improvements, but suddenly we saw the inside game and the jumper off the curl
    3. Kia in the last ~10 games much, much steadier offensively
    4. Saniya, really stepping up since around the time of her return from concussion protocol
    5. Natalie, now a couple of good games in a row

    trending: Lou is beginning to look far more aggressive on the boards
    looking for: Crystal improving after returning in 2 weeks
    hoping for: Kyla (should be encouraged by this last game) being able to give some solid minutes in relief of the bigs
     
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  9. JavaMan

    JavaMan

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    Right on the money. Well said. At the beginning of the year I was REALLY worried about this teams ability to pass to the degree with which we had grown accustom ...compared to this teams immediate predecessor of course. "Passing, and therefore turnovers, is vastly improved, like 1000%." You nailed it! And I feel a lot better knowing that you are correct.

     
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  10. HoopsFan21

    HoopsFan21

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    Kyla has set career highs in points the last two games and is looking less lost out there. I think Bent and Kyla just need time on the floor - the more they get the better they seem to look. Same for Butler.
     
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  11. oldude

    oldude bamboo lover

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    Gabby was also in foul trouble vs Baylor. When you ask someone who is 5'11" to guard someone 6'7" there going to be some fouls. Other than FSU, UConn's foul trouble seems to correspond with the size & ability of the post players they have to defend.

    Only SC remains on the schedule with the ability to put Gabby & Pheesa in foul trouble with their post players, although Nat's recent play is very comforting. If the Huskies stay out of foul trouble vs SC, they win handily.
     
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  12. VAMike23

    VAMike23 The Virginian

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    Defensive Communication -

    I think it was Doris Burke who isolated Kia Nurse on a few replays during the ND game simply to highlight the great communication that we had on defense, something we HAD (and have) to have because we switch so much.

    This is sort of new - we didn't switch all that much in the past because we had such formidable backstops (Dolson/Stokes/Stewart). We would try sticking to you like flies on s&%! , fighting through screens, and take our chances knowing what kind of personnel we had lurking in and around the lane. This year we switch on the perimeter as our bread-and-butter, and people can get caught in mismatches all the time.

    Our squad needed time before the necessary communication got to be second nature, as it seems to be now. If you can switch all the time and yet somehow cover up the weak spots by switching again off the ball and erasing mismatches, what you can still be devastating even without an Eraser behind you.
     
  13. huskeynut

    huskeynut Leader of the Band

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    The more they play and practice together the better they will becoming.

    We are seeing how Gabby and Pheesa have developed together. They are aware of each other's court presence. And they use it effectively. And that is just one example.

    Spacing, so important to the offense, is constantly improving. And last night Saniya showed her full range both on offense and
    defense.

    Natalie has had two very good gmes in a row. She is showing some shooting range and not hesitating. CD3 did well but now sidelined. Kyla had a nice game last night and didn't look lost. Molly is getting there and she will be just fine.
     
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  14. TitleTown

    TitleTown

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    One of the biggest improvements I have noticed is how Coach Auriemma has taken a perceived negative like their lack of size and turned it into a positive. On defense the Huskies are able to switch on every single screen because every starter is right around 6'. So even if Williams or Collier are forced to switch off onto a 1 or 2 they are able to guard them and stop them from penetrating. The same can be said if Samuelson or Nurse switched off and were forced to guard a 4 or 5. This makes UConn very difficult to penetrate against and forces teams to play from the outside in.
     
  15. msf22b

    msf22b Maestro

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    The improvement in all phases of defense is noticeable
    Feet move, players stay in front, switching is the smoothest I can recall.

    I agree completely with the post of Title Town above but it might be expressed from a positive perspective...the lack of size, but speed and intuition and good study habits is the hand coach was dealt.

    Coach has figured out a way to maximize their usefulness on defense and how to harness the shooting ability in the case of Katie-Lou, Saniya and Kia and in the virtually unstoppable undersized inside game of Pheesa and Gabby (perhaps first seen to our South West in the estimable game of Nina Davis) And now with substantial improvement on a game to game basis by Natalie, and even the other freshmen, options increase...I love the over-the-middle..in the lane move of KLS...very reminiscent of the virtual play Geno put in for Stewie to open up her scoring and the offense as a whole.

    When Crystal came back from her concussion,she didn't seem right...nor through yesterday, when it was announced that she would sit out an injury. I'd much rather have a nagging injury as the reason for her lack of development than the earlier whining that Geno was blasting away in public; perhaps the reality is a bit of both.

    For me, the biggest improvement consists in the entire team's buy-in to his approach towards sound BB (and whatever else...life?) As a group, they are perhaps the most willing students of his take on the game that we've ever seen.
    As a result he can take this most willing and talented group (lacking all-star status) and create the magic, increasingly seen on court.

    It may very well be, that he (and they together) have created an unstoppable monster, with even more growth available that will roar through the final-4 and beyond...We shall soon see, won't we? :)
     
  16. ochoopsfan

    ochoopsfan Orange County Pundit

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    Mental Toughness since the FSU game.
    All the teams wanted to schedule UConn this year.
    I wonder how mentally tough the other teams are vs the #Nastyfor2hours gang. :D
     
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