Of short and long benches



Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
5
Likes
15
I see a lot of posters saying that "Geno likes a short bench" but I disagree completely. I believe the 2000/2001 team was the deepest to date at UConn, and the stats below showed that he play them all. 14 players in all (Battle was hurt after 5 games, Sveta after 19, and She in the 30th) so he finished with 11 on the active roster.
There were 10 WNBA players on this team BTW (I am including the snakebitten Shea Ralph in the count).
11 players played over 10 minutes and 9 player over 16. 9 different players got some starts.
This is most arguably the finest team Geno ever assembled in spite of not winning the NCAA tourney. watch a game from that season, to see why.



## Player GP-GS Min Avg
-----------------------------------------
25 Abrosimova, Svetlan 19-19 466 24.5
32 Cash, Swin......... 35-33 832 23.8
03 Taurasi, Diana..... 33-14 791 24.0
10 Bird, Sue.......... 34-34 941 27.7
34 Williams, Tamika... 33-3 656 19.9
33 Ralph, Shea........ 30-30 710 23.7
15 Jones, Asjha....... 35-23 683 19.5
11 Schumacher, Kelly.. 29-14 491 16.9
23 Johnson, Kennitra.. 34-3 608 17.9
22 Battle, Ashley..... 5-0 52 10.4
05 Conlon, Maria...... 23-0 164 7.1
44 Rigby, Christine... 25-1 153 6.1
20 Valley, Morgan..... 29-0 300 10.3
13 Czel, Marci........ 27-1 153 5.7

I
 

EricLA

Cronus
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
13,146
Likes
26,044
I think it would be fun for someone to look at our 11 NC teams and list the players who got significant minutes in big games (ie. how deep was the bench). To your example, there were 11 players who averaged more than 10 MPG, but I wonder who actually played significant minutes in the final 4 and NC game?
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
960
Likes
3,203
All that I remember was that Geno was upset that he had to rely on only one or two players during the season and tournament time to play. I think that he will be thrilled to use as many talented players as he can to change the flow of the game and arrange different defense and offensive styles.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
1,456
Likes
3,216
I think it would be fun for someone to look at our 11 NC teams and list the players who got significant minutes in big games (ie. how deep was the bench). To your example, there were 11 players who averaged more than 10 MPG, but I wonder who actually played significant minutes in the final 4 and NC game?
I'm not sure that really matters in the discussion. The beauty of having a deep bench is that you don't wear down your stars over the season so they can play big minutes at the end of the season in the important games.

In my opinion, the last few years with no bench has resulted in worn down stars playing big minutes even in a cupcake games with lingering pesky injuries that never fully heal. That's not how you want to enter the tournament..
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2019
Messages
26
Likes
45
I have always been a believer that stats should be based on Minutes played per game and just game.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
235
Likes
456
I really like the minute's distribution from 2000-2001

Last season 35+ minutes 40 minutes

Megan Walker 17 times 6 times
Crystal 19 times 9 times
Cristyn 19 times 7 times
ONO 7 times 1 time
Anna 5 time

Just can't do that over the entire season
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
170
Likes
457
I really like the minute's distribution from 2000-2001

Last season 35+ minutes 40 minutes

Megan Walker 17 times 6 times
Crystal 19 9
Cristyn 19 7
ONO 7 1
Anna 5

Just can't do that over the entire season
Something I feel confident of regarding the direction, but not the magnitude is how much better a player that was getting 35+ minutes because of a thin bench, would do if minutes were reduced. Rather than individual per minute stats, an overall measure like PER comparing players in years they were overworked vs. given sufficient rest would be interesting. I suspect the difference would be substantial, might be an interesting study for Her Hoops, or another analytical company.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
170
Likes
457
I see a lot of posters saying that "Geno likes a short bench" but I disagree completely. I believe the 2000/2001 team was the deepest to date at UConn, and the stats below showed that he play them all. 14 players in all (Battle was hurt after 5 games, Sveta after 19, and She in the 30th) so he finished with 11 on the active roster.
There were 10 WNBA players on this team BTW (I am including the snakebitten Shea Ralph in the count).
11 players played over 10 minutes and 9 player over 16. 9 different players got some starts.
This is most arguably the finest team Geno ever assembled in spite of not winning the NCAA tourney. watch a game from that season, to see why.



## Player GP-GS Min Avg
-----------------------------------------
25 Abrosimova, Svetlan 19-19 466 24.5
32 Cash, Swin......... 35-33 832 23.8
03 Taurasi, Diana..... 33-14 791 24.0
10 Bird, Sue.......... 34-34 941 27.7
34 Williams, Tamika... 33-3 656 19.9
33 Ralph, Shea........ 30-30 710 23.7
15 Jones, Asjha....... 35-23 683 19.5
11 Schumacher, Kelly.. 29-14 491 16.9
23 Johnson, Kennitra.. 34-3 608 17.9
22 Battle, Ashley..... 5-0 52 10.4
05 Conlon, Maria...... 23-0 164 7.1
44 Rigby, Christine... 25-1 153 6.1
20 Valley, Morgan..... 29-0 300 10.3
13 Czel, Marci........ 27-1 153 5.7

I
As someone who believes Geno does like a short bench, this is a great example that at least once, 20 years ago he did use all of his bench in a way some like me are hoping for next year. Good work! You got me curious, I will have to go back and look at the stats for that year to see how they did as a team, were there more forced turnovers? Did they play at a faster pace etc?
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
235
Likes
456
I would read that study, but I'm not going to do it. OldHuskie, I'm sure your right, the difference would be substantial.

If you are trying to win 39-40 games you need the bench. You play your players when you need them in big games, but otherwise, you don't overuse them.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2016
Messages
2,832
Likes
4,239
Coach Geno goes to a very short bench during the NCAA's, except when the starters have clobbered the other team, and he has a 35-point lead. Then he plays his other players. Always been that way.

We have lots of players. Coach Geno has said in the past that so many players is not necessarily a good thing.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
855
Likes
1,436
Virtually all NBA teams have 10-person rotations, with subs at each of the five positions. The eight-person rotation of three posts, three wings and two points is rarely seen unless the team has had significant injuries. Next year, he will absolutely have to use 10, or he will start losing a lot of talent to the transfer portal.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
4,007
Likes
3,502
Virtually all NBA teams have 10-person rotations, with subs at each of the five positions. The eight-person rotation of three posts, three wings and two points is rarely seen unless the team has had significant injuries. Next year, he will absolutely have to use 10, or he will start losing a lot of talent to the transfer portal.
Not even close to being near comparable.

The NBA plays 82 reg season games. And in playoffs if a team keeps winning- it's 4 rounds best of 7.
Every 5th game in the NBA is like an additional college game in terms of minutes. (40 minutes college 48 NBA)
UCONN played 29 games for a total of 1,160 minutes in approx. 103 days.
GS Warriors played 25 games for a total of 1,200 minutes in approx. 46 days.

And if you count college post season vs NBA - again huge discrepancy. - 21-22 "probable" games vs approx. 9.
The 21-22 games is about 90% of a college basketball season.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
302
Likes
366
Geno takes a lot of pride in his and the program’s prowess in cultivating WNBA players. He can’t do that if they don’t play. Next year will even be trickier. If he’s going to recruit these players, then they have to play. Of course, everyone’s going to say it’s all about championships. Yes it is, but you ain’t winning championships without players and you ain’t getting the players if they don’t play. Simple. Now if they turn out not to be any good, then that’s another story.
I would also like to remind us that Geno has a ton of USA basketball experience and success, so it’s not like he’s going to worry about having 10-12 good players to get minutes to.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
4,007
Likes
3,502
Geno takes a lot of pride in his and the program’s prowess in cultivating WNBA players. He can’t do that if they don’t play. Next year will even be trickier. If he’s going to recruit these players, then they have to play. Of course, everyone’s going to say it’s all about championships. Yes it is, but you ain’t winning championships without players and you ain’t getting the players if they don’t play. Simple. Now if they turn out not to be any good, then that’s another story.
I would also like to remind us that Geno has a ton of USA basketball experience and success, so it’s not like he’s going to worry about having 10-12 good players to get minutes to.
YES!!!!

Trust the coach that has won 11 championships - and nine of them with extreme number 1 recruits - all-time greats. DT, Maya and Stewie.

He keeps getting the number 1 recruits for a reason. He plays them. He doesn't "share their minutes."

I would like to remind those that think you need a bench of 10 in big games in that Geno rarely plays that many in big games. So why ignore what he has done in the college game?

And how can anyone knock his success and style as he has just got back-to-back potential extreme superstars? If they turn out to be super - then Geno is going to do what he always has done-- play the superstar a lot in big games. The formula has been super.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
429
Likes
657
So I have provided a breakdown of the minute distribution for 2000-01 season split into 4 sections:
1. All Players Available
2. Without Battle
3. Without Battle & Sveta
4. Without Battle, Sveta and Ralph.

As you can see even though 9 players averaged 16.9 mpg or more on the season at no point during those 4 sections were more than 7 players players achieving it at the same time (see brown cells). When one player is unavailable another gets increased minutes.

The major beneficiaries of Sveta's injury were Taurasi (+7.5mpg) and Johnson (+9.3 mpg).

After Shea got injured 7 players averaged 22.4 mpg and no else more than 11.0 mpg, which makes sense after you lose 2 AA's.

This is for all games played. If I did it for ranked teams only it would probably be more skewed.

1605949610148.png
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
2,004
Likes
2,198
This might have been partially a little payback for the Stevie home game snub by Syracuse’s coach!
It was their last game for UConn. For all they done it was a Coaches way of saying enjoy the game and Thank You.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
170
Likes
457
I think the long vs. short rotation argument has pretty much been made by lots of people on both sides. I wanted to isolate one specific scenario I have been puzzled by for years. In overtime games, say in the NBA the traditional strategy is you play your best players in the overtime period whether they are tired or not.

The coach has tried to maximize the use of their best players over 48 minutes, and generally has the best players on the floor in the last few minutes. Then the overtime means 5 more minutes for the starters that are probably already tired. That is the traditional approach, is it the best one? I don't know but I suspect during that overtime that some of the starters are tired enough, that a bench player might be better if the gap in ability is modest.

Of course that would be fighting the generally held concept that you have your best players on the floor during crunch time. My point would be if your starters are gassed and your bench is fresh, your starters may not be the best players for that situation. It is not an entitlement for your starters to finish the game it is a strategic choice by the coach.

In one overtime I sometimes question the strategy, but to my surprise the exact same strategy is generally used if the game goes to a second overtime. The starters on both teams come out gasping for air on the opening tip and usually the coaches refuse to use their bench much as if it was a cultural taboo that can't be violated.

If the gap between the starter and the bench player is not too great, there is some level of exhaustion when your bench player gives you a better chance to win the game, even in the game's most critical moments.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
429
Likes
657
Below is a chart which shows the distribution of minutes vs Ranked Teams starting from 2000-01 (i.e. the 1st season I have all boxscores). In fact 2000-01 did have the best distribution along with 2004-05.

1605994337546.png

Edited: To include 2019-20 season.

There were 10 WNBA players on this team BTW (I am including the snakebitten Shea Ralph in the count).
I am curious though who the 10th WNBA player is.

25 Abrosimova, Svetlana (7th overall, 2001)
32 Cash, Swin (2nd overall, 2002)
03 Taurasi, Diana (1st overall, 2004)
10 Bird, Sue (1st overall, 2002)
34 Williams, Tamika (6th overall, 2002)
33 Ralph, Shea (40th overall, 2001) *never played
15 Jones, Asjha (4th overall, 2002)
11 Schumacher, Kelly (14th overall, 2001)
23 Johnson, Kennitra
22 Battle, Ashley (25th overall, 2005)
05 Conlon, Maria
44 Rigby, Christine
20 Valley, Morgan
13 Czel, Marci
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 31, 2018
Messages
255
Likes
245
Now that they don’t play a first half second half and instead do the 4 periods there are more play stoppages that can work as a TO. This can sometimes give your starters a break without a TO or even coming out of the game. There is way more competition now to than 2001. If these season is shortened by the virus there may not be a deep bench. I hope the players are good enough to go 10 players with quality minutes.
 

Top