Rich Elliot: Dolson struggles again | The Boneyard

Rich Elliot: Dolson struggles again

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Phil

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The WVU coaching staff spent a fair amount of time talking about how to deal with Dolson, although to be fair, I don't think their game plan is full answer to her lack of scoring. They noted her propensity to set a screen after some action, which I've forgotten. it became a mantra; Carey would bark out "after Dolson [fill in the blank}, then he would pause, and the players would respond in unison, "set sets a high screen". They did plan to have two bigs in at the same time, so if there was a switch, there wouldn't be a mismatch. The first thing was more of a what to watch out for thing, the second may have helped keep her scoring down.
 

Wbbfan1

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This team cannot get to the Final Four unless Stef plays as one of the top centers in the game. She has to be an offensive threat in every game and not play like she did last night. She and Kiah were schooled last night on both the defensive and offensive end of the court. They let an average center control them and it disrupted the team flow. I understand how it happened with Kiah, but it should not have happened to Stef.
 
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Dolson needs to be more selfish. When she gets the ball at the elbow she needs to face the basket and become a threat to shoot. you don't have to guard someone who isn't looking to shoot. Her scoring from the foul line draws the opposing center away from the basket and creates the passing lanes for others cutting to the hoop. With 4 guards who can all shoot outside spreading the defense out is the key to this offense working.
 

HuskyNan

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This team cannot get to the Final Four unless Stef plays as one of the top centers in the game. She has to be an offensive threat in every game and not play like she did last night. She and Kiah were schooled last night on both the defensive and offensive end of the court. They let an average center control them and it disrupted the team flow. I understand how it happened with Kiah, but it should not have happened to Stef.
Asya Bussie, a junior, was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman team two years ago. She struggled last season - sophomore slump? - but seems to have improved. Most post players need a couple years to develop anyway. And don't forget Stef is only a soph.
 

MilfordHusky

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This team cannot get to the Final Four unless Stef plays as one of the top centers in the game. She has to be an offensive threat in every game and not play like she did last night. She and Kiah were schooled last night on both the defensive and offensive end of the court. They let an average center control them and it disrupted the team flow. I understand how it happened with Kiah, but it should not have happened to Stef.
I think we can get to the Final Four not firing on all cylinders. Winning the national championship is another matter. Stef should be able to dominate Notre Dame, and she needs to hold her own against Baylor and Stanford.
 

UConnCat

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This team is a work in progress, particularly on offense. Why is this so difficult to understand?

Stef has gone from last year sharing the lane with the player of the year, 3-time Wade trophy winner and WNBA ROY to having the lane to herself surrounded by 4 guards. The 4-guard offense involves having Stef set a lot of high ball screens to get shooters open and having the guards drive and kick out to open shooters on the wing. As a result, Stef either spends a lot of time at the high post setting screens or drawing post defenders so the guards can penetrate and kick. On the occasions when Stef has posted down low, the guards have not done a great job of getting her the ball. Overall, it's been a frustrating year for Stef so far which has likely caused her to lose some confidence and not work as hard as she can to establish position down low (if you're going to get banged around, it's easier to take if you get the ball).

So, I see a team that is still working on establishing the right balance that will allow it to score in a variety of different ways and make it difficult for opponents to defend. It has a long way to go and there are going to be ups and downs and losses along the way.

Geno said that Stef was the 2nd post player in the country because I think he believes she has the potential to be just that. But Stef is discovering that playing without Maya next to her and with 4 guards is making life in the lane a lot more difficult. She is literally the center of attention. She knows she needs to score more and play better and so do the coaches. All we can hope for is that she continues to work at it and plays better by March.
 
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.

I wonder what Carey's plan would have been if Stef had hit a few of those 15' shots they were giving her? And why, all of a sudden, has she lost the touch for the 15' shot that she routinely made as a freshman?
.
 

Biff

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She is literally the center of attention.

Ha! I like that. Reading Phil's on the scene comments above she clearly was the center of attention by Carey's plan.

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I wonder what Carey's plan would have been if Stef had hit a few of those 15' shots they were giving her? And why, all of a sudden, has she lost the touch for the 15' shot that she routinely made as a freshman?
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My impression last night was she rarely had the 15' shot that she is so deadly at making. She seemed to be 3-4 feet above that out at the top of the circle and when she took shots it was from 2-4 feet beyond the FT line. Her "deadliness" at that range is not so ...um..deadly I guess. I was waiting for her to start a dribble drive and make Bussy commit to her which would have freed the back door more but that never happened. She either shot the 18 footer or passe out of the super high post.
 

pap49cba

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Asya Bussie, a junior, was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman team two years ago. She struggled last season - sophomore slump? - but seems to have improved. Most post players need a couple years to develop anyway. And don't forget Stef is only a soph.
We may be watching a sophomore slump of our own.

To me, Stef seems to be over-thinking everything instead of just playing. For a girl with her size and skills to be 'man-handled' is surprising. If Bussie had tried her bulldozer defense against the junior or senior Tina she would have found herself planted. Unfortunately, the women's game seems to be getting more and more physical -- not a positive thing in my view -- so Stef had better get used to it.
 

UConnCat

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I was waiting for her to start a dribble drive and make Bussy commit to her which would have freed the back door more but that never happened. She either shot the 18 footer or passe out of the super high post.

As I recall, CD made the same point on her postgame show. She was out beyond her range and she didn't shoot because she knew that. CD said that Stef needed to put the ball on the floor and either drive to the basket or pull up and take a shot more within her range.
 

Wbbfan1

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What concerned me the most about last nights game is Stef didn't know what to do with the ball on the high post. She had the player guarding her 4 feet away and she seemed lost. Geno took her out of the game 3 or 4 times before she decided that maybe she should at least shoot the ball. She did and missed. It seemed to me that she had the opportunity to dribble the ball a couple of times to get a shot more in her range or get the WVA post player to get up on her and free up another player to pass the ball to. It also appeared the other players were having difficulty getting open to accept a pass from Stef or for that matter Kiah. Too many times last night UConn's post player had the ball and the defender was 4 feet away from them and both Kiah and Stef didn't know what to do with the ball.
 

Icebear

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CD said that Stef needed to put the ball on the floor and either drive to the basket or pull up and take a shot more within her range.
But then we would have to listen to Meghan telling us that Stef should never put the ball on the floor.
 

speedoo

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As I recall, CD made the same point on her postgame show. She was out beyond her range and she didn't shoot because she knew that. CD said that Stef needed to put the ball on the floor and either drive to the basket or pull up and take a shot more within her range.
Correct. She was setting up at the top of the key, and I kept asking myself why she was not setting up at the foul line. A question that still puzzles me.
 

msf22b

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You know, they're going to figure this out, its not rocket science and our coaches know what they're doing. WV had a good game plan tonight for how to deal w Stef and she didn't adjust particularly well.
Hopefully, in the near future she'll be better. BTW: I still fret about the Notre Dame game for the reason I've stated several times: They are more in tune with what they can do as a team at this stage of the season.
 

HuskyNan

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Correct. She was setting up at the top of the key, and I kept asking myself why she was not setting up at the foul line. A question that still puzzles me.
Meghan was calling for Stef to take a couple of steps towards the basket because Bussie was playing 10' off of her. She must have said it three times.
 

UConnCat

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You know, they're going to figure this out, its not rocket science and our coaches know what they're doing. WV had a good game plan tonight for how to deal w Stef and she didn't adjust particularly well.
Hopefully, in the near future she'll be better. BTW: I still fret about the Notre Dame game for the reason I've stated several times: They are more in tune with what they can do as a team at this stage of the season.

Of course ND is more in tune with what they can do. ND is a much more experienced team with two 5th year seniors (Peters and Mallory), two of the best and most experienced guards in the country (senior Novosel, and junior Diggins) and coming off a run to the championship game. The only player lost from last year's team was Bruiser.

If you watch Geno's press conference (now up on the team website), he's not nearly as upset about last night's game as some of the fans on this board. He understands the strengths and weaknesses of his team and seemed okay with last night's game, understanding that there are many things to work on including getting more points in the paint. ("All in all given the way the game was played, given the nature of the game and the games we play with these guys I thought we grinded one out pretty good," Auriemma said.)
 

speedoo

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Meghan was calling for Stef to take a couple of steps towards the basket because Bussie was playing 10' off of her. She must have said it three times.
I heard her too but I don't agree with her. When a post dribbles, it should be for only one of two reasons.. 1. Go to the basket, or 2. Get out of trouble, such as being double teamed and possible losing the ball. I don't agree with a post like Stef dribbling to establish position, which is what Meaghan was suggesting, because then she has given up her dribble and that is asking for trouble. If Stef had simply set up closer, dribbling to gain position would not be necessary.

And it now seems apparent to me that Stef setting up that far away was exactly what the coaches wanted, probably because they wanted to go back door, but WVU sucessfully denied that strategy.
 

UConnCat

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Correct. She was setting up at the top of the key, and I kept asking myself why she was not setting up at the foul line. A question that still puzzles me.

Spacing. She wanted to pull the defender out to open up the lane more. The defender didn't follow her which led to other issues (Stef not being confident enough to take the shot which was probably a few feet beyond her range and the guards not having space in the lane to cut to the basket.) Other teams are going to defend the same way to the coaches and Dolson will need to adjust. I think she's capable of hitting the 15' jumper, but it's clear she's lost confidence.
 

HuskyNan

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Spacing. She wanted to pull the defender out to open up the lane more. The defender didn't follow her which led to other issues (Stef not being confident enough to take the shot which was probably a few feet beyond her range and the guards not having space in the lane to cut to the basket.) Other teams are going to defend the same way to the coaches and Dolson will need to adjust. I think she's capable of hitting the 15' jumper, but it's clear she's lost confidence.
Kiah was doing the same thing - standing at the right elbow. I was happy when she took, and made, that 17' shot. This was right after a time out when Kiah had passed the ball under the same circumstances. Geno must have made it clear someone needs to make that shot to keep the defense honest.
 

UConnCat

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One more thing, Geno also said last night (again) that the team needs to be able to play with two post players (combination of two of Dolson, Kiah and Heather). It sounds like we'll start to see more of that going forward.
 

msf22b

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Let's also remember that in the past, WV's pressing defense allowed them to be killed by back doors, to which the Husky's gratefully obliged. Their plan was a tad more sophisticated last night.
 

Icebear

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And it now seems apparent to me that Stef setting up that far away was exactly what the coaches wanted, probably because they wanted to go back door, but WVU sucessfully denied that strategy.

Plus WVU isn't forced to honor the high post opening the backdoor until Stef takes and hits a couple of those shots. That is when things open up behind the foul line because Bussey is drawn out and must honor Stef on the floor.
 
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We may be watching a sophomore slump of our own.

....For a girl with her size and skills to be 'man-handled' is surprising. If Bussie had tried her bulldozer defense against the junior or senior Tina she would have found herself planted. .

But what would a freshman or sophomore Tina have done? Odds are about 50/50 she would have been in Geno's doghouse for some reason or another that particular day and/or not played very spectacularly.

Heather is just starting to show, with a little consistency, some of what we've been hoping to see since she came. She's a redshirt junior. I could say similar things about most of our true post players going back to Kara Wolters. Centers develop slow, at least at UConn. Stef's breakout run at the end of last year was the exception, not the rule. I would call it less of a "sophomore slump" and more "normal post player development."
 

vtcwbuff

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Meghan was calling for Stef to take a couple of steps towards the basket because Bussie was playing 10' off of her. She must have said it three times.

No way! Culmo could never be right about anything. :rolleyes:
 
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