We were damned good last year even without Maya | The Boneyard

We were damned good last year even without Maya

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I know, I know ... Maya played all 38 games last year, so what am I talking about?

Well, I'm as big a Maya fan as they come, but I think that almost everyone, including the ESPN analysts who ranked UConn 6th, are overestimating the size of the hole she leaves behind.

So, I thought, why not look at the evidence. We can't know for sure what the team would have been like without Maya. But ... she was decidedly human in a handful of games. Why not look at how we performed in those games?

It was a subjective exercise to be sure, but I picked out what seemed to be her six worst games solely based on the boxscores. @USF, @Stanford, @WV, ND (regular season), Georgetown (BET), Hartford (NCAAs).

Maya's average stats in these starts were as follows:
14.2 points
35% Field Goal %
88% Free Throw %
7.8 rebounds (1.0 off, 6.8 def)
3.7 asssists
2.3 turnovers
0.0 blocks
1.0 steals

Not horrible to be sure, but these are far from all-American numbers, especially given the abysmal 35% field goal percentage. She made a positive contribution, but below, for example, what I would expect from KML this year.

So how did the team do? Quite well, thank you very much! 5-1 with an average margin of 15.5 points. If you discard USF and Hartford, the average margin was still eight points. Not bad considering the competition ... the #2, 4, 14 and 27 teams in the final ESPN poll.

So even when Maya was playing like a solid starter, but not much more, UConn played like one of the top five or six teams in the country.

Now you add KML, Caroline, one more year of experience for Bria and Stef, and Tiffany going into the season knowing it's the last year she'll be wearing Huskies blue. Not to mention a little more depth, whether that comes from Heather or Michaela stepping up their game or from the other freshmen.

I like our chances.
 

Vowelguy

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False comparison.

(1) Even when Maya had a so-called "off" game, she was still getting the full attention of the defense, and that surely opened things up for others.

(2) 14.2 pts, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists is an off game? May all our players have off games all season.
 

EricLA

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i think it's a fair analysis. certainly vowel is correct that maya was getting the other team's best defender on her, but it is nitpicking a bit to say that we really should be 4 preseason rather than 6. i mean, we play every top 10 team not named tennessee or miami. no one else can say that (at least i don't think they can). plenty of time for the rankings to shake out...
 

alexrgct

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I think six games is too limited a sample size of games to have a real sense of what the impact of Maya playing a substandard game was. Additionally, Maya's game stats by themsleves fail to gauge the impact of simply having her on the floor for everyone else. How many open shots does everyone else have because teams are focusing on trying to stop Maya?

I'm not sure why you take issue with analysts' estimations of UConn sans Maya. You state, "So even when Maya was playing like a solid starter, but not much more, UConn played like one of the top five or six teams in the country." But you also state, "I think that almost everyone, including the ESPN analysts who ranked UConn 6th, are overestimating the size of the hole she leaves behind." If, when Maya was not playing to her usual standard, UConn was one of the top five or six teams, how is anyone overestimating her absence by ranking a Maya-less UConn in the #4-#6 range? Seems spot on to me.
 
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Re #1 ... a valid point but was that really worth more than two or three points a game? Maybe but my gut says no.

Re #2 ... you have to take accunt of the 35% fg shooting. When you miss that many shots you're not helping your team with your shooting. As i said these are the stats of a solid starter but not much more than that.

Again i'm a huge Maya fan. Best ever in wcbb imho. But DT, Candace Parker et al likewise had their share of games when they were merely good.

My larger point is simply that we do have some clues that can help us quantify the impact of losing Miss Moore. And I like what the data suggests. Just something to have fun with until we get some real info later this month.


False comparison.

(1) Even when Maya had a so-called "off" game, she was still getting the full attention of the defense, and that surely opened things up for others.

(2) 14.2 pts, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists is an off game? May all our players have off games all season.
 

doggydaddy

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Interesting analysis. Thanks for taking the time to do that.

It's great that the people not as upbeat about this team still think they are a top 5-6 team. Shows how great the returning players and new players will be. It's all about the degree that you think these players will bring improvement to the team to counter the loss of Moore.
 

Waquoit

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I'm not buying it. This group needs to show they can compete in the big spot without Maya. Not saying they can't, but that stinker in the FF raises a lot of questions.
 

doggydaddy

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I'm not sure why you take issue with analysts' estimations of UConn sans Maya. You state, "So even when Maya was playing like a solid starter, but not much more, UConn played like one of the top five or six teams in the country." But you also state, "I think that almost everyone, including the ESPN analysts who ranked UConn 6th, are overestimating the size of the hole she leaves behind." If, when Maya was not playing to her usual standard, UConn was one of the top five or six teams, how is anyone overestimating her absence by ranking a Maya-less UConn in the #4-#6 range? Seems spot on to me.

Unless you add in the expected improvement of Hartley, Dolson, Faris and Hayes. And the additions of Doty, Stokes, Banks and Lewis. Then, if you beleive they will add enough to counter Moore's absence, you would think the #6 ranking is low.

And to the point that Maya would garner attention, getting open looks for others....I'm think that the best shooter coming into WCBB might get a little attention freeing up others as well. If she doesn't get that attention Lewis will average 25 a game.
 

doggydaddy

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I'm not buying it. This group needs to show they can compete in the big spot without Maya. Not saying they can't, but that stinker in the FF raises a lot of questions.
What questions?It's not the same team. Excellent additions will limit the impact of Moore leaving.
 
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The loss of Maya can not be underestimated, but with that being said I feel we will be more of a team this year. The reason I feel this way is that last year when we were in a difficult situation all the players looked for Maya to save the day. Most of the time she did. This year there is no Maya so all the players know they must step up in tough games. It would make me very happy to see four or five double didgit scorers every game. The improvement of Bria and Stef and the addition of Caroline and our highly regarded freshmen class will make us a better team.
 
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I'm not buying it. This group needs to show they can compete in the big spot without Maya. Not saying they can't, but that stinker in the FF raises a lot of questions.

As I recall, that stinker was with Maya. But I agree this group needs to show how good it is. I'm inclined to think it will be great, and that not having Maya to depend upon with make these guys better than they were last year, when they weren't a shabby bunch. So, while losing Maya hurts in obvious ways, it helps in other, maybe not obvious, ways -- i.e., forcing others to step up.
 

vtcwbuff

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I can't be the only one that thinks this team is capable of winning a NC. Lots of stars will have to align but I think they have a very good shot. I would put a New Haven pizza against a pot of Texas red (or even a bottle of Black Jack) that UConn will be in the FF.

In order for the team to get there lots of "ifs" will have to fall into place.

IF Hayes can keep it together in the games that matter.
IF Dolson can stay out of foul trouble when she is being targeted
IF Hartley and Faris can up their offensive production
IF Doty stays healthy and can be a contributor
IF Lewis "gets it" quickly like Hartley did last year
IF one of the posts can reliably fill in for Dolson
 

fleudslipcon

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Maya not only faced the other teams attention, but UConn was severely limited by the numbers of players that played and major roles being played by freshwomen.

I'm actually amazed that Maya's numbers were as good as they were under those circumstances and that the team was as successful as they were given the competition they faced and the pressure they had to feel with that win streak.

I can only imagine how well this team would have done if Samarie Walker had adjusted to UConn and Caroline did not get hurt.

This season should be exciting. KML is an outstanding player. And the Huskies should do well again. But there is no way of knowing how the team does with the loss of a superstar.

Of course I'm optimistic.
 
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Unless you add in the expected improvement of Hartley, Dolson, Faris and Hayes. And the additions of Doty, Stokes, Banks and Lewis. Then, if you beleive they will add enough to counter Moore's absence, you would think the #6 ranking is low.

And to the point that Maya would garner attention, getting open looks for others....I'm think that the best shooter coming into WCBB might get a little attention freeing up others as well. If she doesn't get that attention Lewis will average 25 a game.

Teams #1-#5 have players that have "expected improvement" and new additions too. Lewis may very well be all that, but expecting her to handle the defensive attention that Moore received to the same degree of effectiveness as a freshman is a tall order.
 

Vowelguy

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Re #1 ... a valid point but was that really worth more than two or three points a game?

LOL. I'm not even gonna try to argue anymore.
 
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Fair question. The answer is that i think KML, plus Caroline, plus Bria and Stef going from freshmen to sophomores (by far the year when players improve the most), plus a little extra depth are huge, huge positives. Way, way more positives than any of the teams ranked ahead of them.

So imho someone picking us sixth is EITHER underestimating all these positive factors or overestimating the one admittedly huge negative.

If, when Maya was not playing to her usual standard, UConn was one of the top five or six teams, how is anyone overestimating her absence by ranking a Maya-less UConn in the #4-#6 range? Seems spot on to me.
 

Vowelguy

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And to the point that Maya would garner attention, getting open looks for others....I'm think that the best shooter coming into WCBB might get a little attention freeing up others as well. If she doesn't get that attention Lewis will average 25 a game.

Sorry, but this is exactly what I was talking about when I said that folks on this board are underestimating Maya's contributions. You're comparing one of the BEST wcbb players ever with a frosh?
Even if KML is as good coming out of HS as Maya (and I'm not sold on that), Maya would then have had to not improve much in 4 years.

In any event, I imagine the new defensive focus will be Stef. How she handles it will be one of the keys to the year.
 
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Actually vowel if you go by the stats Maya didn't actually improve that much from Freshmen to senior years. Not a criticism ... She was just that good out of the gate.

Sorry, but this is exactly what I was talking about when I said that folks on this board are underestimating Maya's contributions. You're comparing one of the BEST wcbb players ever with a frosh?
Even if KML is as good coming out of HS as Maya (and I'm not sold on that), Maya would then have had to not improve much in 4 years.

In any event, I imagine the new defensive focus will be Stef. How she handles it will be one of the keys to the year.
 

intlzncster

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I can't be the only one that thinks this team is capable of winning a NC. Lots of stars will have to align but I think they have a very good shot. I would put a New Haven pizza against a pot of Texas red (or even a bottle of Black Jack) that UConn will be in the FF.

In order for the team to get there lots of "ifs" will have to fall into place.

Don't over overreach yourself there! :D
 

wire chief

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Because of added depth and the added experience of our sophs, we will sit between the Tina-Maya led team and the Maya-Tinaless team. Good enough.
 

MilfordHusky

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I don't agree with the analysis, but I do with the premise--that our kids are being underrated.

Perhaps a better approach re the analysis would be to see how we did with Maya on the bench, but other starters in. My selective memory tells me that the offense bogged down a lot without Maya on the floor.

Since April, this team has been preparing to play without Maya. So, unlike last year, they will be ready. Plus, like last year, if the shot clock is running down and they need someone to bail them out, just look for #23. Hitting shots at the end of the period, half, or shot clock is exactly what Kaleena does.
 
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As I recall, that stinker was with Maya. But I agree this group needs to show how good it is. I'm inclined to think it will be great, and that not having Maya to depend upon with make these guys better than they were last year, when they weren't a shabby bunch. So, while losing Maya hurts in obvious ways, it helps in other, maybe not obvious, ways -- i.e., forcing others to step up.
 
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I am glad someone mentioned the final four game. Moore had 36 points--12 straight at one point. There was only 1 other 3 pointer (besides hers) in the game: Hartley.
Hayes, the 2nd leading scorer all season had 4 points. Most of the others stood around and watched Maya. She had 21 points in the 2nd half.
 

doggydaddy

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Sorry, but this is exactly what I was talking about when I said that folks on this board are underestimating Maya's contributions. You're comparing one of the BEST wcbb players ever with a frosh?
Even if KML is as good coming out of HS as Maya (and I'm not sold on that), Maya would then have had to not improve much in 4 years.

In any event, I imagine the new defensive focus will be Stef. How she handles it will be one of the keys to the year.

I hope it's on Dolson. She will find the open 3 point shooter almost every time. And Lewis will make almost 50% of them.

Not ONE person is underestimating Moore's contributions. Certainly I'm not. And the only place I'm comparing them is in how the might be defended. Moore garnered special attention her freshman year until she graduated. So, I'm actually compariing them at the same stage. I think it's more likely you are underestimating Lewis's contributions to be.
 
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