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  1. #31


    Lost in this blowout was a solid game by Taiye. Although she "only" had 7 rebounds, she scored a career high 24, including putting the ball on the floor a few times and getting to the hoop. And Palma contributed some, especially in the first half. The team looked lethargic and tired for a while in the middle of the game, but they seemed to get some extra energy in the fourth quarter. For those of you who are thinking that Staples is going to be much of a factor this year, I'm not seeing it. (Hope I'm wrong.) She's not only struggling with her shooting, she's turning it over and she's getting beat on defense. You'll note that after her first half defensive struggles against Michigan today, she didn't see the court in the second half until there was just over a minute remaining in the game. Going into this game, I thought the Gophers had a chance , especially at the PG spot where the Wolverines were starting a freshman guard Dilk who had struggled against Nebraska. She had a solid game today, often beating Brunson (and Staples) to get to the hoop.

  2. #32


    Points per (field-goal attempts + pairs of free-throw attempts = estimator of # of offensive shot-taking plays):

    Pitts: 1 / (6 + 1) = 0.143 points per offensive shot-taking play
    Bell: 12 / (18 + 3) = 0.571 points per offensive shot-taking play
    T. Bello: 24 / (9 + 4) = 1.846 points per offensive shot-taking play

    Rest of the Gopher Team: 23 / (21 + 2) = 1.000 points per offensive shot-taking play
    Entire Wolverine Team: 76 / (66 + 9.5) = 1.007 points per offensive shot-taking play

    I'm going to say that Destiny just had a bad shooting game, or perhaps was guarded by a taller player so that she couldn't get clean open shots. It happens. But at least she wasted 1/3 as many possessions as Kenisha did.

    The two key observations are as follows (in a game where the Entire Wolverine Team was almost perfectly matched offensively with the Rest of the Gopher Team) ...

    (1) In a game in which the Gophers failed miserably to handle the press, and thus threw the ball away so many more times than their opponent, we simply can't afford to have Bell taking such a large quantity of ill-advised shots that average out to a point-production of barely over half a point per offensive shot-taking play. When the opponent, as well as the bulk of the Gopher Team, are averaging about a point per offensive shot-taking play, Kenisha is leaving 0.429 points on the table for each such possession that she "keeps."

    She's not going to make it to the WNBA with that kind of decision making. We all know that there are times in a game (especially in the 4th quarter when we're behind against a tough team) that Kenisha Bell needs to put the team on her shoulders, and just force her will on the opponent, turning a potential loss into a win (much like Lindsay Whalen has done many times in the past for both the Gophers and the Sun and the Lynx). But we need Bell to *refrain* from trying to put the Gophers on her shoulders during quarters 1-3 when it's not necessary. Often, when she attempts to do so, she just throws away a game we otherwise could have won, had the ball been distributed more uniformly to the rest of the team.

    (2) This is maybe the flip side of the same issue, but I'll state it anyway. It's simply unfair to expect (for example) Taiye Bello (in this game) or Annalese Lamke (in the Badger game) to make up (with their high scoring efficiency) for the extremely low scoring efficiency of Kenisha Bell. In the Michigan game, Taiye shot 9-for-9 from the field plus 75% on free throws. What more can we expect her to do in order to make up for Bell's inefficiency? Perhaps she should be instructed to (instead of taking a simple shot in the paint) dribble back to the 3-point line, turn around, and then single-handedly win the game by making 9-for-9 three-pointers? No. Obviously that's a rhetorical question. We can't expect the posts to make up for a combination of horrible guard play plus selfish guard play.

    Bell will probably make it to the WNBA. But if she does, it will most likely be a reward for her leadership in leading the Gophers to a victorious season (in spite of injuries and resulting lack of depth); not as a result of getting multiple B1G Honor-Roll awards for taking way too many shots. I'm sure Lindsay has told her this already. She needs to take that point plus the result of this game to heart, and show us her WNBA-caliber talents in 2019.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Duluth, MN


    The ladies failed to show up in a big-time way today. Wouldn't have beaten anybody of consequence with the effort and performance they put forth.

    Not much more to say other than they're going to have to be a whole lot better from her on out than they showed today.

  4. #34


    Was unable to watch this game but agree that Bell at times forces her offensive game to the detriment of the team. As you stated she has the ability to carry the team but has to improve in her shot selection and when to be the assist maker not the shooter.

  5. #35


    Let's hope they work out the issues and it helps that the next game is at home. However, another short turnaround and they return to Michigan to play an even tougher opponent in MSU. I have no idea how you teach Bell to "dial it back" and play under control. Unfortunately, bench time can't be used to make a point because we have no depth. Pretty soon it might not even make sense to have Hubbard return (redshirt might be the better option).

  6. #36


    I agree that it's going to be difficult to teach Bell to dial it back. Not that easy. Last year, she was paired with two other guards who could get to the hoop (Wagner and Hubbard) and she was flanked by 3 players who could shoot the 3 (Wagner, Hubbard, and Pitts). Now Wagner is gone and Hubbard is injured and Bell is left to do a lot by herself. Pitts has also been affected by the loss of Wagner and Hubbard, as she's not someone that can create her own shot and she's fairly easy to guard as the Gophers only three point threat. I disagree with the thought that Bell is selfish; I agree with the thought that she's out of control sometimes. But she's been like this for quite a while now and I'm thinking that's just the way she plays, and the way she will always play. Hard to lay this game on Bell, although her shooting percentage was terrible.

  7. #37


    I don't mean to imply that this particular Michigan loss is on Bell's account. Obviously, and as multiple posters have pointed out, most of the team didn't come to play today (exceptions being T. Bello and Lamke). Plus, give Michigan coaching staff some credit for an excellent strategy = wear us down via a press to take advantage of both our shallow depth plus our (now-proven) tendency to telegraph our passes, resulting in Michigan points off from turnovers plus having to chase after Michigan fast breaks. [That's not to say that Lindsay had a bad strategy - she simply has no control over the fact that we're down two injured players, including the one extra 3-point shooter that could spread out the defense and allow both Pitts and Hubbard to score more 3s.]

    The interesting thing to me is that we had a super-human effort by Bello (not seen since the days of AZB) that could have offset the generally bad play by the rest of the team (including the negative effects of the press), resulting in a wash for those two factors. But the factor that remains is Bell's out-of-control play - which as the main remaining factor, is enough for a loss.

    You could equally well phrase it this way. Given the super-human effort by Bello, that cancels out the typical out-of-control play by Bell - at least for most games. But the remaining factor is the generally bad play by most of the team, which led to the loss in a more causal manner (so this way of stating it is closer to an accurate description).

    Also, there is no intention on Bell's part to play selfishly or be a ball hog, at least I don't think so. I should revise my one statement to "We can't expect the posts to make up for a combination of horrible guard play plus seemingly selfish guard play." By adding the word "seemingly" I want to convey the fact that the statistics by themselves make it look (let's say if you hadn't seen the game) like Bell was perhaps a ball hog. When the reality is more like tripledouble's statement of "... she's out of control sometimes. But she's been like this for quite a while now and ... that's just the way she plays, and the way she will always play." Her style is actually a bit like Lindsay's original style - where she fearlessly drove into the paint and, more often than not, turned what looked like a lemon into lemonaide.

    Indeed, Bell's out-of-control-ness is perhaps what makes her great. She's impossible to defend on a drive into the paint, and thus she often collects free throws. But if you don't foul her, she usually drills the shot, often in spite of being very off-balance. So on a good day, you quite literally want Bell to play out-of-control for at least part of the time. But there can be bad days. Perhaps driving into a tall-defended Michigan or Michigan State paint are more likely to be bad days. So perhaps it's just a matter that she needs to modify her approach slightly on days that are starting to look like bad days. Maybe dial-it more towards assists than shots on those days. We know she's capable of incredible highlight-reel assists. There was a great example of that in the Wisconsin game. The net point is that she can play un-self-corrected and out-of-control all pre-season against weak opponents with no consequence, but she may need to occasionally self-correct her approach when playing the Big Ten (at least the better half of the Big Ten). It may be that her natural approach is such that "that's the way she will always play." But I think that she can learn (especially with such a great teacher as Whalen) to slightly modify that approach as needed, based on feedback from how the game is going so far for her. Perhaps dial it more toward assists when her shot is cold but the posts are shooting hot.

    Let's hope she can learn from the master and make the adjustments, as needed. If not, then whenever the Gophers play the top-5 B1G teams, us fans will need to pray for incredible post play reminiscent of AZB's (high-in-the-WNBA-draft) former play, or Lamke's two 20-plus-point games, or T. Bello's freakishly awesome play today.

    And if we lose some more B1G games partially thanks to the guards' (and I'm deliberately being generic here) taking-but-missing too many shots, then it won't be so much that they caused the loss, but rather that they had available to them the means to win that game (by shooting less and assisting more), but they didn't take advantage of it.
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 12-31-2018 at 06:20 PM.

  8. #38


    All teams have to deal with graduations so that shouldn’t be an excuse for this team. They’ve shown they can beat the best teams when everything goes right. Now Whalen’s gotta learn how to right the ship when things don’t go exactly perfect. I believe she took at least 2 TO’s home with her. Should have taken one to stem the tide before the half. It was a flustermuck.

    Team definitely looked tired. I was mostly disappointed with a two PG system that couldn’t handle the press, forgetting about getting to the half court line, etc. Brunson seemed timid out there and Bell was too reckless and the refs were letting a lot of things go, which should favor the Gophers but it didn’t seem to work out that way.

  9. #39


  10. #40


    “I think, for the most part, we were just having fun out there — playing at home in front of our crowd,” said freshman guard Amy Dilk. “Coming off the Nebraska game we were out to get one.”

    “(Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico) told us, before the game, be aggressive and find ways to impact the game,” Dilk said. “So, when I saw the open baseline I took it, and I took that to my advantage the second time as well.”


    But after a series of turnovers and missed shots for both teams, senior guard Nicole Munger gave her side a spark, draining a three from the left wing to put the Wolverines ahead, 22-20.

    That triple forced a timeout for the Golden Gophers, but it was of no use. Michigan came out more energized after the break and used Munger’s triple as the foundation of a 21-2 run.

    “It necessarily wasn’t the best shot at all. But I saw her (the defender) backing up, and I just took a chance,” Munger said. “And luckily went in, because I probably would have been sitting on the bench if it didn’t.”

    Added Barnes Arico: “She’s a kid that if we find her, we believe she’s gonna knock down shots.”

  11. #41


  12. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Blog Entries


    The biggest weakness IMHO for this year's Gopher's team is team depth. They need to develop the bench talent as quickly as possible.

    Michigan certainly wore the Gophers down with their depth.
    Welcome to Badger Road Kill Country!

  13. #43


    Does anybody think Perez might deserve to be the first guard off the bench over Staples? I seem to recall her playing quite well early on.

  14. #44


    Quote Originally Posted by Shades View Post
    Does anybody think Perez might deserve to be the first guard off the bench over Staples? I seem to recall her playing quite well early on.
    If I were an assistant coach, my vote would be to play Perez more minutes than Staples, at least until I saw improvement in her defense and turnovers. If Lindsay wanted to continue to put in Staples as first guard off the bench to give her minutes so as to improve, I could understand that. But against a strong opponent I'd prefer to play the better player, namely Perez in my opinion.

    Three Point Percentage (through game 13, @Michigan):

    Brunson 6/16 = 37.5 %
    Pitts 27/77 = 35.1 %
    Perez 4/12 = 33.3 %
    Staples 10/33 = 30.3 %
    Bell 6/23 = 26.1 %
    Tomancova 1/4 = 25.0 %
    Byrne 3/16 = 18.8 %

    [Note that Pitts started out the season a bit cold-shooting but then started heating up. In her best 3 games she shot 71.4 % from three. But factoring in the slow start, she officially falls between Brunson and Perez in three-point percentage. Also note that sample size is small for Brunson and Perez (and some others), so consider their stat lines more of an estimate then the others.]

    Perez is currently as good as, or a better three-point shooter than Staples. She tends to shoot only when it's a good shot, whereas Staples fires less discriminately. Perez is a valuable defensive asset, whereas Staples not so much. Staples turns the ball over more frequently than Perez.
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 01-01-2019 at 02:44 AM.

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Twin Cities


    Quote Originally Posted by CutDownTheNet View Post
    A New Year, and renewed resolve to play tough against the Big Ten. Plus some practice beating a simple press.
    Agree, that Michigan press was very effective. Do women’s teams still bring in some men to practice against? I think we need to do that and have them really press them.

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