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  1. #31

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    There seems to be such a huge difference between the abilities of the starters and the abilities of the bench players. I don't think Whalen can use her bench much more than she has and expect to win games. Hungan implies that the bench players might get better if Whalen uses them more often and as the season progresses. Although I would hope that Whalen can use the bench as much as possible to spell the starters, I've seen nothing from any of the bench players that indicates that they'll be able to contribute as the season progresses. Maybe Staples has a shot to get better, as she is just a first-year player, but we haven't seen much from her so far. As the BIG is so even this year, I'm of the feeling that Whalen will have to stick with a very short bench all season. And, as I opine that I don't have a lot of confidence in the bench players developing by leaps and bounds as the year goes on, it should be pointed out that the loss to Illinois is totally on the starters. Gopher starters are an experienced bunch that should have been able to beat a team that had a 29-game conference losing streak.


  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius L Hoops View Post
    From Youngblood's STrib article:

    It didn’t help that Whalen’s team is playing shorthanded. They are still without Gadiva Hubbard, who has yet to play following foot surgery. And top backup post player Palma Kaposi missed Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury.
    Besides poor 3-point shooting and poor in-the-paint shooting to close out the game, Kent points out the turnovers in the last 8 minutes and change (where we went from up 11 points I believe to a loss). I tried to count them from the play-by-play. I got the following estimate. 6 actual turnovers all within last 8 minutes. Plus 3 Wittenger blocks. We'll count 2 since Taiye got the rebound on one. Call it 6 + 2 = 8 turnovers in 8 minutes. That's on pace for 40 turnovers in a 40 minute game, and an average game goes 75-80 possessions. Call this game 80 possessions (just because of high turnovers). So (a) in the last 8 minutes they were on a turnover pace that, if they had done that for the whole game, they would have thrown it away (or launched a shot into a Wittenger block) 40 out of 80 possessions; (b) that's not good enough to beat Coppin State; (c) they actually did throw it away (or get blocked) on 8 of their (about) last 16 possessions.

    As Kent points out, Illinois points off those 8 minutes of turnovers were enough to (and did) win the game for Illinois. Never mind the bad shooting.

    Discount the following as 20-20 hindsight of course, but for those last 8 minutes, they could have fielded a team consisting of T. Bello (who was still rebounding and blocking and shooting OK), plus the 4 able-bodied bench players (Staples, Perez, K. Bello, Byrne), and most certainly that unit would have been capable of not throwing the ball away more than half of the time.

    As many have pointed out, fatigue was certainly a factor during those last 8 minutes, also contributing to their inability to defend the three (of which Illinois made them all).

    Ironically, they probably could have stalled for the last 8 minutes, assuming they could stall w/o turning it over and at least got an unblocked shot off. But that too would probably have been a bad idea. Rightfully, few coaches would try to stall 8 minutes with only an 11 point lead.

    A better approach would be to play strong to win. Instead, it seemed more like they were playing "not to lose." And when Illinois started making (inadequately defended) threes, and they saw the lead swirling down the toilet, then it seems like they felt like they needed to live or die on mostly three-pointers (to make up for that last Illinois three, which took a huge bite out of their lead). That plus throwing the ball away every other possession was a recipe for disaster.
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 01-07-2019 at 01:17 AM.

  3. #33

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    https://gophersports.com/documents/2...l_Illinois.pdf

    Minnesota Head Coach Lindsay Whalen
    Opening Statement:


    “Obviously a tough one; a tough second half for us. Give them credit, they never quit in the second half; they scored 45 (points). They just wouldn’t go away, and they got some momentum. They haven’t won a Big Ten game this year, so I know they were obviously really looking for a win. So a tough night for us”

    On if the 2‐3 zone from Illinois gave them problems:

    “Yeah, I still felt like we got fairly decent looks but the problem is they were able to set up a 2‐3. If you’re giving up 45 (points) they were able to set up the zone and they went 1‐2‐2. Give them credit for the adjustment. Man‐to‐man they were having a hard time with us and then there was a combination of them scoring and then sitting in the zone and making us shoot from the outside, coming out really aggressive when we did get it inside as far not trying to let AL (Annalese Lamke) and Taiye (Bello) get clean looks at the basket. But when you’re taking it out every time then they can set up a 2‐3, then you have to work for it and unfortunately we weren’t able to get that done.

    On what it’s like dealing with a loss as a coach instead of as a player:

    “You’re disappointed. You’re disappointed because everybody puts a lot of work into the game and into trying to be at their best. Our players work extremely hard so you want them to be successful. You’re still disappointed from a little different vantage point.”

    On facing contested shots in the game’s final stretch:

    “I thought we started kind of forcing it because now it’s a tie game and we’re trying to fix it. They were active and were playing aggressive. They were they playing more aggressive than we were the whole second half, so then we kind of start to force it and end up taking some tough shots.”

    Senior forward Annalese Lamke

    On if she wants to forget this game or learn from it and move on:

    “I think it’s a little bit of both. Obviously we’re going to take our mistakes and learn from them, but if we let this Illinois loss affect us for the rest of the season we’re gong to be stuck where we are right now. We just have to move on and get better because we have a really tough matchup coming up against Michigan State.”

  4. #34

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    A few other quotes:

    From Youngbloods story: To Brunson, the key is to play angry. “With a sense of urgency,” she said. “We are lacking that, for sure, right now. We have to play [angry] and we have to play hungry.”

    From the Illini: "We had a game plan, but I thought Minnesota came out and played some fantastic defense," head coach Nancy Fahey said. "So, at halftime we made some adjustments. I'm just so proud of the kids, we were down by 14, but they kept believing and following the game plan in the second half."


    From the News Gazette: The fact Scott played at all off the bench was good news for the Illini. She had missed the previous three games with an ankle injury, but sank 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in 12 minutes of action.

    "Those shots just relax the team and give us some confidence," Fahey said. "The nice thing, too, was a lot of people contributed."


    "When we walked in the arena, it was already crazy loud," Scott said. "We just used that crowd as an advantage to us, and when everybody was quiet at the end, it was such an unbelievable feeling."



  5. #35

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    This isn't rocket science, everyone.

    Illinois made many adjustments throughout the game--especially coming out of halftime--and rallied to win. The Illini were tremendously outmatched skill-wise and athletically, but out coached the Gophers across the board. This explanation is becoming quite a trend...

  6. #36

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    First of all, I feel its unfair to keep bringing up Hubbard to both her and the team. We as fans cant expect that when she comes back, all problems are solved. its like she wont have turnovers, or miss a shot. What she does is possibly spread the floor more for the likes of Brunson or Bell Driving or loosen up the defense on Pitts on the outside. she also may need to be worked back in slowly. I also don't think we can expect her to jump in and play 35 minutes a game. But yes being down 3 players of a 12 player roster is difficult.
    It terms of Pitts shooting, I don't credit Illinois really for her 1-10 shooting. she had at least 4-5 good looks that just didn't go down. Her shot is that top of the key trail 3 and she got a clean look and shot it hard. corner ones just seemed to be off.
    In terms of fatigue, I think its wrong saying playing 34-38 minutes for starters is why they are fatigued. Stollings ran the starters as much if not more. The difference was stollings had depth of lamke, Brunson, and taiye on bench being unused as whalen really only has the 5 starters and Kaposi (when healthy) and Staples for spot minutes. What I think makes the 34-38 minutes different this year is that they are playing defense. They are playing that many minutes and expected to contribute on both sides of the ball when last year they could play that many and only worry about scoring.

    The things I will point out that stood out to me...

    Bell seemed off last night. even shooting 5-13, I felt she didn't look to attack as much or take over like we know she can or has looked to in the past. I feel she was thinking out there about looking to pass instead of just playing on instinct. I will also say her charge call at half court and travel late in the game were horrible calls. No offense but #3 from Illinois body type in no way shape or form is going to get set in front of bell in a run. on the travel, she simply jump stopped and refs bailed out their second half darling Wittinger.

    Yes Wittinger had a few nice blocks but by my count as least 3 over the backs (one which was a jump ball that she literally had a bear-hug on Taiye) at least 2 travels on her post moves in the 4th quarter. My only question for the coaching staff in the 4th quarter was why lamke on Wittinger on defense? Alex was simply getting around lamke (travel or not) and Lamke was flat-footed. I understand they had 3-point shooters out there but Taiye's length I thought really bothered Wittinger in first half, in fact forced her into 2 air-balls.

    Barring a miracle run in the big ten tournament, this loss probably cements us in the WNIT. It's a worse loss than the Syracuse win was good. One positive I can say from the game is that Brunson appears to be working on her shooting and seemed like the most confident and competent shooter the gophers had out there yesterday.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by bball_craz_26 View Post
    Bell seemed off last night. even shooting 5-13, I felt she didn't look to attack as much or take over like we know she can or has looked to in the past. I feel she was thinking out there about looking to pass instead of just playing on instinct. .
    A perfect example was Bell rising for a uncontested, mid-range jumper (about ten foot out) with the clock running down at the end of the first half and then passing to a covered Pitts in the corner. Pitts' three attempt was smothered by Shewan at the buzzer.

    Referencing Jasmine Brunson working on her shooting. Jasmine is now 9-20 from three (5-6 in the B1G (3-4 yesterday)) which makes me wonder why she didn't have a three attempt in the fourth quarter. Illinois perimeter defense wasn't that tough.

  8. #38

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    From my perspective, Bell end of the second half performance was more like Isaiah Washington's. She was an out of control point guard.

  9. #39

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    Bell's been playing like IW all year in Minnesota's half-court offense, because the slow, sluggish nature of these sets is not suited to her best skills (being an athlete in space). I would argue that Bell has been at her best this year when Brunson is off the court and Minnesota gets up and down the floor more or engages the defense earlier in the shot clock (before it can get set up, get its shape, etc.)

    In general, some on here need to take a closer look at what's going on with this team. It's easy to say the players are executing poorly or shooting poorly or playing "out of control." But it's deeper than those hot takes. For example, after seeing some form of a zone in almost every game this season, they shouldn't go cold for the entire second half yesterday when Illinois broke out a 2-3 with very little nuance to it. Our girls should also have more than two plays against zone defenses by now and be both confident and deliberate in attacking that style of defending. Not the case yesterday, and a big part of why they lost to a team that had not won in the Big Ten in nearly two years, even after being up by 14 at halftime.

    And why were they up by 14 at the end of the halftime? That really strong surge late int he second quarter, right? Look who was on the floor... look how they played...
    Last edited by baller4life; 01-07-2019 at 11:10 AM.

  10. #40

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    One reason they were up by 14 at the half, and why I can't figure out why this wasn't adjusted for, is that Wittinger was gone for much of the first half because she picked up two early fouls. Surely at halftime, the coaches pointed out that the lead was artificial because it accumulated while Illinois' best player -- and the only one who could have been a defensive answer for Lamke -- was on the bench?

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by bball_craz_26 View Post
    ...
    Bell seemed off last night ... I will also say her charge call at half court and travel late in the game were horrible calls. No offense but #3 from Illinois body type in no way shape or form is going to get set in front of bell in a run. on the travel, she simply jump stopped and refs bailed out their second half darling Wittinger.

    Yes Wittinger had a few nice blocks but by my count as least 3 over the backs (one which was a jump ball that she literally had a bear-hug on Taiye) at least 2 travels on her post moves in the 4th quarter. ...

    Barring a miracle run in the big ten tournament, this loss probably cements us in the WNIT. It's a worse loss than the Syracuse win was good. ...
    It's really quite annoying that occasionally the refereeing is so bad that it seems like the officials never bothered to read the rulebook.

    Of course, there were many ways in which that Illinois game could have been won by the Gophers. If any pair of missed shots had been made, that would probably be enough, since in that case Illinois would have been the first team to reach the point of needing to intentionally foul (of course, that too depends on hitting free throws, which is not a given). So there's no way we can blame the loss 100% on bad officiating.

    That having been said, given the second-half sub-par play in general as a fact, it's very disturbing to know that we very probably could have salvaged the win, if only the referees had not made some very crappy calls that went against us. It simply should not be, that horrible officiating cancels our date with the Big Dance, and relegates us to the WNIT - which as previously noted, is a fate that is a strong possibility now. I mean, 3-5 really bad calls by the officials should not have the power to mess up the prognosis for your season.

    Lately, referees seem to be particularly bad about properly calling travels. They make errors in both directions. Admittedly, if you read the actual rulebook, one learns that the rules re traveling are a lot more complicated than one might think. But why is it that so many refs don't even seem to understand the basics about traveling rules. Some seem to think that when dribbling off a catch/stop the ball has to hit the ground before you move your pivot foot (if indeed you have one, which you do not after a jump stop). The ball only needs to leave your hand before moving (a) your pivot foot, if you have one, or (b) any foot if you do not have a pivot foot. And a jump stop (as per Kenisha Bell's jump stop) is just that - a jump stop that is entirely legal (her only punishment is/should-be that she has no pivot foot in that case). Issuing a travel call for a simple jump stop is simply unfathomable. That ref (probably) needs a remedial course in the rulebook. The only other alternative is that Bell didn't know that she had no pivot foot after a jump stop, and she got the travel call after she jump-stopped then pivoted. I can't be sure which.
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 01-07-2019 at 04:52 PM.

  12. #42

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    As disappointing as this loss is, and it is, I don’t think this will be the Illinois’ only conference win. They looked improved and think they’ll give other teams trouble as evidenced in their OT loss to Indiana. What was disappointing was the huge lead that was salted away without any adjustments. I strongly believe the Gophers need to go 1-1 in their next 2games to get some momentum back although a sweep would be better!

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