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  1. #1

    Default Three Years Ago Today: Rachel Scores 60

    Gopher Twitter reminds us: Rachel scored 60 against our next opponent, Northwestern.

  2. #2


    In honor of Rachel Banham's legendary 60-point game (I saw it on TV, it was awesome) here's some seasonal Gopher three-point shooting statistics going back to Rachel's last year. This year's stats go through the Indiana game on Feb 3. Also, for this year we first show stats for the full season thus far (comparable with other years) and then we show stats for the Big Ten season only.

    For each season we show three-point shooting percentage for the team and each major three-point shooter (in descending order). Also shown is the team 2:3 shooting mix for the season, that is, what percentage of attempted field goals were two-pointers versus three-pointers.

    2015/16 Team .354 Banham .390 Hedstrom .378 Mullaney .356 Wagner .330 Bailey .313 2:3 Mix 64.03%:35.97%

    2016/17 Team .323 Tinjum .358 Hubbard .346 Hedstrom .344 Wagner .314 Bell .286 2:3 Mix 69.24%:30.76%

    2017/18 Team .373 Wagner .412 Perez .375 Pitts .373 Bell .358 Hubbard .348 Brunson .286 2:3 Mix 2:3 Mix 65.45%:34.55%

    2018/19 Team .310 Perez .371 Pitts .342 Brunson .293 Bell .273 Staples .268 2:3 Mix 75.18%:24.81%

    2018/19 (B1G only) Team .297 Perez .391 Pitts .309 Brunson .296 Bell .250 Staples .182 2:3 Mix 75.36%:24.64%

    Considering we're minus Hubbard (and the bit of early slumping that Pitts now seems to have put behind her), it's not surprising that this year (so far) the team is shooting threes at the lowest percentage (.310 season, .297 Big Ten) among the four years.

    Maybe also not surprising (since we went 2-games deep into the NCAAs) is that last year the team shot the best (.373) from deep. But we're only 6.3% off last year's best shooting.

    In Rachel's last year the team shot .354 while Banham herself shot .390. The .354 is closer to last year than to this year.

    In the 2016/17 season the team hit threes at a .323 clip, which is closer to this year's .310.

    Among individual three-point percentages across the four-season span, Carlie Wagner gets the prize at .413, while Rach comes in second at .390.

    Number-wise, I guess technically speaking, Garrido Perez with this year's B1G season, shooting .391, beats Rachel. But let's stick with season stats only.

    In that case, Hedstrom's Junior year .378 just beats Perez Junior year .375 (small sample size) for 3rd, while Perez shoots .371 this year (now ahead of Pitts .342). Note that Perez is shooting better now than Hubbard did in either year.

    One of my main points is that Perez should relax and not be afraid to shoot since she's shooting threes almost as well as Banham did. Let it fly, Irene!

    An interesting point is that Bell was shooting threes a lot better last year (.358) than this year (.273) or the year before. In fact, Bell had a better percentage than Hubbard last year. Maybe the coaches could get her back into last year's three-point shooting form.

    In Rachel's last season, almost 36% of the team's field-goal attempts were treys (the max over four years). But last year wasn't far behind at 34.55%.

    In the 2016/17 season with slightly worse shooting, only 30.76% of attempted field goals were from deep.

    This year we're down to a low of 24.81% three-point attempts. That sort-of makes sense since most of the season we were down to only one major three-point threat in Pitts, and part of the time she was in a shooting slump.

    But does that low of a mix of three attempts (about one out of four) make sense going forward? I think not.

    On the season we're shooting .310 on threes, thus netting .93 points per three attempt on average. On the other hand, with our .4423 two-pointer shooting average, we net .885 points on average for every two-point field-goal attempt. With only a marginal bump in point productivity of threes over twos, maybe 25% threes is all right.

    But let's take a look at the Indiana game. Granted, Irene's perfect 3 for 3 on 3s was off the charts, but that was offset by less than average three shooting by the rest of the team. Suppose we could convince Irene to shoot more and continue to shoot threes as a team as well as we did at Indiana?

    Well, in the Indiana game we netted .732 points per two-pointer attempt, but banked 1.071 points per three-pointer attempt (which we're hoping we might be able to maintain going forward). Under those conditions we should be shooting a lot more threes than one in every four shots. If you wanted to be a bit radical, you might even suggest that we should be taking 50% threes and 50% twos. You need to keep variety in your team's shooting, so I wouldn't push it beyond that.

    Also, you tend to get more offensive rebounds (reference: Bello) on missed two-pointers, so putbacks might bump average points per possession on twos from .732 with no O-Reb to maybe .9 with some O-Reb. But still, even without any O-Reb at all, points per possession on three attempts is at 1.071, and that's up there in MN Lynx territory.

    1.071 PPP beats .9 PPP any day of the week. Did you know that all it took for the Lynx to maintain their Whalen-era dynasty and win 4 championships was having an average of 1.05 PPP while holding their opponents down to an average of .95 points per possession?

    On that basis, and since we might have Irene and Destiny shooting threes like Carly and Rachel, I think we should bump three-point mix to 50/50 twos and threes - to attempt to attain a Lynx-like 1.05 points per possession.

    If, at the same time, we can maintain our proven defensive intensity, and Taiye can keep up her 15 rebounds per game, and Keke can continue to tear up the paint on drives and collect free throws (but refrain from 4th quarter turnovers and bad shots), I suspect we might be able to win-out the remainder of the Big Ten season.
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 02-08-2019 at 01:52 AM.

  3. #3


    Great compilation of stats and positivity. If a few things are tweaked by Lindsay, I see some possibilities for bigger wins for the women. Watching Rachel’s 60 just brings smiles.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by CutDownTheNet View Post
    ... If, at the same time, we can maintain our proven defensive intensity, and Taiye can keep up her 15 rebounds per game, and Keke can continue to tear up the paint on drives and collect free throws (but refrain from 4th quarter turnovers and bad shots) ...
    I forgot, in the above quote, one more obvious requirement for Gopher success. Clearly they also need to cut back on turnovers as well, since we've been turnover-prone all year. The 2017/18 team committed an average of 12.5 turnovers per game. That was an improvement over the average 16 turnovers from the year before, while in Rachel Banham's last year as a Gopher we had 13.2 turnovers on average. This year to-date we've averaged about 15.6 turnovers per game (and a slightly less 15.2 per Big-Ten game), the third-highest of the four recent years that I checked. So pardon the pun, but we need to "turn over a new leaf" with respect to turnovers. On average, each turnover throws away about whatever our average points per shot is. More importantly, turnovers often lead to fast breaks and easy points for the other team. Since we're good at steals, we could change the turnover scenario into a positive factor by consistently obtaining a negative turnover margin versus our opponents.

    Also, here's some additional fun facts that I didn't think to look up til later on. Many of us may be interested in how some of our recent Gopher WBB graduates' Gopher stats stack up against their professional stats.

    We start with Rachel Banham's last-year WNBA stats for the Connecticut Sun. Her three-point shooting for the Sun in 2018 was .370 as compared to .390 during her final year at Minnesota. You might say that's about the same, after allowing for the fact that the three-point shooting line is a bit deeper in the WNBA. For two-point shooting she was .533 for the Sun, and she was .868 on free throws. [Oh how the Gophers could use her free-throw shooting right about now, as only Pitts and Lamke (and probably Hubbard) shoot free throws that well.] She averaged 5.2 points per game off the bench for the Sun in an average of 12.8 minutes per game. But she did start a couple games, and (if I recall) scored 20+ points in one of those. She had a nice buzzer beater early in the season. In those average 12.8 minutes she also got 1.5 assists (about 4.7 assists per full 40-min game), .5 steals and .9 rebounds. Rachel's three-point shooting ranks a couple slots and half a percentage point above Maya Moore for the 2018 season. That puts Rachel in the 35th rank for three-point shooting (not including a couple players who took too few threes to count).

    After playing pre-season for the MN Lynx (and making the best highlight shot of the entire season), Carlie Wagner played five games of pro ball in Spain for Quesos el Pastor Zamarat, before sustaining a knee injury and returning to the States. [No updates lately on the injury, which was more serious than initially thought.] During those five games she was shooting .350 from three and .542 from two. In her Gopher Senior year she was shooting .412 from three and .448 from two. She averaged 10 points ( per game for Zamarat. In her first two debut Spanish games, she scored 17 and 20 points, respectively.

    Amanda Zahui B. plays in the WNBA for the New York Liberty. Last year she was shooting .500 from two and .344 from three (and she does shoot about 2.1 of those per game - she was not great at shooting threes in college and didn't shoot many). In her average 15.9 minutes per game she averages 7.7 points, 3 rebounds, but 1.5 turnovers.

    Lynx power forward Rebekkah Brunson did not play for the U, but I mention in passing her last year's 6.8 rebounds in a typical 27.6 minute game (before being sidelined with a concussion). This computes to an average of .246 rebounds per minute of playing time. She's logged the most rebounds of anyone in the WNBA over her career (which is now in its twilight years). Lindsay recently compared Taiye Bello to Rebekkah Brunson in terms of both rebounding skills and heart. It's a great comparison - one that I'd noticed myself. By the way, Taiye often grabs rebounds at a rate of over half a rebound per minute of playing time. So Bello is currently rebounding at twice the rate of the WNBA record-holding rebounder. The comparison is not fair, though, since WNBA players don't miss nearly as often, so there's less rebounds to be had in the pros than in the college game. Nevertheless, the statistics do back up Lindsay's recent comparison of Taiye to Rebekkah. The Lynx Sylvia Fowles is actually tied with Liz Cambage to lead the WNBA last year with an average 12 rebounds per game. Rebekkah also is shooting .375 from three (slightly better than Banham), after coach Cheryl Reeve asked her to learn to shoot the trey. [She went from an average of one three-point attempt per year to the 30th ranked shooter from deep.]
    Last edited by CutDownTheNet; 02-08-2019 at 05:31 PM.

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