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  1. #1

    Default STrib: Lindsay Whalen's adjustments in Big Ten play have turned Gophers around

    per Youngblood:

    As a successful nonconference run turned into a stressful Big Ten Conference experience, Lindsay Whalen will tell you she learned. A lot.

    The first-year coach of the Gophers women's basketball team went 11-0 through a relatively soft nonconference schedule. But, after opening conference play with a victory over Wisconsin, the Gophers lost four in a row and seven of eight. Opponents played zone and Minnesota couldn't shoot teams out of it. The Gophers struggled to put four quarters together.

    A difficult stretch. But educational.

    "I learned more in that stretch, how to coach this team and how to get us out of [that streak] than I did in the entire nonconference," Whalen said this past week.

    Whalen and her staff changed up the rotation. Against Purdue on Jan. 24, Whalen moved senior Irene Garrido Perez into the starting lineup in place of Jasmine Brunson, but it didn't work; the Gophers needed Brunson's perimeter defense.

    And so, three games ago, another change: Whalen went small. She put Brunson back into the lineup with Perez, Taiye Bello, Kenisha Bell and Destiny Pitts, having center Annalese Lamke come off the bench.

    So far, it has worked.

    Go Gophers!!

  2. #2


    But, in terms of X’s and O’s, the new lineup has helped just about everyone.

    It was a relatively bold move, one that has the Gophers at a size disadvantage in most games. But by putting another outside shooter on the wing in Perez, space has opened up for the Gophers’ best shooter, Pitts. It has also created lanes for Brunson and especially Bell. And Bello’s quickness and rebounding prowess — she’s leading the Big Ten and is third in the nation in rebounding (13) — has allowed Whalen to surround her with four perimeter players.

    It was not a "relatively bold move". It was a good move and probably the obvious move for a team which had been drilled in a four guard offense for a couple of years. And of course the "size disadvantage" is one of the reason's to go small; one of their bigs is forced to guard a guard. The earlier Perez for Brunson move is best forgotten. I'm hoping Lamke regains some her aggressiveness for tomorrow's match-up.

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