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  1. #31

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    I would never consider this version of the Gophers as a "3 point shooting team". You keep referring to Perez as a 50% shooter from three. That may be true, but she is taking maybe 2 or 3 shots from beyond the arc per night, as a starter, and she is taking shots reluctantly. We've replaced Wagner, a real 3-point shooting threat with Perez, and we've replaced Hubbard with Brunson, who is a decent player, but not nearly the inside/outside threat that Hubbard is on offense. When you say Perez is a .500 shooter from three, that would be like saying Oturu for the men was shooting 95 or 100% on dunk shots..if he only took dunk shots. IMO players have to be a lot more dimensional to add value. You can't do that with just percentages. The same goes for Bell. As you correctly noted, she needs to be aggressive in order for this team to win...even if it means more turnovers. As have been proven time and time again, "As Bell goes, this Gopher team goes", even if we have to put up with all the turnovers.


  2. #32

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    Against Rutgers, Perez did hesitate to shoot maybe more than she should. We donít know if the hesitation came from her own self-doubt, Whalenís or her teammates. But when sheís left wide open she rarely passes the shot up. There were numerous times when she was left wide open so Rutgers could crowd the paint, and neither point guard seemed to be looking for her.

    Itís not all about offense. Whalen herself says she canít keep Perez off the court. Must be her defensive abilities and taking care of the ball. The Gophers need more players who can take care of the ball. Seems to be one of the teamís biggest weakness along with poor shooting. Perez lacks upper body strength. Doesnít dribble much and has a hard time fighting through screens. None of the Gophers are ideal players, but together you hope they make a team.

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by tripledouble View Post
    "As Bell goes, this Gopher team goes"
    Yes, it should be a warm send off for Keke on Sunday. She's been the team's motor for three seasons.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ignatius L Hoops View Post
    Yes, it should be a warm send off for Keke on Sunday. She's been the team's motor for three seasons.
    Amen!

    As many GopherHole posters are wont to say, this team ďlives and dies by Kenisha Bell.Ē Even if, say, in a given game Pitts goes for 25+ points, or Bello goes for 20+ points and 15 rebounds, we quite likely lose the game if Bell doesnít get close to her normal 19 points. We just donít have that many (healthy) sources of offense, so we need offense from Kenisha. Rutgers game, a case in point.

    So thank you Keke for the wonderful games and light-speed blow-by-the-defense layups and numerous steals and mid-range stop-n-pops. Many of us are hoping that Cheryl Reeve will draft you with one of her 4 draft picks, not only to watch you play some more, but also so that Seimone can teach you her ankle-breaking crossover before she retires.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by tripledouble View Post
    I would never consider this version of the Gophers as a "3 point shooting team". You keep referring to Perez as a 50% shooter from three. That may be true, but she is taking maybe 2 or 3 shots from beyond the arc per night, as a starter, and she is taking shots reluctantly. We've replaced Wagner, a real 3-point shooting threat with Perez, and we've replaced Hubbard with Brunson, who is a decent player, but not nearly the inside/outside threat that Hubbard is on offense. When you say Perez is a .500 shooter from three, that would be like saying Oturu for the men was shooting 95 or 100% on dunk shots..if he only took dunk shots. IMO players have to be a lot more dimensional to add value. You can't do that with just percentages. The same goes for Bell. As you correctly noted, she needs to be aggressive in order for this team to win...even if it means more turnovers. As have been proven time and time again, "As Bell goes, this Gopher team goes", even if we have to put up with all the turnovers.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shades View Post
    Against Rutgers, Perez did hesitate to shoot maybe more than she should. We don’t know if the hesitation came from her own self-doubt, Whalen’s or her teammates. But when she’s left wide open she rarely passes the shot up. There were numerous times when she was left wide open so Rutgers could crowd the paint, and neither point guard seemed to be looking for her.

    It’s not all about offense. Whalen herself says she can’t keep Perez off the court. Must be her defensive abilities and taking care of the ball. The Gophers need more players who can take care of the ball. Seems to be one of the team’s biggest weakness along with poor shooting. Perez lacks upper body strength. Doesn’t dribble much and has a hard time fighting through screens. None of the Gophers are ideal players, but together you hope they make a team.
    I agree, I would never consider this version of the Gophers as a "3 point shooting team" just yet. I guess I hedged by saying, "I think we've come close to being a three-point shooting team once again." It seems like Pitts has become nealy another Banham from three, and Perez has become like another Pitts - albeit not shooting nearly enough (per everybody's comments). But of course, although Hubbard is still Hubbard, that will have to wait til next year. And no replacement in sight for graduated Wagner - but perhaps among next-year's recruits.

    So for right right now, anyway, we're two shooters short of being a great four-three-point-shooting team.

    Nevertheless, in the last 5 games, Pitts is shooting threes at a .489 clip. And many of those are from way deep. Assuming she can keep this up, that means the expected number of points put on the board by any given Pitts three-point attempt = 1.467 points.

    And in the last 6 games, Perez is shooting threes at a .632 clip. Also assuming she can keep this up, that means the expected number of points put on the board by any given Perez three-point attempt = 1.895 points.

    These expected scoring values are way above the typical one point per average play. In particular, a Perez three-point-attempt gives you almost as much as you could possibly expect to score with any two-point attempt whatsoever. In fact, if the team were to take a two-point shot attempt, it had better be a layup with at least a 95% chance of going in the hoop (ignoring a possible and-1) - or else you would be much better off kicking it back out to Perez for a trey. Or to Pitts with only a slightly lower payoff, but with the advantage that right now she's hitting from so deep, that defenders aren't even thinking that they need to defend her there. [And many recent opponents' coaches have had to burn timeouts to chew out their players for not covering her.]

    So in spite of being two shooters short of a three-point-shooting team (and thus it's harder to spread the defense), right now (if they stay hot) we have two of the best-shooting three-point shooters in the NCAA. We ought to be taking about 50% of our shots as threes, and (as noted by many) Perez needs to be taking a lot more shots than the (almost exactly) 3 shots from deep that's she's taking lately.

    As Shades importantly points out, "We don’t know if the hesitation came from her own self-doubt, Whalen’s or her teammates. ... There were numerous times when she was left wide open so Rutgers could crowd the paint, and neither point guard seemed to be looking for her."

    I really think that the PGs are just doing business as usual, and spending shot attempts on themselves plus Pitts, mostly. Not sure if that is by Whalen design, or if that's just what they're used to from all year, so they keep doing it. We've got two three-point shooters now, and the three-point shot attempts should both be more plentiful, and split about 60/40 among Pitts and Perez. If we force the opponent to defend Perez, then Pitts gets more open looks.

    Also look at it from this perspective. This year Bell is shooting .419 on her two-pointer attempts, over 403 shots taken thus far. Taking that statistic in isolation (and ignoring her 49 three-pointer attempts at too low a rate of .265), that means the expected payoff of a Bell two-point shot attempt is 0.838 points. Now what would you rather score off from a shooting play, 0.838 points (from Bell), or your choice between 1.467 points (from a Pitts three attempt) or 1.895 points (from a Perez three attempt)? If we shot a 50/50 mix of threes by Pitts and Perez, then the weighted average gives approximately twice the scoring potential as at Bell two-point attempt.

    But it's more complicated than that, actually. We all know that both Bell and Brunson are very great at driving to the hoop with their speed, blowing by the defense for an easy two or a foul. Those layup shots are almost 100% probability of going in. But since Bell's shooting average is .419, that means that her non-layup shooting average must be a lot lower than .419 such that, when averaged with a bunch of nearly 1.000 average layups, it comes out to the actual .419 shooting that she has right now.

    Guessing that maybe between 10-20% of her shots are layups, that implies that her non-layup shooting percentage lies between .354 and .273 - and (again ignoring and-1 possibilities, which are actually quite significant for Bell), that's an expected scoring of .548 to .709. Add in a factor for expected and-1 free throws, and you get .684 to .886. Both a far cry from the expected value 1.467 from a Pitts three attempt or 1.895 from a Perez three attempt.

    What I'm saying (and proving mathematically) here is that in spite of the fact that we are not yet really a three-point shooting team in the traditional sense (of, say, a Stollings team), the few three-point shooters that we have are so good, that we still ought to be shooting a lot more threes than we actually are. You need to mix it up, so I suggest 50% threes and 50% twos. We've already boosted three-point shooting, such that Pitts is now usually the points leader rather than Bell. We need to go even more in that direction, by adding lots of Perez three-point shots to the mix, in addition to Pitts treys.

    So if it's the coaching staff that is limiting Perez trey attempts (e.g., considering her to still be a minor role player on the team, rather than a potentially significant scorer along with Pitts), then this is a mistake by the coaching staff. On the other hand, if it's just Bell and Brunson doing Bell and Brunson as per usual, they need to be informed that we need a radical change to our playmaking regime from here on out through the end of our NCAA Tournament run (which isn't going to happen if they don't make such a change).

    Let me tell you what tipped me off to this need. It was a certain aspect about the Rutgers away loss that I happened to notice, and it cleared the cobwebs from my brain, allowing me to see this clearly. This came from just looking at the box score.

    Thanks to the dismissals and player shuffles on the Rutgers team, Arella Guirantes, who played 14 minutes and scored 2 points in the earlier Rutgers home game in which we defeated them, was now a starter who played 33 minutes and scored 25 points! I asked myself, how could a no-name Rutgers player go from 2 points to 25 points in one fell swoop? Did they not guard her at all? Did they give her the keys to the lane? I don't know. That question shall remain open for the moment. But clearly, Guirantes won the game for Rutgers (with some contribution by Stasha Carey and Sierra Calhoun and others).

    The key observation comes from looking at Guirantes field-goal stats. She shot 10-17 on the night. She hit .588 of her shots. That's pretty good efficiency. Now in comparison to that, look at the shooting stats of Bell and Brunson. Bell shot 5-15 and Brunson shot 1-7. Now apparently Brunson had a bad night, but the point is not to pick on Brunson here, but rather to look at the combined efficiency of our PGs who together shot 6-22 for a .273 rate. That's very inefficient compared to Guirantes .588. Guirantes has an expected value of 2 * .588 = 1.176 points per each of her shots. Bell and Brunson combined had an expected value of 2 * .273 = .546 points per each of our PG shots, on average.

    In contrast, in this particular game the combined three-point shooting of Pitts and Perez (mostly Pitts) was 7-13 or .538, with an expected value of 1.615 points per three-point shot attempt.

    So in summary we could say that we defended Guirantes so poorly that we let her get 1.176 points per each of her shots (she had 17 of them); and in contrast our PGs got .546 points per each of their shots; whereas we could get 1.614 points for each of our three-point shots. What's wrong with this picture? We simply need Bell and Brunson to shoot less, and Pitts and Perez to shoot more! Our PGs are horribly iniefficient as ompared to a norm of Rutgers' Guirantes, while Pitts and Perez are shooting the lights out at the moment. So even though we've upped the number of shots Pitts gets recently, we need to up her shots further still, and we need to really, really up the shots that Perez gets.

    If we can increase the point-making efficiency of our shots, plus cut way back on turnovers, then the only team in the Big Ten that can possibly beat us is Iowa. And we can beat them too, if we trade mostly Pitts/Perez threes for Gustafson twos. In summary, we need to radically revise our shot distribution, while at the same time minimizing turnovers, and we can go to the NCAA playoffs. Also, part of this change should be to have Bell and Brunson increase (within reason) their drives to the paint in which they are very efficient in scoring, and at the same time cut way back on their stop-n-pops (which are also sometimes more turnover prone) - giving many of those stop-n-pops over to Pitts and Perez to shoot as treys instead.

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