[Moderated by Matt Jones]
After what barely constitutes as a victory for the Lady Hoops team last night, you can only imagine the relief that most of us here at KSRc are feeling. Rather than reflect on whatever last night was, I’d like to look forward in breaking down the next victim of the Lady Hoops team. The Zags were seeded as an 11 seed going into the tournament, and they are the one of two 11 seeds that remain in the tournament (Kansas, the other 11 seed, hasn’t played for the opportunity to advance to the sweet 16 yet). Something deep in my heart wants me to be able to dismiss this low ranked team completely, especially before I looked closer into their stats, but after doing my homework on the Zags, I realize there are quite a few stars that are going to have to align.
1. Break Down Their Press
Gonzaga is an extremely physical team, a lot like the game the Hoops played last night against Green Bay. The thing that worries me about this is that as soon as the Phoenix’s started to press UK hard and send the double team, the Hoops would freak out and have some ball control issues. I’d rather not look at last night stats, so I’m not even gunna list the turn overs or their possession changes, but as soon as whoever the point guard was at the time saw those not very scary looking Green Bay girls coming at her, it was like she just decided to hand the ball over rather than take advantage of the man left open. If the Hoops get intimidated by a bunch of girls who don’t even look that scary on the court, what’s going to happen when they run into this?
2. Shut Down Standish
Kayla Standish is that player. The one that is going to almost always be a consistent leader (except in three point shooting, she’s only 11% in that) on the court. She’s going to be making big offensive and defensive plays, she’s going to be taking control, she’s going to be in our faces. She has been a key player all season long, averaging 7 boards and 16 points a game, and has shown during the tournament that she isn’t ready for her season to end. She put up 19 points and shot 43% from the floor. She also came through in the tight game against Miami, making end of the game buckets that gave the Zags the edge in the end. She concerns me for that fact, that she preforms well under pressure, which is a problem that the Lady Hoops have had all season long.
3. Play Our Game
This final point of alignment is all about the Lady Hoops team. This, in my opinion, has been an absolutely roller coaster season. When Wilder and I first began coverage, the Hoops team was at the top of the hill. Then when they went on the road towards the end of the season we struggled hard to beat teams who weren’t that good, like Alabama and LSU. Gonzaga has a strong record (28-5) but they come from a weak conference. I strongly believe that the key to winning this game for the Hoops is going to be playing them like they are a number 1 seed team. The first half of the game last night was absolutely amazing. I was sitting in my room on live blog just smiling at the thought of my SCW tattoo when the men and women both win their tournaments this year. Then as soon as the team seems to get comfortable with their lead, they loose is, big time. Coach Cal said it perfect with his team, saying they sometimes have “too much swagger.” While I don’t think I can even compare the sudden loss of lead to something like “swag”, I almost think that the Hoops team needs to take some from the men’s team. There is a certain amount of confidence that must be felt during the game, whatever the sport may be. When you lose that confidence, you get nervous and play to a lower level. If the Hoops can be confident in what they have worked so hard for, I believe that we will be advancing to the elite 8 next Tuesday.
Don’t forget, the Lady Hoops tip off against the Zags March 25, time TBA. Make sure to congratulate the players if you see them on campus! Go Cats! Kingston Bound!!
Follow me on twitter, I have two dads and one mom. @KSR_allHAYL
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