Working on foul shot mechanics would be time well spent.
They will lose by approximately one gazillion.
often coasted in the first half. That will not happen this year and Muffet will use the bench( and I don't mean the players) as motivation. I hope Arike does not need that motivation.
their best as they head into the tourney. The truth is this team needs to work out role clarity in the first part of the season and by the time the tourney comes round, they need to be executing. I think the coaching brain trust can adjust if there is an injury or someone is not playing well or even taken out of a game by an opponent's D (double teams, fouling). The success of last year was everyone knew their role and I think this year will require the same to win it all.
for the starters. What I think will be interesting is getting the freshmen and sophomores off the bench and integrated into the team. That will likely be key come tournament time, since you don't really want to have to have your starters playing 40 minutes.
condition, as the regular season ends in March so ND could lose a regular season game or a game in the ACC tournament in March and still win be National Champs. And it is also not a sufficient condition, as the Final Four is in April (5th and 7th).
Perhaps the whole thing should be called April Affliction, at least until it becomes May Madness.
On paper, this is ND's most talented team ever. The five projected starters are all named on pre-season first or second All American teams. ND's four seniors are currently projected in the top 12 in next year's WNBA draft. With the return of Bri and Mikki and the addition of the freshmen, Coach McGraw will have a lot more pieces to work with this season -- how she balances playing time and player roles will be key.
Last season, Arike was the first ND player to average over 20 ppg in 20 years. She took 26% of the team's shots during the season -- and over 30% in the six NCAA games.
The three guards rarely came off the floor -- and in the NCAA's Arike and Marina averaged 39 minutes of playing time and Jackie just under 38. How will they adjust to fewer minutes? Will the team be better if Arike shoots and scores less? Last year, she stayed on the floor and shot herself out of shooting slumps -- how will that be handled this season?
Will the starters accept fewer minutes and go hard on defense from the opening tip? How will Jess and Bri adapt to each other's presence? Jess really stepped up her contribution in the NCAAs -- her scoring per game went from 15.7 in the regular season to 19.0 in the NCAAs. Her rebounds were up to 9.3 from 8.1 and her minutes to 36.2 from 29.3. She did almost all her scoring in the low post -- how will moving to the 4 affect her game?
If Jordan Nixon comes on at the point -- which guard will be off the floor? Or, will they go four around one?
How will the team handle the expectations of winning it all again?
Managing an abundance of talent is a great problem to have, but it will offer a completely different set of challenges to the ones Coach McGraw managed so masterfully last season.
Will the starters accept fewer minutes and go hard on defense from the opening tip?
If it were a case of a player who was playing a normal number of minutes then getting their playing time cut you'd have a point, but we're dealing with players who played pretty much the entire game going down to what would be a normal number of minutes.
Since they were playing the whole game, they had to be careful in the 2nd quarter. With the backups on the bench, they are now free to be more aggressive, which is what I think they want be anyway. Mabrey wants to go for that ball on defense. Ogunbowale wants to drive harder to the basket. The players are looking to draw charges. It wasn't until halfway through the UT game last year that they finally figured out how to reign in their impulses to adjust to the injuries.
about the coming season, but what factors will determine if we can repeat as champs. Ironically, what some of us are already exhibiting on the Bench may be the major factor for the team to repeat as champs: focus or lack thereof.
This year the components of focus will not be inescapable playing time and David vs. Goliath motivation. The team will have to find new reasons to focus. They will have to switch from the motivation of David to the motivation of Goliath. Basically, this is Homeboy’s number 1 answer which I agree with and stole. He calls it team cohesion. (NDLAW also lists it. He calls it “intensity”.) Muffet calls it team chemistry. I’ll call it team focus and motivation. As Homeboy says, how will they “maintain their killer instincts, be tough, and refuse to lose?”
At least I hope the team will have to find new motivation and reasons to focus, since equally important (for the team to repeat as champs) may also be cbiebel’s No. 1 answer (also stolen): Player health.
It was hard enough to win without Turner. It will be nearly impossible to win again if we lose starters who won it last year. We can’t be hit again with crippling injuries, or can we?
Third, and lastly, I’ll go with luck. That is the factor that every other final four team attributes to our winning, so I’d like to have it again.
I agree with all the other ideas but laughed out loud on your comment re luck. In my spare time and with obsesssive behavior I watched a lot of the “stretch “ games...A&M, OSU, UCONN, MSU....we were seriously behind in so many games e.g. Tenn and somehow (coaching, defense....a zone!, unselfish offense )BUT really MSU’s center missing several bunny hooks, Ionesco disappearing, Tenn going stone cold, AO’s 3’s, Mabrey’s 3’s as the clock runs out....we were really fortunate. Let’s hope along with being incredibly skilled and well coached we ge5 some good bounces.
...need to do to win. That's how I was viewing it primarily in Augst and still am, now.
Upon reexamining my answers after a coffee, all I'd do is change the order a bit. The last is first....
I really think MM needs to establish a particular atmosphere that players are driven, happy and excited and then figure out playing patterns that maximize it. Last year was unique for many reasons and this one is interesting, too -- about as veteran a starting group as one can have, with a bunch of sophs and frosh chomping at the bit to join the party.
And the other suggestions/thoughts go from there: Center strategy, PG rotation, frosh play, etc. Or, some of these factors will lead to overall philosophy being fulfilled.
We go from a year of Muffet managing extremely scarce resources to managing a wealth of resources.
By the way, were you the one who wrote a paper which could be handed in for any course, from Shakespeare to psychology, and be assured a "B"?
..and in one of (many) excellent interview she gave, she admitted as such.
The health concern -- particularly with the Irish's last season -- is a given.
Not concerned on iota with motivation:
- Arike was looking for another championship right after they won that won. And Marina wants to win at anything. Plus, you just know Bri wants to get one when she's ON the court.
- Rookies are going to fight like all get out to join the fray
- And MM will channel all that
It's a big year...I just did think one other factor:
- Don't put too much pressure on to be perfect early on. Enjoy, learn, keep getting better!
Do the players let up their intensity? Have they dedicated themselves this offseason to conditioning and improving their games? Will the coaches be able to motivate the players to that same championship level?
- How will Brianna Turner and Jessica Shepard be used offensively?
Most folks -- myself included -- expect Bri to return to the low post and that will probably happen. But will MM and staff shake it up and have Shep go low from time to time?
- How will Danielle Patterson be used this fall? High Post? A tall 3? Bit of a hybrid?
- How will Jordan Nixon be used?
Could it be in the same way Lili Thompson was? Be the first guard in, work primarily as the point and have Marina, Jackie and Arike spell each other? And/or will she become the designated press breaker?
- Which freshmen and sophomores step up to become part of the rotation?
- And how does MM manage substitution patterns/motivation of the starters and subs now that she has -- knock on wood -- the resources to utilize?
Did you mean now that she has the resources?
Either that or you were being sarcastic.
...or maybe that was a slip from last year's experience?
* Team cohesion; will they maintain their killer instincts, be tough, and refuse to lose?
* Who will step up as the glue player(s)? The really high energy defensive stopper?
* This Team is so solid, hoping no major injuries. What a lineup!
* Brianna and Jess meshing, & being aggressive, with strong backups in Mikala and Dani P.
* Point guard. By committee? Nixon? Help for Marina?
* Surviving having targets on us, even more than in the past. Remain the hunters.
* Arike, Marina, Jackie, plus Katlyn and Abby, On the outside. Who can stop them?
* Brianna, Jess and Mikala. Who can stop them? Both Danielles to help out.
1. Player health
2. Fitting Turner back into the team.
3. Freshman guards being ready to come in as backups, especially at PG.
4. Sophomores being ready (Vaughn recovered from ACL, Patterson more experienced) to come off the bench to spell Turner and Shepard.
I'm very intrigued about the posts coming off the bench this year. Of course we have a strong nucleus with Shepard and Turner manning the 4 & 5, but with Patterson, Cosgrove, and even Vaughn back from injury, im interested in seeing how they well they play with the starters and with one another. Patterson looked very good on the Foreign tour and im very interested into seeing her development this summer.