B1G Team Notes 2021-22




















fanfromthevalley

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Wish Justice well in New Orleans. Sadly, she's been injured almost her entire time here so we never really could she her play.
 

thatjanelpick

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With 2 years of college under her belt, she'll still be a red shirt freshman?
 

whalenfan

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With 2 years of college under her belt, she'll still be a red shirt freshman?
Technically yes, 1st year she redshirted then this covid year doesn't count against anyones eligibility, so she'll be a 3rd year freshman. Who knows how many of these players will end up taking advantage of the free year though.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Illini add an NJCAA All American guard, De'Myla Brown, who started her career at Western Kentucky.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois women's basketball head coach Nancy Fahey announced Wednesday the addition of NJCAA Division I first team All-America guard De'Myla Brown to the Fighting Illini roster for the 2021-22 season.

Brown, a standout from North Little Rock High School in North Little Rock, Ark., comes to Illinois after a stellar sophomore campaign at Chipola College in 2020-21. She began her collegiate career as a freshman at Western Kentucky in 2019-20.

Brown joins Kendall Bostic and Sara Anastasieska, and November signees Adalia McKenzie, Jayla Oden, and Keanna Rembert as the newest members of the Illini program.
 


Ignatius L Hoops

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Rutgers welcomes their incoming transfers:

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers head women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer welcomes the addition of six transfer student-athletes to the 2021-22 roster. Osh Brown (Ball State), Shug Dickson (Missouri), Sayawni Lassiter (Florida State), Lasha Petree (Bradley), Jailyn Mason (Arkansas), and Victoria Morris (Old Dominion) are the newest Scarlet Knights. Rutgers will have eight newcomers on the 2021-22 roster after the additions of JUCO transfer Awa Sidibe and first-year Kierra Sanderlin.
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Four of these six signees have led their previous team in scoring, and all are very talented players. However exciting that is, it’s not just that they were the best scorers on their team, it’s more about being the best fit for our mentality - the ‘Rutgers Way’.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Michigan's Kim Barnes Arico starts season with all new assistants.

Momentum can be fleeting, but if a program handles things the right way, it can be maintained, even if some shuffling takes place. The Wolverines will return many key players from last year's magical run, including star senior Naz Hillmon, but Arico's assistant coaching trio will be completely different. Arico is confident that new assistants Carrie Moore, Val Nainima and Harry Rafferty can maintain, and even intensify, that momentum.

Moore may be a prime example of the new stature that Michigan women's basketball boasts nationally. Arico had attempted to woo Moore into returning to her home state several times before, and this time it worked. The results have been outstanding so far, according to Arico.

"I've been really, really impressed with the way that she goes about everything," she said. "Coaches just really love her passion and enthusiasm for every part of the game, whether that's player development, whether that's coaching from the sideline, or whether that's recruiting. She's one of the best in the business."

Arico has similar expectations for Nainima, who may not have the experience that Moore possesses, but she has similar potential.

"She's definitely a rising star in the business," Arico said. "She was a little bit under the radar, but when I did my research and when I did my homework on her, I thought she would just be fabulous for our program."

The most recent hire was a familiar one to those on the team. Former graduate manager Rafferty was elevated to an assistant coach thanks to his unselfish approach and his attention to detail since arriving in Ann Arbor.

"I know something special when I see it, and I have witnessed that in the last couple years in Harry Rafferty," Arico said. "Obviously, it starts with his work ethic and his passion to be great and to learn. He's just wanted to be a sponge the last couple of years."

The momentum of the program always starts with the head coach, and Arico has set the tone for a productive offseason after the most productive season Michigan women's basketball had ever experienced. Everyone else, both the newcomers and the returners, have followed suit.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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After an eventful and unusual 2021 season, Iowa women's basketball is back on campus and are getting back to work. Expectations are higher than ever, especially since Lisa Bluder's crew returns a plethora of experience. The Hawkeyes return 98.1 percent of their scoring for next season. Among teams that won at least one NCAA game, only Connecticut returns more.

Despite losing Lauren Jensen and Megan Meyer to the NCAA Transfer Portal, Bluder brought in Iowa State transfer Kylie Feuerbach, who should be an immediate contributor. As a freshman, Feuerbach started 24 of the Cyclones’ 28 games during the 2020-21 season, including the Cyclones’ NCAA First and Second Round tournament games against Michigan State and Texas A&M. The freshman guard averaged 5.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 36 percent from the field on the season.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Indiana: The starting lineup we know; the bench we don't.

Within days of its loss to Arizona in the Elite Eight, it was clear that Indiana’s women’s basketball team would be team run-it-back for 2021-22, taking full advantage of the fact that 2020-21 didn’t count against anyone’s eligibility.

Two days after the loss, guard Ali Patberg decided to return for a seventh year in college basketball. Not long after that, George Mason transfer point guard Nicole Cardano-Hillary announced that she would stay for a fifth year, her second at Indiana after transferring from George Mason. The Hoosiers were already due another year from All-Big Ten first team picks Grace Berger and Mackenzie Holmes as well as forward Aleksa Gulbe, so that locked in the starting five to take another go at history after they already took Indiana to a place it had never been before in 2020-21.

Having those five back in the fold goes a long way. Last season, they combined for 1,721 of the 2,010 points the Hoosiers scored in the season (85.6 percent.) They also combined for 73.1 percent of the team’s rebounds and 80.3 percent of its assists. Four of the five averaged more than 30 minutes per game, Cardano-Hillary averaged 27.4 and only one other player averaged more than 10.

But the Hoosiers still need a bench, and it will take a very different look in 2021-22. Last season, Indiana had 10 other players on its roster outside of the five starters. Of those, just four remain — guards Grace Waggoner and Chloe Moore-McNeil, forward Kiandra Browne and center Arielle Wisne. They have added a pair of freshman guards in Kaitlin Peterson and Keyarah Berry, but have otherwise stood pat with the roster. Women’s basketball programs have an allotted 15 scholarships, but the Hoosiers are using just 11 of them.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Good article discussing the recruiting of Northwestern's incoming classs:

Coming off the program’s first NCAA tournament victory since 1993, the Northwestern women’s basketball team will have a much different composition as compared to seasons past. Lindsey Pulliam — the third-leading scorer in program history — has graduated and left for the professional ranks, while four-year contributor Jordan Hamilton is headed to Palo Alto to play for the national champion Stanford Cardinal as a grad transfer. The ‘Cats obviously aren’t devoid of talent, returning star guards in Veronica Burton and Sydney Wood, as well as center Courtney Shaw, for their senior seasons, but the rest of the roster remains largely unproven.

That’s why this recruiting class, ranked as the tenth-best in the entire nation and the highest-rated class to ever come through Evanston, is so vital to the continued success of this program that coaches Joe McKeown and Kate Popovec, as well as the rest of the staff, have built. Here’s everything you need to know about the newest batch of Wildcats coming to a basketball court near you.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Illini AD Josh Whitman still believes Nancy Fahey can turn around Illinois' women's basketball. The Illini Inquirer tries to explain how. (The answers include recruiting Chicago and Adalia McKenzie). Theresa Grentz must find this amusing.

URBANA, Ill. — The men’s basketball program at Illinois has a rich history of success since its inception more than a century ago. With 17 Big Ten regular-season championships, 31 NCAA Tournament appearances and five Final Four appearances, the program’s status has rarely been questioned.

But with access to similarly great resources, the women’s basketball program in Champaign hasn’t had the same run of success. Aside from a decade of relative success under Theresa Grentz, the Illinois women’s basketball program lacks sustained winning dating back to its origin in 1974. In the program’s 48 seasons, it has just 19 winning seasons — with the last one coming back in 2012-2013.

While the DIA has worked through different types of coaches, various players and even multiple athletic directors, the women’s basketball team has never seemed to find its footing. And the Illini have repeatedly slipped during the last decade. During the last eight seasons, the Illini are a paltry 19-119 (.138) during Big Ten play.

“We have high expectations for women's basketball, we always have,” Illini athletics director Josh Whitman said in June. “I think it's a little bit of an oddity if you look at the history of Illinois athletics, the lack of success and tradition that we have in women's basketball. It's a little hard to pinpoint, to try and figure out the reasons why. We've brought in a lot of different coaches. We've had access to great facilities, great talent in the state of Illinois, Big Ten obviously. But it's a program that we struggled to get jump-started.”

Whitman hoped his 2017 hiring of Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Fahey, who led Washington University to five Division-III national championships, would finally change the direction of the program. But with four seasons under her belt now, Fahey has accumulated just a .307 overall winning percentage and a single-digit Big Ten winning percentage (6-64, .086).


But it’s not time to throw in the towel on Fahey or the women’s basketball program in general, Whitman said. Given the recent history of the team, the Illini AD plans on giving Fahey “a lot of runway to get this done.”

In order to turn things around permanently, Whitman and Fahey first have to figure out what makes it so difficult for the women’s basketball program to win in Champaign. However, Fahey thinks the issue reaches beyond just Illinois’ program.

“I think if you look at the Big Ten, collectively, the number of teams that have bounced around, it's tough to make moves in the Big Ten,” Fahey said. “It's a really competitive program. That's what we're here to do. Women's basketball has 15 scholarships, and players tend to keep going to the same schools. And we're trying to find kids that want to find an edge to be something that's making some change and be something that's different. And move a program to a different spot. And I think that's why women's basketball as a whole, not just in Illinois, that you'll see similar teams always in the Sweet Sixteen is because I think we need personally to spread our scholarships around, but it's not going to happen. And so our goal is to keep recruiting, keeping kids in the state of Illinois. I think we did that. We're doing a better job of that. That's why I'm excited for the future.”

While the Big Ten is becoming more competitive in women’s basketball, the conference as a whole struggles to have national success. In 2021, the conference set a new record of having four teams advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen, but only one of those teams advanced to the Elite Eight. And in tournament history, a Big Ten team has won the championship game just once.

The closest Illinois has ever gotten to a national championship was back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances under Grentz in the late 1990s. But before even worrying about the national stage, Fahey and the current Illini must focus on establishing a winning culture. Fahey believes the 2021-22 season should kick-start the turnaround.

This offseason looked to be detrimental to the program at first as the Illini (5-18 overall, 2-16 Big Ten last season) lost two of its top players, Kennedi Myles (8.7 points, 8.0 rebounds) and Jeanae Terry (10.7 points, 7.8 rebounds), to the transfer portal. Then assistant coaches Vernette Skeete and Scott Merritt left the program after one year for assistant jobs at Texas A&M and Wisconsin, respectively. But Fahey quickly added new pieces that Whitman feels “will ultimately work to our advantage.”

New assistant coach Hernando Planells spent seven seasons as an assistant at Duke, helping the Blue Devils to five NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight in 2013. He also helped Duke sign top-five recruiting classes in each of his seasons in Durham, including the top class in 2015.

The hiring of Corry Irvin, former St. Xavier and Whitney Young High School head coach, addresses an issue multiple Illinois athletic programs have faced recently: in-state recruiting. Irvin’s ties to Chicago high schools, colleges and AAU programs along with her long-standing relationships with programs around the entire state will likely draw in Illinois prospects. Four-star Chicago (Ill.) Butler College Prep guard Camille Jackson, the No. 57 prospect in the Class of 2022 according to ESPN, committed quickly after Irvin’s hire.

But even Irvin, who knows the state better than most coaches, was surprisingly impressed with how the university has grown and advanced its facilities and environment for players. Now, it’s just about getting prospects and their parents to see the changes for themselves.

“A big thing right now, our push is just to get people on campus,” Irvin said. “And I think a lot of people don't know how great the facilities are, how extensive our support is, how our players are treated at the highest level. I just don't think a lot of people know that. So I just think just the exposure will be a huge thing for us from a recruiting standpoint. … Part of it has been getting recruits on campus for unofficial visits. We're having a camp in August. It's going to be, in the fall, getting teams down here. Whether it's to come watch us practice or come to a football game, and then getting them back for a game. The biggest thing I think right now is getting student-athletes and their families and their coaches on campus so they can just see what we have to offer.”

Expanding the Ubben Basketball Complex will be a “needle-mover,” according to Fahey, as she and Irvin hope it will set their program apart from others in the conference and the nation. While Irvin’s ties to the state and city of Chicago will help with recruiting, winning is still a major part of enticing recruits to pick Illinois over proven programs.

“I think it's combined efforts,” Irvin said. “So I think part of it is us being successful on the court, getting that part turned around. Part of it is getting the recruits and their families and AAU and high school coaches and teams on campus to see stuff. And then the other part is reaching out into the community and getting the community at games too. So I think what Coach is building will cover all those three areas. I just think it's kind of like building blocks. I think everything kind of takes time. Sometimes it may take a little bit more time than what people wanted, but I think the pieces are put together now.”

Creating sustained success has to begin now for Fahey, and she believes the 2021-22 group has the ability to achieve that. While the program lost a major chunk of its offensive production, Fahey was quick to bring in new offensive talent. Sara Anastasieka, Kendall Bostic and Demyla Brown all transferred into Fahey’s program this spring, bringing in years of winning experience.

Anastasieka, who has played at UTSA, Cal and Duke, has 68 games at the collegiate level under her belt and averaged 10.0 points through four games with the Blue Devils last season, before the school opted out of the season. Bostic, a former McDonald’s All-American nominee and Indiana Miss Basketball finalist, played in 22 games as a freshman at Michigan State last season and already has an NCAA Tournament appearance under her belt. Brown has garnered the most success of the three, coming from Chipola College, where she earned NJCAA All-American status last season. The 5-foot-7 guard helped her team to a Final Four run in the NJCAA Division I Championship Tournament after averaging 20.2 ppg that season.

“I live in the moment, in the moment right now, and what we have, there's capable people that we’re excited about scoring,” Fahey told Illini Inquirer. “And in our practices, I feel like, I'm not looking to replace, I'm looking to step forward and embrace the players that bring, I'm not saying same or different, but there's players coming in that have good capabilities. And they have the ability to score, the ability to play defense. I am not looking in the rearview mirror and look at what we lost. I look at where are we right now and where are we moving.”

Along with the three transfers, Fahey brought in Minnesota’s 2020-2021 Miss Basketball Adalia McKenzie, who averaged 31 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals per game in her junior season at Park Center. Now, the goal for Fahey and the Illini has been meshing all of those fresh faces with returners like Eva Rubin (7.3 points), Jada Peebles (11.6 points) and Aaliyah Nye (8.1 points).

“I think it's been very important for us collectively with new players is making sure we're all on the same page with our vision and our goals and our standards,” Fahey said. “...We have our vision, and that vision is something that we're not posting just on a board; we're trying to live (it). That's been a really important part of our chemistry this summer and trying to blend players that are new and players that have been here.”


Translating that work into State Farm Center in November will be the ultimate test, a test Fahey and her predecessors recently have struggled to pass. But summer practices and workouts have given Fahey and Whitman hope for a season of progression and positive results.
 

thatjanelpick

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Given the recruit riches in Illinois, it's insane that the Illini have never been good. But if Whitman cares about the program, he sure hired the wrong person.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Caitlin Clark has a productive summer with USA basketball.

Iowa women’s basketball sophomore Caitlin Clark can now add another gold medal and MVP award to her growing trophy case.

This August, Clark collected the third gold medal of her young career at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary.

The U19 USA Women’s Basketball World Cup team went undefeated throughout seven games, defeating Italy, Australia, Egypt, Chinese Taipei, Spain, Hungary, and Australia for a second time to take home the gold.

In her first time starting with Team USA, Clark notched 100 total points, 39 rebounds, 37 assists, seven steals, and six blocks while playing seven games in nine days. The West Des Moines, Iowa native, was also named the FIBA U19 World Cup Most Valuable Player.

After being the youngest on her previous USA Basketball teams — the 2017 U16 FIBA Americas Tournament and the 2019 U19 FIBA World Cup Tournament — Clark found new leadership skills as she was the oldest on the 2021 U19 team.

“I think I actually played one of the most important roles on the team, this was my first time starting on USA Basketball,” Clark said in a Zoom press conference with reporters Friday. “That was really different for me, but I think just bringing that experience to our team with one, girls who haven’t even done USA Basketball or two, haven’t ever played in a college basketball game was huge for us.”

Clark also tried out a new position with USA Basketball — the ‘2’. With multiple point guards on the USA Basketball roster, Clark found herself playing more off the ball.

“Obviously at Iowa I play the ‘1’, have the ball in my hands a lot more than I did at USA where I’m playing off the ball,” Clark said. “But I also think that’s really helped me improve different areas of my game, so I know coach Bluder and the coaching staff was pretty excited for me to play off the ball a little bit.”

Although she developed a new aspect to her game over the summer, Clark is still the only true point guard on the Hawkeye women’s basketball roster for the 2021-22 season.

But for Iowa’s opponents this season, it’s a new thing to scout for the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

“I’m probably going to have the ball in my hands a lot of the time [at Iowa] running the ‘1’, just because I’m the only true point guard that we have,” Clark said. “And that’s the position I’m most comfortable in as well, that’s what I’ve always played.

“But if I’m playing off the ball, that’s just another thing that [opponents] will have to scout and to know,” she added. “I think it can open up a lot of different things. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ll be doing more of it, I think I was off the ball a good amount last year, just finding ways to be effective off the ball is the best way for me to improve.”

During her time with USA Basketball, Clark also learned new defensive schemes she hopes to bring to Iowa — a team with a defense that ranked 336th out of 336 Division I women’s basketball teams, allowing 80.3 points per game.

“If you want to be great you have to play defense,” Clark said. “And we know that, we’re not, I mean, we’re not dumb. We know that if we want to get far in the tournament we have to play defense and that’s honestly why this summer we spent so much of our time focused on defense… but we weren’t very good [on defense] and we still made it to the Sweet 16, so I think that just shows when we do improve that we could be pretty unstoppable.”
 

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No one on the #Gophers roster has worn No. 13 since Lindsay Whalen ended her illustrious playing career with the Maroon and Gold.

That all changes this season as Gadiva Hubbard is set to don the iconic Minnesota number!

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