WBB: Small Ball

Ignatius L Hoops

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2015
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Small ball spreads (causing Auriemma a little extra work):

The idea of playing more perimeter players than usual is something that a lot of teams are trying at every level of basketball, and many are having success with it. The Irish were just the next team to find that success, and one coach says this new style "absolutely" made them harder to guard.

"I don't like playing teams that play without big guys because it really restricts what your big guys can do," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said after his team's 91-81 win. "They're way more dangerous, and way more difficult to defend. The difference is now you have to play four guys off the dribble, instead of two or three, and that's not easy."

Auriemma even said after his team's ten-point win on Saturday he would rather play the Irish at full strength. Notre Dame's offense appeared more lethal and harder to stop when their smaller lineup of guards Madison Cable, Lindsay Allen, Michaela and Marina Mabrey and forward Kathryn Westbeld were on the floor.

The ability to drive and kick, resulting in good looks from the 3-point line, was critical in keeping the Irish in the game against UConn. The ability to penetrate a defense is a staple for teams playing smaller than their opponents, because of the mismatches they have on the perimeter.

A mismatch on the outside usually leads to a disadvantage on the inside on the other end, and McGraw knew coming into the game against the Huskies her team was not equipped to play man-to-man defense. Notre Dame played zone for much of the game, and that was key in limiting the distinct advantage UConn had inside.

Small ball is a growing trend that more and more teams are finding to be effective, especially when it causes their opponent to have to change what they are used to doing. This up-tempo style also usually includes players that are comfortable handling the ball, as well as shooting the 3-pointer; two things that basketball fans seem to really enjoy

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