Monday, December 14, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: At the Maggie Dixon Classic

by Ray Floriani

NEW YORK CITY - The Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden brought a few traditional powers and an new individual who utilized the Garden to introduce herself.

Brittney Griner, Baylor’s 6-8 freshman is actually known, largely due to her ability to dunk. Promotions and advertising leading up to the classic made mention of Griner and her ability to ‘slam it home’. Her performance on this rainy afternoon provided a debutant of sorts to the New York area. Griner and her teammates did not disappoint as Baylor defeated BC 68-55.

The possession numbers:

Boston College6585

Griner’s line for the 39 minutes logged.


Defense was the key. Baylor jumped out to a 29-19 halftime lead. BC enjoyed a 43-38 offensive rebounding edge but that was negated by an awful 28% turnover rate. Again the Baylor defense. As bad as BC’s care of the ball was, Baylor’s was good with a turnover rate of just 18%. Griner led all scorers with 25 while Stephanie Murphy paced BC with 18.

In the nightcap, Tennessee , the only team to defeat now 8-1 Baylor, faced Rutgers for the seventh consecutive year. The Lady Vols made it six straight over Rutgers with a 68-54 victory.

The possession numbers:


A little bit quicker on the pace for Rutgers who entered the game in the high sixties possession wise.

The four factors:


Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer pointed out , without the use of tempo free statistics, the reasons why her club lost. Not getting to the line, lack of rebounding and carelessness with the ball (excessive turnovers). The Scarlet Knights trailed by 14 early, cut it to one with 13 minutes left but never got the lead as Tennessee went on another run that sealed it.

It is not a very athletic Lady Vols club but size is a key. Every starter is 6 feet or taller. The post, sophomore Kelley Cain, is 6-6. The size explains in part why Tennessee shot 33 free throws to Rutgers 13. On the other hand the Scarlet Knights all too often settled for jump shots. Senior guard Brittany Ray had a career high 29 points. Ray needed to produce as she was one of only four Rutgers players that scored a field goal.

Defense, a Rutgers staple , was evident as the Lady Vols’ eFG percentage barely cleared 40% and their turnover rate was 24%. Again it gets back to offense. Rutgers is glaringly inconsistent. Just days earlier they struggle to beat Prairie View A & Am at the RAC. Here, under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden they were giving undefeated Tennessee a run for the money. As mentioned Rutgers needs consistent help on the offensive end. Entering the game Rutgers’ offensive efficiency was 90 while the defense was a sterling 81. To add , or largely a reason for the less than spectacular OE was a turnover rate of 27%.

Ray has been consistent and productive all season. She needs consistent help. It could come from freshman Monique Oliver, a 6-2 forward/center, who scored 10 points in 26 minutes and battled well in the paint. It better come soon with Big East play fast approaching.

Shekinna Stricklen, a 6-2 sophomore guard adept at getting in the lane or hitting the jump shot, led Tennessee with 19 points. Glory Johnson, a 6-3 forward, added 10 points and pulled down 7 rebounds.

“We weren’t ready to play the first half so we had a ‘prayer meeting’ at halftime. Among the things we discussed were rebounding and boxing out.” - Tennessee coach Pat Summitt

“On defense we can dictate, on offense we cannot dictate…We play a hard game but there’s a big difference between playing hard and playing smart.” - Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer

No comments: