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2011 ACC in the NCAA Preview
 
NCAA: #10 Marist 74, #7 Iowa State 64
Previewing the NCAA Durham Pod
By Rob Clough
March 18, 2011

#2 Duke vs. #15 UT-Martin and #7 Iowa State vs, #10 Marist


Editor's Note: Our typical Duke preview is followed by capsules on Iowa State and Marist.

#15 Seed Tennessee-Martin vs. #2 Duke

Saturday, March 19th, 1:45 PM, Cameron Indoor Stadium Televised on ESPN2, check local listings)

Last Meeting: First Meeting

Current Records: Duke 29-3 (12-2 ACC), UTM 21-10 (14-4 OVC)

Current Rankings: Duke #5, UTM unranked

The Roster: The Skyhawks are the youngest team in Division I with an astonishing nine frosh. Four frosh start and five get regular minutes for a team that came out of nowhere to make it to its first NCAA tournament. Second year coach Kevin McMillan did an amazing job with this young bunch in an environment not unlike his old job of coaching high school. The team is led by the frosh one-two punch of guards Heather Butler (19 ppg, 3 rpg, 4 apg, 36% 3FG) and Jasmine Newsome (18 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 35% 3FG). The offense runs through those two players at all times, as they take a lot of shots, get to the foul line and also create for their teammates. The third big threat is wing Jaclissa Haislip, who puts up 9 ppg and grabs a remarkable 8 rpg. Senior forward Alecia Weatherly is the only non-frosh starter, averaging 7 ppg and shooting a team-best 43% from three. Beth Hawn has been playing in the middle, putting up 6 ppg and 3 rpg as a utility player. Junior guard Taylor Hall averages 5 ppg and 6-4 soph Rickiesha Bryant gets 3 ppg and 3 rpg.

The Skinny: This team shoots all threes, all the time. Everything's built around Butler and Newsome. Newsome handles the ball more and is a more active defender, but Butler is a better shooter-- and she's sure not shy, firing up an average of 8 threes a game. Everyone on their starting five can shoot the three, as do three of their reserves. Their team is well trained in going after long rebounds, snagging an average of 13 offensive boards a game. UTM likes to drive and kick, which results either in open threes or free throw attempts for Butler and Newsome. They're a bit like a European team in that regard. As a slightly dribble-happy team, they do turn the ball over 17 times a game (Newsome alone coughs it up 4 times) but they do force about the same number of miscues.

UTM has played some good teams this year, including Vanderbilt, Louisville and Kentucky. They actually gave Vandy a score, losing by just 12 points. The Skyhawks are a team that wins with offense. They gave up 68 points a game, though they did well at shutting down opponents' three point shooting (just 29%). The Skyhawks were only +0.9 on the boards against opponents who weren't necessarily all that tall. Though one would think that their freshmen would be intimidated by Cameron, it must be noted that they've developed ice water in their veins against more experienced competition. Playing great teams earlier in the year will give them an idea of what's in store for them, which must be heartening when one considers how much better the team is now than it was when it played its non-conference schedule.

The Matchup: Duke will try to press its advantages in this game: size, strength, quickness, rebounding, depth and defense. They will press early and often and try to force a young team into making good decisions. Duke will try to take an early lead by attempting to force turnovers. When UTM has the ball in the halfcourt, Duke will mix its defenses. Their base man-to-man will try to force UTM to take them off the dribble or score in the post, which is not what they do best. If UTM is able to penetrate and kick to open shooters, Duke will use a zone to stop penetration and use Allison Vernerey as a backstop, quickly moving from baseline to baseline to bother shooters while filling in spaces in the zone. Karima Christmas would be at the top of the zone, harassing the ballhandlers. Duke will force UTM to make a decision: send players after offensive boards and risk Duke leaking out in transition (and you know Chelsea Gray will be looking to do this) or send players back in transition but risk getting hammered on the boards against a bigger, stronger opponent.

On offense, Duke will do the usual: get the ball into Vernerey or Krystal Thomas first and figure out the opponent's approach. Duke has a significant size advantage and should be able to get easy post-ups and lobs into the post. As long as the entry passes are crisp and their targets are alert (not always a certainty, though this has improved of late), Duke should get lots of easy looks. Karima Christmas should look to exploit an opponent that won't know what what to do with her. They'll undoubtedly leave her wide open to start the game, so she needs to get her jumper going. Then she'll attack the boards and try to draw fouls and get stickbacks, or else simply drive to the basket. Jasmine Thomas will pick her spots, which Chelsea Gray will look to pass first but take open shots when they're there. If Duke can simply defend the three with discipline by fighting through screens and making quick rotations, then they will win easily. The longer they let UTM hang around, the more confidence this group will develop. Limiting Butler and Newsome will be key; if those two are shut down, UTM doesn't have enough firepower to really combat Duke, especially since the rest of the team really feeds off their games.

Tidbits:: The Skyhawks have been playing women's basketball for a long time, spurred on early by a recent grad named Lin Dunn who had an appreciation for the game and a far-thinking AD... Its first star was one Pat Head, best known now as Pat Summitt... Star frosh Jaclissa Haislip's cousin is Marcus Haislip, formerly of Tennessee and currently on the San Antonio Spurs



   
  • Any open threes for UTM.

 



The 11:00 AM Game at Duke Pits #7 Iowa State vs. #10 Marist

#7 Iowa State

Record: 22-10, 9-7 Big XII

The Roster: Iowa State's three-happy offense is led by guard Kelsey Bolte, who averages 17 ppg, 5 rpg and 43% from three). Forward Hallie Christopherson puts up 9 ppg, 5 rpg and 34% from three, while point guard Lauren Mansfield averages 9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5 apg and 40% from three. Forward Chelsea Poppens does the dirty work, yielding 9 ppg and 7 rpg with 103 offensive rebounds. 6-7 Anna Prins puts up 9 ppg and 5 rpg, while Jessica Schroll averages 4 ppg and 3 rpg.

The Skinny: Iowa State loves taking the three and has done it against the meat grinder schedule of the Big XII. They've defeated the likes of Virginia, TCU, Michigan, Kansas State (twice) and Texas. They played Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech tough. The team shoots 37% from three but does a great job of getting to the foul line and keeping teams away. They've made more free throws than opponents have attempted, shooting at a 71% clip. The Cyclones are a fine rebounding team, going +8 on the year. Four out of five starters can hit the three. Bolte is by far the biggest offensive threat, the one player who has to be checked at all times. Everyone else is pretty much a role player, cogs in the screening machine that is Iowa State. Mansfield is the other key player because she can break down defenses and distribute to shooters. Poppens gets to the line after grabbing offensive boards; opponents will need to keep an eye on her and block her out.

#10 Marist

Record: 30-2, 18-0 MAAC

The Roster: Erica Allenspach is the current star of this mid-major power. She averages 14 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg and 43% from three. She's very much a match for Bolte. Guard Corielle Yarde puts up 11 ppg and 5 rpg while forward Brandy Gang is good for 8 ppg, 5 rpg and 36% from three). 6-4 Aussie Kate Oliver is in the pivot and averages 8 ppg, 4 rpg and 1.5 bpg. Guard Elise Caron rounds out the starting five, putting up 6 ppg, 4 rpg and 3 apg. All five starters can hit the three, and there are four players off the bench who have hit at least 10 threes on the season.

The Skinny: Marist is one of the best-coached teams in the country. They play a deliberate style build on cutting and passing, with very little wasted dribbling. They take scrupulous care of the ball as they only average 11 turnovers a game. By valuing the ball and slowing down tempo, Marist is efficient on offense and doesn't have to gamble on the offensive boards to get extra possessions. This also allows them to get out quickly in transition and stop fast breaks. Their zone is shifting, sticky and annoying, as coach Brian Giorgis employs matchup principles to stop penetration while luring offenses into taking risky passes that get picked off. Getting the ball inside is very difficult, but they are susceptible to teams that can get to the offensive boards. That's why Poppens of Iowa State could play a pivotal role in this game, because she can hurt Marist on stickback and junk plays. Marist gets a slight edge in this game because they have the best all-around player (Allenspach) who can generate her own offense and the most innovative coach. They've proven again and again that they can beat higher seeded teams in the NCAA tournament. Other things being equal (for example, if Iowa State gets red hot they can easily win), Marist should be able to win this game.



2011 ACC in the NCAA Preview
 
NCAA: #10 Marist 74, #7 Iowa State 64

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