After State's game against Michigan State, I stated to another fan "that wasn't good". He agreed.
McKayla Maroney is not impressed with N.C. State's women's basketball over the last five games. State won one and lost four over their last five games.
State lost to Florida 66-64, beat Arizona State 72-68, lost to Northern Iowa 76-72, lost to Michigan State 68-51 and lost to LSU 81-73.
Losing to LSU at LSU I expected. When attending the game against Michigan State I had a feeling that State after their reasonable performance in Las Vegas would beat the Spartans. However, State started slow falling behind 21-3 after seven minutes of play. From about ten minutes left in the first half to about 3 minutes into the second half State played well and closed the score to 39-38. After that it was all downhill. I still feel that this could be Harper's best team because it certainly has the talent to be-that is not stating that State is an NCAA team but they might be.
State has a legitimate center in Markeisha Gatling who has a wide body, is six five, shoots well including foul shots and has "good hands". However, as i wrote earlier, Gatling, who comes from junior college, needs to increase her stamina and intensity as she will face players of equal size and skill in Division I women's basketball. Against Michigan State, Gatling appeared to get tired early in the second half and during the period when Michigan State put the game away. During State's comeback, Gatling was instrumental scoring eight points on three bank shots and a short jumper.
In order for State to be competitive two of Kastaneck, Gatling and Burke need to play well and score often. Neither Burke nor Kastanek had good games against Michigan State. Kastanek shot two of eleven scoring five points, and Burke shot four of eleven scoring nine points. Against LSU Kastanek played well shooting six of nine and scoring fifteen points while Burke shot four of twelve and scored eight points. Gatling shot four of eight against Michigan State scoring 10 points, but took only one shot against LSU making it for two points.
While State at the guard positions is better than last year, the State guards still do not play good defense and do not score on a consistent basis. Further, Barrett, as in her freshman year, tends to consistently miss her bank shot when she drives to the basket.
On a positive note, freshman Ashley Eli does appear to play good defense.
McKayla Maroney is also not impressed with the class signed by Harper. Harper during the early signing period signed Miah Spencer and Jennifer Mathurin. GoPack has a more positive description of each player signed than I do. Let me start by stating that Spencer is not in the top 100 players of Blue Star Basketball or Hoopgurlz. Note this from "Full Court Your Ticket Inside Women's Basketball":
Miah Spencer, 5-8 point guard, Columbia High School, Decatur GA (W.P. Celtics Black)
Some players work to get better. Some don’t. Spencer is one who appears to be in the former category and she has always played hard as part of Columbia’s Georgia State 3A championship team, which is well known for its pressing style. Now she has added some style to her game with a nifty hesitation move, freezing the defender as she drives to the basket. She has good vision on the break and is in control of running her team in the quarter-court setting. She plays with passion but has a smile on her face in doing so, willing to take what knocks come the way of her medium-built frame. Her outside shot still needs to become more consistent but given the point guard shortage, BCS programs are now stepping up with offers.
The last sentence is telling. Offers for her are due to a point guard shortage.
Jennifer Mathurin appears to be a pretty good player from Canada. Note this from "Crown Your Finest Source In Canadian High School Basketball:
Jennifer Mathurin (6’1″, F, 2013) is a Power Forward that maybe only listed at 6’0″, but plays a whole lot bigger. She is not afraid of contact on both sides of the floor and it even appears as though she really enjoys banging in the paint, whether boxing out for rebounds or driving and anticipating contact on her finish towards the rim. To add to that, she can be confidently relied on to relieve pressure from her Guard and either bring the ball up the floor, or the occasional running of the offense.
All in all, I would rather Harper have signed a few four and five star top 50 Hoopgurlz players.
Given that Athletic Director Yow has fired a number of under achieving coaches as of late, Harper has to feel uneasy in her fourth year.