STATE 70 ST. BONAVENTURE 47
I only watched the first half of the women's game between State and St. Bonaventure last night before changing to the men's game against ASU, but that half gave me an idea of the offense State plans to run and of how well State will do in the conference. State won 70-47, and I will leave the recap to GoPack.
While State was picked to finish tenth in the conference, I hoped that with six seniors and a number of four star players coming out of high school that State would finish in the top one third of the conference or at least sixth or seventh. After watching the team play, I at this time do not see them finishing other than their preseason pick of tenth. Yes, they crushed St. Bonaventure; however, the Bonnies are picked to finish ninth in the A-10.
Wes Moore's offense is based on three point shooting with one player inside and four players outside, and did State ever shoot the three ball last night. State shot 12 of 38 from the arc last night for 31%. One can compare that with State shooting 4-12 in their opening game last year with an average of 16 per game last year. Last night over half of State's attempts were from the three point line with 38 three point shots attempted out of 69 total shots.
The starting line-up was no surprise as it included five-four Myisha Goodwin-Coleman, five-five Le,Nique Brown, five-nine Krystal Barrett, six-two Kody Burke and six-five Markeisha Gatling. I have written before that a team can be small if they are really fast, but they cannot be small and slow. With five-four Goodwin-Coleman and five-five Le'Nique Brown, the guards are small and they are not fast. I understand the reason why Goodwin-Coleman starts and will get a lot of playing time early with the reason being that she is a streaky three point shooter. If Moore plans to run a three point shooting offense, having Goodwin-Coleman play substantial minutes is reasonable. However, due to her height and speed, the team will have defensive and offensive liabilities.
HOW MOORE DIFFERS FROM YOW
Wes Moore was an assistant to Kay Yow in the nineties; however, at this time his offensive philosophy differs quite a bit. Wes Moore runs an offense which kicks the ball out for three point shots, and from last night's game, it is a lot of three point shots. With only one game at State, one cannot predict that this will remain his offensive position, but if one can take his comments as "for sure", three point shooting will be the main feature of his offense.
The 3-point shot was an integral part of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team's success during the past 15 seasons. It will remain relevant in new coach Jim Foster's system as well.
UTC ranked second in the Southern Conference in 3-point percentage (.314) and 3s made (208) last season, when the Lady Mocs went 29-4 and won the SoCon regular-season and tournament titles.
That was under Wes Moore, who liked to have one player in the post and four capable shooters on the perimeter. UTC averaged 216.7 3-pointers a season in Moore's final three seasons before leaving for North Carolina State.
From the Winston Salem Journal "Wolfpack has a new coach and a new system" by Jimmy DuPree:
Moore, who had a 358-113 record and nine NCAA Tournament appearances in 15 seasons at Chattanooga, plans to have four players outside and one inside in most offensive sets.
"When Coach Moore first came in, he said, 'If you can’t shoot the 3, you can’t play for me,'" said senior forward Kody Burke, who led the Pack with 13.3 points a game last season but made only 8 of 25 shots from 3-point range. "I took that to heart, and it allowed me to work on my 3-point shot…."
Kay Yow's offense was center oriented. If Yow had a good center, Yow made use of her and won with her. Here is a list of outstanding players who were centers for Yow: Genia Beasley, Trina Trice, Ronda Mapp, Chasity Melvin, Summer Urb, Clarisse Moody, Kaayla Chones and Gillian Goring. State made their last sweet sixteen with Goring at center and made the final four with Melvin and Erb at center. Melvin set an NCAA semi-finals record by scoring 37 points. Genia Beasley has been inducted into State's Hall of Fame and scored 2367 points during her career second to all time leading scorer Rodney Monroe (2551 points). Trina Trice and Ronda Mapp were centers for State teams which won ACC tournaments. Mapp was the center on arguably Yow's best women's team, the 1991 team which also included Andrea Stinson.
Does State have a center comparable to any of the above? Markeisha Gatling was the leading scorer for State last year scoring 13.8 points per game. She was also second in the conference in field goad percentage at 57%. In the ACC tournament game against Duke she scored 16 points. So, yes State does have a center comparable to those who played for Kay Yow. Gatling only played 11 minutes last night going 1-3 from the field. On the other hand walk-on Ashley Williams played 22 minutes going 3-7 from the three point line.
Again Wes Moore's offensive philosophy at this time is different from that of Kay Yow. Will Wes win ACC championships with an offense based on shooting three point shots? When was the last time a team won an ACC championship shooting mostly three point shots?