For ten plus years either Duke or UNC has dominated ACC women's basketball except for brief periods when Maryland rose up. Now there is a new sheriff in town, and it is Notre Dame. Since 2008, when I became able to attend a number of women's games in Reynolds, I have not seen a better team than I saw this afternoon when I watched Notre Dame. ND beat State 84-60. ND plays great defense and has an outstanding offense. Even their subs shoot well. ND shot 32 of 57 from the field and 18-19 from the free throw line missing only their last free throw shot. Jewel Loyd of ND shot 7-10 from the field and scored 18 points and Natalie Achonwa shot 8-9 from the field and scored 19 points. While ND shooters are deadly mid range shooters, ND back-doored State all game long. State has fallen behind other teams this year by 20 plus points, but always has been able to make the game fairly close by games end. However, no matter how often and easily State scored, ND always answered with a basket or foul shots.
I am not going to write that with Myisha Goodman-Coleman, State would have won, but I will write that the game would have been closer. This game was one were losing Myisha to a knee injury really hurts because with ND packing the lane against Markeisha Gatling, the real three point threat that Myisha presents was missing. Analyst Debbie Antonelli pointed out that in offense, State at times put Markeisha Gatling and Myisha on the same side. If the defense slacked off of Myisha to surround Gatling, Myisha burned them with a three. If the defense guarded Myisha closely, it was easier to enter the ball to Gatling for a score. Maryland and Georgia Tech both packed the lane to defend Gatling. In each of those games, Myisha scored 16. Without Myisha, States only real three point threat is Kody although Miah Spencer is starting to make some threes. The problem in today's game was Miah got her second foul with 11 plus minutes left in first half and sat the rest of the half.
I am really impressed with Miah Spencer who scored 18 points on 7-11 shooting from the field. Miah reminds me of Marissa Kastanek in that she can shoot the three and has a mid-range game. Miah is also pretty good at driving to the basket and defending passing lanes on defense. Marissa had a very good career at State making a freshman All-American team and first team All-ACC her senior year; however, if she had been able to play in Wes Moore's offense instead of being buried inside the lane setting picks in Harper's offense, she could have been even better.
With Spencer, Brown and Barrett, all starters, plus the transfer from Arkansas back next year, State will be very solid in the guard position. Inside is where State may suffer.
State fans feel with justification that Wes Moore should be coach of the year; however, the coach of Notre Dame, Muffet McGraw, may get that award. That would not be unjustified as her team is 29-0 and 16-0 in conference. Remember, no State women's basketball coach has ever been voted coach of the year by the media. According to Debbie Antonelli, the only time Kay Yow received COY was when Coach Gostenkors, who won the award in 2007 (not sure that date is correct, but it is the date Debbie used), gave it to Kay.
State finished fourth and is in the bracket with first Syracuse and second Notre Dame and could play both depending on each team's ability to keep winning.
As much as one can wish it were so, this is not the same team that won twenty plus games before injuries to Goodwin-Coleman and Daniel sidelined them for the year. There is no way it could be with two senior players taken from a seven player rotation, one a starter.