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NC State women’s basketball: An advanced stats overview

Let’s take a look at what’s making Wes Moore’s team tick.

Sherman Basinger (sbas2)

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years applying advanced basketball metrics to women’s hoops, but I’ve always been bugged by the inability to put those statistics into context. It’s easy enough to calculate per-possession statistics on the team level, but putting them into perspective within the larger world of women’s college hoops has always been beyond my capabilities.

Fortunately, smarter people than me have established a new website that is a KenPom proxy for women’s hoops, so now that perspective is available. I immediately paid for a subscription to this website, because I have a problem.

I’m going to dig in deeper at later points this season, but for now, I’ll stick with the Four Factors:

NCSU Four Factors

Wolfpack Women Tempo (rank) EFF eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Wolfpack Women Tempo (rank) EFF eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Offense 69.1 (269) 102.3 (61) 48.3 (96) 17.7 (104) 40.8 (38) 39.6 (17)
Defense 69.1 (269) 81.0 (49) 41.1 (61) 19.1 (195) 25.1 (10) 25.3 (84)

(Notes: none of the above numbers are adjusted for strength of opponent; there are about as many D-I women’s teams (349) as men’s teams (351).)

So far this season, the Wolfpack Women have been a halfcourt team, which I’ve learned is not out of character for a Wes Moore team. During his time in Raleigh, State has taken its time and also taken a lot of threes.

State is a bit above average in the shooting and turnover categories, but has done a great job on the glass and has also gotten to the free throw line with good frequency. You wouldn’t so much expect the latter to be true of a perimeter-oriented group. (Now State’s just got to do something about that 61.8% free throw shooting, which ranks 316th nationally.)

NC State’s ability to both draw fouls and rebound its missed shots at elite rates is propping up some mediocre three-point shooting and terrible free throw shooting. Interior offense is actually driving this team: it ranks 66th in 2FG% to go with the outstanding free throw rate. It’s 3FG% is only middling (152nd).

On the defensive side, State’s interior defense has been excellent (opponent 37.0 2FG%, 24.9 OR%). State blocks a lot of shots and cleans up the glass at an elite level, which makes up for the fact that it isn’t disruptive in the passing lanes (low steal percentage) and that it hasn’t been great at forcing missed threes.

So far so good. This doesn’t look like a great team, but probably one that will make the NCAAs.