3 Total Updates since December 18, 2010
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
The Washington Huskies 80-52 win against the San Francisco Dons was more like the type of game UW fans were used to seeing early in the season - a more consistently dominant performance against a team that was quite simply overmatched.
And although the change in the starting lineup with Matthew Bryan-Amaning playing next to Aziz N'Diaye was the most notable difference in this game, an old theme stood out as well - the team's depth made a difference early in the game when the Huskies couldn't seem to hit early looks. Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was able to tinker with lineups until he found a combination that worked.
"Having that depth most definitely helps," said Holiday, who started out the game 0-for-6 before hitting his last three shots to finish with eight points. "I mean even if nobody hits like today in the first half - and in the second half we didn't shoot that much better - but we were still able to win. I've always talked about how real good teams should be able to win even though they weren't scoring. So this is a good game for us to look at to get the idea of not just being able to score, but being able to get the stop and get the rebound."
So although they struggled to hit shots in the first eight minutes of the game which kept the game close at 12-11, Romar was eventually able to find a player who could contribute to the scoring effort. With Holiday not hitting, Romar looked first to C.J. Wilcox who shot 1-for-4 before finding the right player in Scott Suggs who shot 3-for-3 and scored eight of his team-high 15 points in the first half. After Suggs came in just under 12 minutes, the Huskies went on a 16 to 4 run that established a cushion that they were able to just build upon the rest of the way. The Huskies bench finished by outscoring the Dons bench 31 to 9 on the night.
But as Holiday alluded to, the Huskies relied heavily on defense and rebounding during that dry spell and that's obviously the thing that most stood out after harping on rebounding all week in practice. Bryan-Amaning looked rejuvenated in his rebounding effort finishing with seven offensive boards and nine overall while N'Diaye finished with five to go along with four monster blocks and nine points. Most of all, Romar suggested that the presence of two post players in the lineup and particularly N'Diaye's aggression on the boards helped and rubbed off on the guards.
"Aziz, his presence alone, he doesn't get 10 rebounds a game - he didn't get 10, he only had five tonight - but he is long," said Romar. "Again, like I said earlier in the week: we just had to play guys that rebounded better. Aziz is our best rebounder so he got more minutes tonight and his presence allowed everyone else to go get boards. You have a guy in there trying to rebound like that, I think it rubs off on some other guys: Venoy Overton got six rebounds. Scott Suggs got five rebounds. So it helped tonight."
And the energy level was higher throughout and the offensive execution better than their past two games. Moreover, they consistently help the Dons under 40 percent shooting, only allowing one of Perris Blackwell (17 points) and Michael Williams (19 points) to burn them in each half. But there is still work to be done.
"I thought we did a better job on the boards, especially we held them to one rebound in the first half - the second half wasn't nearly as good," said Romar. "But I thought we made progress that way - we outrebounded that team who had been doing a good job in their own right on the boards. And you might say, 'Well this wasn't some of the more high-profile schools.' But I'll just remind you that we got outrebounded by Eastern (Washington) and St. Martin's. So, I felt it was progress."
Although the Huskies dominated the boards 22-13 in the first half, they saw a bit of a drop off in the second half, being beat 9 to 6 on the offensive boards in the second half and playing even at 23 total. It's those type of lapses that they will probably continue to look at correcting, but this performance was much better overall.
"About a two or three minute in the second half we were lax," said Romar. "Aside from that, I thought we did a good job."
Nevertheless, Holiday thinks the team got closer to playing for a full 40, which means that maybe they're getting closer to where they need to be to being as competitive in the Pac-10 as people predicted at the beginning of the season.
"I think we got closer," said Holiday. "We didn't get the full 40, but I think we got closer. Once again, it was just us wanting to do it. We know we have to win that way. I mean, we knew before, but it could have been maybe just the week of practice over and over again. But I think as a team we want to win and we want to win the right way, so I think that's what it was."
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Washington Huskies coach said earlier this week that he'd be looking to give more minutes to the players that would help them rebound.
For tonight, that meant reinserting post Matthew Bryan-Amaning to replace Darnell Gant into the starting lineup next to Aziz N'Diaye. Along with Justin Holiday, that put the team's best rebounders by percentage in the starting lineup.
And it paid off with the Huskies dominating the boards 22-13 and the Huskies taking a 39-23 halftime lead. Bryan-Amaning and N'Diaye combined for eight rebounds, including four offensive rebounds for Bryan-Amaning. But as expected, UW's guards demonstrated an increased focus on rebounds with Venoy Overton adding contributing four to the team's advantage.
While Bryan-Amaning led the team with five total rebounds, it was N'Diaye who carried the scoring load with nine points on 4-for-6 shooing, coming mostly off layups cutting to the basket. Abdul Gaddy followed N'Diaye with six points on two 3-pointers and tied Isaiah Thomas with a team-high four assists.
USF kept it close early, primarily on the strength Perris Blackwell and Michael Williams, who had 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting and shot 3-for-6 from the 3-point line.
This is the type of well-rounded performance the Huskies showed early in the season but had trouble maintaining for 40 minutes. That would seem to be the challenge with Pac-10 play looming.
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
In a display of confidence, UW Dawg Pound proclaims that this game probably won't be that close.
San Francisco Dons @ Washington Huskies GameThread, Dec 18, 2010 7:00 PM PST - UW Dawg Pound
The Don's from the WCC come to Hec Ed for a little visit. Don't expect this one to be close. Look for the Huskies to blow USF out of the gym early in this one.
And one reason to expect a solid Huskies win tonight aside from what we've seen thus far this season is experience: according to a survey of conducted by the University of Kentucky of all Division I programs, USF is the seventh youngest team in the nation with just seven total years of Division I experience.
The youngest in the nation? Eastern Washington with only four total years of experience, who UW handled earlier this season to the tune of 98-72 here in Seattle.
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
With their Pac-10 season opening at USC in less than two weeks, the Washington Huskies quickly put the sting of last Saturday's loss behind them and focused on the thing that has most plagued them so far this season.
"We're ready to move forward," said Venoy Overton after practice on Wednesday. "Two games left before the start of Pac-10 so we're just keeping our minds forward...rebounding the ball - that's really the only concern. We're defending well, but we're just giving up too many second chances."
There is no difference of opinion about the Huskies' rebounding struggles and so it should come as little surprise that they were focused on rebounding in practice this week after struggling to rebound once again last weekend in College Station against Texas A&M.
"Boxing out," said Romar when asked about what they would focus on in practice this week. "If we don't do anything else - everything else remains the same - and we do a better job of boxing out, we're undefeated right now...But we could execute totally 100% the right way and miss the shot. But an offensive rebound, that's a basket right there. If we just take away a few of those every game, we really would be undefeated."
So although the Huskies should probably be expected to win tonight's home game against San Francisco, if there's anything to look for it's how well they do on the boards. And it's not unreasonable to wonder about it even against a presumably inferior opponent - their focus on rebounding wasn't a TAMU problem, but a troublesome pattern.
Washington Huskies Need A Collective Effort To Become A 'Functional Rebounding Team' - SB Nation Seattle
"Texas A&M has outrebounded every team they've played against this year," said Huskies Lorenzo Romar after practice on Wednesday. "In the games we've lost we've been outrebounded. We got outrebounded by Eastern Washington. We got outrebounded by St. Martin's...But we're addressing it, we're working on it. But if you know me over the years, a lot of times I will say I'm not going to panic off one game - 'Why is everybody in a panic off one game?'
"But this has been a pattern. So patterns over a period of time have to be addressed. This has been a pattern and we have to address it. We know who our best rebounders are and we probably have to give them more minutes."
So tonight against USF, some improvement as a collective - from guards to posts - in boxing out and guards leaking out less will be keys to watch for.
"They're gonna play an entirely different game than anyone we've faced this year," said Romar. "They run a 1-3-1 zone. It's not as aggressive and as pressure as Oregon State's is, but they run that quite a bit. They run a lot of more Princeton motion, that type of thing. So we haven't played anyone with that combination."
And although Romar expects them to play primarily a 1-3-1 defense, they actually rebound relatively well by doing what UW needs more of as described in yesterday's feature - making it a collective effort that includes guards.
However, the determining factor in the game might be USF turnovers.
USF commits turnovers at about the rate Washington opponents have made committed them and forces them at a lower rate than Washington commits them. With a week off focused on maintaining their offensive execution and energy levels overall in addition to rebounding, it's not inconceivable that Washington exploits a major USF weakness with their defensive pressure and finds their way to easy points in transition.
Perris Blackwell, F (6-foot-8, 240 pounds, So)
Perhaps the Dons' turnovers could be attributed to youth as coach Rex Walters has eight freshmen and two underclassmen on his team. After their starters got off to a 21-4 start against San Jose State in the second game of their season, those sophomores - Perris Blackwell and Michael Williams moved into the starting lineup.
Unfortunately, Blackwell has been the team's biggest contributor to the turnover problems, committing close to three per game. Despite the turnover problem, Blackwell is the team's second most efficient scorer and leading rebounder with 7.1 per game. In terms of the distribution of minutes, he'll be the rebounding threat that the Huskies will have to most focus on. And if he gets offensive rebounds, he's the type of player that can draw fouls and get to the free throw line as a high rate, although he makes barely over half of them.
Michael Williams, G (6-foot-0, 170 pounds, So.)
In addition to being the team's leading scorer at 15.9 points per game, Williams is rebounding much better in his sophomore season on the defensive end pulling down 4.22 per game thus far this season. Offensively, Williams is going to be something of a focal point for the Dons as he uses up the second highest percentage of possessions as the second most efficient player in the rotation.