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11/29/2021 1:11 pm  #1

GW is Establishing Identity

Coach McCombs’ reputation as a defense-first coach preceded her hiring at GW. She expanded GW’s program around transfers from smaller programs (in contrast to the men’s team), but all of them have significant game experience and were major contributors (especially defensively) to their teams. They all came to GW understanding Coach McCombs’ philosophy and all seem to enthusiastically buy into it.

Based on the early season results, defense appears to be our strength. Despite playing 3 Power 5 teams so far that had the potential to run up the score, the Colonials are holding opponents to 51.8 ppg on 37.7% shooting. Offensively, GW is averaging 46.4 ppg on 32.7% shooting. GW is 4-3 on the season so far, losing all 3 games to Power 5 conferences. In general, Power 5 teams have multiple talented offensive players and have been tougher to defend. Our biggest loss came against Virginia Tech, whose 6’5” center (Kitley) was unstoppable, and shot 17-21 from the field for a career day. GW controlled Minnesota defensively, holding them to 48 points on 31.6% shooting. Sadly, GW could only counter with a poor 19.2% shooting night. Florida had great balanced scoring, but GW held them close enough to be competitive, and missed a ton of layups and close to the basket shots.

Some facts about the defense:

  • GW has held every opponent except Virginia Tech to below their current scoring average. We held AU to 12.8 pts. below their season average; Minnesota 17.4; ODU 14.6, Quinnipiac 24.5; UT-Martin 9; and Florida 6.9; only Virginia Tech exceeded their average (by 3.3 pts.)
  • GW has held 4 of their opponents to below 32.2% shooting for an entire game; we won three of those games (losing to Minnesota).

Offense is another story:

  • When GW beat AU, AU shot 40.9%, but GW countered with our best shooting day at 40.7%.
  • At 32.7% shooting efficiency, it was critical that to hold ODU, Quinnipiac, and UT-Martin to below 32.2% shooting in order to win.
  • Most of the teams we’ve played have a “go to” to scorer; GW seems to score by committee. In our seven games we’ve had seven players (Moore (2), Webster, Laureano, Gingras, Frames, Blethen, Bell) lead the team (or tie for the lead) in scoring. It may sound like balance, but individually, there has been little consistency between games, and we’ve yet to identify our “go to” player.

At the beginning of the season, Coach McCombs told the team that defense would win games, and that their offense would determine by how much. So far, that seems to be the case, and that, seems to be GW’s identity.

Asking the team to hold every team down to our efficiency level is a big ask. I really like what Coach McCombs has done with the team so far, despite the limited offensive capabilities of our current players. Over the course of the remainder of this year and next, I’m hoping we can establish the defense as a given year after year, while improving our offense to consistently hit 35%-40% of our shots. Hopefully, that would put us back in the upper echelon of the A10 for the foreseeable future.

And by the way... That Stony Brook program she left behind-- it's 7-0, with victories over St. Johns, Rutgers, and Columbia among others and ranks 25 in current NCAAW RPI rankings.

Last edited by xAC (11/29/2021 9:00 pm)


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