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1/21/2022 12:16 pm  #1

GW versus UMASS Game Thread

Overachieving UMASS comes to the Smith Center on Saturday, adding to the list of quality A10 opponents at the front of our hit and miss schedule. After dodging Dayton (to be played later in the schedule) and playing top tier URI and Fordham, GW faces a solid Minutewomen squad coming off losses to Dayton and URI, after beating VCU and Richmond.

Although UMASS was picked to finish 6th in the A10 this year, they started fast out of the gate and finished their OOC schedule at 12-2. Their only OOC losses came at the hands of Power 5 opponents Iowa State and Boston College, while they triumphed against the likes of Harvard, Kent State, Providence, and Holy Cross. With their 2-2 start in the A10, and 14-4 overall record, the Minutewomen have exceeded most expectations.

UMASS is led by graduate student Sam Breen, a 6’1” preseason 1st Team All A10 selection who is averaging a double-double at 17.2 ppg and 11.2 rgp while shooting 41.4% from the field (32.4% from distance). 5’9” junior guard Sydney Taylor, averages 15.5 ppg and 4.2 rpg on 40.4% from the field and 32.4% from 3-point range. Rounding out the top three players is 5’7” senior PG Destiney Philoxy, a 2nd team All A10 and All A10 Defensive selection, who averages 11.8 ppg and 5.4 apg. Breen, who has an effective inside and outside game will be a tough matchup for whoever guards her. UMASS scores at a 72.6 ppg clip, while yielding 62.5 ppg. They shoot 42.7% as a team (32.8% from 3-point range).

GW comes into this game 7-9 overall and 0-3 in the A10. We’re past halfway into the season, and rather than look at the raw statistics, let’s look at some overall team rankings to date to see how we compare to the rest of the A10 (cover your eyes if you’re squeamish, because the offensive numbers are particularly ugly). Remember, there are 14 teams in the A10.

On the offensive side GW ranks 14th in points scored, 14th in field goal %, 11th in 3-point field goal %, 11th in FT %, 13th in assists, 14th in Assist-to-TO ratio, and 4th (thankfully) in offensive rebounding.

The defensive side looks much better: 2nd in points allowed, 5th in TO margin, 5th in steals, 14th in blocked shots, and 9th in defensive rebounding.

If we’re going to continue to compete with the upper tier A10 teams, the obvious areas of improvement are to increase our shooting percentage and significantly up our play making.

On the shooting side, our players do a better job on shooting when they stick to what they do best, so we should be minimizing ill-advised drives to the basket and trying to score in the low post against double coverage. The exception to driving is Lok, who keeps her eye on the basket and tries to shoot over her defenders. Against Fordham, she had a great “and-one” by switching the ball to her left hand on the drive. On two occasions, she drove the baseline and was able to find Colonials for open 3-pointers. She and Laureano are also our best 3-point shooters, when open. Others (Gingras, Laureano, Webster) seldom pass off when they drive and throw up wild shots as a result. Brown has really improved her offensive game of late, showing great confidence in her jump shot. She needs to do more of that. Taiwo had some nice passes from the low post that ended up in scores against Fordham (she led GW with 5 assists). She needs to do more of that and resist trying to score against multiple defenders. She’s usually successful when there is space in the paint against single coverage.

On the play making side, the corrections aren’t straight forward. Our PGs are averaging about 1.7 assists/game and they are leading the team, which explains why our assist-to-TO ratio is so bad. We have to figure a way to get the ball out of the hands of our guards quicker, especially in transition when our players are open on the wings. We also need to develop a pick and roll game between our guards and forwards. It could alleviate some of our issues driving to the basket if our guards know their passing options before they start the drive.

I think these things will come around for the team. Coach knows what she’s doing, and with a little more continuity in the rotation the improvements will continue to come. UMASS will be another good indicator, but it would also be nice to get a few W’s soon. Having Moore and Frames available would be a great help. 


1/22/2022 11:03 am  #2

Re: GW versus UMASS Game Thread

GW leads series 43 - 10.  UMass is winless in the Smith Center (0 - 18 if my memory is correct) and has lost 8 in a row overall to GW, including that 2 OT offensive debacle in Amherst a few years ago.  They didn't play last year,  URI also had been winless at Smith Center.  As Verdi has built the team over the past few years, the Minutewomen had ended a lot of long losing streaks to programs.  And there were a lot.

UMass' strengths had been rebounding and transition offense.  Lots of offensive rebounds.  They've struggled with rebounding against the last 2 bigger, more physical teams.  Ngalakulondi and White are prone to foul trouble.  When both had to sit against Dayton, 5'11" Pruitt (UTEP) came in and was somewhat effective.

 A core 6 plays most of the minutes but Verdi has gone to his bench a bit more with the 4 games in 8 days.  Today is game 5 in 11 days.

Taylor is the key.  She's shot poorly the past 2 games.  If she starts hot, watch out.

Breen has been carrying the team offensively, with help with the guards, Philoxy and Mayo.  Breen gets double teamed a lot.  Ngalakulondi can be a force on the offensive boards,  White has had an up and down season,  She had a DNP - coaches decision during loss to BC, when they could have used her size to clog the middle.   White is a decent shooter but has bad hands.  Smith (Towson) is normally the 2nd player off the bench, after whichever big doesn't start.  She's effective but not much of a shooter.  Stefanie Kulesza is the only frosh getting much playing time.  She was an early admission last season, and was valuable during the 5 - 2 postseaon run, when team was down to 7 players.  Kulesza has played more the past few games.  I get the sense that she's a good 3 point shooter;  with limited playing time, she is 4 - 8.  

Breen is most effective offensively close to the basket, but has shot better with her mid-range jumpers and 3s.  Tries a jump hook once or twice a game.  Even improved her foul shooting.  She rebounds exceptionally well and gets a few assists, steals and blocks.  

Philoxy and Mayo are effective small guards.  Both can shoot 3s and drive the basket.  Pests defensively.  Philoxy majors in assists.  

After a frustrating home loss to BC, UMass crushed a good Columbia team on the road. although the Lions closed the gap with 3 point shooting in the 3rd period.  Columbia is now 12 - 3 with road wins over Davidson, Clemson, Georgetown and Marist.  Minutewomen are coming off 2 frustrating losses including at home to Dayton.  Can GW hold them to another slow start. ?

Last edited by WMC (1/22/2022 11:07 am)


1/22/2022 4:20 pm  #3

Re: GW versus UMASS Game Thread

That's a bad loss to a good UMass team. Throw away the game film and move onto Davidson on Wednesday. Caroline McCombs after the game said that the reason Ty Moore isn't with the team is she is ineligible, which is certainly not a good development.


1/22/2022 4:38 pm  #4

Re: GW versus UMASS Game Thread

UMASS wins 68-41. A major setback for the Colonials.

Total breakdown offensively and defensively in the 1st half, where the outcome of the game was determined. Defensively, we should have neutralized Breen or Taylor, but they combined for 28 points against a really soft defense. Outside of Taiwo, there didn’t seem to be total focus on either end, and we seemed a half step slow.

Things got better in the 3rd quarter, at least defensively when we held UMASS to 3-14 shooting. A major factor in the loss? We were 5-29 for 3-point range. The percentage is bad enough, but also the fact that we took so many. We obviously don’t have an inside offensive presence when Taiwo is out, but we shot too many without even drawing iron and playing into their defenses' hands. The good: at least the offense is not running the clock down for a late shot on every possession; the bad: sometimes shot our selection is bad and even when the execution is good, we’re making a low percentage of our shots.

Props to Taiwo for playing a really good game (13 boards, 5 offensive), but she should be taking more than 3 shots a game (a result of being too satisfied with 3-pointers). If not for her energy and hustle, the outcome could have been much worse (if that's possible). And although Lok started out with a few (questionable) turnovers and in spite of going 4-15 from the field, she played a really aggressive second half, and could have easily been 7-8 for 15 had her shots that rimmed out fallen.

Besides Taiwo, our lack of strong interior players in hurting on both sides of the ball. We’re constantly being jumped over on the defensive boards, and we have few answers against the stronger interior offensive players of our A10 opponents. If we don't have Moore for the rest of the season, the situation is even worse. It’s hard to play against size when you don’t have it, but it’s something that has to be addressed for the future. Also, it’s not clear that we have an established floor leader, but we need to develop one who can settle the team down in the heat of a game to increase the likelihood that we play four good quarters every game.

     Thread Starter

1/22/2022 4:45 pm  #5

Re: GW versus UMASS Game Thread
 [color=inherit]Natalie Heavren (she/her)[/color] @NatalieHeavren·24m According to @GW_WBB head coach Caroline McCombs, grad student Ty Moore is ineligible moving forward Moore last played on Jan. 5 against Richmond and averaged 7.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game


1/22/2022 8:02 pm  #6

Re: GW versus UMASS Game Thread

GW FTs 4-13.   Can't they at least learn how to do better than that?


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