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    Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    Its time to start thinking about the other less glamorous side of the game – defense. This is something that has evolved over the last decade in the Big 12 as teams have gone from mainly zone defenses covering high flying perimeter shooters to sticky man defense. Why? I personally think it has to do with the change in post play. You could start to see this happen as Angie Welle was winding down her career. She had “free” reign in the conference due to her speed, size, and being left handed. Other teams didn’t have an answer but they found them with players like the Paris sisters at OU and now Griner at Baylor. Nearly every team in the conference has acquired a strong post player. Add to that the speed of guards today and you have a recipe for disaster if you can only play a zone defense. Play the perimeter in a zone and the post player eats you alive. Double down on the post and those guards steal your lunch. Teams have to be able to switch defenses as the game dictates. So what does the Big 12 look like this year? In one word – tough. Here are a few important stats concerning defense based on last year. Unlike offense its nearly impossible to look at returning players and make deductions about the team as a whole.

    Scoring Defense – points allowed by team for the 11-12 season
    Baylor 52.1
    Iowa State 57.3
    KState 57.4
    OSU 59.2
    TTech 59.7
    Texas 62.8
    KU 63.4
    OU 65.8

    Field Goal % Defense – what percentage were opponents held to per game?
    Baylor 31%
    OSU 34.7%
    Texas 36.9%
    OU 37.2%
    Iowa State 37.6%
    TTech 38.7%
    KSU 38.9%
    KU 40.6%

    Here is the amazing statistic that, in my eyes trumps the above percentages. Iowa State led all Big 12 teams in holding opponents to 1714 shots over 31 games (55.3 per game). Using this statistic here are the defensive statistics of shots per game:
    KSU 53.4
    Iowa State 55.3
    TTech 55.5
    OSU 59.1
    Texas 60
    KU 60
    OU 61.5
    Baylor 62.6

    There are many times that I’ve seen Iowa State force teams into shot clock violations and it is also a reflection of rebounding and only giving a team one chance per possession. What supports this? Rebounding defensive stats…and guess who is right near the top? The Twister Sisters. Only Baylor has a greater rebounding margin than Iowa State. After Baylor, Iowa State, and TTech the rest of the gang falls off sharply.

    A couple of other statistics and then we’ll continue with our evaluation. Blocked shots. You immediately think of Baylor with Griner in the middle. Yes, they led the conference last year averaging nearly 8 blocks per game. Wow. Where were the sisters? Dead last in the conference at 2.6. Coach Fen has said that even at her height, Prins is not a shot blocker. She gets a few here and there, but its not her game AND she has to be on the court (healthy – playing well) to impact this statistic.

    Steals. After watching Baylor seven times last year I would have thought they (see Sims) would be at the top of the conference. Instead it was TTech at 10.4/game with the other three Texas schools close behind. This was another area where Iowa State trails far behind at 5.8. I personally believe this is more a result of our defensive style than anything. No, we don’t have an athlete on the team with the quickness that Odyssey has. But I also think Bill would rather we not take the chances going for steals versus pressuring and making sure the opponent NEVER gets and easy bucket.

    Finally, what I feel is the most important statistic for an Iowa State team – assist to turnover ratio. This is all about our guard play. Last year we saw a true freshman (Moody) go through games where she was brilliant and others where she left you scratching your head. A guard like Moody presents a huge upside, but her aggressive nature also means taking unnecessary risks with the ball. Coach Fennelly repeatedly talked about getting her under control. That being said would you believe we had the second lowest number of turnovers in the Big 12 last year? We did. At the same time our assist numbers kept the assist/turnover ratio at .9 meaning that for every assist we had a turnover. Placed us right in the middle of the pack in the Big 12. How does this compare to previous Iowa State teams? Remarkably consistent. That .9 number shows up quite frequently over the past years with some years being slightly better and others slightly worse.

    Take what you want from these statistics, but what they tell me is that Iowa State’s reputation for defensive prowess is well deserved. They have evolved from the best zone defensive team to a team that plays in your face man defense. We’ve always had a defensive stopper on the team, who unfortunately was also usually an offensive liability. With Cole’s graduation who will step up?

    Next – a team by team defensive assessment. Keep a look out for it today or tomorrow.



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    Re: Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    I was in Ames last Friday, and watched practice for 3 hrs, and what I was most impressed by was the defense the team was playing, and how they went about doing it! If the team remembers what they are being taught, and don't slip on take shortcuts they will do very well defensively!! Defense is completely about being where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there!!


    Last edited by rbingley; 10-30-2012 at 12:41 PM.

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    Re: Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    I think Moody is going to make a big improvement this year. I have lots of faith in her, she is smart and hard working and very quick. I agree, that we need someone in the guard court to be a defensive stopper. Moody is good defensively but we also need someone for shooting guards. We also need help inside, especially if Prins has trouble. I think Prins has been good defensively. She is an under-rated player, defensively. She just needs to get healthy and Fennelly has a tendency to bench her if she doesn't contribute offensively. I am not sure I agree with this, although she should get bench rest time. We need Brynn Williamson and Amanda Zimmerman to step up defensively and with rebounds this year. Otherwise I think we will struggle.



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    Re: Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    Any idea how solid Kid and Emiah are defensively?


    "There are five real good recruits in the state. We got three of them. One couldn’t get into school, and the other went to (the University of) Iowa...which is about the same thing." - Coach Johnny Orr

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    Re: Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by VeloClone View Post
    Any idea how solid Kid and Emiah are defensively?
    No telling at this point. It's always a big step up from high school to college. Some players make that step rather seamlessly, but there are always rough spots. Right now these girls are just learning the system and it will take some time to see just how quickly they pick it up. Count on Coach Fennelly to mix things up early in the season, putting different groups together, putting them in different situations, etc just to see how we'll they are indeed picking things up and executing.



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    Re: Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    I have no idea. They seem to be pretty upbeat about them and hopefully one of them will prove to be a starter caliber or both of them will be strong off the bench. What I am really most worried about is interior defense and offense. I was hoping we could get some help from Madison Baier. But that is not looking good right now.



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    Re: Twister Sister Summary - Previewing the defense Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by mitten1975 View Post
    I have no idea. They seem to be pretty upbeat about them and hopefully one of them will prove to be a starter caliber or both of them will be strong off the bench. What I am really most worried about is interior defense and offense. I was hoping we could get some help from Madison Baier. But that is not looking good right now.
    i didn't expect Madison to get any playing time this year. Too much depth at the post. I think our inside scoring will be a definite strength and should be expected to be consistent. The health of Prins and Zimm should only help. Tis is the one aspect of our game I'm not worried about.



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