Twister Sister Summary - A look at the Big 12

Discussion in 'Women's Basketball' started by acoustimac, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. acoustimac

    acoustimac Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Associate Professor
    Lamoni, IA
    +317 / 20 / -0
    You know its nearly basketball season when we are starting to talk about pre-season polls and projections. In an interesting look at the unknown, our Twister Sisters are ranked in one preseason Top 25 poll – one of only two Big 12 teams to appear in that poll (Baylor). You look at Charlie Crème’s early, early poll last spring and you see more of the Big 12 scattered throughout the Top 25 – Baylor #12, Oklahoma #15, ISU #20, OSU #21, and WVU #25.

    This week the coach’s picks came out and some of the same suspects not so surprisingly appeared.
    1. Oklahoma
    2. Baylor
    3. WVU (tie)
    3. OSU (tie)
    5. Texas
    6. ISU
    7. Kansas
    8. TCU
    9. KState
    10. Texas Tech

    Oklahoma was bitten by the injury bug big time last year. Several players were lost for the season and yet the Sooners made it to the Sweet Sixteen again. I always respect Coach Coale. She has done a great job there and this year her team is just loaded enough to make some noise. According to SoonerSports, “Led by Preseason All-Big 12 Team member and the conference’s top returning scorer Aaryn Ellenberg, the Sooners return four starters from its Sweet 16 appearance last season and welcome back two -- redshirt-freshman guard Maddie Manning and sophomore forward Kaylon Williams -- from season-ending injuries.†The Sooners style closely mimics that of ISU. They like to shoot the 3 and will pound it inside to Nicole Griffen (11ppg/5 reb) a solid 6’6†post. If they stay healthy expect them to bring solid defense and the propensity to score bunches of points to the table. Of course coming to Ames has always been their Kryptonite and I expect that trend to continue.

    Baylor is the team nearly everyone wants to see lose. It’s a program surrounded by questionable recruiting tactics, questionable treatment of players, and less than sportsmanlike coaching. That being said, they still have the best point guard in the country returning in All-American Odyssey Sims (12/5assists). They return one other starter in Kimetria Hayden (7ppg), but what really stands out is how they have recruited some top talent to keep their line of success running. There are a lot of questions in Waco concerning who is going to step up and take the reins for the departed seniors. Even with all of the wipeouts Baylor scored last year, there weren’t a lot of minutes given to underclassmen (as we experienced in the Big 12 championship when Coach Mulkey kept starters in long after Coach Fen had pulled his). Always dangerous, this could be the year when one great player just isn’t enough to pull together a team.

    WVU returns a key player in post Asya Bussie who was lost to injury a year ago. She is a physical presence and was first team All Big East during the 11-12 campaign. They also return Krystal Caldwell their top scorer a year ago. This is a team that gave ISU fits last year without Bussie and plays a style that actually should be a better matchup this year…except that Bussie is back. Many might remember the game a year ago when WVU coach Carey pulled all of his starters and let his reserves literally and physically beat the crap out of our players. He brought the starters back in, relatively fresh and they stole a victory in Ames. Even though Bussie hasn’t played in the Big 12, you know she is good and the coaches think so too since she was voted to the preseason All Big 12 team. I wasn’t so impressed with the rest of the talent on the team, but you know they will be tenacious. They return 3 starters total.

    OSU was the nightmare game in Stillwater. This is a team that is streaky and when they are on its scary and when they aren’t its ugly. That particular game they could do no wrong. They return four starters graduating only Toni Young (their top player). Coming back are a slew of points with Donohoe (15), Bias (12) and and Martin (10). They were very top heavy in minutes played (sound familiar?) and will need to lean on some new people to provide any depth. Definitely not a big team, they will more closely mirror our Cyclones in who they put on the floor. Seeing the matchup with Bias and our guards should be interesting to say the least.

    Why is Texas picked where they are? I mean, they were beat in the first round of last year’s tournament by an undermanned KState squad. They finished only ahead of lowly TCU in the standings. So why all the respect and a #5 pick? Youth. They return some outstanding players including senior Chassidy Fussell (14pts/5reb), junior Nneka Enemkpali (13/9), and sophomore Imani McGee-Stafford (11/8). While they are a statistically better 3 point shooting team than ISU, they attempted about half that of the sisters. They are also in the second year under Coach Karen Aston. This is a team that can score and the 6’7†McGee-Stafford could be a matchup problem although she can be pushed around and frustrated. Putting them in at #5 shows respect for all of the returning players, but also says that they are still a bit of a mystery.

    ISU, I've talked about in my preseason position analysis and there have been several good articles written about the four guard offense they will run this year. I’m the eternal optimist when I think that will cause matchup problems for many teams we face. You only have to look at Kentucky to realize what it can do.

    After ISU the point totals (votes) fall way off. The bottom end of the Big 12 is filled with inexperience and lots of question marks. Its kind of fun that it all starts off with Kansas.

    The Jayhawks have two starters returning including Chelsea Gardner (8ppg/7reb) and Natalie Knight (8ppg). The rest of the team is a relative mystery as they bring in a five freshman class. They have what is now considered average size (6’4†being the tallest) but nothing spectacular to talk about. The recruiting class was average with the best being guard Dakota Gonzalez a three star (#44 guard) out of Idaho. Lots of rebuilding to do here.

    Last year TCU was the laughing stock of the conference…the team everyone counted on to beat up. They return four starters from a 9-21 campaign. The top player is Zahna Medley (13ppg) who was picked as a pre-season All Big 12 honorable mention selection. She was a unanimous All Freshman pick a year ago. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a lot to back her up. Only one other double digit scorer in Natalie Ventress (11ppg). They were a horrible shooting team last year hitting 31% from the field and a miserable 70% from the free throw line. For comparison’s sake ISU hit 43% and 81% respectively. I expect improvement from TCU, but not much. Perhaps enough to get 13-14 wins total.

    How the purple kitties have fallen. Usually a consistent Big-12 power, K-State is picked for 9[SUP]th[/SUP] this year. Last year they played the entire season short handed as the injury bug hit them especially bad. All everything Brittany Chambers is gone along with her 21 points per game. Three starters return, but when you depend so heavily on one player this isn’t saying much. They have some average freshmen coming in including Kindred Wesemann (#58 guard) a 3 star guard and Breanna Lewis a 6’5†post (no position rank and no stars). That speaks volumes. Coach Patterson has had some tough times getting quality recruits to come to the middle of nowhere and its caught up with them.

    At the bottom of the heap is Texas Tech. A team that finished 20-9 last year and finished tied for 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] in the conference was a senior loaded team. They were also a team that finished the season on a bad slide losing their last two regular season games and first round games in the Big 12 and NCAA tourneys. They have a brand new coaching staff led by Candi Whitaker (replacing Kristy Curry who jumped ship for Alabama). They have one returning starter in Kelsi Baker (10.7ppg/5reb) and that’s it. They have some height in the Schneider girls, but both of the 6’5†players had very little impact last year and appear to be more projects than anything else. Not a lot of help in the wings and this is a very young team. They are going to have a rough year and will probably be similar to TCU from last season.

    More to come…
  2. geewago

    geewago Active Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    +71 / 0 / -0
    Acoustimac - Enjoyed reading your review. Look forwad to the "more to come" article. I would point out one minor mistake on the Baylor analysis. Kimetria Hayden does not return for this year as she was a senior. Her sister Breanna is here now however, and was nearly twice the scorer in HS that Kimetria was. BU is taking a heavy hit this year with the graduation of the Sr class, but is replacing them with a freshmen class that appears be practically as impressive. It will be interesting to watch them contribute and develop this year. Experience is what they're lacking, and only playing time will cure that.I believe WV will be a strong contender this year. I also would not be surprised to see TX do better than many expect. I watched them a lot of times last year and could see a lot of potential in their young players. Not really sure where I would rate OU. I just know Cherry Cola can always coach em up. Overall this may be one of the most interesting conference races in history, and I really look forward to seeing how it turns out. So good look to ISU, and get that "more to come" out soon. Enjoy your writings.
  3. kentkel

    kentkel Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2006
    +1,152 / 10 / -0
    #3 kentkel, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
    I laughed at this. However, I respect her a whole heck of a lot more than BU's coach. I usually root for Big XII teams when they play teams from other conferences, but after last year's Big XII final, I refuse to root for KM until she gets a clue about true sportsmanship.
    However, despite the personal dislike for KM, there is no denying that BU will be a force to be reckoned with this year. Great write-up acoustimac!
  4. C.John

    C.John Optimistically Optimistic
    Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Cubicle Dweller
    +657 / 2 / -0
    Going to be stealing the cherry cola nickname. Good post btw.
  5. Royalclone

    Royalclone Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    Lee's Summit, MO
    +76 / 0 / -0
    It's such and obvious nickname, it's leaves everyone wondering why they hadn't thought of it:)
  6. twistedredbird

    twistedredbird Well-Known Member

    Apr 26, 2008
    Executive Director
    +83 / 0 / -0
    #6 twistedredbird, Oct 15, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
    Thanks Cous for the write up.

    While I think OU has the options to recover and should be the front runner starting the season, One thing I think people are missing about OU is how much losing McFarland will impact that team, especially defensively and rebounding. She was their inside/outside post (legit 3 ball threat), a big body tough defender and screener in the middle, 10 points a game, 10.5 rebounds a game, and their top rebounder by a mile.

    By comparison, Griffin at 6 6 averages under 5 rebounds a game. To me, Griffin is a little soft.

    I also think ISU being the 2nd place team last year, only second to Baylor, should have earned ISU more respect than 6th. Yes, Pop and Anna are hard to replace, but BF, like Coale has demonstrated an ability to coach to his team's strengths. I for one, just cannot wait to see Moody and Jadda playing together along with Brynn, Kidd, and Seanna.

    And, I can't but think BF has been paying very close attention to the run and gun with a smaller lineup that Fred has been running.

    7 Straight years to the NCAA Tourney. Enough said. To me, 6th was fair, but also a slight.
  7. acoustimac

    acoustimac Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Associate Professor
    Lamoni, IA
    +317 / 20 / -0
    Great comments TRB. I agree, but will never put anything past Coale. Your comments about Coach Fen are exactly why I'm so amped up about this season.

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