Twister Sister Summary - Coming Out Party for Soares

acoustimac

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Jan 8, 2009
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Michigan State has always pushed the Sisters to the limit and they came into this game 7-0, but with an unimpressive list of opponents. There was much ballyhoo about their full court press and how they averaged forcing nearly 25 turnovers per game, many of which translated directly to points.

Now if I told you that our own Ashley Joens would enter the fourth quarter with but a single basket (a three in the first quarter) you'd likely be worried. Coming in she had apparently separated her left shoulder and didn't participate in any practices since arriving. Things just looked off for her. So here we go...

The first quarter was a back and forth affair. Both teams' defense really made the offensive side of things look out of sync and more than a bit scattered. While I just focused on ISU out of the gates nothing seemed to go right and you'd swear MSU would have a 6-8 point lead. But no, the stingy defense of the Sisters would keep MSU right within sight and then some shots started to fall as the team settled in. A Joens three to start things (who knew this would be her only basket for THREE quarters), another by Donarski and Fritz and several feeds to Soares for what looked like easy two's and ISU would slowly but surely open a lead. MSU's defense bothered the Sisters, but MSU was bothered even more by the Sisters' defense after it settled down. At the end of one the ladies would lead 18-12. Then the fireworks began.

The second quarter showed some efficient offense as Kane came off the bench to spell Soares. This was her best game of the year so far. Good hustle and she battled to get a couple of baskets underneath. Emily Ryan took over as the offense shifted into gear making her damage at the line making five while scoring a basket to top it off. Scoring 37 points by half isn't that impressive for this team. But when you know that Joens was scoreless in the second and the defense gave MSU fits it all added up. MSU just couldn't find open shots and when they did they missed. Those misses kept adding up and when the quarter was over, that six point lead had expanded to 20 as the Sisters outscored MSU 19-5. FIVE points. It was an impressive defensive showing for sure. The ladies shifted off screens, the posts clogged the middle and things were just plain tough for Sparty. ISU leads 37-17 at the break. When is the last time you saw ISU hold a quality D1 opponent to 17 points in a half?

The third quarter saw some life out of MSU. They essentially played the ladies even. Again, keep in mind. Joens didn't score a single point this quarter. All of the damage so far from this game came from her teammates. That's a good sign folks. One of the impressive things to watch was how the team kept feeding the ball to Soares. Ryan would toss it up and Soares would grab and score. She also made some very nice offensive rebounds with put backs. Even more impressive was watching her on the defensive end. She did just about everything, but alter shots was the name of the game. IF someone came in the middle her very presence changed the thinking of the opposing player. Soares would score nine of the Sisters' points in the third. No major offensive outbursts as ISU would answer any push MSU gave and actually expanded the lead to 24 by the end of the third 53-29. You'd think MSU would fade into the sunset and you'd be wrong.

The fourth saw MSU actually come to life. Their pressure led to some uncharacteristic turnovers by the Sisters resulting in some unanswered buckets. They actually brought the lead down to 16 before the ladies answered back. Also helping Sparty were some chaotic fouls on the defensive end that led to free throw opportunities. ISU decided to rain on their parade though as a series of three pointers by Joens, Fritz and Donarski would blow the lead back over 20 points for good. It was time for the subs to come in and everyone saw the floor. Here's another thing to note. MSU still pressed. The reserves handled it and the machine just kept on working on both ends of the court. There was 100% hustle. Just as she did last game, Zingaro made her presence known with a couple of nice buckets and rebounds. It was fun to watch. The final...80-49. A dominant win for the ladies.

Observations
POG - This was the coming out party for Steph Soares. 23 points, 11 boards, 6 blocks and 3 assists. She was nearly unstoppable.

POG pt 2 - I have to mention Ryan. She handled the MSU press quite well. She fed the ball to open players...especially Soares. When given the opportunity she drove the hoop and either scored, was fouled, or both. What a gamer. 17 points, 4 boards, 8 assists and 7-8 from the line.

Joens - It was one of those nights. I suspect her injury and no prep time impacted her game. Did it slow her from still having an impact? Heck no. Ended up with 8 points and 5 boards. Only took 9 shots total. That says something about the rest of the team stepping up.

Donarski - defense baby, defense. She was all over the place. Played her tail off. Made a couple of turnovers that were uncharacteristic, but otherwise an ok game with 6 points and 2 boards. We need some more offense from her, but her effort on the other end was crucial.

Kane - as mentioned, best game of the season to date. Fought hard and was not a liability on either end. Seemed comfortable. 6 points and SIX boards. Good minutes here.

Diew - the only other sub with considerable minutes. Not a scoring threat today, but hustled on D and made a solid contribution. Took her a minute or two to adjust to what MSU was doing.

Reserves - I am getting more and more impressed that our reserves can come in and the game doesn't become a chaotic mess. They play defense. They run the offense. They are fun to watch.

Big stats? 45 rebounds (45-36 margin). 20 assists. 6 blocks. Only 14 turnovers. On the defensive side? MSU shot 11% from 3 and 28% overall.

What's up next? Things get tougher. #8 North Carolina disposed of #18 Oregon 85-79. North Carolina will be a tough matchup, but if we continue to play defense like this and take advantage of offensive opportunities the game should be fun. Let's also hope that Ashley is back to her normal self. North Carolina had five players in double figures and ran a four guard set. Some things to note...very pedestrian free throw shooters. Downright terrible from deep (27%). So you know running four guards they like to shoot medium range and drive.
 
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TrulyCyclone

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Great start in Portland. Rusty first 5 min, outstanding play the rest of the way. Really excited to see how they respond to the opportunity on Sunday. Loved seeing the team step up after Ashley's 2nd foul.
 

CloneSt8

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Such a fun read! You always have a great summary of the game. I have only one thing to add on Ashley's game: she picked up her second foul midway through the first quarter and sat out. Did get in for a few minutes in the second quarter. But fewer minutes for her than usual.

And that is probably what impressed me the most, putting away a P5 team by 30 points and putting up 80 with your leading scorer only getting 8. Wow!
 
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HuskerClone

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Great article as always, thank you for your analysis. Want to give Lexi a little more credit for her work with Emily against the press. They went 2 against 3 and were able to get the ball down court with few problems. I initially questioned why Bill didn't give them more help but as the game went on, that was the right tactic.
 
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acoustimac

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Great article as always, thank you for your analysis. Want to give Lexi a little more credit for her work with Emily against the press. They went 2 against 3 and were able to get the ball down court with few problems. I initially questioned why Bill didn't give them more help but as the game went on, that was the right tactic.
I asked the same question a couple of times. But he has the utmost faith in those two.
 
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swiacy

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This next game will be the test. Analysis of last nights game is good. Don’t often watch their games but if Emily Ryan plays like that every night, she’s a 1st team All-American. She took that game over & was the best player on the court. With Joens hurt & limited, she was the focus and she delivered. I was very impressed.
 

cyclone13

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This next game will be the test. Analysis of last nights game is good. Don’t often watch their games but if Emily Ryan plays like that every night, she’s a 1st team All-American. She took that game over & was the best player on the court. With Joens hurt & limited, she was the focus and she delivered. I was very impressed.
She should be the 1st team AA - I think she's been consistent, efficient and did a lot of things behind the screen. She's not bombastic and unfortunately that's not what the media pay attention too these days.
 
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ISC

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I apologize…knew I was forgetting something. I didn’t mention Fritz. Wowza…hard nosed defense and some opportune buckets. She’s coming into her own as well. Doesn’t play like what is essentially a freshman.
Yeah, Fritz just keeps improving every game. I think we can all tell already why Bill was going to start her last year as a true freshmen.

I love this team as we now have a full starting 5 that I think is capable of carrying the team on any given night (extrapolating a bit on Fritz, but it seems like she is that kind of player)
 
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iccyfan

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Thanks, Cous, for another terrific summary. IMO, the spark that unites this team's success is Emily and Lexi. That pair is absolutely exceptional.
Agreed - both on the court and as true student athletes! ISU had seven young women on the All Big XII Academic Team(s) last season. If I remember correctly, Ashley, Aubrey, Maddie F., Lexi, Emily, Morgan and Izzy. True Freshman and first year transfers aren’t eligible for the list or there would be more Cyclones! CBF recruits good kids, leaders and scholars. More reason to be proud of this team!
 
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CloneSt8

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Agreed - both on the court and as true student athletes! ISU had seven young women on the All Big XII Academic Team(s) last season. If I remember correctly, Ashley, Aubrey, Maddie F., Lexi, Emily, Morgan and Izzy. True Freshman and first year transfers aren’t eligible for the list or there would be more Cyclones! CBF recruits good kids, leaders and scholars. More reason to be proud of this team!
As I understand, every player who has finished her eligibility under Coach Fennelly has graduated. This goes back to his days at Toledo, too.
 

BoxsterCy

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Got to catch the replay yesterday. Soares had a terrific game but on offense she had a ton of bunnies from great dimes dropped to her by her teammates. Got to credit that great passing. Of course she was in position and finished almost all of those so huge plus up on that. And, woof, Sparty's post defense was just terrible. Kane wasn't able to finish a number of close in shots but they were there for her to, still had 6 pts 6 reb in 9 minutes. The other positive was that Soares got in 29 minutes. We had not seen her play much more than 20 but this showed she can play 30-32 and with Jordao back later and Kane that will be plenty.

Might tune into the MSU game for a few minutes on Sunday. I am wondering how bad MSU really is, they looked surprisingly bad. A lot of that was us but I think a lot of it was also them. They hadn't played anyone with a pulse before this neutral court game and pretty much fall flat on their faces.

Joens didn't look herself when on the bench, like she actually looked sort of sick from that bout with the flu. This couple days off might really help her back to more her normal self by Sunday. Glad we didn't have back-to-back games like in the guys bracket. Going to be a much see WBB TV matchup for us Cyclones. This is SO much better than scrambling for some weird subscription service to watch a game in a resort gym in Cancun!