Twister Sister Summary - Ladies handle overmatched SIUE

acoustimac

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Jan 8, 2009
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There was a bit of good news at the beginning of the game...well, warmups anyway. Jordao was in uniform. I'll tell you right here the reason was she was the "poster player" of the evening. The ladies arrived home from out west at 6AM Monday morning. You can imagine what kind of zombies they were in classes that day. Then they had to turn around and be prepared for an 0-5 Southern Illinois University-Evansville team. Coming in I made the valid assumptions that this would be a game that would allow Coach to try different lineups and get everyone into the game for significant minutes. This was correct.

As the game started, the scoring was spread around as everyone seemed to find various openings in the SIUE defense. Keep in mind that SIUE was significantly shorter than the Sisters. What was interesting, the team was pounding the ball inside...to everyone. Ryan..Donarski...Joens...Soares...everyone found their way down the golden highway to the basket. Three minutes into the quarter, Joens picked up her 2500th point. She is just the fifth player in Big 12 history to accomplish this feat. On both ends of the court, Soares was causing problems underneath the basket. She wasn't scoring prolifically, but she got a couple of baskets and on the defensive end she was pure misery for anyone invading her territory. Throughout the quarter the offense kept going inside against a massively undersized team. One unusual thing I noticed was that Coach Fen had players on the line during free throws. By the end of one it was 26-14 and the sisters wouldn't look back.

The second quarter started to show some of the mix and match lineups that Coach Fen wanted to experiment with. Perhaps this (and the opponent's lack of ability to keep up) le to the offense looking off and on. Entire game seemed just a wee bit chaotic. Donarski was definitely the hot hand hitting for 14 already on a combo of treys and drives inside. She seemed to be everywhere on offense and defense. Very fun to watch. Ashley was having a tough go from the field so far, but was making a living at the line. Soares showed such a complete game tonight. She had blocks, steals, assists and scoring. Made some beautiful plays this quarter showing great court vision. If you watched the UNC game Sunday you can understand why the announcers were so enamored with her. By halftime it was 55-22 (a 19-6 quarter) with Donarski leading the way and Ryan in hot pursuit.

I fully expected the staff to play the starters for about 3-4 minutes in the second half and then start pulling them. I was sort of right. There was a great deal more of the mix and match lineups throughout the next 13-15 minutes of play. For example, at one point Zingaro replaced Soares and got important time with the other four starters. The second half started quickly with Soares scoring inside and out and Donarski outracing everyone for two after a steal. Three min in and Soares and Ryan were out and Izzi and M&M came in followed shortly by Diew replacing Fritz. It was a quarter of card shuffling. Five min in and the lead had extended to 66-24. It seemed relatively quiet, but one thing was apparent…assists were stacking up. Every bucket seemed to be accompanied by that “extra” pass by a player seeing their teammates. What makes assists happen? It's not just the passer, but the hustle of the player who gets open to score. Coach started playing with combinations to give different players diff roles as well. We got to see Donarski run point. M&M run point. Zingaro, Kane or Soares underneath. It was fun to see the chess game unfold. At this point I’m started to wonder why any of the starters were even in. But just more experimentation by the coaches I would assume. At the end of three the lead had ballooned to 78-32.

During the beginning of the fourth I wasn't really seeing anything new as one team clearly outclassed the other. What I did see was consistent effort by every player that was on the floor. Didn't matter if it was the first bench player or the last...they were working hard. For most of this quarter the subs were finally in. I wasn’t surprised to see Fritz stay in as I've felt she needed some time to find herself and her offensive game. The subs are moving the ball well and defending. Kane made a nice Joens (triple pivot) move to score underneath. Throughout the night the three point shooting hasn't been particularly good. With the subs it continued that way. The defense continues to fluster our opponents even with the bench players in. Six min left and it’s 84-39. M&M was running point. Shots are just not falling for the subs. Getting lots of good looks, but they are just slightly missing. It's so fun to see Izzi looking good and Dawkins shows some nice speed on defense. This is the first time she has looked "settled in" since the season started. She's one quick player! The rest of the bench came in for the last four minutes and the fun factor really picked up. Fritz was still in and continues to struggle to find her shot. Dawkins made some great defensive plays on the ball and had one FANTASTIC move under the basket to score. Mary Kate got a steal and assist to Dawkins. Pretty! She then followed it with a nice three that looked like it took every bit of her effort to get the ball there. The crowd erupted of course! It was also fun to see Mary Kate running the point with confidence. Final score ISU 93 - 43.

Observations
The team continues to show that they don't have to have Ashley do everything. Other people are very capable of taking the lead on scoring. It just has to happen is all.

POG (2) Donarski and Ryan. Donarski was incredibly efficient as she scored 22 points on 7-13 shooting, perfect 6-6 at the line, 6 assists and 3 steals. Wowza. Emily played her floor general role to a T but added some efficient scoring herself. She had 13 points on 5-6 shooting and 7 assists.

Speaking of assists. Ryan had 7. The team had 23. What does that mean? LOTS of people are seeing the court well. LOTS of people are hustling their butts off to get open and those people seeing the court are getting the ball to them. 23 assists on 33 made shots. Awesome. How many players had an assist? SEVEN.

As you can imagine the sisters won the rebounding battle. They were also near perfect at the line hitting 14-15 or 95%.

Soares - didn't have the big scoring tonight, but she didn't have to. She was very active on defense and ended up with a double-double 11 points, 10 boards, and 4 blocks.

Joens - "Only" 11 points along with 7 boards. Struggled from the field (2-7), but was machine perfect (6-6) from the line.

The bench. Everyone who entered the game looked good. I love seeing Izzi get some good minutes and she is maximizing her presence. 8 points tonight. M&M played 20 tonight and looked as good as she has all year. Definitely filling a solid roll on this team. Moving with the ball better than ever. Diew not being a big scorer (4), but had a monster NINE boards.

Defense - pretty darned solid. Switched to a variety of sets and all worked pretty well. TWELVE steals on the night. These were quick hand type of steals.

So what did we learn? Not much really. We saw more of what we expect from a veteran squad. We reinforced that the reserves are working hard and playing hard. We know we have multiple scorers. The biggest question is when will the three point shooting efficiency return? Tonight was a 9-32 effort and while 9 is good...32 attempts is bad.

What's next? 8 days with some down time and then preparation starting Monday for the big Iowa game in the Iowa City. If our ladies play to their ability, have multiple scorers and play solid defense without foul trouble they should win going away. That's a big "if" as always in Iowa City.
 

CloneSt8

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Aug 1, 2011
401
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On Donarski's two runouts for layups, when she first got the ball there was a defender between her and the basket but she raced past them while dribbling the ball. She looked amazingly fast on those!
 
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acoustimac

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Jan 8, 2009
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On Donarski's two runouts for layups, when she first got the ball there was a defender between her and the basket but she raced past them while dribbling the ball. She looked amazingly fast on those!
Completely agree! She def showed breakaway speed!
 

CloneSt8

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Aug 1, 2011
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93
I just looked at the replay that I saved on ESPN+. On the one play half way through the third quarter she intercepted a SIUE pass below the top of their key. There was a (now) defender half way between the top of the key and half court. Lexi beat the defender to the ISU basket by 3-4 feet for a layup! It was amazing.
 

Thompsonclone

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Dec 13, 2008
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Question, why is ISU only playing 11 non conference games this year (vs 13) and 29 total games instead of 31? They have some tough games remaining too. @ Iowa, @ #25 Villanova and vs Drake. It’s somewhat realistic they head into conference play with only 8/9 total wins.
 

Three4Cy

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Jan 19, 2010
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Question, why is ISU only playing 11 non conference games this year (vs 13) and 29 total games instead of 31? They have some tough games remaining too. @ Iowa, @ #25 Villanova and vs Drake. It’s somewhat realistic they head into conference play with only 8/9 total wins.
We've played 11 non-conference games since the Big 12 moved to 18 conference games in the 2011-12 season.

Villanova is a neutral site game in Ucansville, CT.

More on number of games that can be played each year.
 

Thompsonclone

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Dec 13, 2008
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We've played 11 non-conference games since the Big 12 moved to 18 conference games in the 2011-12 season.

Villanova is a neutral site game in Ucansville, CT.

More on number of games that can be played each year.
Interesting. I know we played 12 non conference games last year though. Why is the NCAA trying to decrease games? It always used to be 31 games. 30 minimum. Outside of the COVID shortened year I don’t remember us ever playing less than 30 games and I’ve had season tickets for years.
 

Three4Cy

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Jan 19, 2010
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Interesting. I know we played 12 non conference games last year though. Why is the NCAA trying to decrease games? It always used to be 31 games. 30 minimum. Outside of the COVID shortened year I don’t remember us ever playing less than 30 games and I’ve had season tickets for years.
We played in an MTE tournament with three games instead of two last year. That would be why we played 12 non-conference games. In the end, it all comes down to what CBF wants to do regarding the number of games.
 
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BoxsterCy

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Sep 14, 2009
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We played in an MTE tournament with three games instead of two last year. That would be why we played 12 non-conference games. In the end, it all comes down to what CBF wants to do regarding the number of games.

Hope we get some sort of conference challenge to replace the Big12/SEC one. That at least forced a P5/6 into the NC other than Iowa. Without a conference challenge we are down to whoever we might draw in some pre-conference play tournament.
 
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StClone

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Lexi had a great H.S. track career here in WI.
Lexi's Highschool athletic recap: Triple threat!
 

VeloClone

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Jan 19, 2010
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Assuming another player doesn't beat her there this season Ashley is just 296 points from joining the top 25 all time in Div 1 career points scored. Obviously a fifth year is a great advantage to getting there, but it still is rarified air.

The player that she would knock out of the top 25? Iowa's Megan Gustafson.
 

VeloClone

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There was a good reason Bill put players on the lane when shooting free throws a few times. You will note that each time they did that ISU pressed after the FTs. It was simply to get them into position to slap on the press.
 

acoustimac

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Jan 8, 2009
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There was a good reason Bill put players on the lane when shooting free throws a few times. You will note that each time they did that ISU pressed after the FTs. It was simply to get them into position to slap on the press.
Excellent observation...but didn't they press other times when they weren't on the line? I'm tired....now I'll have to rewatch.