2010-11 Maryland Women’s Basketball — A Few Tweaks Toward Greatness

The Maryland women’s basketball team has a youthful core that is very reminiscent of the 2005-06 championship team. They still have some tweaking, though, to reach that level–sometimes they look like a very young team. Fortunately, these adjustments are few and mostly “easily” done.

Make Shots. This one is just basic and a fundamental aspect of modern offense-minded basketball. You have to make your shots from the field and at the free throw line. Early in the season Maryland simply isn’t doing this with any consistency. With many of their made goals the result of lay-ups, it’s a simple matter for opponents to pack the paint and dare the Terps to shoot.

Spacing. As often happens with young teams, their spacing–especially on breaks–is bad. When you watch the best teams at this, the wings are in a position to receive passes, give passes, and act as decoys. Too often Maryland’s players are too close together making it simple for defenders to be disruptive–and sometimes for offensive players to be disruptive.

Pass Smart. The Terps make a lot of turnovers. A. Lot. Many of these are due to passing errors. In the offensive set passers try to do more than they need to or fail to have enough court awareness. The first is personal responsibility of the players to be smart about how to execute a pass. Too far, too low, too hard, or too soft won’t do your team any good. The second is partly about experience but also about focus and paying attention. The passer needs to understand the situation and flow of the game and not make things easy for the defense. This one will take time given the youth of the guards.

Going back to the spacing issue, too often the passes during a break are coming late–sometimes up to two steps late. This results in telegraphed passes and congestion in the lane…which too often results in a rushed shot or a turnover. Again, a bit of experience and confidence should get the players to pass with the flow of the play and not against it.

Believe. This one sort of needs to be earned, but it’s also personal. Take, for example, free throws. Some teams make a lot, some don’t. Transfers tend to acquire the tendency of their team. This shows that some teams insist on makes and have you believe that you will make the shots. It’s mental. The earned part is exemplified from the 2005-06 team. They never lost in overtime. They came to believe that if a game went to OT, they would find a way to win. And they did. Belief is what wins you the games where the breaks are beating you down. If you don’t believe (not just fervently hope or wish) you’re just helping the other team.

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