Coming off of a defense-laden win in the season opener, Coach Felisha Legette-Jack's team continued on their upward trajectory in a 54-40 win over crosstown rival Canisius. Stephanie Reid led the way for the Bulls on both ends of the court with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals, all team highs; while also playing in a team high 36 minutes.
1. "Monday to Friday" does it again
Stephanie Reid is far and away my favorite player to watch on either UB basketball team. Her court vision, basketball IQ, and ability with the ball in her hands simply cannot be matched. While Reid was the team's leading scorer tonight, what she did off the ball was just as important as the points she scored. Just watching her eyes and how she surveys the court looking the for open player or looking off a defender to open up a lane to drive in is something to behold.
2. Three Point Shooting...again
We talked about this after the LIU-Brooklyn game and the same holds true here. The Bulls actually had a worse shooting percentage from downtown against Canisius than they did against LIU. Joanna Smith was just 1 of 7 from 3, what makes this particularly frustrating is that she was quite effective inside the arc going a perfect 4 of 4 from the floor.
3. Mariah Suchan finding her niche
It's early in the season but its nice to see the development of Mariah Suchan. In only 14 minutes on the court she had a bench high 7 points and 5 rebounds. In addition to what she put up on the stat sheet, Suchan has made great strides in her defensive game and made some positive plays on the defensive end.
Player of the Game: Stephanie Reid
The obvious choice. Reid played an excellent game on both ends of the court and was the key cog in the UB victory.
1. Rebound City
For me, the biggest highlight of this game was watching the team crash the boards. Performances like these bring a lot of second chance points to the offensive side of the game. I was extremely pleased to see that the offensive rebounding total was spread around a bunch of different players. Four people had 3 a piece.
2. Free throws should be free points
If free throw shooting continues to be this poor, it's going to bite this team later on in the season. There will be plenty of close games where a ton of missed free throws will be the end of it. Scheper was the only player who shot well from the line. It's tough watching so many botched shots that should be freebies.
Player of the Game: Katherine Ups
John took Reid, so I'm going to take someone else. Ups shot very well except from three (ughh...). Rebounding was great and she also had a steal, a block, and an assist.
1. Shot selection
I am dissatisfied with 4-21 three-point shooting, especially since UB continues to shoot above 40% from inside the arc. Looking up and down the lineup, though, I am mostly OK with a variety of players taking shots. If Joanna Smith and Gabi Bade are the only threats to shoot, it will limit the whole offense. That said, as much as everyone is talking about Smith's green light, she's 4-20 over the two regular season games while shooting 6-10 from inside the arc. I worry that a more aggressive Stephanie Reid and improved Katherine Ups are taking away Smith's chances for higher-yield shots.
2. A clearer rotation in general, less so among the forwards
This is good: there was a clear nine-woman rotation against the Golden Griffins, with Sodade, Wilkins, Miley, and our first look at Kandance Satterwhite accounting for only 12 minutes total. On a smaller scale, it seems other than Katherine Ups the forward situation is unresolved Scheper, Morrison, and Suchan playing nearly identical minutes and each bringing measures of success. If Suchan can play more consistently throughout her minutes UB could be in good shape pre- and post-Oursler. I've been very impressed with her improvement over last season.
3. We want the D
It's early but we're not talking enough about how good this defense is, and it's even more impressive given how young it is. UB played Canisius nearly even on their offensive boards and dominated their defensive glass, generated 13 steals and 19 turnovers while committing only 15 fouls.
Never before in the MAC era has UB held opponents to less than 80 points over a two-game winning streak. Only four times has that number ever been 90: January 2013 (89), November 2008 (87), and both December (83) and January (89) of the 2001-2002 season.
Up and down the lineup the defense is positionally sound and active, and for the first time in the FLJ era, not particularly foul-prone. At the beginning of a new rules era designed to increase scoring, UB right now is plenty of fun to watch in defense.
Player of the Game: Stephanie Reid
I have no concern nominating someone that someone else has claimed. Reid is electric in all phases. If UB catches a team that relies on the three point shot and she can grab a bunch of long rebounds, I can see a triple-double in her future.