With luck and a little more effort than we've been putting forward lately, we'll get back to doing takeaways for each women's game, as we do for the men. But as we did last year, we've reached a point in the season where we learn a little less game-to-game and know enough about the team to post macro-level questions.
That said, it's a lazy holiday, so let's get right into it:
1. Can Stephanie Reid score more?
I'm not sure this is even a goal of UB's, but I feel adamantly that it should be. It sure seems that the Bulls are moving a little more when the sophomore point guards sets her jaw and gets the ball to the hoop. Against Akron, Reid scored 8 of her 11 points in the fourth quarter, and 6 of her 11 against Ball State.
In the latter, Reid was instrumental in jump-starting a flagging offense, and in the former spurred the Bulls to their strongest offensive quarter of the game by a long shot. Joanna Smith scored 7 in each of these quarters, so there's no difficulty finding her opportunities when Stephanie looks for more, and I'd argue that Smith's shots in these stretches are higher-quality and better opportunities.
Involve Reid not just as an assists machine, but as someone who can contribute directly on the scoreboard, and do it before do-or-die time in the final minutes.
2. There's adequate, if still inexperienced, post depth now. Can UB find more consistency?
Not one of Cassie Oursler, Mirte Scheper, Mariah Suchan, and Brittany Morrison had consistent minutes from one game to the next last week. Whether because of foul trouble or effectiveness, the group hasn't had solidified into a rotation over the last few contacts.
On top of that, UB's offense still seems reticent to work the ball to its post players at all, as Joanna Smith alone has more attempts in each of the last two games than all four players listed above and Katherine Ups.
3. Can the Bulls slow back down?
On that note, Smith has taken 43 shots in two games now. She shot adequately, though below her standards, against Ball State, and poorly against Akron. I have to think that 43 shots is too many, regardless of player, but it's also hard to miss that the Bulls as a team took upwards of 60 shots in each of these games as they had 69 and 79 possessions. Those numbers would be fast even for the men's team, and both games are on the same shot clock now.
Perhaps the speed jump-starts the offense, but we're also seeing other teams find more production from their whole lineup than earlier in the season. This group is still going to live and die with defense, and it seems that playing faster on offense is taking away from that.