Here's our takeaways on the big upset against Ohio:
1. Fantastic shooting all around
I said last time that if we were going to pull the upset again, it would be done with much better shooting than 30%. The women stepped it up this time significantly. After going less than 20% from beyond the arc, they dropped bombs from three point land like it was nothing (mostly thanks to Joanna Smith catching fire). Finally, they also got it done from the free throw line in what is definitely their second best performance on the season. The Bulls shot 84% from the line, which is great considering this is a team that typically shoots around 50%. If this offense shows up more often and if it's paired with the strong defense already being show, this team can win a lot of games.
2. Ohio can't seem to figure us out
I was a little skeptical early on in the game because I felt Ohio did a better job this time (as opposed to the last game) at controlling the pace. I honestly believed that in order to beat the Bobcats we needed to hold them under 50. They were well on the pace to pass that after the half but the Bulls still managed to pull away in this one. In both games now, Ohio has lost its composure in the second half and allowed UB to fight through for a win. Last time, they shot miserably. This time, Kiyanna Black picked up a 5th foul and Ohio was left wondering what to do without their star player. It's safe to say that our full court press tampers Ohio's offense and every MAC team should take note that slowing them down is the key to victory.
3. The offense is much more effective when Reid finds space in the lane
Earlier in the season Matt questioned whether Stephanie Reid's ability to score more could help the team in getting back to the swing of things. It turned out in the thick of things that the lack of defense was the true problem but what was touched upon there is what's going to make this team an even better one. After looking back at a some of the games in the past, the offensive stats looked much different when Reid was finding holes in the lane and drawing fouls in the post. It definitely helps take pressure off of the rest of the team and opens everybody else up for better shots. Couple this with good defense and you have a scary team.
1. The shooting is impressive, but only if you look at the right places
Reid and Smith combined to shoot 12-29 from the floor, just barely over Robby's 30% threshold. Each are particularly good at the high-efficiency parts of offense; Smith beyond the arc, and Reid getting to the line, so it's hard to dwell on their shooting percentages, but they're certainly not where the improved offense came from.
Instead, look to the frontcourt, where Cassie Oursler, Katherine Ups, and Mariah Suchan combined to go 10-15 from the floor. UB has rarely had a strong performance from more than one of those three, and while none was at her best, the aggregate was one of the better group performances of the season.
2. It's not the press, and it hasn't been for a while
Sure, an aggressive switch to a press and success out of that scheme can play a big role in the mental games, and that's been huge in both wins over Ohio, where UB held large leads and kept the Bobcats at arm's length.
Schematically, that's not where the deciding factors are coming from. Kiyanna Black fouled out, but so did Oursler. UB committed four more fouls and four more turnovers than Ohio. Ohio took eleven more shots from distance and six more from the line.
UB won on the glass. The praise for the forwards shouldn't end with their shooting efficiency, because UB again held a double-digit rebounding advantage. All those lopsided stats above are negated if you grab 75% of your defensive rebounding opportunities. It's been five straight games now where UB pulls down at least ten more rebounds than their opponents. They're 5-1. That's the key right now.
3. This team can beat anyone, and could get into the #7 seed
Two wins against Ohio, who still have to be considered the MAC's best, one over CMU, and a pair of last-minute nailbiters against Ball State. In stretches this team has been frustrating and inconsistent, but in the big picture a young group who can put it all together and knows they can play with the whole conference is not a bad place to be nearing the end of a clear rebuilding year.