The Women’s Bouncy Ball team hosted the Drake Bulldogs in the first round of the Women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon.
I was late for the game due to a competing commitment but rewatched the start in the WatchESPN app. The two teams started off on fire and playing at a pace that was faster than what Coach Blair wanted. Drake Coach Jennie Baranczyk had spoken during the week about how the Bulldogs have a roster full of fundamentally sound players who had not gotten many D1 offers. They play an offensive style that involves lots of passing screening and cutting and where everyone has to be prepared to knock down open looks. And by everyone, I mean their substitutions were like line changes where it was unusual to have one sub at a time. They did a good job moving the ball quickly both in transition and in the half court offense so that A&M players were often out of position. Meanwhile, the Drake zone was having trouble handling the more athletic Ags. The net result was 11 lead changes in the first quarter Khaalia Hillsman was scoring pretty easily but Blair took her out for defensive lapses and went small until Jasmine Lumpkin got her second foul. Kayla Wells put A&M up 1 with 37 seconds left in the quarter but a 3 pointer by Becca Hittner gave Drake the lead after the first: 28-26.
The Ags stepped up the D in the second quarter. After the teams traded baskets, A&M went on a 15-0 run that included four steals by the Ags. Drake regrouped but after cutting the lead to 8, A&M went on another run that extended the lead to 17. Along the way, Danni Williams set the single season A&M record for 3 pointers made. Hittner made the last basket of the second quarter and the Ags went into the break up 57-42.
The two teams started the third period pretty evenly. Drake would cut the lead to 12-13 points and then the Ags would answer. With just under 6 minutes left in the quarter, Danni converted a turnover for a 17 point lead. A second turnover led to another fast break, but Carter missed a 3 pointer that would have been a dagger. Up 17, Blair went to the bench, and Drake promptly went on a 10-2 run where Maddie Dean hit a pair of 3s between a pair of layups by Sara Rine. With the lead in single digits, Blair put the starters back in. Khaalia got the lead back to double figures. After 3 it was 76-65.
The 4th quarter started with the teams trading baskets to keep the lead in the same range. With 3:20 left in the game, Jasmine Lumpkin stole the ball and sprinted down the court for a layup that would have made it a 13 point lead… but she missed the layup and Drake cut the lead to 9 instead. Carter fed Hillsman to get it back to 11. Ags called timeout. An errant Drake kick out pass missed its target and Lumpkin got another pick. This time she slowed things down. Offensive rebounding would allow A&M to run the clock down from 2:27 to 1:23. And then after Sarah Rhine grabbed the rebound on a miss by Anriel, Carter picked off the outlet pass and was fouled. 2 FTs made it a 13 point lead with 1:17 remaining. After Maddie Monahan missed on an attempt to drive into traffic, the Ags brought it down and Blair cleared the bench.
- Carter had an outstanding game and was noted as one of the best day 1 performances by the ESPN analysts. She finished with 26 points, 11 assists (double double!), 6 steals, and 5 rebounds. Her shooting was efficient at 8-18 and she only had 2 turnovers.
- Anriel Howard had another double double with 14 points and 10 boards
- Khaalia Hillsman and Danni Williams were also in double figures. Khaalia had 22 points and Danni had 18.
- Overall the Ags shot 52.9% from the field. The Ags had a big advantage at the FT line, going 10-11 while Drake only went 2-3. Note that Drake did not foul intentionally to extend the game other than the one after Carter’s late steal.
- A lot of us at the game were very impressed with Drake.
DePaul Blue Demons
NCAA Second Round
Sunday March 18, 2018 1PM
The early game had OU, the last team in, vs DePaul, the winner of the Big East. DePaul looked scary good in the first quarter. OU played them pretty evenly for the rest of the game but the hole was too deep to overcome. Final Score 90-79. I watched some of this game on streaming replay. Commentators describe DePaul as a more athletic version of Drake and there are similarities. The differences are partly reflections in the talent difference.
- DePaul wants to play even faster than Drake.
- Drake looks for the best open shot. DePaul wants 3s or layups and will take - and hit - more contested 3 pointers
- DePaul’s athleticism means that if they can spread you out to defend the 3 they have players who can beat you off the dribble.
- They will get to the FT line much more than Drake did.
DePaul is 27-6 on the season, 15-3 in conference. Two of their OOC losses came to 1 seeds.
Starters vs OU
- #10 5-11 Sr G Amarah Coleman
- #35 6-2 Jr F Mart’e Grays
- #1 5-8 Jr G Ashton Millender
- #22 6-1 So F Chante Stonewall
- #20 5-10 So G Kelly Campbell
All the starters are averaging double digits in scoring. They all shoot 3s. The lowest number of 3 pt attempts among the starters was 96. They’re averaging 12 3 pointers per game.