Sunday, September 14, 2014

St. John's Women's Basketball: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Joe Tartamella enters third season at helm intent on maintaining status quo he helped build at St. John's. (Photo courtesy of The Associated Press)

In retrospect, it was a successful season. The St. John’s women finished 23-­11, runner­-up in the Big East Tournament, and earned an NCAA bid. A tempo-free look shows defense was a key:

                   Possessions           Points    Offensive Efficiency

St. John’s              2377             2254               99

Opponents             2353             2113               90

The Red Storm averaged 70 possessions per game, a brisk pace with the focus on getting out in transition. The 99 offensive efficiency is right at the cutoff of the general goal of 100, or one point per possession. The defense, allowing just a 90 in efficiency, is well above average.

A look at the Four Factors:

                eFG        FT Rate       OREB Pct      TO Rate

St. John’s   46            40                 34              22

Opponents  43            34                 32              22

What the Red Storm did well....Defend. They forced opposition into a 22% turnover rate. Teams generally try to keep the TO rate under 20 percent, so St. John’s was disruptive on defense. The field goal percentage defense is another testament to that defensive end. If opponents did not turn it over, they were often selecting a low percentage shot.

What is in store? A veteran cast returns to Queens. Leading scorer Aliyyah Handford (16.7 PPG) leads the way. The junior guard also topped the Storm in efficiency (using the NBA/WNBA model) at 12.9 . Coach Joe Tartamella will address the turnover situation. Eugeneia McPherson and Briana Brown are both gone. They were the lone regular starters with more assists than turnovers. Big East play should be challenging while the non-­league slate is highlighted by a date with UConn at the Garden in January’s Maggie Dixon Classic.

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