Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Big East women's basketball tempo-free review

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

DePaul and Creighton battled it out for superiority in the Big East, ultimately finishing in a dead heat. In the conference tournament, though, a new champion was crowned as Marquette captured their first Big East title; defeating Georgetown, Creighton and DePaul to capture the crown.

The Golden Eagles hosted the tournament, but it would be an injustice to suggest that that was the sole reason they cut down the nets. Playing at home helps, but fans do not win games. This was a team that played fast and aggressive, and attacked on both ends of the floor. In a three-game stretch, they did it well enough to emerge champions.   

The following figures are courtesy of Basketball State, and reflect the entire season, including non-conference, conference and postseason tournaments as well:

Records and Efficiency Margins
1) DePaul (+15, 16-2)
2) Marquette (+13, 13-5)
3) Creighton (+11, 16-2)
4) Georgetown (+3, 9-9)
5) St. John’s (+1, 11-7)
6) Villanova (0, 11-7)
T-7) Xavier (-3, 4-14)
T-7) Providence (-3, 4-14)
9) Seton Hall (-12, 4-14)
10) Butler (-14, 2-16)

Turnover Rate Leaders
1) Villanova (12 percent)
2) Marquette (14)
T-3) Georgetown (15)
T-3) DePaul (15)
T-3) Creighton (15)
The general thought the past few years is that women’s efficiency is not on a par with their male counterparts due to turnovers. The turnover rates of the five Big east leaders show that is far from the case. Among the nine teams in the conference, only two; Seton Hall and Butler, finished over a 20 percent rate, each checking in at 21 percent.  

Defensive Turnover Rate Leaders
1) Georgetown (21 percent)
T-2) DePaul (20)
T-2) St. John’s (20)
4) Seton Hall (19)
5) Butler (18)   
In the case of Seton Hall and Butler, it provides further evidence that their respective struggles were on the offensive end. The turnover rates alone suggest a defense that was active with the ability to disrupt opposing offenses.

Offensive Efficiency Leaders
1) Marquette (107)
2) DePaul (104)
3) Creighton (98)
4) Villanova (93)
5) Georgetown (91)

Defensive Efficiency Leaders
1) St. John’s (82)
2) Creighton (87)
T-3) DePaul (88)
T-3) Georgetown (88)
5) Xavier (91)
Marquette was not among the top five. The Golden Eagles tied Providence for seventh-best with a 94 defensive efficiency, not a bad figure at all and definitely an asset considering head coach Carolyn Kieger’s offense led the league with a figure of 107.

Fastest Pace
1) DePaul (77 possessions per game)
2) Marquette (74)
3) Seton Hall (73)
4) Georgetown (72)
5) Butler (70)
Getting out and playing fast was very much in vogue in the Big East. Even teams such as Seton Hall and Butler struggled, but still kept the foot on the accelerator.

Slowest Pace
1) Villanova (65 possessions per game)
T-2) Creighton (67)
T-2) Providence (67)
T-2) St. John’s (67)
A year ago, Providence was playing at a 72-possession pace. The Friars were a surprise among this group this season as well, with Jim Crowley making the move to the Ocean State after a highly successful run at St. Bonaventure.

Effective Field Goal Percentage Leaders
1) Marquette (51 percent)
2) DePaul (50)
T-3) Providence (48)
T-3) Creighton (48)
5) Seton Hall (46)

Big East Championship: Marquette 86, DePaul 78
There was not going to be any attempt on the part of coach Doug Bruno to slow down Marquette. As noted, his Blue Demons enjoy a fast-paced game, so the tempo would be accelerated and accelerated it was, as the game was played at a 77-possession pace.
Both teams shot 50 percent from three-point range, yet the difference was not in rate, but total. Marquette went 9-of-18, while DePaul had a slight edge in volume, shooting 13-of-26. The Blue Demons led with a significant 29-17 advantage in offensive rebounding percentage. Both teams also cared for the ball with turnover rates under 20 percent, with Marquette’s 17 percent figure narrowly outperformed by DePaul’s 16 percent rate.
The definitive difference in the Golden Eagles delighting the Al McGuire Center crowd lied within the arc. Marquette shot 20-of-40 on two-point field goals. DePaul, on the other hand, struggled, making just 16 of their 43 attempts.
Sophomore Natisha Hiedeman played the full 40 minutes and was most essential to the NCAA Tournament-clinching victory, scoring a game-high 28 points. Hiedeman shot 6-of-10 from long distance and was a perfect 10-of-10 at the foul line.

Usage Leaders
1) Jade Walker, St. John’s (30.6 percent of team possessions)
2) Kaela Hilaire, Seton Hall (29.2)
3) Allazia Blockton, Marquette (28.2)
4) Sarah Beal, Providence (27.9)
5) Deja Cage, DePaul (27.6)
6) JaQuan Jackson, Seton Hall (27.1)
7) Brianna Rollerson, Creighton (26.5)
8) Dionna White, Georgetown (26.4)
9) Raeshaun Gaffney, Xavier (26.3)
10) Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown (26.1)
Having two players from the same team with a high usage percentage bears closer study. For Georgetown, it was a case of multiple go-to players. Both Adomako and White contributed 22 percent each to their team’s points. That was good for third and fourth in the conference.

Seton Hall had Jackson eighth in the conference with 21.5 percent of the Pirate points, while Hilaire was 22nd-best at 15 percent. In their situation, head coach Tony Bozzella had two high usage players; one of whom a scorer, with a support cast that often struggled to maintain consistency as the season progressed.

Player Efficiency Leaders (using NBA/WNBA model)
1) Tori Schickel, Butler (21.1)
2) Erika Davenport, Marquette (17.6)
3) Brooke Schulte, DePaul (17.0)
4) Allazia Blockton, Marquette (16.7)
5) Faith Woodard, Georgetown (16.3)
6) Jacqui Grant, DePaul (15.6)
T-7) Alex Louin, Villanova (15.1)
T-7) Dionna White, Georgetown (15.1)
9) Natisha Hiedeman, Marquette (14.8)
10) Dorothy Adomako, Georgetown (13.4)
Schickel, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, was a lone bright spot for the struggling Bulldogs. She scored 25 percent of Butler’s points while grabbing 37 percent of their rebounds. Both marks paced the conference.

For Seton Hall, a team that struggled to gain offensive consistency, the old adage of there being no place like home was certainly the case, as the Pirates’ offensive efficiency was 14 points higher at historic Walsh Gymnasium than on the road, with a 94-80 disparity in the two figures.

Across the Hudson River, St. John’s was a team reliant upon its defense. Looking at the home and away splits of Joe Tartamella’s Red Storm, you can see the maintenance of an outstanding consistency in their 81 efficiency at Carnesecca Arena and a slightly higher 83 figure away from home. The Red Storm had their difficulty on the offensive end, but were consistent with a offensive efficiency of 90 on the road compared to 92 in Queens. Overall, St. John’s showed a 91 efficiency, tied with Providence for sixth.

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