Thursday, June 07, 2007

Barb vs. Shyra and Perimeter Defense

With back to back losses behind them to a Western Conference team, the Storm better prepare for the questions.

In two games with Houston, Barb Turner (cut by Coach Anne Donnovan for failing to show up on time for camp and then failing to out play camp invitee Shyra Ely) has put up the following numbers (averages)...

Minutes: 25.5
FG%: 37.5%
Rebounds: 3.5
Assists: 1
TO: 1
Points: 8.5

Ely in contrast has provided the following TOTALS...

Minutes: 14
FG%: 50% (she has taken TWO shots)
Rebounds: 3
Assists: 0
TO: 2
Points: 4

So tell me again what you were thinking, Coach Donovan? Shyra's four game TOTALS are just about equal to Barb's two game AVERAGE.

I will grant that BT is shooting a worse percentage so far than she averaged last season, but she is rebounding much better. However, she went 1 for 8 from the field in her first game and 5-8 in her second, so that number is misleading with only two games under her belt in a Comet's uniform.

It is somewhat unfair to make this comparison, since it is Katie Gearlds that really has taken Barb's spot in the rotation, and perhaps it was better to cut Barb to free her up as a 6th man for a team like Houston than be the rarely played option available to Ely. With Swoopes out, Barb could end up starting for the Comets before long. Anne needed offense off the bench and a shooter like Gearlds is more likely to grow into that role than Barb, given BT's role as spark plug and defender.

Here are Katie's averages for the season...
Minutes: 14
FG%: 21%
Rebounds: 1
Assists: 1
TO: 0
Points: 2.8

Her shooting and scoring aren't where they need to be and Barb is doing better despite being in a new system in Houston. I suspect Anne feels that her potential is higher given her histor as a scorer, feeling that she just needs time. My fear is that the perennial college starter is struggling to adjust to coming off the bench, if she does, she can do for the Storm what Crossley is doing for San Antonio and start dropping threes off the bench.

At some point Anne needs to decide where the perimeter defense is going to come from in the starting lineup. Izi has been getting the toughest defensive assignments, like Swoopes, Taurasi and Hammon, but that still leaves two perimeter players open. Betty is crucial on the floor for offense, but her height is a problem when Izi slides to pick up a guard on defense. It worked against Phoenix and Houston but not San Antonio.

Seattle Perimeter
Bird: 5'-9"
Lennox: 5'-8"
Castro-Marques: 6'-0"

vs. Houston
Grant: 5'-8"
Shields: 5'-10"
Maiga-Ba: 6'-1"
Swoopes: 6'-1"
It only worked after Sue was told to force Shields to her left hand, prior to that the rookie was shredding the Storm's perimeter defense.

vs. Phoenix
Miller: 5'-10"
Pondexter: 5'-9"
Taurasi: 6'-0"
Derevjanik: 5'-10"

vs. San Antonio
Hammon: 5'-6"
Johnson: 5'-9"
Ferdinand-Harris: 5'9"
Crossley: 5'-10"

When Izi guards the tallest player the Storm have won, but when she picks up the shortest player the Storm are playing at a disadvantage with Bird and Lennox forced to defend taller players who then hit open shots. Until the Storm figure out how to address that (replacing Lennox with Gearlds in the third produced the best plus/minus of the night on Saturday) performance could vary depending on the size of the opposing perimeter players and who Izi has to guard.

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