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Thread: BYU Cougar Preview

  1. #1
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    Default BYU Cougar Preview

    For those who want to get a look at what the Lady Zags will face on Saturday, the BYU Cougars will face Portland at 5:00 PM tomorrow (Thursday). The game will be live streamed on the WCCSports network.

    This is not the BYU team that we are accustomed to seeing. They start 3 guards, 1 forward and 1 center and believe it or not, Sara Hamson is actually part of the offense. While the traditional 4 guard offense may still be used, the Cougar offense now looks a lot like Gonzaga's offense with maybe a little less High-Low action.

    Both teams need this game as BYU is one game behind the Zags (having lost to San Diego) in the loss column and Portland is 2.5 games the Zags overall. Another loss by the Pilots and it may take them out of championship contention. Another loss by the Cougars and they will either need to sweep the Zags or get some help from somebody else. Two loses in the PNW this week could take the Cougars out of title contention.

    Keep in mind that San Diego still only has one loss in conference play but they have only played 3 games (2-1) with both games this week having been canceled adding to their cancelation total. USDs lone loss was to Santa Clara 51-49 at home in the Jenny Craig pavilion. The Toreros have only played 8 games so far this year (5-3) with their last game on January 4, 2021, the win against BYU. USDs three losses came to San Diego State, Arizona State of the aforementioned Santa Clara.

    Let's watch tomorrows game and game plan for Saturday.

    Go Pilots,

    ZagDad

  2. #2
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    BYUs guards have killed us from beyond the 3 arc. Portland killed us with dribble penetration. Choose your poison, but I fear the hot 3 hand most.

  3. #3
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    So do you have a team game watch....

    In years past, CLF got schooled... last year she and her coaches showed they had learned from it and did a great job.

    Last year with the Wirths being able to shoot from the elbow, they were able to move Hamson away from the basket.
    I agree with tummy... control the 3s. That means we need a game out of our guards... study how they get open.

    I think we can match them with the offense... but will need to beat them with our defense. This may be a game where we will need to up the minutes for the starters. You may only see 9 to 10 players in the rotation. Sooo get ready with the “A” game.

    I would think the coaches are looking at the USD game to see what they did to beat BYU.

    Go Zags!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tummydoc View Post
    BYUs guards have killed us from beyond the 3 arc. Portland killed us with dribble penetration. Choose your poison, but I fear the hot 3 hand most.
    Will go in more detail after the game tomorrow, but in the highlights of BYU that I have watched, some things stood out. Keep this in mind when watching tomorrow's game to see how Portland address them.

    In BYUs hammering by the Huskies, the story can be summed in in shooting. The Huskies shot 48% overall and 43% from 3 while BYU shot about 27% overall and from 3. Every other stat was about equal. When your shots don't go in and the other teams do, you are going to lose, sometimes badly. Admittedly this was BYUs 2nd game of the season but it followed a solid win against LSU (not a great team, but good athletes). When looking at the stats, the Cougars loss to USD, at first glance, appears to have no explanation. BYU won, but not by very much, almost every statistical category, at yet they still lost. Most likely, it was those pesky 26 turnovers which finally did them in (Here you go Skip).

    Last year Gonzaga won both games by double digits 55-43 in Provo and 59-44 in Provo. Of course, last year BYU was without their wunderkid Shaylee Gonzales who missed all of last year with a pre-season knee injury. The year before, with Ms. Gonzales, BYU beat the Zags twice in the regular season by 2 in each case and by double digits in the WCC tournament.

    So how is this team different? Let's begin with the starting line-up. Three of the Cougar starters remain the same as last year; Maria Albiero (5'8"-guard), Paisley (Johnson) Harding (5'9"-guard) and Sara Hamson (6'7"-Center). Back for this year is Shaylee Gonzales (5'10"-guard) and new starter Lauren Gustin (6'1"-Forward). My opinions on this team are as follows based on previous years experience and this year's highlights (pending watching tomorrow's game):

    Maria Albiero - Competent guard. Can get hot from 3, particularly if left alone. Will drive the lane but not necessarily at the best of times. Can get a little loose with the ball at times. IMO either K-11 or CW are better on both sides of the ball.

    Paisley Harding - Think a slightly shorter JT and you have Ms. Harding. Paisley is probably a little faster off the dribble while JT is a little more aggressive on defense and will go after the rebounds a little harder. Paisley will drive to the hoop or shot the 3, both equally well. Stiff defense in the key and a hand in her face outside reduces her effectiveness. Leave her alone at your peril, she will kill you. If JT is guarding Harding, JT is going to have to quit hedging the key, because Paisley will eat her for lunch. Guard her tight and don't get beat off the dribble. This match-up could go either way depending on who is shooting better that night.

    Shaylee Gonzales may be the best guard in the WCC. She is quick enough to take almost anybody off the dribble and she is left handed. She uses screens to get open from 3 and hits the left handed jumper. Stop and pop, yep has that as well. Did I mention she is left handed? Very important that the Zags force her to the right where she is much less effective. Shaylee loves to fake right and dribble past you on the left. K-11 maybe faster (CW is not). I think both K-11 and CW are better on defense and in rebounding. If you can get a few steals of Gonzales early, you might slow her down. Advantage Cougars here.

    Sara Hamson - Moving much better this year than in years past. Actually running some back door screens and pick and rolls for Sara to get open going to the hoop (she does not look to bad). A short guard stands no chance of stopping Hamson going to the hoop. Really not much of an outside game. Hamson does not live up to her height in rebounding, but she kills it in blocking. You have to get "way, way, way" past her on the way to the hoop to avoid getting blocked. It is likely LW will draw the job of guarding Hamson. LW has a much better offensive game, has much quicker feet and rebounds better. My guess is that they will have LW try and draw Sara out of the key and if she does not follow, then LW will hit the 10-12 foot jumper. The Lady Zags have the advantage here.

    Finally, new comer to the starting line-up is Lauren Gustin. Think a shorter (6'1" vs 6'3") Jenn Worth with much better rebounding abilities (13.5 per game) and more double-doubles (7 vs 6) than our own Jenn Wirth. Ms. Gustin's offensive game is very similar to JWs, and she has all of the same moves and abilities. I would say both have similar foot speed, JW is probably a little better from the left side. Perhaps for the first time this season, Ms. Gustin will have to face a big that is taller than her with somewhat equal skills. Most teams have to put their big on Hamson leaving Gustin to play against an equal or shorter and less talented forward. That will not be the case on Saturday. This will be a very interesting match-up between two of the best forwards in the WCC. Let's call it a tie for now.

    Most of the BYU starters play over 30 minutes. While BYU has some serious height on the bench, they don't play very many minutes. They do have one, decent guard they bring in that averages in double digit minutes, but that is about it. I think the GU bench has it all over BYU. In the front court, AV can certainly match-up with Hamson. MK (if available) and YE certainly are better than anything BYU can bring off the bench. In the front court, K-14 is almost an equal replacement for K-11, AOC, while not as fast as JT is taller and has longer arms to give Paisley Harding a different set of problems. LS is a less experienced but better driver than Albiero. LS plays good defense and if she values the ball a little better, she could give us some valuable minutes.

    What to watch for tomorrow? BYU is running a lot more pick & roll and back door screens than we have seen in the past. All of the guards look for it and they run it with everybody. BYU uses a lot of screens on the perimeter to get their shooters an open 3. Have to foresee the screen and get to the shooter before the shot. Finally, BYU uses a lot of motion. If a defender turns away for just a second, the BYU player is on their way to the hoop. On dribble drives BYU almost always has somebody to throw the ball to, so you have to maintain your rotations in help defense or the Cougars get a lay-up.

    My guess is that Portland will put Andrews on Gonzales, 6'0" Keeley Frawley on Paisley and Fowler on Gustin, 6'5" Lauren Walker on Hamson and 5'7" Maddie Muhleim on Albiero.

    Let's see how that turns out for the Pilots.

    ZagDad

  5. #5
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    Really hope Portland gives them a game...

    Sometimes having a week off is good, sometimes not. Some of GUs best play was the week that they had four games in eight days.

    If I were a coach I would hope by now I would know what works best for my team. Seems that some teams take a while after a bye week to get going... this can not happen against BYU. If you are use to a two game week I would plan on a day, be it Wednesday or Thursday, to play an inter-team scrimmage with a reward for the winners...

    BYU knows GU well... I would be working on some surprises with the extra time... thinking takes away from reaction...

    With GU coming off a good road trip and very little movement in the rankings, winning is a must...

    Don’t forget to have some fun and keep up the team spirit.

    Go Zags!!

  6. #6
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    Bummer, ESPN is showing BYU-Portland as postponed.


    As a consolation prize 0-3 Pepperdine is playing 0-6 SMC, someone will get their first conference win today.

  7. #7

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    Not sure who you're watching ZD, but Shaylee Gonzales is right handed. That's how I remember her, and I just found some highlights to confirm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGoatZagFan View Post
    Not sure who you're watching ZD, but Shaylee Gonzales is right handed. That's how I remember her, and I just found some highlights to confirm.
    Your right. Shaylee is definitely right handed. It's the eyes I tell you, the eyes. They never have been very good.

    To be fair I did not care about her 3-point shooting other than she is good. Here are the three highlight links and she goes to the hoop about 50-50 on either side of the hoop which is what I was concerned about. She also dribbles very well with either hand.

    For your reference on the highlight links; @2 is Gonzales, #5 is Albiero, #12 is Gustin, #13 is Harding and #22 is Hamson.

    If you leave any Cougar on the perimeter open, they will hit the shot. The "Hope they miss" defense is not effective against BYU. Watch Shaylee on the inbounds pass. The Lady Zags have been very laisse faire at times with their inbounds plays and this will lead to free points for BYU if they don't tighten up.

    St. Marys: https://byucougars.com/story/w-baske...er-saint-marys
    USF: https://byucougars.com/story/w-baske...-san-francisco
    Montana State: https://byucougars.com/story/w-baske...-montana-state

    I did not find any clarification on which team called the Portland vs BYU game. It is strange that as of now our game with BYU on Saturday is still on and Portland's game on Sunday against St. Martins is also still on. Hmmmmmmm.

    ZagDad

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    Hey arm chair coaches, since we don't get to watch BYU vs Portland tonight, here are a few items to consider when game planning for Saturday night.

    In the 10 games BYU has played this year:

    Shaylee Gonzales has lead the team in scoring 8 times. The only times Shaylee did not lead the team in scoring was in the head scratching beat down by the Huskies (Gustin lead the team with 13 pts) and in the Cougars last game against St. Mary's when Paisley led the team with 20 points (Shaylee only had 19). Lauren Gustin has lead the team in rebounding in every game for BYU this year except one where Sara Hamson led the team.

    Defense will likely win Saturdays game. Here is some evidence for support of the defense.

    BYU is 8-2 so far this year. In their 8 wins, BYU scored 67 points once and more than 70 points in their other 7 wins. In their two losses this year the Cougars scored 48 and 56 points. BYU is averaging almost 71 ppg and giving up about 60 ppg.

    Last year BYU had a record of 20-11. In ten of their 11 loses, BYU failed to score 60 points. The only game where the Cougars scored more than 60 points and lost was a 77-73 loss to Utah in Overtime. In the 20 BYU wins, BYU only won 3 games where they scored less than 60 points.

    A good place to start would be to play good enough defense to keep BYU under 60 points and then the Lady Zag's chance of a victory goes up substantially. The Zags know how to play defense. Last year (when BYU did not have Shaylee Gonzales) Gonzaga held the Cougars to 43 points and 44 points.

    Let's Go Zags,

    ZagDad

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipZag View Post
    Sometimes having a week off is good, sometimes not. Some of GUs best play was the week that they had four games in eight days.

    If I were a coach I would hope by now I would know what works best for my team. Seems that some teams take a while after a bye week to get going... this can not happen against BYU. If you are use to a two game week I would plan on a day, be it Wednesday or Thursday, to play an inter-team scrimmage with a reward for the winners...
    With their game against Portland cancelled, BYU is even worse shape then the Zags.

    BYU's last game was Jan 14, against SMC. Their games against Pacific and Portland have been cancelled. So by the time they play the Zags on Saturday, it will have been 9 days since their last game. It will only have been 7 days since the Zags last game.

    ZagDad

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  12. #12
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    Well that sucks. One of the WCC games that could have helped our national rankings, and I was looking forward to seeing Gonzales return.

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