Women’s college basketball week 12 observations

This look back at the past week in women’s college basketball features a deep dive on Thursday’s UConn-Louisville showdown and some of the best moments from Grambling State guard Shakyla Hill’s second career quadruple-double.

Quick hitter frees up Evans

Louisville guard Dana Evans turned in one of the finest performances of her young career, tallying 20 points and four assists in 28 minutes off the bench. She shot 5-of-10 from deep. The same early clock flare screen freed her for two of them against UConn’s zone and man-to-man defense.

UConn’s supporting cast

Williams nowhere to be found

Christyn Williams shot 2-of-6 in 21 minutes. She hasn’t seized many opportunities to get to the basket, which can only be frustrating from UConn’s perspective considering the flashes we’ve seen. UConn’s offense is built on ball and player movement—tailor-made to open creases for the uber-talented freshman to do more of this:

Right now, it just isn’t happening, and she’s now 1-of-16 from deep in her last seven games. The hype train left the station a tad too early after her 28-point performance at Notre Dame. That number was propped up by 10 points on fastbreak layups and run outs.

Geno Auriemma has noted many times that he doesn’t believe his team has a player that can take over games. Perhaps he’s playing coy to a certain extent with the confidence Williams can get there by season’s end. 21 games in, though, she isn’t particularly close.

Walker starts strong…

If Megan Walker spots up and knocks down these looks, UConn immediately becomes a much more potent offensive team. Napheesa Collier can pick at her matchup if teams defend her with a bigger, slower player.

She needs somebody to kick it out to when teams manage to lock in on Katie Lou Samuelson and Crystal Dangerfield away from the ball. Smart teams will send help before she or anybody else can get into the teeth of the defense.

…then fizzles out

It’s still unclear what she is. Is she a high post face up player? Can she beat people off the dribble from the 3-point line? The results in big games to date have not been promising. Thursday was no different.

She does add value if she’s going to spot up any knock down open jump shots. There’s a steady diet of those to be had. The heralded recruit still looks lost at times in running some of their favorite actions, and the ball often finds her spotting up with her heels on the 3-point line.

Play of the Day: Jazmine Jones keeps her cool

The Cardinals sure didn’t set the world on fire with their crunch time free throw shooting, but this was an encouraging moment from Jones. The retreat dribbles gave her time to survey the floor as the defense set up its trap and find the open player, eventually leading to an open layup.

UConn tries some bully ball

Auriemma noted afterwards in his presser that he thought his players tried too hard to take it upon themselves to shoulder the load offensively. He cited an example of Samuelson walking her player into the post. She did score on a duck in earlier in the game, though she was able to go up quickly that time after getting a deep catch.

The Huskies managed 14 points on 15 post up possessions used by Walker (4), Collier (6), Samuelson (4) or Nelson-Ododa (1), including two turnovers.

Another quadruple-double for Hill

The dimes

Hill’s best passes ignited immediate transition opportunities for her team. It was clear she knew where her teammates were going to be even as she turned to secure a rebound or receive an outlet pass.

Hill assisted 13 of her teammate’s 18 made field goals in this one. Her own points or assists accounted for 48 of the team’s 77 points in the Grambling State victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Floater game

This was my favorite bucket from the 21 point, 16 rebound, 13 assist, 10 steal performance. The low dribble once she got by her defender was a heady move to ensure it wouldn’t be poked away from behind.

Picking pockets

Hill’s reaction time and anticipation were on display as she was a nuisance for the opposition whether her team was in its man-to-man defense or extended into a full court zone.

Hill is the only player in NCAA history with two quadruple-doubles. Her first in January 2018 was just the fourth ever in Division I competition.

Through 21 games, Hill ranks in the top-40 nationally in scoring at 19.2 points per game. She averages 4.6 steals per game, and her 6.9 percent steal rate is the ninth-highest nationally per Her Hoop Stats. She’s third overall in free throws made (128) and first in attempts (187). The 5-foot-7 guard assists on 46.1 percent of her teammates’ buckets, good for fourth-best in the country.

Previous editions of women’s college basketball observations: Week 11Week 10Week 9Week 8Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5Week 4Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1

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