One final breakdown here…..I anticipate it being very difficult for the Coyotes to get decent looks under the basket today. With the oft-mentioned (by me, anyway) Chiney Ogwumike one of the best defenders in the nation —- three-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year – it’s difficult to envision the Coyotes getting much done under the hoop. Polly Harrington and Margaret McCloud have done a great job of battling with strong inside players the last few weeks, but I suspect they’re going to be dealing with something entirely different today.
So that means if the Coyotes are going to get some points, they’re going to have to get them from the perimeter or in transition. I would expect USD is going to have to look to Nicole Seekamp for a lot of shots today because of that. USD was getting transition hoops in some cases after made baskets at the Arena last week. Pursuing that one clean shot early in a possession will be important against a team that is going to be taller and quicker at most spots on the floor. Start passing it around here and there against a physically superior team and pretty soon there are five seconds left on the shot clock and you’ve passed up two decent looks in exchange for a desperation heave over three 6-2 players.
It will be interesting to see the level of quality shots USD will get, given the anticipated matchup issues. If they can get some clean looks, they’re going to have to make a high percentage of them.
Avoiding the rout will also necessarily have to include avoiding bunches of turnovers while at the same time overachieving on the boards. I don’t see offensive rebounding as being a realistic difference-making goal against Stanford, but restricting the Cardinal to one shot per trip as often as possible is a must to stay in the game.
USD is a 28.5 underdog according to one gambling website. Earlier today Duke, another of the No. 2 seeds, beat Winthrop 87-45. If the Coyotes turn the ball over often and give up a lot of offensive rebounds, that’s the sort of scenario we’re looking at. No one said it was going to be easy.