Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 3, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Women’s Basketball – Game 13 Preview – Oakland

Filed under: College Sports,Omaha Mavericks,Recaps,Women's Basketball — Jon Green @ 9:30 am

Omaha-Oakland-Women-1-3-13

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It was disappointment on Sunday as the Mavericks couldn’t overcome a deficit against South Dakota and picked up their first loss in the Summit League, 62-57, to fall to 1-1. The Mavericks were not great defensively, but the problems were on offense mostly as the Mavericks lost for the 3rd time this year (their three worst offensive performances). Omaha missed several FTs they needed to hit down the stretch and had several shots down the stretch clang off the rim. Defensive gets the Mavericks going and is the cornerstone of their team, but offense seems to dictate if they win or not. Interestingly South Dakota is in the exact same mold, they hit a few more shots and got the win. Now they come home to take on Oakland in their Summit League home-opener, a winnable game for the Mavericks.

Oakland
Oakland has had an up and down season getting off to a good start but losing five out of six during a stretch featuring games with Michigan State, Purdue, and Connecticut. Oakland is perhaps a shell of what they could be due to a couple of injured players, Bethany Watterworth and Olivia Nash. Watterworth was the Preseason Player of the Year and is in the top 10 in points in Oakland history. She averaged 18.7 ppg and 5.4rpg last year but is out with an undisclosed injury and has not played this year. I haven’t seen any indication she’ll play in this one. The other injured player is Olivia Nash, a freshman forward. Nash started her first eight games and showed her ability averaging 11.8 points and 10.1 rebounds. She hasn’t played since. There was a quote from Oakland coach Beckie Francis that they hoped she would be on the court this week, but we won’t know if she’s active until tomorrow evening probably.

Oakland has made the NCAA tournament twice and won a couple of Summit tournament titles and three regular season titles since joining D-I in 1998-99. Brooke Francis has been the head coach for 13 years, saw the transition from D-II, and has put together a 225-149 record. Francis started her head coaching career at Stony Brook, transitioning them from D-III to D-II. In 2011-12 Oakland had their worst season under coach Francis, their first losing season in Division I, an 11-17 record, 7-11 in conference. They started off 6-4 in conference before a 1-7 finish.

Oakland has developed a pretty well-balanced attack this year with four players (other than Nash) averaging between 8 and 12 points. Diminutive freshman guard Elena Popkey is averaging 11.4 per game but is really taking over as of late scoring 14, 22, and 20 in the last three games. She’s going to be one to watch for the Mavericks over the next four years. She averages 5.2 rebounds despite standing just 5-5. The other guard to score over 10 per game is Annemarie Hamlet, averaging 10.3. Hamlet is only 5-6 as well and is also a freshman. She’s only started three games for Oakland but has been huge off the bench averaging 28.9 minutes and scoring in double-figures nine times, including a high of 20 in her 2nd game.

A more experienced guard who has started every game for the Golden Grizzlies is junior Victoria Lipscomb. Lipscomb averages 8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. The have some experience as well in junior guard/forward Elizabeth Hamlet has started every game and averages 8.8 points and 1.9 rebounds. Yes the two Hamlets are sisters. Another starter for the Golden Grizzlies is junior forward Zakiya Minifee, averaging 4.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. Minifee was named 2nd team preseason All-Summit League

Against IUPUI, Oakland shot a season-high 60.5% and used that to propel them to a 68-59 win. Elena Popkey had 20 points while Elizabeth Hamlet had 13. Oakland’s second half shooting was a ridiculous 75%. Oakland didn’t blow IUPUI out because IUPUI was able to grab 42% of their own offensive rebounds and grab 82% of their defensive rebounds. Oakland ended up with 17 less shots than IUPUI. Oakland was beat in the paint 40-20 and in 2nd chance points 16-2.

Wins, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
123 – American (70-60)
160 – IUPUI (68-59)
200 – George Mason (62-58)
288 – Western Michigan (73-70)
313 – @ Canisius (52-51)
N/A – UM-Dearborn (78-53)
N/A – Rochester College (65-34)

Losses, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
1 – @ Connecticut (25-97)
14 – Purdue (46-77)
25 – Michigan State (43-75)
161 – Western Illinois (73-81)
283 – @ Niagara (59-70)
298 – Buffalo (59-61)
312 – @ Manhattan (43-47)

Oakland has played some very tough games and lost big, but also has some nice wins against American and IUPUI at home. On the road they’ve struggled losing to teams like Niagra and Manhattan and barely squeaking by Canisius. Omaha is a tougher opponent than any of those teams.

Omaha vs. Oakland

Team FG% 3FG% FT% O-PPP D-PPP TO Rt A/TO A/B% Def FG% Def 3FG% Opp TO Rt Reb% Off Reb% Def Reb% BPG
Omaha 42.5% 36.6% 67.9% 0.919 0.808 23.2 0.901 59.0% 36.1% 30.1% 25.0 52.2% 37.6% 65.5% 3.4
Oakland 38.4% 35.0% 67.5% 0.793 0.896 24.3 0.776 63.0% 41.6% 32.7% 22.0 48.3% 27.5% 68.6% 3.2
Favors.. Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Oakland Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Oakland Omaha

Omaha is the better team in nearly every category. They are significantly better offensive and defensively when we look at tempo-free statistics. Omaha’s defense isn’t even statistically as good as Oakland’s offense is bad. That’s a big opportunity for the Mavericks to shut down the Golden Grizzlies and then just hit enough shots to win. Omaha is also better on the boards and should be able to get going on 2nd chance points in the paint. One thing Oakland does really well is pass the ball, something that might help them against Omaha’s 1-3-1 zone defense.

Starters
Oakland
Guard – Elena Popkey – 5-5 – Freshman – Warren, Michigan – Averaging 11.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Guard – Victoria Lipscomb – 5-7 – Junior – East Lansing, Michigan – Averaging 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2,2 steals.
Guard – Peyton Aspey – 5-9 – Sophomore – Hemlock, Michigan – Averaging 1.6 points and 2.3 rebounds.
Guard/Forward – Elizabeth Hamlet – 5-11 – Junior – McBain, Michigan – Averaging 8.8 points and 1.9 rebounds.
Forward – Zakiya Minifee – 5-9 – Junior – East Lansing, Michigan – Averaging 4.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals.

Omaha
Point Guard – Jamie Nash – 5-4 – Senior – Verona, Missouri – Averaging 10.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 3.7 steals.
Guard – Carly Cator – 5-9 – Senior – Lakewood, Colorado – Averaging 1.6 points and 2.9 rebounds.
Guard – Paige Frauendorfer – 6-0 – Senior – Humphrey, Nebraska – Averaging 13.0 points and 9.1 rebounds.
Guard – Carolyn Blair-Mobley – 5-10 – Senior – St. Paul, Minnesota – Averaging 12.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
Center – Taijhe Kelly – 6-4 – Sophomore – Carson, California – Averaging 4.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

Three Things to Watch
1) Pounding the Paint – Omaha’s going to start three players at 5-10 or taller and will sub inside with a 6-0 forward. This size could be a problem for Oakland if Olivia Nash does not play. They only have one starter over 5-9 and their other inside players off the bench are averaging under ten minutes per game. If Omaha can establish Vaughn and Kelly inside and they can pick on Oakland’s rebounding Omaha could see a big win in the paint.

2.) Nash and Nash – Olivia Nash deserves an entire point because she might be the one who can make the difference for Oakland, if she were playing. If she plays I think it’s a totally different game as Oakland doesn’t have to quite as small and she can battle Kelly and Vaughn more effectively and limit their second chances. South Dakota took advantage of Omaha in the low post on Sunday and I imagine Oakland would want to do the same.

Jamie Nash is only shooting 31.7% this year after shooting 41.3% as a junior, 36.4% as a sophomore, and 38% as a freshman. Jamie seems to be getting good looks but just isn’t finishing. Last year she got four FTAs per game, this year she’s averaging a little under three. I think at least some of the explanation is that she’s anticipating fouls from contact that aren’t coming, whether because the contact doesn’t come or it isn’t called. I do think she’ll improve as the year goes on, this just isn’t normal for her, so hopefully we see that start Thursday night. She’s been under 30% the last three games and seven times this year after doing it six times all of last season.

3.) Frauendorfer slump? – Paige is now just 9-35 in the last three games (25.7%). Her 23 total points during the stretch are her lowest three game total since she scored 0-8-9 in a stretch last year in January. Her lack of scoring was masked in the Saint Mary’s game because Casse Vaughn and Carolyn Blair-Mobley scored 26 each and against Kansas City when Ericka House had 21 and the Mavericks were ferocious on defense. It was very noticeable on Sunday though when Frauendorfer shot just 1-13 (7.7%) and had her worst game since South Dakota last year (1-6). Some of this needs to be chalked up to South Dakota’s fantastic defense, but Paige has definitely had a rough few games. The great news is that Paige hits the boards just as hard when she’s not scoring, she has 33 rebounds during this stretch. I expect her to bounce back offensively on Thursday and look for Omaha to try to get her going early on in this one.

Prediction
A little hard predicting a game like this without knowing if Nash will play for Oakland. I’ll assume she doesn’t and I think Omaha should feel comfortable. Mavericks defense imposes their will and Omaha wins 67-55.
Massey – Omaha wins 64-56.
RealTimeRPI – Omaha wins 70-57.

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