Maverick Maniac's Musings

February 7, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Women’s Basketball – Game #23 Preview – Western Illinois

Filed under: Omaha Mavericks,Previews,Women's Basketball — Jon Green @ 5:07 pm

Omaha Women's Basketball Preview - Western Illinois - 2-7-13

Live Stats
Live Video ($8 – Me on the call)
Live Audio (Michael Brokowski and Logan Sell – WIU Feed – Free!)

Omaha got a big win on Saturday to get back to .500 in the Summit League at 5-5 and now they are a strong home stand away from positioning themselves as a likely top four team in the league. The first opponent is Western Illinois tonight. The Leathernecks are reeling having lost four straight including an embarrassing loss at Chicago State. They are desperate for a win as they plummet down the Summit League standings and they did beat Omaha by 27 in the first matchup. Doubt we’ll see that again though…

Western Illinois
There are a few things we can take from the first Western Illinois-Omaha tussle that I think show why it’s unlikely to happen again. First of all Omaha shot 31%. Yes Omaha hasn’t been great at shooting in conference play, but to see them shoot that poorly again would be weird. Also Western Illinois went 11-19 on threes. A crazy 58%. That kind of shooting is a once-in-a-year type night for even a team like Western Illinois that is great at threes. Omaha is also going to be more aware of it tonight.

The rebounding battle was even as Western Illinois had 10 offensive rebounds. Don’t expect to see that again tonight as Western Illinois isn’t a good offensive rebounding team usually and Omaha will be focused on it. I do think Omaha could see a large number of offensive rebounds since Taijhe Kelly has been dominating the offensive glass lately and Western Illinois isn’t the greatest on the defensive glass.

Take Omaha’s worst game of the year and combine it with one of Western Illinois’ best shooting performance and that’s how they ended up with a 27 point loss. It won’t happen again.

The one concern for Omaha is that they are more and more relying on just five players to do it all. We know that Nash, Frauendorfer and Blair-Mobley are expected to be huge and play nearly the whole game. Taijhe Kelly has seen a resurgence that led to her playing 33 minutes at Oakland. This is the same Taijhe Kelly that just a month ago was playing eight minutes against Fort Wayne. The more Omaha depends on her the more pressure and responsibility is on her. It is true that if she isn’t getting the job done Omaha will go to the bench but with as quiet as Vaughn and Gebers have been the last few weeks it’s no sure bet. Finally outside Ericka House has been playing a lot and has been so up and down. Omaha really needs her good side as she might be the difference maker in many games for them considering the boost she can provide.

Top Five Wins, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
133 – Eastern Illinois (70-68)
183 – Bradley (92-81)
213 – Valparaiso (69-55)
242 – Omaha (71-44)
258 – @ North Dakota State (85-83)

Worst Five Losses, ranked by RPI – realtimerpi.com
337 – @ Chicago State (54-56)
283 – @ Fort Wayne (49-80)
274 – Kansas City (50-51)
256 – @ SE Missouri State (47-56)
224 – South Dakota (58-68)

There are some pretty decent wins, but you can see they seem to play much better at home with several bad road losses. Good news for Omaha.

Omaha vs. Western Illinois – Summit League Only Stats

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 38.5% 34.1% 72.4% 0.852 0.857 23.9 0.673 50.5% 38.3% 30.6% 22.0 53.4% 34.4% 70.5% 2.9
WIU 38.7% 34.7% 61.4% 0.857 0.967 21.5 0.896 64.0% 41.7% 37.2% 19.0 44.7% 24.9% 67.2% 3.0
Favors.. WIU WIU Omaha WIU Omaha WIU WIU WIU Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha Omaha WIU

Green = 1,2, or 3 in the Summit League. Red = 7,8, or 9 in the Summit League. Bold indicates the better team in each category.

Western Illinois is generally better on offense though Omaha’s better on FTs by quite a bit. Defensively Omaha is superior though Western Illinois gets slightly more blocks. Omaha better on the glass and Western Illinois pretty poor on the offensive side.

Expected Starters
Western Illinois
Guard – Michelle Maher – 5-9 – Freshman – Averaging 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.
Guard – Rebecca Henricson – 5-6 – Junior – Averaging 4.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.8 steals.
Guard – Saule Kontautaite – 5-9 – Senior – Averaging 12.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
Forward – Ashley Luke – 6-1 – Senior – Averaging 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds.
Forward – Michele Salvatori – 5-10 – Senior – Averaging 6.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists.

Omaha
Point Guard – Jamie Nash – 5-4 – Senior – Averaging 10.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 3.3 steals.
Guard – Carly Cator – 5-9 – Senior – Averaging 2.4 points and 3.0 rebounds.
Guard – Paige Frauendorfer – 6-0 – Senior – Averaging 13.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 steals.
Guard – Carolyn Blair-Mobley – 5-10 – Senior – Averaging 12.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Center – Taijhe Kelly – 6-4 – Sophomore – Averaging 4.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.

Three Things to Watch
1) Taijhe Kelly – How good does she look right now? I haven’t said it publicly, just to my wife, but I think she’s capable of averaging a double-double her senior year if she can put it all together. I’m not saying she’ll get to that level, but her size and athleticism is basically unmatched in the Summit League. She’s still so raw and is being coached up week by week and the sky is the limit. She’s shooting 53% from the field so if Omaha can feed her she’s a great option. She does a ton of her work on the offensive glass and that’s always going to be a big part of her game, hopefully she starts to be an even bigger presence on the defensive glass to really put her over the top.

2.) The Frauendorfer/Blair-Mobley duo – I’ll keep harping on it because I think it’s so important. Omaha has only lost one game this year when they both scored in double digits, the South Dakota State game. Without a deep bench Omaha has to get good play out of those they depend on night in and night out. There aren’t others who can pick up the slack.

3.) Jamie Nash – We know Jamie is going to turn it over a lot, her role on this team causes some of it. She handles the ball a TON and she is driving into the paint a lot where some of those turnovers occur due to not being able to get a shot/pass. All that said she’s averaging 5.4 turnovers per game and that does cause some problems at time. What I’d hope to see from Nash is less turnovers on bad passes and steals. She’s had her pocket picked too much lately and that’s caused some problems for UNO.

Prediction
Omaha gets revenge tonight and I gotta good feeling about this one. 68-54 Mavericks.

Massey – Omaha wins 65-59
RealTimeRPI – Omaha wins 66-54

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