3 Keys: Montana v Southern Utah

Published on 7 February 2022 at 16:54

The original matchup was supposed to be weeks ago. Now we are on! We did a preview of that canceled game and we have added those comments when we felt the same way in both 3 KEYS previews. You can find our original post 1/12/22 by scrolling up on this page.




KEY 1: 

The battle in the paint. We believe this matchup between 4 great post players should be entertaining.  All four of these players were showcased in our POST PLAYER DEEP DIVE earlier this month. 

Here is what we wrote about for the first matchup on 1/12/22

Rebounding & Paint War: Who wins the battle of the rebounding? Williamson and Dotson or Gfeller and Anderson? Lady Griz do have help in this position with Frolich and Bartsch but the numbers don’t show much difference.  Williamson and Dotson combine for 15.5 rebounds per game with 5.8 of those being offensive rebounds. With the 4 of the Lady Griz with Gfeller and Anderson playing a majority of the minutes, they combine for 20.6 rebounds a game and just 5.7 offensive rebounds. Darri Dotson is a throwback player and plays with passion and energy, will Gfeller be able to match this old-school approach? Anderson and Williamson is an interesting matchup with athlete vs size. Both will defend each other well but don’t be surprised to see Anderson beat Williamson on rim runs and transition opportunities. Anderson is more polished but has struggled to finish this season. Will Anderson continue to be bothered in the post by Williamson's size? 

We still agree with many of these thoughts and are looking forward to this matchup of some of the BSC premier BIGS. 

Here is some raw data on players that will be doing battle in the paint.

Abby Anderson: 10.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 40.6 FG%, 72.2 FT%, 34 ASST, 42 BLK, .797 PPP,  1.17 BSB#

Carmen Gfeller: 13.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 53.1 FG%, 82.9 FT%, 17 ASST, 14 BLK, .996 PPP,  1.32 BSB#

Lizzy Williamson: 10.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 51.1 FG%, 51.5 FT%, 32 ASST, 25 BLK, .903 PPP, 1.78 BSB#

Darri Dotson: 10.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 44.1 FG%, 68.8 FT%, 27 ASST, 23 BLK, .844 PPP , 1.31 BSB#


KEY 2: 

How will SUU decide to guard the P&R action of Montana? We believe this is KEY to the game for a few reasons. When Montana has played  teams that allow Sophia Stiles to get downhill (meaning turned the corner with her shoulders, shoulders parallel to the baseline and squared up to the basket)  Montana has been a dangerous on the offensive end of the floor. Forcing teams to help when she blows by defenders causes  easy kick outs to some of the leagues best SPOT UP shooters.  Recently teams the Lady Griz have played switch (MSU and ISU) and have done a better job of keeping Stiles out of the paint. 

SUU does not switch, but they do have 6’5 Williamson to playback and zone cover P&R’s. This allows Ballena, Daughtery, and other guards to go over or under the on-ball screens and prevent Stiles from turning the corner. The T-Birds will go over or under based on personnel, we predict the LADY GRIZ will start with UNDER to start and KEY in on Williamson and place her in a lot of P&R actions. Williamson cannot play so far back that she gives space for Stiles pull up jumper.  We have also seen T-Birds down or ICE side P&R action. We noticed this happening mostly on the right side of the floor. This coverage also allows their bigs to zone cover the ball handler.  Applying pressure on Stiles will also disrupt the Lady Griz P&R game. Often times it takes them time to get in alignment. and this put unwanted opportunities for teams to ramp up ball pressure. Ballena and Daughtery can do this. This added pressure on Stiles will force disruption in our opinion.


SUU only gives up .649 PPP (5th in BSC overall half-court defensive .792 PPP 4th in BSC)


KEY 3: 

We thought this was going to be a KEY in the first matchup that was postponed (posted 1/12)

Lady Griz Shooting: If the Lady Griz shoot well from beyond the arch they will be fine. The problem is shooting consistency comes and goes for Lady Griz. They need to prove they can consistently shoot from the perimeter so Gfeller and Anderson can go to work down low. Even in the lopsided win vs EWU the Lady Griz had long stretches without scoring an FG and took advantage of small scoring spurts towards the end of the quarters (good teams find ways to win). 

Here is what we think currently 

Will Montana be able to exploit SUU P&R coverage and overall half-court scheme enough to force help and recover? If not they will have to get 3 point attempts off with tight coverage and the Lady Griz have not shot well lately.  In BSC play the Lady Griz are shooting 54-169 for 32% from 3. In non-conference games, the Lady Griz shot 34% (34% is 1st in the BSC currently NAU) on 58-159 3FG shooting.  Montana and their SHOOTERS need to have a hot night to help Anderson and Gfeller's anticipated contributions tonight. 


Watch a FATKIN and JOHNSON/EATON matchup as it could be KEY

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