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Women’s Basketball Study Hall: Taking a big step forward

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A lot of production is coming back, too.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 SEC Women’s Tournament - Tennessee vs Missouri Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you thought I would publish something quickly after last month’s tease on Mizzou Women’s Basketball and their roster situation, you don’t know the depths of my procrastination!

In hindsight, I probably should have reversed these two pieces, Study Hall on the women first, then talk about the roster as we transition toward next season, but that’s not what happened. So here we are, looking at just how the season went for the women, and what made them good, along with what made them less good.

Let’s hop in.

Team Stats

study hall wbb 2021
  • If you paid any attention this year, you knew Mizzou could shoot it: and they show it here— 54.5% eFG and 59.9% true shooting. A blazing 38.2% from deep... that’s going to make a lot of teams look good on offense. If anything— a decent, but not great 2FG% and a mediocre to poor 68.2% from the free throw line stand out as what kept the eFG and TS% down despite such good 3-point shooting.
  • A common issue with Pingeton’s teams has always been ball-handling: and again this year Missouri struggled to take care of the ball. Part of the issue was starting a freshman point guard, but we can even look below to see she wasn’t the main culprit. I’ll talk about this more later because my own assumptions in watching games don’t quite bear out to what the stats said.
  • The pace is good, the shooting is good: things all season looked like a team close to taking that next step and all season they knocked on the door. They were so-so on the interior and not great at taking care of the ball, but a good portion of the minutes were going to younger players.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Aijha, Hayley, Ladazhia

study hall wbb 2021

Aijha Blackwell continues to be a difference maker; there are so many things she does well, but maybe the best thing she does is rebound. Blackwell AVERAGED a double-double this year. And while you’d certainly like to see Ladazhia Williams rebound a little better, she’s often matched up against some of the best bigs in the SEC... so she’s likely got the job of running as much interference on the glass than anything else.

Pingeton played a lot of smaller lineups out of necessity, running Blackwell and her athleticism as a bit of a point forward, and Williams at the five. This made the Tigers smaller but in a lot of ways helped build them into the feisty team they were. If the 3’s were falling, Missouri was a nearly impossible team to defend. Williams and Blackwell were capable of attacking the rim, and they had floor spacing for days.

They just needed a little more consistent production from a few spots.

study hall wbb 2021

Shug Dickson provided the offensive spark off the bench, and Dembele provided sparks... but for Missouri to take a big step forward next year they need Dembele to be a more consistent player at point guard. She’s capable. She’s fun and she’s athletic, and certainly the type of point guard the Tigers need to take hold. Mainly because of what she can do to alleviate some usage from Blackwell.

Mizzou’s offensive rating was just 104 with roughly 21 of every 100 possessions leading to a turnover. In taking 1,271 shots they scored 1,609 points or 1.27 points per shot. Virtually every turnover was costing this team 1.27 points.

If you can take the TORate and go from 21% to like 16%, you’re taking nearly 4 more shots per game. If you take some of the ball handling away from Blackwell and put it more on a committed ball handler, perhaps her efficiency goes up. The same with Williams. Improve their efficiency by making them less relied up to be playmakers and more relied upon to be shotmakers.

But I think if you surround Williams, Blackwell, and a more emboldened Dembele with shooters, continue to find jumpshots for Hayley Frank, then this is a team that jumps into the NCAA tournament conversation next year.

Matt and I talk about the men’s team most of the time and we often talk about how you can improve at the margins. If you aren’t importing an All-League level player, what can you do to make minor improvements to your existing lineup to make the difference up? This Missouri team feels a lot like Cuonzo’s bunch from two years ago. And Martin took that team and improved them at the margins rather than rebuilding or overhauling the roster. They were close, and so is this team.

There’s a lot to like. Mizzou returns three shooters (Frank, Lauren Hansen, and Haley Troup) who hit at better than 40% from deep, they return 75% of their minutes played and 80% of their points. The next two seasons are important for the program as Frank and Blackwell are moving into their upperclass years and you want to take advantage of these cornerstone players by moving the program into the upper tier of the league. But they gotta improve at those margins.


True Shooting Percentage (TS%): Quite simply, this calculates a player’s shooting percentage while taking into account 2FG%, 3FG%, and FT%. The formula is Total Points / 2 * (FGA + (0.475+FTA)). The 0.475 is a Free Throw modifier. KenPomeroy and other College Basketball sites typically use 0.475, while the NBA typically uses 0.44. That’s basically what TS% is. A measure of scoring efficiency based on the number of points scored over the number of possessions in which they attempted to score, more here.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%): This is similar to TS%, but takes 3-point shooting more into account. The formula is FGM + (0.5 * 3PM) / FGA

So think of TS% as scoring efficiency, and eFG% as shooting efficiency, more here.

Expected Offensive Rebounds: Measured based upon the average rebounds a college basketball team gets on both the defensive and offensive end. This takes the overall number of missed shots (or shots available to be rebounded) and divides them by the number of offensive rebounds and compares them with the statistical average.

AdjGS: A take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual’s “score” for a given game. The “adjustment” in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game’s points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

Offensive Rating (ORtg): Similar to Adjusted game score, but this looks at how many points per possession a player would score if they were averaged over 100 possessions.

Usage%: This “estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor” (via sports-reference.com/cbb). The usage of those possessions is determined via a formula using field goal and free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. The higher the number, the more prevalent a player is (good or bad) in a team’s offensive outcome.

Floor%: Via sports-reference.com/cbb: Floor % answers the question, “When a Player uses a possession, what is the probability that his team scores at least 1 point?”. The higher the Floor%, the more frequently the team probably scores when the given player is involved.

Touches/Possession: Using field goal attempts, free throw attempts, assists and turnovers, touches attempt to estimate, “the number of times a player touched the ball in an attacking position on the floor.” Take the estimated touches and divide it by the estimated number of possessions for which a player was on the court, and you get a rough idea of how many times a player touched the ball in a given possession. For point guards, you’ll see the number in the 3-4 range. For shooting guards and wings, 2-3. For an offensively limited center, 1.30. You get the idea.

Anyway, using the Touches figure, we can estimate the percentage of time a player “in an attacking position” passes, shoots, turns the ball over, or gets fouled.