King’s Court: Keys to Success
By Alex King
The Webster University women’s basketball team has had its ups and downs this season. Even with some bad stretches, Webster is in the hunt to play in the SLIAC tournament. But there are a few things the Golroks have to do to finish the season strong.
In eight of their 12 wins, Webster stole the ball from their opponents at least 10 times. The Gorloks had less than 10 takeaways in six of their seven losses. The defense is built around aggressiveness, but the women need to make sure they don’t become overly aggressive.
Webster isn’t a tall team that can use size as an advantage. The Gorlok defense likes to take chances to try to force turnovers. They are very successful when they force multiple turnovers.
Point guard Maggie Zehner is one of the key contributors to the Gorloks’ success. She leads the team in both assists and steals. When she forces turnovers on defense and can help the team score off of the turnovers, it helps the team gain momentum.
The Gorloks are a run-and-gun style offense. They like to push the tempo and score before the defense gets into position. The women are not built to slow down the tempo, so they score through quick motion and passing. They struggle when they are outrun.
In both instances on offense, decision-making plays a key role. Webster has turned the ball over almost twice as much as it has assisted. A 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is typically a good goal for a team; the Gorloks’ ratio is 0.6 assists to every one turnover. This makes it very difficult for an offense to get into rhythm.
Only once this season has Webster had more assists than turnovers, which was when they won by 40 against Eureka College. When the Gorloks are able to play fast on offense, they occasionally get too fast and make bad passes. This all comes down to decision-making.
The women’s team is prone to turnovers when they are forced to slow down because no one is running around to get open. They begin to force things, which causes the women to make bad decisions and turn the ball over.
The Gorloks are built to be aggressive and fast-paced. They need to continue with their aggressive style as long as they can keep it controlled. Defensively, Webster can stay aggressive while being controlled by knowing when to go for the steal and when to stay back. It doesn’t always work, but it gives the team a chance to be more successful.
The Gorloks need to continue being aggressive by pushing the tempo offensively, but they need to know when to slow down. They have to know when to make the aggressive pass and when to hold onto the ball and keep the possession alive. When they are slowed down, the Gorloks need to stay aggressive by moving to get open, not by making tough passes.
Aggressiveness is a great tool for the women’s basketball team, as long as they remember that it goes hand-in-hand with good decision-making. Sometimes the best decision is not to be aggressive.