On Monday night the UAB women’s basketball team hosted their final exhibition game against the Lane College Lady Dragons. UAB used a dominate second half to cruise past the Dragons by a final of 96-48.
For the second game in a row UAB shot the ball incredibly well. The Blazers shot 54.1% from the field (33-61) and an incredible 57.1% from three point range (8-14).
If you look back at last game, Coach Norton had said that he wanted the number of attempted threes to come down and they did just that. As a team, UAB was very selective in taking the three point shot. Six of the 8 made three pointers came from sophomore guard Deanna Kuzmanic and freshman guard Rachael Childress.
One main reason for the decrease in threes that I could see was the defensive scheme of Lane College. Tuskegee, in the other exhibition, played a 1-2-1 zone which leaves for a lot of long shots due to the defense doubling the post. Lane played a more tradition 2-3 or man to man defense. This allowed the guards of UAB to get more passes into the paint to try to get the bigs easy shots. As a result, UAB scored 38 points in the paint, which is around a 15 point increase from last game.
UAB was up just 45-32 at half. The second half was a different story when the entire team showed they can score points in a hurry. The Blazers ended up out scoring Lane 51-16 in the second half.
On the other side of the ball, the defense played collectively well especially in the second half. One player I would like to highlight is freshman guard, Micah Scheetz. All game long Scheetz was relentlessly quick to the ball. In result she ended up with 3 steals but her overall impact won’t be told on the stat sheet.
The entire UAB defense stepped up in the second half when it counted. Lane ended up shooting just 14.2% from the field in the second half with only one made three pointer.
When the ball reached the paint for Lane, UAB’s help defense was quick to trap any player trying to get a shot off. This was especially effective when the 6-2 freshman Angela Vendrell and 6-3 red shirt freshman Bailee Wolfe were in the game together. Their length will be a huge asset for the team all season.
In one instance, a guard got past her defender and Wolfe and Vendrell trapped her. She tried to put the shot up but their length gave Vendrell the easy blocked shot. If UAB can play defense like they did in the second half they will lead the league again in defensive shooting percentage.
UAB improved in rebounds from the last game as well. Keonna Farmer grabbed 11 herself. If she does this every game it could help UAB find that dominate inside player who can control the boards. UAB was able to get 13 second chance points off of 13 offensive rebounds.
UAB again shot an uncharacteristic percentage from the free throw stripe (66.7%, 22-33). That is two games in a row where free throws have been an issue. In both games they have been in the 60’s where typically they much higher.
The poor percentage left 11 points on the floor. Look for Coach Norton to have the team more focused and consistent when reaching the foul line next game.
The second half started very slow for UAB due to trouble in-bounding the ball. Lane went to a full court denial defense which resulted in a few Blazer turnovers. A team like UTEP, who often engages in a hard full court press, could cause UAB havoc when they meet in the conference slate. Look for Coach Norton to work on moving the play against pressing defenses.
UAB will be traveling to Chicago over the weekend where they’ll face Gardner-Webb in the Maggie Dixon Classic. If they win, they will likely end up facing DePaul. DePaul was a sweet sixteen team last year and went 27-9 (16-2). Their head coach was the 4th active head coach to reach 600 career wins. If UAB gets to face them it will be a tough test but will be great experience for this young team..