On Monday night the UAB women’s basketball team dominated Mississippi Valley State out of the SWAC. The final score ended up being 80-46, but it was only ever close for about the first five minutes of the game.
In the first quarter MVSU hung around and it was tied at five apiece before a time out. After that time out, UAB went on a scoring run and only allowed MVSU to score three more points in the quarter.
I asked Coach Norton what he said to get them to settle into the game and he joked, “it was a lot of strategy. I said play hard on defense. What’s going to make us a great team is playing on the defensive end. We can score points. We have a lot of fire power, but where we have to lock down is on defense. And a big part of that is defensive rebounding.”
Early on UAB had difficulty getting some of the rebounds. The boxing out aspect seemed fine from my perspective, but it seemed like balls were just rolling off of the hands of the players. Coach pointed out having two hands on the ball when you go up and get it so hopefully we see more of that in the next game.
The second half of the game went all UAB’s way, especially in the third quarter. UAB outscored MVSU 24-5 in the 3rd quarter alone. Just in that quarter UAB shot 71.4 percent from the field, going 10-of-14, and 75 percent from 3-point range, going 3-of-4. UAB held MVSU to just 15.4 percent shooting, just 2-of-13 from the field.
All of UAB’s guards looked excellent. Yes, UAB hit 12 threes on just 20 attempts, but that was not all they were doing. I was very impressed with Micah Scheetz. She led all scorers with 13 points. She is a great shooter, but she impressed me with her drives. She has been trying to do that every game, but this time she seemed to settle into the drives much easier and find the appropriate lanes.
I asked Coach Norton about her, and he put his arm around her and said, “I always tell her be Micah, and that’s what she does. When we recruited her, she can definitely knock down the three, but her game is to attack. She can get in the paint, and make plays, and finish, and I am really proud of the way she played tonight.”
Though Scheetz was only credited with one steal in the game, she seemed to be very disruptive to the passing lanes of MVSU. She is very quick to the ball and has a great basketball IQ and awareness to see where the ball is going to travel.
Miyah Barnes, who has become almost unstoppable at point guard, set her season high of 8 assist tonight. She is very unselfish with the ball and will drive to create open chances for shooters such as Deanna Kuzmanic or Rachael Childress.
Kuzmanic and Childress are probably the two best shooters on the team. In the game they were a combined 9-of-13 from the field and 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Having such versatile guards who can drive, shoot and pass will really help this team going forward.
Coach Norton played 13 players in the game and only one did not score. Something that impressed me is how composed Bailee Wolfe and Angela Vendrell are. Both players have not seen a large amount of time on the floor, but when they come in (often times after sitting for long periods of time) they immediately are draining long range shots, blocking shots, and rebounding. It goes to show that at any point on this very young team, it could be your opportunity and you have to be ready.
A pretty important statistical note, after this game, UAB is eighth in the ENTIRE COUNTRY in 3-point percentage at 42.2 percent through the first five games. UAB will face a tough road test on Saturday as they head to face Southern Illinois, who just knocked off Purdue on the road.
The next home game will be next Saturday, December 10 against No 8 Florida State at 2 p.m. It is so important that Birmingham shows up for this team as it will be a huge test for this young group.