Using one of my favorite movies to summarize this Purdue women's basketball game last night. Mostly ugly. But any win at Wisconsin Green Bay is a good win. They are a very disciplined team, well coached, and play exceptional switching man-to-man defense. They just don't seem to have as much scoring punch as usual. The Phoenix commentators said that they had lost back to back home games for the first time in 15 years. So for us to make it three in a row is some accomplishment.
The good: KK was all over the place. She did have too many turnovers, but she used her speed and experience and made clutch shots and free throws. At times Green Bay just didn't know how to keep up with Houser. Clemons did go inside and draw three shooting fouls. Bays got 10 rebounds. Probably the best was that we played some really tenacious switching man-to-man defense. Green Bay really had a hard time just finding a shot to take. We would often shut down a player then when that player with the ball turned back, we had a defender to try and take it away from them. This really got into their head. I really believe we had more blocked shots than the box score says. April Wilson really complemented Houser well and we made some great pull-up two point jump shots at key points in the game. We won the rebounding margin by a lot, and we drew a lot of fouls and shot well from the free throw line. Then there is the age old cliche, an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.
the bad: We scored 5 points in the first 10+ minutes. Yes you read that correctly. Given how poorly we started out on offense, and then lapsed on defense in the final three minutes, it is almost in the miracle status that we even won. It is hard to categorize the bad from the ugly in this game. I'll just pick some. Our offense was completely out of rhythm almost the entire game. Part of this is the well-coached defense of the Pheonix. But we ought to know how to attack a man-to-man defense by now. Other than a 16-2 run to start the second half, our offense was simply awful. For the most part we guarded their three point shooters but we still gave up too many open looks there. We were lucky they only went 7 for 27 from three. Post scoring. Or should I say lack of it. We went in with a big advantage in the post but other than some good rebounding and shot blocking, we just couldn't convert in the post. Overall shooting for the game goes into the bad category. Also, we had at least 5 players who came in and could accomplish basically nothing then they went back out. That must have been frustrating for Coach.
The ugly: Well pretty much most of the game. You could say that Green Bay has a knack of making their opponents play ugly. They had won their last 8 games against Big Ten teams which is impressive from a team from the Horizon League. Which they have won I believe 15 years in a row. Turnovers! Holy Cow how many ways can we turn the ball over. I would say that the majority of them were not even forced. Green Bay killed us in points off of turnovers. We had been cleaning that aspect of our game up lately. But old turnover bugaboos just really looked ugly. I already covered bad shooting. But some of our shots were just plain ugly. Our offensive flow was almost non-existent. Also pretty ugly. But here is the caveat: We won ugly on the road. I guess we'll take it. Coach V did mention in the post game press conference that a lot of teams simply refuse to play at Green Bay but we took on the challenge. We better clean up a lot of aspects of our game with Bowling Green coming into Mackey Sunday. They are probably a better team than Green Bay this year.
Moving forward, on a positive note we are 8-2 with only losses to the number 2 and 6 ranked teams in the country. We have survived some tough road games and grown as a team. This helps to prepare us for Big Ten away games which will be very challenging especially this year. We play all of our toughest opponents on the road. And we have to go to late in the conference season to find a weekend home game on the schedule. Our team is tougher having played so many tough away games and we should see dividends from that as the season progresses to the post-season.