Taking a gander at how the women are doing... I had become quite excited about them in recent years do to tremendous recruiting by Boyd and Gottleib. But we didn't do as well as we thought (granted, they were young, and went thru a coaching change) so I backed off this year and have not yet watched. Forgive my uneducated view, therefore, but it seems to me that that this team has pretty much all the components except interior free throw shooting. And this is how we will get bounced from the NCAA's.
We have size, depth and talent to murder people down low, certainly enough to compete with anyone. But the craziest stat ever: Caldwell shooting 69% from the floor but just 34% from the line. Wow! At 69%, we should be going to her on the block every time and either converting or drawing fouls. But since she shoots such a low percentage and teams can play hack-a-Talia, we appear to not go to her often.
And the stats further bear that out as Boyd, Clarendon, and Brandon take the most shots. Brandon appears to be at 53% from the floor and 60% from the line, so I'm guessing she is getting more set plays into her, and Caldwell cleanup the scrap put backs, it would seem. But imagine if we had 2 posts we could dump it into! And make them pay! If our pivots could crush from the line, it would be murderer's row! Reshanda Gray is a great player, too, but she isn't converting at a high rate from the line either (Edit: 59% from the floor and 69% from the line, but gets fewer minutes than Brandon or Caldwell, no doubt because it's her 2nd year vs. 4th).
Something tells me that we will get matched up against a strong team where we'd have the advantage inside, but won't go to it bc the FT shooting takes it away, from ourselves. Instead, we'll allow ourselves to rely on the magic of Boyd and Clarendon, but this will be a mistake because there will be defensive talents out there solely focused on taking that away, and they will be able to.
Instead, if our pivots could hit from the line, you have to double team instead of single and foul. If you draw the double, then you have kick out options which can succeed.
Okay, okay.... I'm just looking at stats and haven't watched a single game this year, yet! Surely you'll tell me we already consistently draw the double down low. And yeah, she's not a good free throw shooter, but the team is 9-1 and it hasn't seemed to hurt us so far. I'm just saying, that's a crazy stat line, and a clear Achilles heal!
Don't be surprised if that's how it crashes down on us us in the end if a remedy isn't discovered in practice now. Tough to imagine it will change for a senior. It most likely is what it is.
(Edit: As a result of this, could we see Brandon and Gray getting more minutes than Caldwell when it comes to crunch time at the end of the season? Whenever I do the All-Time NBA Fantasy team, I find myself shying away from Shaq and Wilt. I just can't have poor free throw shooters on the floor. It gives the other team an out. Good luck to Talia and the Bears!!! I'll be watching as things progress!