Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Guru Postgame Scout: A Strategical Review of the Notre Dame-Penn Game

At special games, sometimes revealed, other times not, former veteran coaches now on the sidelines but still close to the game have agreed to exchange a seat on press row to do an analysis of one team or both after a key game. 

Special to Womhoops Guru

PHILADELPHIA - Penn held high scoring Notre Dame to a season low 66 points while forcing 22 Irish turnovers.  

The Quakers utilized a containing 2-2-1 zone press that dropped back into a half court 2-3 zone. This slowed down the Irish and limited their open court looks. It also contributed to 22 Irish turnovers as the Irish tried to score quickly in the half court through a retreating Penn defense.


Notre Dame players have all the innate athletic ability and skill sets one would expect from a top 2/3 team

But what is impressive about the Irish is their discipline and ability to pass.  They used a 1-3-1 offensive set with a baseline runner against Penn’s zone defense. The Irish were able to get the ball to the high post and she distributed the ball.  

Her favorite and preferred target was the low post/ baseline runner.  The post to post passing was fun to watch. The Irish scored 40 of their 66 points in the paint.


Penn was strong with the ball and relentless on defense. They too were disciplined and prepared. 

Consequently, the Quakers were able to handle the physicality and speed of the Irish. They ran their sets; moved the ball and had good looks at the basket.  They got their share of rebounds scoring 14 second chance points. They have a nice balance attack with inside strength and effective 3 point shooters. They never backed down and never gave up.


The Irish countered in the second half by playing an aggressive man to man defense.  They put more pressure on the Quakers perimeter players and picked up the ball closer to half court.  

This was a turning point of the game and forced the Quakers out of their offensive rhythm.  As a result, the Quakers had to settle for contested shots as time wound down on the shot clock.  The Irish capitalized on the Quakers forced shots giving quick open looks to Notre Dame. 

Postgame Scout will be on Hawk Hill Monday Night for the Big Five battle between Penn and Saint Joseph’s.



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