January 13, 2008

How Important is a Shot Changer?

You're intrigued...I know. With the return of Sylvia Fowles, I thought it would only be fitting to discuss the value of shot blockers...or more importantly shot changers.

We are talking about a defensive post presence here. We're talkin' Fowles. She not only block shots...she changes shots...which I believe is just as good. I watch it happen week in and week out with Central Michigan. Don't ever underestimate the mental side of shooting. When our girls are confident (I.E. feel they can attack a team) we are at our best. However, if our girls are intimidated by a team or even a big post player...they start to change their shots. When you change your shot...your shot will not fall. That's what Sylvia Fowles does...she's such an intimidating force inside that players throw up junk against her...just so that they don't get their shots thrown and end up on SportsCenter...or CSTVcenter...yeah.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how many shots Sylvia Fowles changes each week. That's not a stat that they keep (just like charges taken...which is really annoying to me...I mean how easy is that stat to keep...taking a charge is better than a block because it is a defensive stat that is directly link to a turnover!). Sorry about that folks...I digress. I guess the best way to look at the value of a shot changer is to peek at the LSU/Middle Tennessee State game on December 28, 2007.

While some may say LSU lost this game because they didn't know how to play without Fowles...it was their first game without her in 3 years. Valid point. But after watching Amber Holt get to the basket for 40 minutes...it's hard for me to believe that it was just a chemistry problem. Holt scored 41 points...20 coming in the paint...and 11 coming from the free throw line. Amber Holt is good...but with Big Syv in the middle there's no way she drops 41 (like DWade) and LSU wins by 20. Well LSU lost by 11...and she did drop 41.

LSU's defense is ranked 3rd in the Nation...giving up only less than 50 points per game. With Fowles in the lineup...they give up 47.5 points per game...without her they give up 58. That's why she's on my Wade Watch ballot...because my ballot needs a Shot Changer! Oh and since returning from injury...she's averaging 18 points 10.5 rebounds and 3 blocks...and was just named SEC player of the week. Guess she was on that ballot too.


Bill Ferrara Bill Ferrara
CMU assistant Bill Ferrara gives his inside opinions on women's hoops.