Why are we struggling so bad this year?

Why is VCU WBB Struggling so much this year to be competitive?

  • Lack of Talent

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bad relationship between the player(s) and coach(es)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    12

RowdyPkunk

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So we are just past the halfway point of our season.... and it has been a rough one. I've been supporting VCU WBB for 11 seasons now.... and I've never seen us have a season as rough as the one we are having right now. But why are we struggling so bad?

So those of you who have watched a game and been following the team this year.... what do you believe is the reason or reasons we are struggling?

Is it lack of experience? Lack of Talent? Poor Coaching? Bad relationship between one or more of our players & the coach? A little bit of all of it? Or something else?
 

GRID

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When things are this bad, and the record is 3-12, the answer is All Of The Above.
Speaking of our 3 wins, we're only beating teams that are having just as bad of a season as us.
Coppin State (2-12) We won by 15 pts
Old Dominion (2-13) We won by 29 pts
Long Beach State (2-14) We won by 10 pts
Interesting stat:
In our 3 wins this season, we've won by an average 18 pts,
and in the 12 games that we've lost, we lost by an average of 19 pts.

It was odd to see one of the two players who just joined the team last week as a starter yesterday. Has Coach given up on the players that were already on the roster??? Don't we have a playbook and offensive & defensive schemes that need to be learned? To me that is the coach's way of sending the message that either they have given up on the season and are building for next year, or the talent was so bad that they needed to shake things up and give starting time to players coming in off the street.

This team has talent, and the evidence of that is how they have made 2nd quarter & 3rd quarter runs to close gaps after getting off to bad starts. The fact that we are not scoring enough in the 1st and 4th quarters to get off to a good start, or close late so we can win, have a chance to win, or at least not continue averaging 20 pt losses, speaks to all of the options listed on your survey.
But, it most especially speaks to preparation and coaching. Coaches don't go on the court and play the game, but even if you want to say the talent, physical ability, or mental toughness isn't there, that points back to recruiting, which still is on the coaching staff.

I love coming to the games and wish more people would come out as well, but you've gotta give people a reason to come out by putting a quality product on the court. I live 40 mins away, and when I drive in to Richmond on the weekend in snow, or come to a game that starts at 7pm after being at work all day, the last thing I want to see is a team that can't score 20 pts until a few minutes into the 3rd quarter; which btw happened in each of the past two games.

Long story short is that I love coming to the games, I make sure a portion of my donation to RAF specifically goes to Women's Basketball each year, and I see the hard work that the players put into it. At the end of the day they are students and while they are here they will receive an education that should set them up nicely for the rest of their lives. But, I also want them see all of their hard work pay off, and I want them to get back to winning.
 

RowdyPkunk

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Completely agree @GRID... and honestly the 2 choices to me that stick out are Poor Coaching & the relationship between player(s) and the coach.

Obviously early in the season we were short on players because Sandra & Taya were not cleared to play yet after sustaining injuries.... and Sydnei was coming off an injury in HS so they were being understandably cautious with her. Plus Madison is still out with an injury & looks like they might use the Medical Red Shirt on her. So the injuries were definitely a factor early on in the season.... but now we have an entire roster with the exception of Madison. So there's no reason we can't be more competitive in these games.... even if they are still losses, we should at least be more competitive.

I don't buy into the overall lack of talent..... sure we lost 7 graduating seniors last year as well as Katherine Strong & Curteeona Brelove who were all very vital players for us. But we still have Sandra Skinner, Jailyn Maddox & Bria Gibson. And I've seen some real promise out of Tera Reed. And based on what I've seen/heard Taya & Sydnei are solid players as well.... not sure why their minutes are so limited right now..... and Why are players like Niya Johnson & Del Sparks playing such limited minutes also? And right now I'm unsure about the 2 new players from Russia, as I haven't seen them play enough to really know much about them.

And sure, there's the lack of experience factor... but like I said earlier, even if we are losing all these games.... there's no reason that we can't be more competitive in these games, and maybe even sneak out an unexpected win with the talent that we do have.

Which leaves the last 2 options... Poor Coaching.... and bad relationship between a player or players & the coach.

Looking at some stats.... one glaring thing I notice is split between playing time.... here is the break down (averages in parenthesis)

15 Games Played
Tera: 474 Mins (31.6)
Jailyn: 472 Mins (31.5)
Nyra: 456 Mins (30.4)
Bria: 360 mins: (24.1)
Danielle: 281 mins (18.7)
Niya: 237 mins (15.8)

14 Games
Sydnei: 218 mins (15.6)
Del: 154 mins (11.0)

10 Games
Sandra: 159 Mins (15.9)

7 Games
Taya: 112 mins (16.0)

2 Games
Sofya: 46 mins (23.0)
Olga: 31 mins (15.5)

Now obviously some players minutes have been limited due to injuries..... but the biggest question mark I have is Del Sparks playing time? She didn't even dress for 1 game (though she was on the bench & on the court during warmups).... but even so in 14 games.... she's played over roughly 100 minutes less than 2 players and 200-300 less than 4 other players. And on top of that, Sandra who has played in 4 fewer games than she has (due to injury).... she's played more minutes (although only 5 more) than Del.

So why is Del playing so few minutes... and it seems almost as if Coach is hesitant to play her? I haven't heard anything about a possible injury, or anything behind the scenes between her & coach.... though that doesn't mean there isn't an injury or a player-coach issue behind the scenes.

Then you add in these 2 new players from Russia.... regardless of how good they may be... you automatically put them in the starting line up within the first 2 games they've played with us and are getting more minutes than some players who've been here longer and at the very least was here all off season working out & practicing with the team...... that just seems bizarre to me.... especially when it's only been about 1.5 weeks since they have been here.

Just seems a bit odd to me.

Then I heard about an incident from a reliable source that happened at the WBB game vs Duquesne (which I had to miss due to a prior engagement).... I'm not going to say it out here on the open as I don't know how true/accurate or serious it is (PM if you want to know).
 
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When was it publicized that we got two new players from Russia? I just so happened to see them on the box score and had no idea who they were.
 

RowdyPkunk

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When was it publicized that we got two new players from Russia? I just so happened to see them on the box score and had no idea who they were.

I don't ever remember seeing anything about it. I know @GRID had said he heard from someone about it over break..... but until he told me about it in the month of Dec.... I had no clue about them.
 
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So I'm gonna be honest... I thought we would've announced a coaching change by now... what gives?
 

RowdyPkunk

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So I'm gonna be honest... I thought we would've announced a coaching change by now... what gives?

No clue.... don't know what the plan is. If I remember correctly... O'Boyle has 1 year left on her deal.

So it could be any number of things....
1. They are going to let her finish out her contract.... because they don't think they can find a decent coach to replace her.
2. They are going to let her finish out her contract.... because of all the issues our team had this year...
  • Roster turnover- 6 or 7 players graduating, 2 players transferring
  • Injuries.... Sandra missed the first month + of the season, Taya & Sydnei had injuries from their HS careers that they were being careful with. Taya missed the first month or so also.
  • Bria's personal matter that caused her to step away from the team..... not sure of her status with the team (if she plans to come back next year, transferring, or done with basketball, etc.)
  • 2 late additions to the team from Russia, that messed with the chemistry a little bit also
3. They are waiting til the season is fully over (NCAAW, WNIT, WBI Tourneys) to see what the coaching market is.

Not really sure. In recent years it's been more of a case that our coaches are leaving not that we are firing them.... so who knows when or if we hear anything.

My guess is if anything it won't be til sometime in April after all the tourneys are done.
 

GRID

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No clue.... don't know what the plan is. If I remember correctly... O'Boyle has 1 year left on her deal.

So it could be any number of things....
1. They are going to let her finish out her contract.... because they don't think they can find a decent coach to replace her.
2. They are going to let her finish out her contract.... because of all the issues our team had this year...
  • Roster turnover- 6 or 7 players graduating, 2 players transferring
  • Injuries.... Sandra missed the first month + of the season, Taya & Sydnei had injuries from their HS careers that they were being careful with. Taya missed the first month or so also.
  • Bria's personal matter that caused her to step away from the team..... not sure of her status with the team (if she plans to come back next year, transferring, or done with basketball, etc.)
  • 2 late additions to the team from Russia, that messed with the chemistry a little bit also
3. They are waiting til the season is fully over (NCAAW, WNIT, WBI Tourneys) to see what the coaching market is.

Not really sure. In recent years it's been more of a case that our coaches are leaving not that we are firing them.... so who knows when or if we hear anything.

My guess is if anything it won't be til sometime in April after all the tourneys are done.
@RowdyPkunk
If i had to guess, I would say that Coach is safe and will be returning for another season. I think it's a combination of the following:
1. Although the team went 4-12 in conf play by only winning 2 games per month in Jan & Feb, the team became more competitive and got better as the season progressed.
2. Same as your #2 above
3. A contract buy-out for a sport that doesn't generate much revenue might not be worth it; because it's only one year left.
 

RowdyPkunk

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@RowdyPkunk
If i had to guess, I would say that Coach is safe and will be returning for another season. I think it's a combination of the following:
1. Although the team went 4-12 in conf play by only winning 2 games per month in Jan & Feb, the team became more competitive and got better as the season progressed.
2. Same as your #2 above
3. A contract buy-out for a sport that doesn't generate much revenue might not be worth it; because it's only one year left.

Yeah we were competitive all things considered.... we had 3 wins in OOC play (shoulda been 4 had it not been for that epic Ga. State collapse). But in December we were just getting Sandra back. Taya was just starting to play. We had a lot of youth and inexperience. And the 2 Russian players were just arriving to the team....so it was expected we would be off to a slow start.

Then we get into conference play.... you immediately start taking away playing time from all our other players to start playing these Russian players 20-30 minutes a game... yet they had been here for only about a week?

That's a terrible coaching move..... and I guarantee you there were some disgruntled players at the beginning.... and it prob messed with the team chemistry that all the players who had been there since the off season had built..... especially when one of them speaks little to no English..... which can make communication the court very difficult.

Then lets look at the Richmond game at the STU..... We start off a little slow... but we absolutely owned them in the 2nd quarter.... and held a 12 point lead going to the fourth quarter. With a minute to go... we have a 5 pt lead.... if we take care of the ball, we should be able to hold on to win.... instead Olga tries to do too much, turns it over, leads to a foul with 53 secs left. Richmond makes both to cut it to 3.... now knowing how Olga has struggles handling the ball, most coaches would've yanked her after that..... but not our coach... left her in there, What happens... Olga tries to do too much again & turns it over with 46 seconds... Richmond comes down and hit's a 3..... and we lose in Overtime.

Her usage of players & subbing patterns.... made it extremely hard for the players to get any sort of rhythm or momentum going as well.

And as far as WBB not generating a lot of Revenue.... hard to generate any sort of revenue when you 've had the last 5 seasons we've had..... only 1 of them was even decent..... when we made the conference semis & lost to Jonquel Jones & GW.
 
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