Huskies Must Challenge Vanderbilt’s Defensive Identity
Generally, the Vanderbilt Commodores are rated as an excellent defensive team overall (per Synergy) which is the same rating the Huskies received.
The Commodores are excellent in playing half-court man defense, as well as pressing opponents.
The Huskies will have to do a better job against the press than they have performed recently, otherwise the Dawgs could face pressure all game.
Vanderbilt has many good defenders but their highest rated defenders are #34 6′-5″ Mariella Fasoula and #50 5’10” forward Kaylon Smith.
As a result, Vandy excels at defending post-up plays, as well as other types of shots around the basket.
The Huskies bigs will face a big challenge (pun intended) going inside to score, but the Huskies must be aggressive in the lane to balance their three-point attack.
Expect Quay Miller to get some time (or start) and hopefully Miller will focus on getting in the lane to put pressure on Vandy’s interior defense, while maybe drawing some fouls from Vandy’s bigs as well.
Defensive Twins Face Off?
The similarities between Washington and Vanderbilt defenses is striking.
The Vanderbilt Commodores are tied for 71st in blocked shots; while the Huskies are tied for 64th.
UW is tied for 48th in blocks per game; while Vandy is tied for 87th.
The Huskies are 9th in scoring defense holding opponents to 51.8 ppg; meanwhile,
Vanderbilt is ranked 81st with 59.2 ppg
Washington is tied for 14th in total steals and Vandy is tied for 55th.
UW is 7th in the nation in steals per game; meanwhile, Vanderbilt is tied for 75th.
UW is 41st in 3-point FG (made) defense, and Vandy is 77th.*
Finally, Washington is 7th nationally in forced turnovers per game with 23.90; the Vanderbilt Commodores are ranked 70th with 19.64 turnovers per game.*
Focus on Transition Offense and Interior Defense
Vanderbilt runs a good, mostly halfcourt, offense but they will look to take advantage of transition opportunities.*
Vandy is rated very good in transition and #2 Chelsie Hall is the catalyst for Vandy’s fastbreak– she is excellent at scoring in transition.*
Vandy excels at post-up offense due to the presence of 6′-5″ Mariella Fasoula.
The Huskies interior defense will be tested, however, the Huskies will have bodies to throw at the big center with Darcy Rees, Quay Miller and Ali Bamberger likely to get rotated frequently.
Vanderbilt is also good at press offense, so it will be interesting to see how effective the Huskies pressure defense will be.
If the Huskies can win this battle, and force turnovers it will go a long way towards controlling the game.