UnSeung Hero: A talk with Lindsay Gottlieb, Part 2

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Six hundred words are just not enough to cover Cal women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb.

The interview article from last Friday had to leave out many of her insights due to space constraints. Despite the full recording of the interview posted on the Daily Cal website, I wanted to revisit them in print once again through this column.

This is the Part 2 of the interview with coach Gottlieb, ranging from basketball tactics to college basketball transfers:

Seung Y. Lee, Daily Californian: It seems over the past games, many teams were dropping inside the post and daring the shooters to shoot. Is that the Achilles’ heel of this team?

Lindsay Gottlieb: It speaks more to conference familiarity. People are rolling out different kinds of game plans to see if they can disrupt us. In non-conference games, we faced a lot of zone (defense). We’ve been very successful against zone. In conference play, we faced a lot of “sagging man” — they are still matched up (man-to-man), but they are still in the paint.

When you say Achilles’ heel, I think our team is a better shooting basketball team than numbers show right now. We are working every day to make sure that our kids are confident. But we know we have to face junk defenses, sagging defenses, zones, man, everything — because we are more the hunted than we’ve ever been.

DC: Why do you employ such a full-court press defense when the opponents can sag back (due to the lack of a 10-second violation rule) and slow move up the court?

LG: We throw those presses on because we are incredibly athletic and disruptive. I think a lot of college women’s basketball teams don’t handle pressure very well, so it generates a lot of steals for us. When you say because there is no 10-second rule, they can hold it back and pass it around. Well, they tend to pass it to us.

The other thing is, you press not to just get steals but to take teams out of their rhythms. We face teams that take 25 seconds of the shot clock and run a Princeton set or run a motion, and if you are pressing, they just don’t have time to score the way they want.

DC: What do (new transfers) Brittany Shine and Kyra Dunn bring to the team?

LG: We knew that we were graduating some veteran players in Layshia (Clarendon) and Eliza (Pierre) in the backcourt and Talia (Caldwell) in the frontcourt. I think you can supplement a strong recruiting class by bringing in the right transfers. Brittany Shine, a fourth-year junior, brings something different than the incoming freshmen. She just does, having played in the SEC for two years. It’s also same for Kyra Dunn (from the Big East).

Brittany Shine is incredibly fast and athletic. You think if you are losing Layshia and Eliza, you’ll lose some speed, but we won’t lose any speed with Brittany Shine. She really gets up and down the floor, she has a knack for scoring and she can create for herself and her teammates.

Kyra runs the floor really well for a tall kid. She’s a shot blocker. This idea of having a deep post is gonna be really important for us going forward, and she’ll contribute to that.

DC: It seems like there are more transfers in men’s basketball happening every year. Is that the same case for women’s basketball, and what are your opinions of the rising number of transfers?

LG: I think it is a concern. It’s definitely something that is talked about in (the coaches’) convention meetings. I think because of the increase in travel, the increase in exposure, the increase in the culture of wanting immediate results, a lot of times you get freshmen who are not seeing immediate playing time, points or success — their instinct is to say ‘I can get this somewhere else.’

Of course, at the end of the day, you want your players to be happy and successful. So if someone says they feel like they will be happier and more successful somewhere else, then you will want to support that. I just want to make sure we are building a program here where the process and support they are getting as people, students and athletes is the best around. So that regardless of if you are playing 10 minutes or 30 minutes, you feel like you are a happy and productive member of this program. And I feel like we do that.

Contact Seung Y. Lee at [email protected].