The Daily Eastern News

Outside defense key for Eastern

Tom O'Connor, Basketball Reporter

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The game of basketball has evolved more in the past five years than perhaps any other era in the sport’s history.

Not only has three-point efficiency trended upward in recent years, but so too have the number of shot attempts. Case in point, over the course of the 2005-06 season, the Eastern women’s basketball team defended a total of 375 three-pointers, and just over halfway into the 2017-18 campaign, the team has already been on the receiving end of 272 long distance looks.

The Eastern women’s basketball team has found a defensive strategy to counter outside shooting, repressing its opponents from deep all season long, putting the Panthers near the top of the OVC in three-point defense.

Conventional wisdom might suggest that the recent uptick in shots from three-point land would exploit traditional defenses. But the Panthers are anything but orthodox.

Take the Panthers loss to Wright State earlier this season. The Raiders shot only 27.8 percent on three-point field goals, thanks to four quarters of tenacity from Eastern on that end.

However, the Raiders shoot a Horizon league best 34.9 percent.

In the Panthers’ lone win against Evansville earlier this season, the Aces shot a paltry 11.8 percent, going 0-7 on three pointers in the second half. Once again, the Aces lead its league in three-point percentage as well (38.4 percent).

Although Eastern has struggled to abate an opponents’ overall field goal percentage, OVC adversaries have shot 45 percent against the Panthers.

Two of the Panthers’ next three opponents, Belmont and Tennessee-Martin, perhaps the biggest challenges up to this point for its three-point defense, rank first and second respectively in three-point percentage.

The Panthers must retain the crux of its identity defensively and address the issues confronting the team. Which typically lie between the baseline and the top of the key, such as defensive rebounding.


Tom O’Connor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]

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Outside defense key for Eastern