COLUMBIA — The Missouri women's basketball team was having success with the pick and roll. Suddenly, that success was gone.
Kansas State knew that Missouri was going to continue to run the pick and roll with RaeShara Brown controlling the ball. The Tigers had done it all game. The Wildcats hadn't defended it as well as they wanted. So they changed their defense.
“Instead of putting one on her (Brown), we put one on each side of the screen," Kansas State's Brittany Chambers said. "You could say it was doubling, but basically it was so we wouldn’t get screened off. We were zoning, with special attention to her."
Giving that special attention to Brown, the player the Tigers typically turn to for big baskets down the stretch, was the key to stopping the pick and roll late. It was one of the reasons the Tigers fell 60-55 in overtime to Kansas State on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
The pick and roll was successful early because of the options it gave Brown. If she was double-teamed, she could pass it to the screener, who rolled to the basket. If not, Brown could drive to the basket. If a perimeter defender tried to help, she could pass it to a guard for an open jump shot.
“It’s about reading the defense,” Brown said.
The first job of the defense was to stop Brown. The Wildcats were aware of this. They tried to have an extra defender to help stop the drive, but Brown found ways to get to the rim anyway.
"If you see a lane to go to the hole, you go to the hole," Brown said.
“Literally every time she was getting to the rim, she was beating a third defender,” Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said.
When she wasn't getting to the basket, the screener was typically getting a good shot at the basket or a guard was getting an open shot.
"Even when we took her penetration away, they had answers for that," Patterson said.
Eventually, Kansas State switched to a defense that put even more pressure on Brown. Patterson wanted the ball out of Brown's hand and to force another player to beat the Wildcats. It didn't happen.
“When they went to that zone, it was a great coaching move and caused some problems for us,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “I don’t know that we had players that wanted the ball.”