By Ernie Gonzalez (@superego1012):
When it comes to physically playing the game, there’s no way around it. San Jose State’s women’s basketball team (3-8) will be out-sized in height more times than not.
With conference play opening tonight at home against Utah State (2-9), the game has to shift from physical to mental, at least for SJSU.
The Spartans have an average height of 5-foot-7 with their tallest player being Alexis Harris. The center stands 6-foot-3 and averages less than a quarter of playing time and just one made basket per contest.
That’s okay however, as SJSU has to realize that some height must be made up with talent from its backcourt.
A great example is guard Myzhanique Ladd who, if she isn’t already, has to be viewed as a leader on this team given its youth.
The senior has bumped her three-point percentage up 10 percent from last season to this one, as she’s hitting from deep 38.5 percent of the time.
Also in comparison to her junior season, Ladd is netting almost four more points per game (12.5) in three less minutes per game (29). She currently sits second on the team in scoring behind Taylor Turney, the Spartan’s other experienced guard.
Turney is the steam-engine of the team, averaging 25 minutes per contest with a 46 percent shooting percentage to go along with a clutch 88 percent from the charity strike.
The sophomore point guard has gotten an inevitable boost in playing time compared to last season, but the turnover numbers are parallel.
If Turney can take care of the basketball, especially when she’s at the one, the Spartans will have an increased shot at going toe-to-toe with any conference opponent.
Going back to the height gene, its something that looks scary, but really isn’t necessary.
Take a look at New Mexico for example, who is the team to beat right now in the Mountain West Conference. They lost just one non-conference game without a player taller than 6-foot-3.
Where did the magic occur?
Yep, you guessed it. Guard play. Three of their guards averaged 11.2 or more points in non-conference play, leading the Lobos to a 12-1 pre-conference play record.
The Spartans can drool all they want studying Colorado State’s twin towers in Lena Svanholm (6-foot-6) and Anna Dreimane (6-foot-5) or San Diego State’s 6-foot-6 sophomore center Naomi Ekwedike, but when games are on the line, it’s a point guard that has to make a play.
Well, it all starts tonight for the Spartans as they host the Aggies inside The Event Center.
Ball goes up at 7 p.m.