The offensive strategy behind the women’s basketball team

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The North Central College women’s basketball team began last season with a program record 13-game win streak. This season hasn’t started quite the same, but the offense isn’t the issue.

Since taking over six years ago, head coach Michelle Roof has put North Central basketball on the national map due in large part to her unique run-and-gun offense. This offense consists of pushing the ball up the court and setting several perimeter screens in order to create more three-point field goals and offensive rebound opportunities.

The other exclusive trait about Coach Roof’s system is that she uses every player on the roster. She often subs five players at a time in a “line change,” as opposed to the normal one or two players.

Junior forward Jamie Cuny said, “Other teams normally play six to eight players, so it can be really hard for them to play as much as they normally would against us.” This gives North Central an advantage the moment they step on the court, putting their opponents in an uncomfortable situation.

The system was running on all cylinders last year as the Cardinals led the nation in scoring, three-point field goals per game and recorded second in offensive rebounds per game. Not only did North Central lead the nation in offensive categories, they also set six new NCAA Division III records, and 11 new program records.
This unusual system isn’t easy to get used to for some.

“It can be tough, initially, for players to really understand the system and why we do certain things,” said Cuny. “But with a lot of practice and dedication to the system, the team flourishes with all parts working in unison.”

After a big win against Augustana College on Jan. 13, the Cardinals brought their record back to a winning one at 8-7. The Cardinals shot a season high 80 percent from the line to go along with 16 three-pointers.
This offensive formula seemed to work against Augustana, as the Cardinals scored 98 points. But that is just another day in the office for this team, led by their highly-effective offensive Coach Roof.

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Brad Thompson is a Contributing Writer for the Chronicle/NCClinked.

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