As I noted earlier, Women's Basketball Head Coach June Daugherty has not exactly lived up to the hype that came with her when she was hired. The injury bug has struck her and her teams pretty hard throughout her tenure, and it has led to slowly declining attendance as the team continues to struggle to in the win column. Somehow-despite all of the losing-Coach Daugherty has managed to recruit a high level of talent to the women's basketball program; and that has put the program in a fantastic place for the upcoming season.
The top two scorers on the roster (Lia Galderia-14.8 PPG and Tia Presley-13.3 PPG) are returning. Galderia and Presley are only part of a core that consist of seven other [now] sophomores and juniors, that are all returning...unless Jordan Kelley remains MIA, then it is a core of six other sophomores and juniors. These sophomores and juniors have seen a significant playing time in their first season-or two-in the Pac-12; and as a result, the women's program looks like it is poised to break out of it's 17-year stretch of finishing below .500 (the program's last season with an over .500 finish was 1995-1996 with a 17-12 record).
While the team was in the bottom third of the conference for almost every statistical category (they finished eighth in the conference standings) last season, there was a lot to like from what was going on in the court. The team finally started to show signs of understanding Coach Daugherty's style, as there was a high rate of ball movement and aggressiveness on defense. They stole the ball at an incredible clip (9.55 times a game), and had the fourth best turnover margin in the conference last season (+1.86).
Unfortunately one of the team's biggest problems last season was shot selection-they had a field goal percentage of .357, good for tenth in the conference. The eye test also confirmed this as the team seemed to rush down the court and chuck up a shot before the offense really even got a chance to get set.
Thankfully, this problem seemed to happen a lot less during the second half of the season.
While the team definitely needs to continue to improve it's shot selection; the aggressiveness on defense and the high rate of ball movement that we saw towards the end of last season is definitely something that is encouraging to see. It seems like the team gets what Coach Daugherty's style of play, and with the talent that is on the roster going into the upcoming season...there is a lot of reasons to get back on the June Daugherty bandwagon