Mind Over Sports


Posted on: February 16, 2016

When basketball teams apply full-court pressure, it not only creates turn-overs by their opponents but also, at the same time, raises the intensity and energizes a team, mentally.

This is, in my opinion, especially true in NCAA women’s basketball because (and I’ll probably take a lot of heat for this) I don’t believe women, at this stage in their development, are able to handle the basketball as proficiently as men when being pressured by the opposing team.

A few years ago I sat in Hammons Student Center in Springfield, Missouri, and watched the SMS Lady Bears (now MSU Lady Bears) almost pull off a huge upset over the number one ranked women’s team in the country: Louisiana State University. It was true at the time that the LSU athletes were much taller, with longer arm-reach, but in my opinion, they weren’t all that quick. In fact, I was surprised at how inept they were at handling the ball when the Lady Bears applied full-court pressure. And when that pressure was applied, the Lady Bears suddenly found themselves with a 2-point lead with 6:25 remaining. And then, just as suddenly, they stopped applying the pressure and seemed to back off, allowing LSU to bring the ball down the court at their leisure. And before you could say “what happened?” the Tigers scored 16 straight points and the game was all but over.

So my question at the time was: Why did the Lady Bears stop applying the pressure? I don’t believe it was a case of bad coaching but rather, the Lady Bears just ran out of gas.
And if that was true, then the loss to LSU should have served as a reminder that if they were to ever make it to the final four, or win a national championship, the Lady Bears would need to be in better physical condition. Especially when they are applying full court pressure.


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