FSN's Mary Murphy Gives Her U.S. Bank 'Tip of the Week'

Feb. 13, 2008

If you enjoy watching great post play, this is your kind of weekend. The dynamic Bay Area duo of California and Stanford swept Arizona State in the desert a month ago. The Sun Devils hit the road this week, traveling north with revenge on their minds. First place is on the line as the top three teams in the Pac-10 square off.

Arizona State relies heavily on its four-post rotation of Lauren Lacy, Sybil Dosty, Kayli Murphy and Kirsten Thompson for scoring and rebounding. California's dynamic post trio of Ashley Walker, Rama N'Diaye and the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, Devanai Hampton, has put up impressive numbers all season long. Stanford mainstays in the post are sophomore Jayne Appel and freshman Kayla Pedersen--the best young post duo in the country.

Post production will be the key to victory for the Pac-10's top three teams. Over the past month, all three teams have seen a common defensive approach by opponents--constant and consistent double and tripling of the low post players once they receive a pass. The reason for this strategy is simple--force ASU, Cal and Stanford to beat you from the perimeter. This week's 'Tip of the Week' is understanding how to be effective in the post when defensively everything is geared towards frustrating, slowing and eliminating points in the paint.

Here are a few keys to post success:

Have patience--the ball must move, change sides of the court. The key is to make the defense work and when there is a breakdown take advantage.

Don't get discouraged--it's tough to be a post player. You get beat up, fouled and sometimes you just get tired of all the contact. A hard working, focused post will eventually win out. Keep moving, extend those arms and hands and demand the basketball.

Believe in inside-outside basketball--if the double-team comes, find an open player. Anticipate. Keep the ball off the floor unless you are going somewhere with intent. Lastly, focus on your shot when you shoot--confidence is everything.

Don't allow a tough offensive day to affect your defense, rebounding and general effort.

When you do shoot--don't fade. Take it to the defense. Initiate the contact. Work to get yourself to the free throw line. The best way to win the battle in the paint is to get your opponents' post players into foul trouble and sitting on the bench. And it always helps to make your free throws!

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