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

Jan. 23, 2007

Here's your U.S. Bank 'Tip of the Week' from Fox Sports Net (FSN) basketball analyst and former college basketball coach, Mary Murphy.

Once the basketball season starts, one of the main jobs a basketball coach has is to make adjustments to their team's lineup, decide which players get playing time and work to establish a regular substitution pattern. In a perfect world these decisions would be based on how well your student-athletes are performing and the time and situation of each game.

Unfortunately, for every team injuries and illness occur along the way forcing coaches to reevaluate, reassess and rethink how to win basketball games. This week's 'tip' is this-- keep an eye on those Pac-10 coaches that have experienced tough injuries this season and check out how they have managed the change forced onto their teams.

This season, California's Head Coach Joanne Boyle has shown great adaptability when confronted by the season-ending knee injury to her sensational sophomore point guard Alexis Gray-Lawson. Freshman Natasha Vital has gone from a first year player expecting to play ten minutes a game and learn from one of the great young point guards in the game to running the show, seldom coming out of the game and leading a team that is nationally ranked. In the 10 games since Gray-Lawson's injury, the Bears have gone 7-3 and are tied for third place in the Pac-10, along with Washington, behind Arizona State and Stanford.

Another team that faces an adjustment period is the Arizona State Sun Devils and Coach Charli Turner Thorne. Coach Turner Thorne lost her dynamic freshman point guard, Dymond Simon, to a knee injury this past weekend. This is a tough blow for ASU who is currently ranked 10th in the country and faces the nationally ranked California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal at home this coming weekend. How will the Sun Devils respond? It's time for Coach Turner Thorne to show her ability to adjust to the change foisted on her and her team. How will the Sun Devil rotation change, who will play more minutes and what will the impact of Dymond's loss be on ASU?

Coaches wear a variety of hats...often the most important one is taking the tough times and directing the healthy players forward with the confidence that no matter who is on the floor 'our' team will get the job done. It's going to be an exciting weekend in the desert!

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