Thursday, December 10, 2009

Name That Stat Line

And now it's time to play "Name That Stat Line."

Team A
26 for 44 from the field (59.1%), 10-19 from 3 (52.6%), 27 for 43 from the foul line ... Won 89-82 (45 points in first half, 44 points in second half)

Player A (from a different game)
21 points, 7 for 13 from the floor, 0-0 from 3, 7-10 from the line, 10 rebounds, six assists, no turnovers, five steals ... In 23 minutes ... Team won by 26

Pretty good lines, no?

So, where to start. Let's go with the team first.

The team stat line belongs to the University of Denver men's basketball team from its game against Cal State-Northridge Tuesday night. The Pioneers won the game 89-82, improving to 6-2 on the season.

Denver, of course, is in its third season under head coach Joe Scott, who is obviously familiar to Princeton fans as a former player, assistant coach and head coach. Scott inherited a team that went 4-25 in the 2006-07 season, the year before he arrived; the Pioneers have gone 11-19 and 15-16 in Scott's first two full seasons.

Going back in time, here are the season records for the Air Force Academy basketball team in the years preceding Scott's arrival as head coach:
1995-96 - 5-23
1996-97 - 7-19
1997-98 - 10-16
1998-99 - 10-16
1999-2000 - 8-20

And here is the Academy's record in each of Scott's four years as head coach:
2000-01 - 8-21
2001-02 - 9-19
2002-03 - 12-16
2003-04 - 22-7 (Mountain West champion)

As for Denver, the Pioneers are shooting 52.3% from the field and 44% from three-point range and averaging 71.1 points per game.

Every Princeton fan knows that Scott's three-year tenure as Princeton head coach was, uh, rocky, and the point here isn't to revisit any of that. Instead, TigerBlog is amazed at the success that Scott has had at his two Colorado stops, contrasted with the lack of success here at his home school.

TB is not alone in being fascinated by this, judging by the numerous emails and comments he's gotten.

Let's leave it at that.

Besides, there's the matter of the other stat line. That one belongs to women's basketball freshman Niveen Rasheed, numbers she put up Tuesday night against Rider as Princeton's women improved to 6-2 as well.

Rasheed's line against Rider is about as good as a stat line gets. Forget the 21 points and 10 rebounds. How about six assists, five steals and no turnovers. And doing all this in just 23 minutes?

Through eight games, Rasheed leads Princeton in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Her 17.8 points per game average translates over four years to roughly 1,922 points, or 239 points better than the current Princeton women's basketball career record.

Of course, TigerBlog isn't trying to jinx her or anything.

Rasheed came to Princeton from the Bay Area, where one of her AAU teammates was Lauren Polansky, another Princeton freshman basketball player. In fact, there was an excellent story in the San Francisco Chronicle about the two from this past January.

The story talks about how the two play together on the court and are great friends off the court, despite the fact that Rasheed is Palestinian and Polansky (who has started five of the eight games this year as well) is Jewish. Beyond just that fact, there are also quite candid comments from Rasheed's mother about the Middle East situation and about Polansky and her mother about the role her late father played in her basketball development. It's one of the better stories about Princeton athletes that TigerBlog has read in recent memory.

As for Rasheed, she has been the only player to win Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors this season, which means she's won it four times already. With her big night against Rider already in the books, she's got a leg up on No. 5.

And, she's scored at least 14 points in every game to date. Of all of the accomplishments of Bill Bradley at Princeton, the one that TigerBlog finds more impressive (and hardly ever mentioned) is that Bradley never scored fewer than 16 points in a game in his three varsity seasons.

Rasheed, of course, has miles and miles to go before any actual comparison with Bill Bradley would be remotely appropriate. Still, to play her way into the same paragraph as Bradley in her first six games says a lot.

So did her stat line against Rider.


Anonymous said...

Joe Scott's time at Princeton was, in Tigerblog's words, rocky? That's putting it mildly.

Tiger '63 said...

TB; Many thanks for calling to our attention that wonderful detailed story in the San Francisco Chronicle about Rasheed and Polansky. Princeton is surely lucky to have these two athletes on its basketball team, as is already evident from their outstanding record. Funny that we now have two former California guard teammates incredibly occupying the starting guard positions as freshmen at Princeton, just as we had two former California HS guard teammates, Lincoln Gunn and Marcus Schroeder, occupy the starting guard positions as freshmen at Princeton. How rare is that combo?!!