Monday, February 13, 2017

The Seawolves howlin' at opponents

How are Coach Pat Fuscaldo's Sonoma Staters doing it? It being a 17-5 overall record, 13-3 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play and with just two true homes games thus far this season due to the home court being refurbished. The defeats include two two-point losses and one three-pointer. The Seawolves are riding a six-game winning streak.

One factor

The Seawolves, who have just one player scoring in double-figures, are making opponents work very hard for points while nailing pretty good percentages on their collective own. They sport the #1 defense in all of D-2!

Sonoma State is shooting .457 overall, .403 from long distance and .741 at the foul line. Conversely, opposing teams are registering .388 overall, .310 and .677 and have attempted 157 more three-pointers and 98 less foul shots.

As for scoring averages, it's 64.7 to 57.5.

Plus and minus factors

Fuscaldo's guys are averaging 3.3 blocks a night, versus 2.3, and 30.9 to 26.9 on the boards but are slightly underwater in both steals and turnovers.

Other factors

10 Seawolves are averaging in double figures playing time so fatigue generally isn't a factor. There is also no key player or two for opponents to zero in on defensively which makes matters a bit more difficult for opposing coaches.

Here's Sonoma State Associate Head Basketball Coach Rich Shayewitz on the Seawolves newish brand: "Our defensive success started last year. Heading into the 2015-16, we realized we needed a change. We just weren't getting it done as a full-time man-to-man team. We made a decision to implement a match-up zone. With the help of some close friends, we were able to learn an alternative defense and implement it. From our first game playing it (November 2015), we were able to create belief within our team. We finished the year ninth in the NCAA in points allowed. 

Heading into this season (2016-17), we were excited because we had nine players who were returning and knew the defensive scheme. Additionally, we as coaches were more familiar with it and better teachers of it. Once we got going, the defensive success created belief. 

More importantly, it's our guys that make the defense work. They are a hard- working group with high character and a desire to be great. They believe in it and have embraced our identity of defense first. On road trips, you can hear our guys say, 'defense travels! Lets do what we do.'"

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