WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Zenevitch Shows Versatility In ACC Win
Published: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 22:02
When Boston College women’s basketball head coach Erik Johnson entered the locker room after Thursday night’s win, he said that one individual’s stat line made the difference.
“The first thing I said in the locker room was, ‘Five assists and one turnover, that’s going to be a win,’” he said.
A statement like that is usually about a dynamic guard, but that night, it was about BC’s veteran center Katie Zenevitch. The versatile 6-foot-3 junior dominated the first half in her team’s 81-69 victory against North Carolina State. She had four assists and five rebounds over the first 20 minutes of play alone.
“Katie’s our center, but she’s not really a true low post presence,” Johnson said. “She can score inside. She can certainly grab rebounds and defend … [but] she’s got a beautiful jump shot. She’s a very good passer.”
Zenevitch’s passing defined her performance against NC State. The Eagles were much faster as a team, and the center’s vision exploited the opponent’s zone and lack of speed.
“We’re not the biggest team in America,” Johnson said. “When we have to slow down and ride it out in the half court, often it’s much more difficult for us … I thought tonight we did both.”
BC’s usual strength is in transition, but Zenevitch lifted the Eagles by opening up the halfcourt game.
When Zenevitch found herself locked at the top of the key, she pivoted to survey the court. Shielding the ball from her defender, Zenevitch remained poised and patient. Then she used the opportunity to find her teammates streaking for the easy lay in. Her assists allowed BC to find high-percentage shots and shoot 55 percent from the field in the first half.
Up by 13 points at the break, the Eagles’ halftime lead was a result of the center’s play.
“The fact that we’re getting her away from the basket and having her be able to pass opens up even more driving lanes and some of those back door cuts,” Johnson said.
The tandem of Zenevitch and Kristen Doherty was also at full force. Doherty had three assists of her own and 16 points. A couple of her points were a result of Zenevitch’s ability to find her cutting to the basket.
Even when her teammates were not open, Zenevitch could take a 12-foot jumper with ease. Her game against the Wolfpack, unusually for a center, was focused mostly around the top of the key.
The Eagles’ early success led to in-game adjustments from NC State. Zenevitch’s distribution made the Wolfpack concentrate on stopping BC’s inside play.
“When we finally just started driving hard … we loosen them up … suddenly now they have to defend inside and out,” Johnson said.
With the Wolfpack’s emphasis on interior defense, the smaller BC unit used its guards, who rained threes from behind the arc. They shot 6-for-12 from three-point land in the first half. Lone senior guard Kerri Shields highlighted BC’s strong performance from beyond the arc. Shields was 4-for-5 on three-point field goals in the first half.