Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz
Today we have some terrific stuff from Coach Jeff Walz, head women’s basketball coach at Louisville. Coach Walz led his Louisville basketball team on an incredible run to the women’s NCAA championship game before losing to the always formidable UConn Huskies. In their run the Louisville Cardinals pulled of a big upset over the #1 overall seed Baylor Bears who were led by one of the best women’s college basketball players of all-time, Brittney Griner. In Jeff Walz six years at Louisville he has led the team to a .695 win percentage and two national title game appearances. In our post today I’ll give you several man, zone, and out of bounds plays that Coach Walz uses with his Louisville basketball team.
Man to Man Quickhitters
Per request of the staff we have left their play names out so feel free to come up with your own creative names for each of the plays we have for you today. The first play is a quickhitter (or set play if you prefer that terminology) out of a 1-4 high set. I personally really like the 1-4 high set, especially against teams that play good help side defense. The 1-4 high set does two good things, first every player is one pass away meaning it’s difficult to help off the ball, and secondly by bringing everyone up high you take the defense away from the basket. This play design would be great for teams who have a good solid 4 (or you could use your 5) and are looking for ways to get a quick inside look. Off this look you could also have your 1 pop up to the top of the key off the screen in case their man helps on the double screen for the 4 man.
This next man to man set is designed to get your best shooter an open look either on the baseline/wing or at the elbow depending on how the defense plays it. As you see in the 2nd part of the play, the 2 comes off a back screen by the 4, but this is really designed just to get the defense moving and flowing one direction on the ball reversal before the 2 comes back of a re-screen by the 4 and 5 man this time. If the defender chases underneath on the screen the 2 should curl and come up to the elbow for an open look. If the defender tries to go over the top or just trails behind then the 2 can go to the wing or baseline corner for an open shot.
This last man to man play gives you a couple options for team, particularly if you have a pg who has a good outside shot. After the initial dribble to the wing by the 1 and a reversal to the top of the key, the one comes off a staggered screen and then another screen when he comes out opposite. After the double screen, the 5 will turn and set a downscreen for the 2 who pops out and becomes the second option on this play. I could see this working well against teams who like to switch a lot, as it becomes difficult to switch both the initial staggered screen and then the immediate screen afterwards by the 5 for the 2 guard. In addition to the shot I think you might also have a great opportunity for your 5 man to seal and get post position inside with limited or no help side defense. Again, if there is a switch here you should have a great opportunity to score inside.
This first zone play is designed to shift the defense and get an open look for your best shooter. The initial action with the dribble should shift the zone before reversing it to the 2 guard (which forces the opposite guard in the zone to pick him up). Following this pass the 2 guard reverses the ball to the 3 who quickly moves the ball onto the 4. After the 3 passes to the corner he quickly screens the guard in the zone as the 2 guard moves to the wing for the open look. The five also flashes to the high post off this play if the shot isn’t there. If you do enter the ball to the high post you have a good chance of getting a high-lo action with the 4 who may be open after the 3 cuts through.
This second zone set play is designed to get a quick lob for an athletic wing. Depending on your point guard you may want to flip this play so that your PG can dribble to his right and make the pass easier with his strong hand. If you have a left handed PG I would think you might keep this play as is. The initial pass in this play to the 3 guard and the cut to the corner by the 2 is designed to shift the zone. On the reversal back to the PG the 2 cuts hard back to the same side he started on. As this is occurring the 4 will screen the backside low block zone defender and the 5 will screen the middle of the zone. If executed properly this play will work great, especially against teams who like to extend their zone defense. If you have a good passing PG this play can work well at younger levels as well as it would for higher levels of the game.
Baseline out of Bounds
Lastly we have a couple of baseline out of bounds plays here from Louisville. The first is a really simple play where the 2 loops around a screen from the 5 and comes right back to the basket for a quick layup. I would envision using this play with another box set where the 2 would go to the corner off the screen, which many teams have sets designed for already.
Our last play today is a baseline out of bounds that starts in a 1-4 low set. What I really like about this play is that you could very likely get two good options out of this. The obvious option is the 3 (who would have as my best shooter) coming out off an elevator screen, but what I like even more is the option for the 5 man to slip the screen and cut hard to the basket. If your shooter is cutting hard on the play I think the slip is extremely difficult to defend. This play could easily be adapted as well to work against a 2-3 zone.