W. Basketball Commentary: More than points

When assessing the strength and skill of a basketball player many people turn straight to their point total.

If an athlete does not consistently post the highest point values on the team, how could they be considered a top contributor?

I have been drawn to this idea many times. It is just so easy and straight forward to assume that if an athlete isn’t one of the top scorers they aren’t as vital to the team as someone who is consistently topping the leader boards.

And in instances where a normally high-scoring player drops off and quiets down on the scoring front then it is assumed they must be playing poorly. But the game spans beyond the point totals. For every player that is relied on for the big numbers, there is a player that is relied on to secure the ball and stand strong on defense to make sure the others can score.

This is the role junior post Geraldine McCorkell has become familiar with in the Vandals’ most recent games, including a big win against top-ranked North Dakota.

Anyone who follows Vandal basketball would quickly be able to point out that McCorkell has not been putting up the same point numbers she had been previously throughout the season. But where points are few, rebounds are plenty.

She has hit as many as 30 points in a game this season. Anyone would be hard pressed to say she can not shoot the ball. But that has not seemed to have been her goal lately.

In Idaho’s past four games, McCorkell averaged just five points per game. Against North Dakota alone she went 1-9 in field goal attempts and was 0-2 from the 3-point range. The statistics do not look good for her, that is until rebounds are brought into the equation.

While she may not be leading the team in points, she has been consistently coming out on top in the rebounding department — averaging nearly nine rebounds over the last four games, including 12 against North Dakota.

While she has slowed down in scoring, don’t count her out as a top contributor. McCorkell has repeatedly proven that defense leads to offense. Her consistent presence in the paint allows her to grab rebounds and give the offense more opportunities to score, proving scoring is not the only skill that matters.

Meredith Spelbring can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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