Coach Jen Hoover and Wake Forest have been preparing for the Cowgirls all week long.
Since every game in March Madness is win or go home, Hoover has been keeping her practices shorter and more intense than a normal practice. She has been having the team work on offensive execution and defensive fundamentals to keep her girls sharp and game ready.
One observation that Hoover made was that Oklahoma State likes to play fast and apply pressure on defense. Consequently, she has been having her girls work on transition defense and going through OSU’s personnel so they can understand exactly who they are playing against before Sunday.
“I don’t know that anyone would match up with Natasha Mack,” coach Hoover said. “She affects the game in so many ways. She’s had over 100 blocked shots in this year alone. Some people don’t get that in a career and are considered pretty good shot blockers.”
Hoover said that she wants her team to try to take away Mack’s strengths and be able to settle for mid-range jumpers due to Mack’s elite rim protection.
Although Hoover obviously has her own coaching style, she respects Coach Littell and the way he coaches his team. Hoover said that she has known of Littell since around 2005 when she started her coaching career at the University of Missouri Kansas City.
“I think they just do a really good job,” Hoover said. “They really know their identity and they play that way.”