Union’s women’s basketball team is in the middle of one of arguably its best season since the jump NCAA Division II. Sitting at 23-2 on the year, Union is ranked 6th the D2SIDA Media Poll and 14th in the WBCA Coaches Poll, and both rankings are the highest among Gulf South Conference teams.
This success has come just a year after the Lady Bulldogs went 17-12, which represents the worst win percentage in program history. While the addition of Chelsey Shumpert, who currently leads the nation in scoring, has helped, another key contributor to Union’s success has been a heavier reliance on the three point shot.
Union’s offense is very reminiscent of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, who also rely heavily on the three-ball and, moreover, stay away from the nefariously inefficient “long two” otherwise known as the mid-range jumper. Like the Rockets, the Lady Bulldogs try their best to make sure any shot that won’t give them a third point is taken within five feet or so of the hoop.
The similarities between this Union team and the Rockets actually go far beyond shot selection, though. Houston’s starring five is actually crazy similar to Union’s. The last few years Cardinal and Cream has compared Union’s individual players to NBA players, but this year we just decided to compare the entire team to one of the NBA’s finest since the similarities are so significant.
Jada Perkins = Chris Paul
Full disclosure: this one is probably the biggest stretch on the list. Perkins is a great defender like Paul, but really she plays more like the former Rockets point guard, Patrick Beverley, who was traded to the Clippers in the deal that send Paul to Houston. Still, Perkins is a terrific passer (5.8 assist per game—2nd in Gulf South) and has shown that she can heat up as a shooter at times.
Chelsey Shumpert = James Harden
This one is easy. Shumpert and Harden are both phenomenal three point shooters and can use a variety of moves to beat a defender to the rim. Both Like Harden, Shumpert plays at the two guard but still gets her share of touches and run the offense when her point guard isn’t on the court. Statistically, they both lead their leagues in scoring by a wide margin and rank in the top five in assists.
Tiffany Rechis = Trevor Ariza
If I were trying to find the NBA player most similar to Rechis, it would probably be Trevor Ariza. Both of these players are classic “Three-and-D” small forwards and can hit pretty much anything after crossing half court. Most importantly, though, are the nicknames. Tiffany Threechis and Trevor Athreeza are probably the best nicknames for three point shooters I’ve ever heard.
Anna Lea Little = Ryan Anderson
Ryan Anderson and Anna Lea Little play the stretch forward position as well as anyone. Both of these players excel in the pick-and-pop game and take over 75% of their shots from behind the three point line, despite often being the tallest person on the court. Like Anderson, Little’s shooting ability allows her team to have four shooters on the court without giving up any size on defense.
Sara Lytle = Clint Capela
While watching Sara Lytle play isn’t at all similar to watching Clint Capela, the results are nearly identical. Capela plays above the rim and often ends up on the receiving end of Chris Paul’s alley-oops. Lytle obviously can’t dunk on half of her shot attempts like Capela, but most of her shots do come from right under the basket. Her seemingly endless inventory of post moves make her nearly impossible to guard one-on-one, and she’s able to get it out to shooters when she does get double teamed.
The Lady Bulldogs will play their last regular season home game on Wednesday at 6 p.m., but they will return home to host the Gulf South Conference Quarterfinals on February 27th. Union could also host the South Regional Tournament if they are selected as the top seed after the conference finals.