Women's Basketball |
Jan. 17, 2011
By Garrett Sabelhaus
It's no secret the University of Cincinnati women's basketball team relies heavily on leading scorer Shareese Ulis to provide the offense.
Head coach Jamelle Elliott admits it's a lot harder for her team to win when Ulis has an off night.
The senior has tallied four 20-point games this season and has led the team in scoring in nine of its 16 contests thus far including her latest, a 20-point game on 7-of-15 shooting against Rutgers last Saturday. Most of those points came from a 5-of-8 performance from three-point range.
But Elliott worries about complacency for the rest of the team when Ulis is taking care of the scoring and needs the rest of her team to be more involved in the offense.
"God forbid she doesn't have a great shooting night or she's not scoring points for us," Elliott said. "Someone else will have to have the confidence to pick up the slack."
The off scoring nights have been few and far between for Ulis, who averages 34.4 minutes of action per game, despite having bad knees that force her to miss some practice time just to rest for the next game.
She's still a true scorer who managed 13 points in a win against Marshall earlier in the year despite just a 3-of-13 shooting performance. She went 6-of-7 from the foul line and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc in that game.
That game, freshman Kayla Cook stepped up and picked up the slack with a 5-of-11 shooting performance in a 15-point effort.
Ulis says that as the season has worn on, the younger players have gotten a better understanding of what the team needs. She knows that even if her game is on it may not be enough to win unless everyone is contributing.
"If we distribute more shots we'll have a better chance to win," said Ulis who added that it's her responsibility to make sure the team is comfortable in any situation.
Elliott reiterated the same thoughts, saying Ulis can't be the one to take all the shots.
"One of the things that was an issue early on is everyone looked to her no matter what was going on on the floor," Elliott said. "Shareese is going to shoot her 15-20 shots a game but that doesn't mean we have to look to her every time down the floor."
Fortunately for the Bearcats, they've seen those sort of games from their younger players throughout the season.
Junior Bjonee Reaves led the Bearcats to a two-point win over Hofstra with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting on a day when Ulis was just 4-of-18 from the floor despite still scoring 19 points.
Shelly Bellman's 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting against Mount St. Mary's led the team to victory on a day Ulis took only eight shots and scored 11 points.
Cook, along with junior Chanel Chisholm have also led the team in scoring on different occasions.
Still, Elliott knows her team needs Ulis to be effective to give her team the best chance to win.
"She definitely gives us a better chance to win the basketball game when she's playing the type of basketball she did against Rutgers," Elliott said. "When she doesn't, it's going to be hard for us to win."
UC will get its next two chances on the road this week against St. John's Tuesday and a rematch with Louisville on Saturday.