Speed wins for Dixon's team

BY JACOB SHEYKO | JUNE 27, 2013 5:00 AM

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Randy Larson knew when he drafted his team they would be at a disadvantage when it came to size.
But he also knew that they would compensate for that with speed.

“When you don’t have a big solid post player, you have to run up and down the floor as fast as you can with your guards,” said Claire Till, one of the players on Larson’s squad. “You have to look to push, cut, and drive. And when you drive, if you don’t have it all the way to the rim, kick it out, and that’s what we did really well with.”

She did just that as her and Melissa Dixon’s team improved to 2-0 by defeating Bethany Doolittle and Ally Disterhoft’s club, 79-70, Wednesday night in the Game Time League.

Dixon finished with a game-high 28 points. While it was Dixon’s 4-of-8 3-point shooting that drew cheers from the crowd, she also showcased the ability to take defenders off the dribble and penetrate the paint. Her attack of the paint got her to the free-throw line nine times.

Dixon’s team pushed up and down the floor all night, often finding the open woman for an easy bucket or a pull-up 3. This is something she believes will pay dividends in the future.

“At Iowa, one of the big things that we’re working on is pushing the ball a lot more, and we don’t have much height on our Game Time squad, so I think that’s helped a lot,” Dixon said. “We’re all getting up the floor really well. I think that will continue over to our season.”

Sometimes Dixon’s team pushed the ball to a fault. Throughout the game, there were numerous occurrences in which long passes looking to start a fast break were intercepted by the opposition, quickly turning a fast-break opportunity into a defensive scramble.

“With anything, when you go fast and pick up the pace of the game, there’s going to be more risk for turnovers than if you were going to back it up and set it up,” Till said. “But I think with that it has a better payoff because you can beat the defense more than if you run the clock out.”

Those payoffs showed up late in the second half as the up-tempo style proved to be the catalyst for Dixon’s team and helped it pull away late with a barrage of transition baskets and 3s.

Dixon’s squad saw plenty of action in the fast break but often struggled in the half-court offense with Doolittle patrolling the paint. Later in the contest, Dixon’s team was able to counter this by spacing the floor with shooters, using their speed to get the rim or kick it out for an open 3.

“I think our team has to work on helping the helper,” Doolittle said. “They were really good at beating us off the dribble because of their quickness. They were able to take advantage of that and their all really good shooters.”

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