The easy temptation when evaluation basketball players is to view them primarily through one prism alone: How many points did they score? It’s natural and understandable to connect a player’s value to the number of points she or he scores, or to the percentage of shots she or he makes. To be perfectly candid, it’s the first thing I look at when I flip to a box score.
That said, plenty of players prove — over and over again — that scoring points is hardly the only way to dominate games, win championships, and transform a basketball team.
Draymond Green is the ultimate example in modern professional basketball. Setting screens, talking on defense, guarding all five spots on the floor, rebounding, getting deflections and steals — Draymond does all the dirty work and forms a cornerstone piece of the Golden State Warriors’ championship empire. Without him, the Splash Brothers wouldn’t be able to do their thing. The whole operation wouldn’t work.
USC’s Rayah Marshall is the person most responsible for USC’s 63-54 overtime win over Washington on Sunday in Seattle.
She scored nine points.
The scoring wasn’t the point. Marshall did everything else for USC.
Grabbing 16 rebounds? That’s pretty good, even great. Yet, it wasn’t the most impressive thing about her performance.
How many players — women or men, college or pro — have blocked eight shots and collected five steals in the same basketball game? Marshall did that plus the 16 boards and the nine points. It truly was an all-time-great performance, and USC needed every last one of those blocks, steals and boards to fend off Washington in a game which went to overtime.
Rayah Marshall embodies the ultra-tough, never-back-down USC defense which is lifting this team into the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans aren’t a lock to make the tourney, but they’re moving in the right direction, all because they know how to lock down opposing offenses.
Rayah Marshall led the charge against Washington, dominating a game without scoring 10 points.
USC women’s basketball moves into projected NCAA Tournament field after huge win over Stanford