The Basketball Podcast: EP274 with Lindy La Rocque on Offensive Efficiency

RELEASE DATE : 28/06/2023

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, UNLV head coach Lindy La Rocque joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on offensive efficiency and scout-based defense.

Lindy La Rocque’s 72-19 (.791) coaching record was the eighth-best record all-time, by winning percentage, by a Division I coach after three seasons.

La Rocque was voted the 2023 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year, her second time winning the honor in three seasons. She guided the Lady Rebels to a program-record 31 wins during the 2022-23 season and repeated as Mountain West Conference regular-season and tournament champions. UNLV appeared in consecutive NCAA Championships for the first time since going to three straight from 1989 to 1991.

UNLV finished the 2022-23 season with Division I’s third-highest winning percentage (.912) behind only South Carolina (.973) and LSU (.944). Only these three teams won
90 percent of their games. The Lady Rebels maintained a 24-game winning streak (Division I’s longest) against conference foes and a 23-game home-winning streak (Division I’s second-longest).

On the coaching staff at Stanford since 2017, the program consistently ranked among the top 10 in the country. The Cardinal made NCAA Tournament appearances in each season, including two Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight and won the Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship in 2019.

Prior to coaching at Stanford, Lindy La Rocque spent two seasons (2015-17) as an assistant coach at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, helping the Bruins to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths, including the program’s first in nine seasons. She began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma, working for Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Sherri Coale, while pursuing her master’s degree in education. The team played in both the 2014 and 2015 NCAA Tournaments.

La Rocque played at Stanford from 2008-12, appearing in 138 career games which ranks eighth in program history. She was instrumental in helping the Cardinal compile a 137-12 overall record during her four years, including an amazing 71-1 mark in Pac-12 play. Her team won four regular season conference championships and four league tournament titles, appearing in the NCAA Tournament each season and advancing to the national title game in 2010.

Lindy La Rocque

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Lindy La Rocque Quotes:

“To kind of be in this job, you’ve got to have thick skin, you’ve got to be your own champion at times. And it can be rewarding, it can be gruesome, it can be brutal at times. But you’ve got to stay positive, and you got to keep picking yourself up.”

“We value shooting. We practice it. Everyone, for the most part, on our team has the green light. They have to be able to be a threat from the perimeter.”

“I was fortunate to play with some of the best post players ever . . I was a three point shooting guard myself. And I knew where I made my money, it was passing to them first. So then once they got double teamed, it could pass it out to me. But in terms of transition, not just being dominant down there, but they’re all mobile.”

“How we are built starts with someone running to the rim to draw people to the rim, especially in transition. And then for our guards, we give them freedom so they know they have to run hard and they have to run wide.”

“Passing is a fundamental skill that, to be honest, is constantly getting overlooked in skill development . . but passing, for us, is one of our most important skills.”

“We educate them and coach the basketball IQ piece of it. You’ve got to know time and score, what were the last three possessions, where’s the momentum of the game, and being able to know if this is a 50-50 pass and there’s two minutes left and we’re down four, that may not be the one. So, there are multiple layers to it. But our players do have the freedom. We throw a lot of backdoor passes, and so if they’re scared to throw it, it’s never going to get there. And to be able to have the courage to throw them, you’ve just got to allow it.”

“We watch a lot of video. Whether it’s in games or practice, . . I’m always asking them for their feedback and what they [the players] think because, ultimately, they’re the ones out there playing. And for the most part, they haven’t had to think through the game like that.”

“Most people are surprised at how good of a defensive rebounding team we are. And that’s where our offense starts. If you have to take the ball out off a made basket, it’s hard to run in transition. It’s not that you can’t, but it’s hard to play fast when you’re having to take the ball out.”

“Our twos are typically in the paint at the rim, and then we have really good three point shooters that don’t feel pressure to make a shot in order to get the next shot. We’ve got really confident shooters and I’m okay with a good early shot if you want to play in transition.”

“Our team can make plays because they trust. They know where their teammates are going to be. We have a continuity offense but, within that continuity, there is a lot of freedom to make reads.”

“We preach it’s not about the plays we run, it’s about the plays you make. And we give you the structure to allow you the space to go make those plays. And then the structure also gives you a high level of trust with your teammates to know that they have your back.”

“For us defensively, we pride ourselves on taking away a team’s or a player’s, number one thing. And if we can force them to do their second option, then we’re okay with that.”

“If they want to switch a little guard onto our post player who is Player of the Year, then we’ve got to find a way to get the ball back to her. But that can happen in a number of different ways. Typically, we play like with an empty corner on a two-man game. But if someone’s really switching, then maybe we keep someone in that corner to throw back to, then take advantage of the switch and go right inside from there.”

“I first heard the phrase from [Sherri Coale], ‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’ . . Even for these young women who are great basketball players, they need their degrees. You can’t just be a great basketball player and not a great student, in my opinion . . How can I expect you to study my scouting report if you can’t study for your math test? At first they’re like, ‘Well, because I like basketball more.’ Okay, so do I. But your habits and your characteristics of who you are show up in both things.”

Lindy La Rocque Breakdown:

1:00 – Believing in Yourself
3:30 – Preparation
6:00 – Shooting
9:00 – Preferred Spacing
13:00 – Developing High Low
15:00 – Connecting it to Breakdown
17:00 – Emphasize Part
19:30 – Accepting Turnovers
22:00 – Shaping Decision Making
27:00 – Half Court Offense
27:04 – 28:12 – Hoopsanalytics Ad 2
29:00 – Continuity
31:00 – Making a Play
35:00 – Modifying Help
42:00 – Importance of Playing Games
45:00 – Triangle
47:00 – Meat and Potatoes
55:00 – Conclusion

Lindy La Rocque Selected Links from the Podcast:

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