Making Maddie Nylon
Michigan dismantled a top-ten Maryland squad with seven three-pointers from Maddie Nolan. Here's how the Wolverines got their sharpshooter loose.
Michigan played with their full roster available for the first time since the season’s opening minute on Sunday at #8 Maryland. Incidentally, they achieved another program first, beating the Terps on the road for the first time to snap their national-best 31-game home winning streak and steal that #8 ranking in the AP poll.
The Wolverines held a ten-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back, ultimately winning 69-49. That opening frame featured Maddie Nolan making all three of her three-point attempts; she’d finish 7-for-11 from beyond the arc to lead all scorers with 21 points.
Nolan is having a breakout season after moving into the starting lineup with Amy Dilk injured. She’s shot 48% on 4.8 3PAs per game, doubled her scoring output, and improved in nearly every statistical category:
Nolan transforming into one of the best outside shooters in the country has earned her more attempts — and a perfect nickname: Maddie Nylon. Kim Barnes Arico has drawn up some slick ways to get Nolan open shots and her teammates are also making excellent on-the-fly adjustments free her up. The Maryland game was a clinic in both regards.
Nolan is still a secondary player in the offense, which remains built around Naz Hillmon post touches and Leigha Brown working off the pick-and-roll. When defenses focus too much on the two stars, however, Michigan deploys off-ball screens after the initial action of the play to get Nolan in the clear.
The first example came on Nolan’s second triple against the Terps. Freshman guard Laila Phelia, who’s emerging as a scoring threat off the dribble, gets the ball on the far side of the court and initially looks to the post — in this case, Elise Stuck — before driving into the teeth of the defense. While the initial action takes place on the far side, the real threat is on the near side of the court:
Dilk even manages to keep two defenders from getting out to Nolan, as she continues to move towards the baseline and gets her body on #1, who has no chance to get out to the corner, while #11 has to work her away around them.