We were at a critical point in the season. We were 5-4 and had lost two in a row but we showed signs of life in the second half of our last loss. We had gotten a transfer at the semester break and she was excellent defensively. After two losses in a row and with our conference season about to start, coach thought it was time to make a change. At shootaround, she gathered up the team and told her about the change in our starting lineup, the transfer would start while our point guard would come off the bench. That was at about noon and game time was 6 pm.
Between that shootaround and our pre-game meeting, me and the other assistants must have had 12 conversations with each other, with our captains and with our head coach about the decision. Our current starting point guard wasn’t taking it well and the transfer didn’t want to rock the boat on her new team but from a basketball standpoint, we thought it was the best decision.
In the end, we switched back to our normal lineup. The team chemistry normalized and we won that night…and the next night and 23 out of our last 24 on our way to a national title. Now maybe that team was destined to win no matter what we did but I often think back to that decision and if we had stuck with our original decision, would we have stuck together enough to win it all or fallen apart at some point?
When you think about your own team, look at the stats we provide, see what lineup works best statistically but never forget the role of team chemistry and how that can often tip the scales in your favor in spite of the stats.