Before the start of the exhibition season, Michigan women’s basketball coach Cheryl Burnett believed she needed to find one standout point guard to lead her team.

With two exhibition games complete, Burnett has yet to find one player.

Instead, she’s found two.

Freshmen Becky Flippin and Krista Clement split point guard duties in the exhibition games and they averaged 2.5 assists apiece. Clement believes Flippin has secured the starting spot, but as a natural shooting guard, Clement is more than happy to switch over to the point to give Flippin a break.

“It lets our coaches tell (Flippin) what to do next without having to take a timeout,” Clement said. “I like making that opportunity available to the coaches.”

Sharing time is nothing new for Flippin — her summer AAU teams used a similar system, and she has come to enjoy playing with another point guard on the floor. Not only does it give her a second pair of eyes to survey the opposing defense, but it also enables her to create shooting opportunities for Clement when sh’es in the game as a shooting guard.

“Becky is great in terms of seeing early passes down the court,” Burnett said. “Her innate instincts are just incredible.”

But perhaps the most impressive part of Flippin’s game is her dribbling. Flippin spins and weaves through defenders, deftly protecting the ball and bailing her teammates out of trouble, according to Clement.

“She’s better than anyone I know at handling the ball,” Clement said. “Every time she’s on the floor, she’s all over the place.”

In contrast to Flippin’s flashy ball-handling, Clement is more of a steady floor general when playing point guard. At LaSalle High School in St. Ignace, her coaches stressed basketball fundamentals, using many of the same drills that Burnett employed the first few weeks of practice. Burnett believes this experience enabled Clement to grasp Michigan’s offense and defense faster than most players.

“Krista has the understanding of a senior who’s been in the program for four years,” Burnett said. “She’s so exceptional — I’ve never seen anyone like her.”

Clement has used this knowledge to provide senior-like leadership on a young team, communicating with her teammates and working hard in practice. She is developing into a vocal leader in game as well. In the closing seconds of last week’s exhibition win against the Australian Institute of Sport, Clement loudly instructed her teammates to hold onto the ball and not shoot on their final possession.

But for all their individual strengths, Flippin and Clement believe they are most effective together. They — along with freshman Katie Dierdorf — spend almost all their time together off the court, which has taught them how to deal with each other on it.

“It goes beyond the two of them — the team chemistry is phenomenal,” Burnett said. “But (Flippin and Clement) have been great in terms of sharing what they see with one another and running the team in tandem.”

 

With two exhibition games complete, Burnett has yet to find one player.

Instead, she’s found two.

Freshmen Becky Flippin and Krista Clement split point guard duties in the exhibition games and they averaged 2.5 assists apiece. Clement believes Flippin has secured the starting spot, but as a natural shooting guard, Clement is more than happy to switch over to the point to give Flippin a break.

“It lets our coaches tell (Flippin) what to do next without having to take a timeout,” Clement said. “I like making that opportunity available to the coaches.”

Sharing time is nothing new for Flippin — her summer AAU teams used a similar system, and she has come to enjoy playing with another point guard on the floor. Not only does it give her a second pair of eyes to survey the opposing defense, but it also enables her to create shooting opportunities for Clement when sh’es in the game as a shooting guard.

“Becky is great in terms of seeing early passes down the court,” Burnett said. “Her innate instincts are just incredible.”

But perhaps the most impressive part of Flippin’s game is her dribbling. Flippin spins and weaves through defenders, deftly protecting the ball and bailing her teammates out of trouble, according to Clement.

“She’s better than anyone I know at handling the ball,” Clement said. “Every time she’s on the floor, she’s all over the place.”

In contrast to Flippin’s flashy ball-handling, Clement is more of a steady floor general when playing point guard. At LaSalle High School in St. Ignace, her coaches stressed basketball fundamentals, using many of the same drills that Burnett employed the first few weeks of practice. Burnett believes this experience enabled Clement to grasp Michigan’s offense and defense faster than most players.

“Krista has the understanding of a senior who’s been in the program for four years,” Burnett said. “She’s so exceptional — I’ve never seen anyone like her.”

Clement has used this knowledge to provide senior-like leadership on a young team, communicating with her teammates and working hard in practice. She is developing into a vocal leader in game as well. In the closing seconds of last week’s exhibition win against the Australian Institute of Sport, Clement loudly instructed her teammates to hold onto the ball and not shoot on their final possession.

But for all their individual strengths, Flippin and Clement believe they are most effective together. They — along with freshman Katie Dierdorf — spend almost all their time together off the court, which has taught them how to deal with each other on it.

“It goes beyond the two of them — the team chemistry is phenomenal,” Burnett said. “But (Flippin and Clement) have been great in terms of sharing what they see with one another and running the team in tandem.”

 

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