Shaler grad Andi Lydon adapting to inside-outside role with Central Connecticut State women
Andi Lydon isn't backing away when she tries to work toward the perimeter. Lydon, a 6-foot junior post player for the Central Connecticut State women's basketball team, is looking to open things up.
With six new players this year — and with only three players above 6-0 on the roster — Blue Devils coach Beryl Piper asked Lydon to play more at center than forward.
Lydon, who has scored 20 or more points twice this season, is second on the team with a career-best 11.9 points per game. Offense has been hard to come by for Central Connecticut State, which is 0-9 and averages 56.1 points.
“When I'm going against girls that are taller or bigger than me, I try to use my strengths,” said Lydon, a Shaler graduate. “If I can bring them out a little bit and play on the perimeter, it's helpful for me and opens it up for the rest of the team. If I can pull out their big players, it gives my teammates more of a driving opportunity.”
It's been part of a gradual improvement. Lydon, who primarily played a reserve role as a freshman, started 28 games last season.
She has started all nine games for the Blue Devils this year and also averages 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Piper said Lydon's experience allowed her to shift positions.
“This year it's more out of necessity,” Piper said. “She's a natural four player, and we try to start her at the four as much as we can. We're young at the post spot, and she has more experience. We've been able to put her down there, and she's been playing more confident.
“Playing against Brown (Lydon finished with 23 points and eight rebounds), she did a good job at the post. If she's going to go inside-out, it's going to be tougher to defend her. She has that ability.”
Being willing to battle in the post helped Lydon earn playing time.
“I want to give effort,” she said. “I want to rebound and help if my shot's not falling. Being able to play defense and rebound helps me play a complete game.”
Piper said she would like Lydon to continue to improve her outside shot. While Lydon shoots a career-best 37.4 percent from the field, her 3-point shoot is at a career-low 23.7 percent.
Piper said she believes if Lydon makes her outside shots more consistently, she will become even more dangerous.
“I don't think it's about adapting. We run our fours down low,” Piper said. “They have the ability to post up and create mismatches. That was a big thing for us, her having the confidence to play down and be more physical. She scored, and she was aggressive. We were excited.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.