The former sophomore and heart of the team Didi Richards is a professional defender. Ask Sabrina Lonescu or Akire Ogumbowale. Didi has shown tremendous growth in her defensive game and takes pride in being a defensive player. Richards is an elite defender and she doesn’t back down when defending the best offensive players of other schools. She accepts the challenge and plays hard until the fourth quarter every single game.
At 6-foot-1 and gifted with quick feet, long arms and fiery competitiveness, Richards is Baylor’s No. 1 perimeter defender. Long, athletic, pesky and quick hands is what opponents have to deal with from Richards’ defense. This can cause frustration of the opponent. Richards’ size is deceptive, though there are bigger guards, her wingspan is long, giving her the ability to not only face-guard the primary opponent, but also use her arms to alter ball movements which create steals.
When there is defense, the offense will come. Richards is the last option when it comes to getting on the scoreboard. Richards has great slashing ability as a guard which also puts her in a great position to get offensive rebounds. This is an underrated trait for Richards because teams aren’t looking for her to score. When her teammates gets double or triple teamed, it opens up for her to slash and get an easy layup.
Richards has been called a liability on offense. She isn’t seen much as a threat on offense and defenders rarely worry about her, and since they don’t worry about her, that gives the defense the ability to worry more about the top 4 options. Often defenders will give her plenty of space on the perimeter when she is given the ball which won’t fly at the next level.
Richards is going to have to work on a mid-range game and possibly a three point shot to be seen as a threat so that every teammate on the floor is seen as a weapon on the offensive side. If she can shoot well from the wing and her emergence on offense opens things up for her teammates and opponents, that’ll force the opposing defense to extend out more allowing for more lanes to the rim.
Since Richards is a guard, it’ll be nice to see her improve her playmaking ability to a point that she can be a secondary facilitator in the offense. She has the talent around her and she will definitely have to be able and willing to provide that for her teammates.
Richards is a solid defensive player and guard. She’ll be a junior next season and still has a lot of time to develop her game for the Baylor Bears. If Richards finds a better way to get more involved offensively and becomes an even more aggressive slasher, she will be a force to be reckoned with. If we continue to see improvements in her game, as I believe we will, expect to hear her name called during the 2020 WNBA Draft if she so chooses to leave early.