is a basketball
maneuver involving two players, a cutter and a screener. The screener remains stationary on the court while the cutter moves toward the basket and attempts to use the screener to separate himself from his defender.
How it works
The screener positions himself with his back to the basket on the same side of the court as the cutter. The cutter positions himself outside of and above the screener. "Outside" implies that the cutter is closer to the sideline than the screener. "Above" implies that the cutter is closer to the midcourt line than the screener. Neither player has the basketball. With the screener completely stationary, the cutter moves toward the basket and passes close enough to the screener that they almost touch shoulders. If the cut is properly made, the player defending the cutter will be disrupted by the screener (who has not moved while setting the screen) and the cutter will have an opportunity to receive a pass very near the basket.
Why it works
A back-screen becomes effective when the cutter is defended very closely. An over-playing defender often has her back turned to the basket and cannot see the screen being set. Without time to adjust, the defender will collide with the screener.
How to defend it
Defensive players must communicate with each other. The defender who is guarding the screener must recognize the back-screen as it develops and alert the defender who guards the cutter. A team that runs effective back-screens can also be neutralized by a zone defense. Defenders in a zone configuration are less likely to follow cutters into screens because they are guarding areas of the court rather than specific offensive players.