Women's basketball: The most deadly 3-point shooters in the nation
Why settle for two points when you can get three?
Since the NCAA's adoption of the three-point line in 1986, college teams have always coveted snipers who either move away from the ball to get open outside or use their ball-handling skills to free themselves up.
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This season is no different, so we're taking a look at some of the most prolific 3-point shooters across women’s basketball this year:
Stats reflect prior to Saturday's games
Lexi Bando | Oregon
Only one qualified player in the country has made more than half of her 3-point attempts this year. That’s Bando, and she could miss her next five attempts and still hold the distinction.
The junior is cashing in on 53.3 percent of her tries, a 3.3 percentage-point lead over the next-best rate among players with a minimum of two makes per game. It’s certainly no fluke, either, as her 45.3 percent mark last year was sixth in the country and fifth-best in Ducks history. As a freshman, she shot 44.0 percent, seventh-best in the program. Her current rate would break the record of 50.6 percent set by Taylor Lilley in 2006-07.
Overall, the local Eugene, Oregon, product is averaging 10.7 points per game, with more than half of her field-goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. Her role in the offense is crystal clear: catch and shoot. And she has done that more efficiently than anyone in the country.
Tori Jankoska | Michigan State
The Spartans’ all-time leading scorer is a lot more than just an outside shooter, but that doesn’t mean she’s not one of the nation’s best at that. The senior, who is 13th in the nation with 21.6 points per game, ranks fourth with 78 made 3-pointers. In fact, she has single-handedly been responsible for almost half of the Spartans’ 160 triples as a team.
Jankoska put on a show against Ohio State last month, dropping 42 points in a blowout win. She shattered her high with 19 3-point attempts that night, making eight of them. The Freeland, Michigan, native was named to the All-Big Ten second team each of the last two years, and she is right at the top of the conversation for player of the year in her final campaign.
Jessica Kovatch | Saint Francis (Pa.)
Kovatch has not been shy about putting the ball through the cylinder since becoming a member of the Red Flash last year. As a freshman, she averaged 20.9 points per game, the most among freshmen nationally. She did much of her damage from deep, where her 98 triples were tied for 11th in the country.
This year, she has gone nuts from out there, putting up some stellar numbers. She leads the nation by a large margin with 3.95 outside shots per game, putting her on pace for about 120 on the year. Plenty of that is a function of her nation-leading 222 attempts, but her 37.4 percent mark is still solid for someone who tries as many as she does. Kovatch has a pair of games with nine made 3-pointers, making her the only player in the country who can boast multiple such performances.
Darby Maggard | Belmont
Maggard’s 5-foot-5 frame has never gotten in her way of scoring, because as long as she has some room on the perimeter there’s a good chance she will cash in. After ranking 17th nationally as a true freshman with a 42.0 percent 3-point stroke, she has raised that to 47.1 percent — fifth in the country.
The Larwill, Indiana, native is the definition of a 3-point specialist. Seventy-two percent of her field-goal attempts and 70 percent of her makes have come from beyond the arc this season. She has made at least three triples in all but one game this year and has 12 performances with five or more conversions.
Kelsey Mitchell | Ohio State
As a freshman two years ago, Mitchell set the single-season record for made 3-pointers with 127 (since broken by Syracuse’s Brianna Butler last season). Last year, she just about equaled it, connecting on 126 treys. This year, she would have to pick up the pace a little — if OSU played five Big Ten and NCAA tournament games, she would finish with about 115 on her current rate — but that still has her just three shy of the national lead.
The Cincinnati-born Buckeye is well on her way to leaving the career 3-point record of 441 in a smoldering pile of ash, and she has a very realistic chance to become the all-time leading scorer. Her silky-smooth outside jumper is the main weapon in her arsenal in that pursuit.
Mitchell led the nation in scoring as a freshman and finished second as a sophomore. This has been a down year by her standards, with current career-lows in points per game and 3-point percentage, but she has played much better of late (20 3-pointers in her last five games) and could be in for a big finish.
Kelsey Plum | Washington
Plum has been the talk of the nation throughout the season as she pursues the all-time scoring record currently held by Jackie Stiles. As one might expect when a player averages over 30 points a game, Plum is a very aggressive, versatile scorer. But one of the skills she utilizes the most is her excellent shooting stroke.
The senior leads the way in terms of made 3-pointers this season with 85. She has hit multiple 3’s in every game this year, including an incredible 7-of-8 showing in a losing effort against Stanford. It is amazing how much Plum has improved from a 2015-16 season that already saw her named a first-team WBCA All-American and guide the Huskies to a surprising Final Four appearance. Her points per game have jumped by over five, and her 3-point percentage is 45.0 after not getting above 40 in any of her first three seasons.
Notably, Plum’s teammate Natalie Romeo is also one of the top marksmen in the nation. The Nebraska transfer is shooting 40.4 percent on the year and tied the single-game high with 10 makes from outside against California last week.
Karlie and Katie Lou Samuelson | Stanford and Connecticut
The Samuelson sisters are quickly becoming the first family of women’s basketball. The oldest sister, Bonnie, ranks third in Stanford history with 237 made 3-pointers. Karlie teamed up with her sister a couple of years later and, now in her fourth year, has drained 210 triples with a month and a half left in her career. But Katie Lou didn’t complete the trifecta of Samuelsons donning the cardinal, instead moving nearly 3,000 miles from Huntington Beach, California, to Storrs, Connecticut.
And a great move it has been, as Katie Lou has emerged as the best player on the best team in the country. Her 21.7 points per game are 12th in the country, though Karlie still holds the advantage over her younger sister in 3-point efficiency, ranking third in the country with 49.1 percent to Katie Lou’s 46.0 (10th). To be fair, the younger Samuelson has attempted 45 more triples, made the fourth-most per game and sees much more defensive attention.
Sydney Wiese | Oregon State
After shooting over 40 percent as both a freshman and sophomore, Wiese' shooting really fell off last year. She posted career-lows in both percentage (36.4) and makes (64) as she shifted her scoring abilities to other means. Well, as a senior, her outside stroke is back with a vengeance, as she joins Kovach as the only players shooting 50 percent or better.
The Phoenix native has made exactly half of her 3-point attempts, knocking down 68 of her 136 attempts. She's been an excellent player for the Beavers, leading the team in points and assists and ranking third in rebounds, but her shooting has really been what has separated her this season. She has been red hot lately, going 36-of-65 since the calendar flipped to 2017 (55.4 percent). In December, she became the Pac-12's all-time 3-point leader, a mark that she is adding some considerable cushion to.