Dec. 17, 2007
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IOWA CITY — Wendy Ausdemore knows what it’s like to enter the “Shooter’s Zone.”
“When your teammates set a screen for you and you come off and you just know it’s going down. It’s a pretty good feeling,” smiled Ausdemore, the nation’s leader in three-point field shooting percentage. The 6-foot-2 sharp-shooting junior from Neola, Iowa, is knocking down long ones at a rate of 58 percent.
Ausdemore hopes to have “that feeling” often Saturday when Coach Lisa Bluder’s University of Iowa women’s basketball team returns to action against Western Illinois at 4 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game will be Iowa’s final non-conference date of the 2007-08 season; the Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference play against Penn State on Friday, Dec. 28.
A forward who has been a fixture in the Hawkeyes’ starting five for the last two seasons, Ausdemore has been honing her long-distance shooting skills in earnest since her junior season at Tri-Center High School. She said she saw evidence of her hard work her senior season.
Ausdemore has also improved every year as a member of Bluder’s Bunch. As a freshman, she sank 20 of her 58 attempts from behind the arc, a success rate of 35 percent. Last year, Ausdemore knocked down three’s at a rate of 42 percent. Ten games into 2007-08, she’s on pace to make 75 three-pointers.
“I could shoot all day.”
Wendy Ausdemore, the nation’s leader in three-point shooting
The reason for her success is pretty simple: Practice, practice, practice.
“I could shoot all day,” she said, noting that the last two summers she’s been pushed hard by her “shooting partner,” junior point guard Kristi Smith.
“Kristi has great drive, too, and she pushes me,” Ausdemore said. “Whenever we get the chance, we’ll do some extra shooting. It’s been really nice this past week because the coaches also put more `partner shooting drills’ into practice.”
Did she have any idea that her hard work had paid off so handsomely?
“I never would have expected it. It’s awesome,” Ausdemore said about being atop the shooting charts, a fact that was brought to her attention by her two biggest fans — her mom and dad, who heard it on the radio.
As is the case with most shooters, Ausdemore keeps firing away… and why not: She’s made better than 52 percent of her field goal attempts, a team-high for those Hawkeyes who have found their way into the UI’s starting lineup in 2007-08. In addition to leading the team with a scoring average of 11.7 points per game, Ausdemore also ranks among the team leaders in rebounds and steals.
Ausdemore’s high-water mark for 2007-08 came in the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten-ACC Challenge contest with Georgia Tech. She single-handedly kept the Hawkeyes in the contest, knocking down 9 of 10 field goal attempts — three from beyond the arc — en route to a game-high 23 points. She also had eight rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals against the Yellow Jackets.
Ausdemore’s most successful night from behind the arc came in Iowa’s 60-54 victory over Mississippi State in first-round action of the Caribbean Challenge in Cancun. She nailed 5 of 8 three-point tries for her first double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds) of the season.
“I like the perimeter,” she says with simplicity. “If I do go down low, I just like the quick post and then I get out.”
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