Discover more from Oklahoma Columnist, by Clay Horning
The best, most prolific sharpshooter ever is a Sooner and her name is Taylor Robertson
Here’s how the greatest long-range shooter in the history of the women’s college game made it official Saturday afternoon inside Hilton Coliseum.
Following a basket from Iowa State’s Lexi Donarski, Taylor Robertson dribbled the ball up the court, not too fast, slid to her right and let launch: swish.
There it was.
Can you feel it?
Perhaps more detail is warranted.
Robertson dribbled the ball up the court, unhurried, defended by Donarski, then picked up a screen from Liz Scott, used it as she drifted right and, freeing herself just as she had for many of her previous 497 made 3-pointers, let launch: swish.
It was that easy.
Almost like the old days when the struggle to find the space to shoot wasn’t what it’s since become, wasn’t what it’s become since opposing coaches realized she might one day become the most prolific sharpshooter in the history of the women’s college game … and just maybe, by season’s end, the college game, period.
Don’t believe it?
Try some numbers on.
By the time Saturday’s buzzer sounded, Robertson was sitting on 503 career made 3-pointers in 1,141 attempts. Pull out your calculator and that’s 44.1 percent, not only a far cry better than Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell (497 of 1,286; 38.6 percent), the woman she passed, but a better percentage than the rest of the whole list’s top 25 but one, Connecticut’s Aleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who made 44.7 percent on her way to 398 makes.
All that and in the men’s game, only Detroit Mercy’s Antone Davis (523), Wofford’s Fletcher Magee (509) and Oakland’s Travis Bader (504) have canned more, but none at a 44 percent clip and even though Davis remains active he’s within reach because one thing he won’t be doing this season is play in the NCAA tournament. The Titans are 9-14 and ninth in the Horizon League.
It should probably be explained Robertson’s team fell to the Cyclones 86-78.
The Sooners missed too many bunnies, often the case in contests they lose, and appeared to lose their focus again and again, fouling way too often — Iowa State went 30 of 34 from the free-throw line; OU went 9 of 14 — putting up ill-advised shots, just playing ungrounded.
Earlier in the week the Sooners scored six third-quarter points at Texas and in this one only 30 in the second and third quarters combined, so what happened Jennie Baranczyk?
“They’re a really good basketball team and we fouled way too much,” the Oklahoma coach said. “We can respond better.”
Or maybe Robertson’s teammates were simply distracted by the fabulous history she was making and the fabulous game she was playing and maybe we should get back to it.
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If you’ve done the math, you already know Robertson made a sextet of trifectas and she did it on a mere eight attempts.
She had three of them before the first quarter ended, the record breaker coming with 4:18 remaining, the next at the 1:05 mark and the next at the 0:35 mark, putting the Sooners on top 26-16..
The second was the beauty.
Assisted by Kennady Thompson it was a Robertson special: space enough to get it off but only because her release was so quick.
Just a guess, but she’s probably made 175 like that, where she lets it go so fast her shooting motion has to begin before her eyes find the rim, which is absolutely glorious to think about.
The finest of the bunch was the last one, the one that gave her team hope if only it had been equipped to follow through on its promise, the one in which she had no room to shoot at all, yet got it off somehow, got fouled and, making her free throw, brought OU within 71-67 with 4:32 remaining.
Instead, the Cyclones scored 11 points over their next five trips, seven from the free-throw line without a miss.
But who cares.
Go back to that shot.
There was no space.
None. Nada. Zilch.
She drained it anyway, the residue of being the first one in and the last one out her whole life.
She’s still a young woman, but she’s got her 10,000 hours. Maybe two or three of them.
If Robertson has a philosophy, she offered it.
“The main thing is consistency,” she said. "I’ve been consistent since I could pick up a ball, and just doing it over and over.
“As a shooter you’ve got to shoot the same way every time, so you’ve just got to nail down the fundamentals and always believe you’re going to make it.”
It should be said that one person’s consistency can be another person’s obsession, yet one way or another it’s put Robertson on the floor by herself, before the rest arrive, on game days and maybe every other day, too.
“I think what makes Taylor so unique,” Baranczyk sad, “is she just loves the game so much and you can tell that she’s built it herself."
If she can keep doing what she did Saturday — 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists — or even hang in the same ballpark, and her team can do what it didn’t, she’ll have many, many more games to play, regular season and beyond, and who wouldn’t want to watch her play them?
Now, every 3 she makes?
More history, more immortality.
It just gets better and better.