Over the course of the past two months, players on the women’s basketball team have shot more than 250 3-point at every practice as part of what the team calls the “Curry Club” – a 3-point shooting program the coaching staff developed around a model of NBA star Stephen Curry’s daily practice routine.
The Colonials struggled with 3-point shooting last season – hitting at a measly .271 percent clip, ranking second to last in the A-10 behind Saint Louis – but the coaching staff has developed strategies, like implementing the Curry Club program into practices, to make the team more comfortable taking long-range shots. Head Coach Caroline McCombs recruited three sharp shooters and trained returning players to overcome previous barriers to getting good looks from beyond the arc, like lack of movement on the baseline.
“I think our players that are returning have definitely improved those capabilities,” McCombs said in an interview.
McCombs said she has recruited four new guards who are “very good” 3-point shooters – graduate student Mia Lakstigalya, graduate student guard Jayla Thornton, junior guard Asjah Inniss and freshman Nya Robertson.
“It’s kind of something that they’re more specialized in as well,” she said.
As Pennsylvania’s team captain during her senior season, Lakstigalya made five of 10 attempted 3-point shots in a game against Brown University.
Lastigalya started all 22 games she played last season at Pennsylvania, averaging 10.9 points and making 2.14 threes per game, and ranked seventh in the Ivy League in 3-point percentage.
Over her career across Syracuse and Howard, Thorton shot 33.7 percent on 3-point shots.
Inniss hit on 20 out of 49 shots from beyond the arc last season at Northwest Florida State, good for 40.8 percent.
Robertson was the 3-point leader in her conference at Fort Worth in 2022, making 114 triples. McCombs said Robertson shoots the three “at a high level.”
“I think she’s going to be a dynamic guard in our program,” she said. “She could play on and off the ball as well.”
Redshirt senior forward Mayowa Taiwo said the team struggled to hit uncontested 3-point shots in past seasons, so players have worked to identify open spots on the court during the off-season to allow for more scoring opportunities this year.
“I think the more of those shots we get, the higher percentage you’ll see,” she said.
The Colonials finished last season ranked 207th out of 356th D1 teams in 3-point shots made. Only St. Bonaventure and George Mason ranked lower among A-10 schools.
Senior forward Faith Blethen said this year’s 3-point shot selection is “much better” in practices. She said the team has followed the Curry Club program over the summer while focusing on improving their driving lanes to increase scoring on all fronts.
“People have been in the gym and really working on their 3-point shot,” she said.
Senior guard Essence Brown said thanks to the Curry Club program, players are set on hitting goals for 3-point shooting throughout the season to maintain consistency alongside their range. She said team members are learning to create separation with screens to take more shots.
Last season, the Colonials attempted about 17.3 deep balls per game but only hit on 4.7 of them.
The team averaged 51.6 points per game, no match for high-scoring teams like Davidson and Rhode Island, who averaged 63.5 and 63.3 points per game respectively.
Nuria Diaz contributed reporting.