UK Women's Basketball

UK women: Snowden is Queen of the three

After making just one shot at Louisville, Kentucky guard Keyla Snowden has made 58.5 percent of her three-point attempts in six games, leading UK in scoring the past three of them.
After making just one shot at Louisville, Kentucky guard Keyla Snowden has made 58.5 percent of her three-point attempts in six games, leading UK in scoring the past three of them.

Kentucky's student managers will race one another across the gym to rebound for Keyla Snowden.

It's not because the UK junior has her own television show segment or because she's such a super sweet girl.

"It's because she doesn't miss much," assistant coach Matt Insell said of the 5-foot-7 guard, who leads the Southeastern Conference in three-point percentage and made threes.

In fact, Snowden's current 48.6 percentage from long range is the same as star senior Victoria Dunlap's overall shooting percentage.

And Dunlap is the third-best shooter in the SEC right now.

Snowden's just shooting that well.

"When she's on, she's as good as there is," said Insell, who coaches the guards for No. 11 UK, which travels to face No. 3 Duke on Tuesday.

"I tell her all the time she has a chance to play professional basketball based on how great of a shooter she is."

Coach Matthew Mitchell went into great detail describing what he called Snowden's natural form.

"She has a repeating stroke," he said. "It's the same every time. She has great balance. She's very square.

"Don't tell her, but her elbow's a little bit out, so it's not classic underneath the ball, but it just repeats. She has great follow-through, a great repeating snap of her wrist. Her rotation is beautiful."

The coach couldn't help but smile as he discussed it.

"I've coached her extensively on that, too," he said jokingly. "I'll take most of the credit on that."

That mechanical beauty and quick release is more than just a natural gift, both coaches said.

It's the result of a lot of hard work. During the season, Snowden takes hundreds of shots a day.

Before every home game, she's in the gym with Insell and usually makes 100 three-pointers before the team shoot-around even starts.

"Keyla probably gets up more shots than anybody," Insell said. "The amazing thing with Keyla is she can make 100 threes in 20 minutes, sometimes 15 minutes."

When she gets in her zone, Insell said he has seen her make 96 out of 100 shot attempts, which explains why student managers would want to shag balls for her.

"They don't have to chase balls all over the gym; they just have to stand under the basket," Insell said.

But if Snowden needs a reminder that she needs to keep spending time behind the line, she needs to only watch tape from her game at Louisville.

In that game on Dec. 5, Snowden went 1-for-12, including missing five of her six three-point tries.

"That ate at her a lot," Insell said. "Since then she's dedicated herself even more to getting in the gym and getting shots up."

Her percentages since that loss have skyrocketed.

In the six games since the loss to the Cardinals, Snowden has made 58.5 percent from three-point land.

She has hit at least four three-pointers in the last four games and has led UK in scoring the past three.

Her career-high 28 points versus outmanned Arkansas Pine-Bluff earned her SEC Player of the Week honors.

Snowden will make you pay if you leave her open, said Tennessee-Martin Coach Kevin McMillan, UK's last opponent.

"If you don't find Snowden, she's going to knock shots down," he said. "Honestly, Dunlap is a Player of the Year, an All American, and you have to pick your poison. Snowden makes shots. She's a great player."

The former Lexington Catholic star said she just tries to stay consistent with her shot and not think about it too much.

"I don't get superstitious," she said. "I just keep my same form and stay focused mentally. That's the main thing. You can't ever let down. You can't let your mind wander, because that's when it all goes bad."

Last season, Snowden made 51 three-pointers. At this point last season, she had just 16 made threes. She has nearly doubled that (30 makes) this year.

It's making UK a much more well-rounded team. Dunlap said having another scoring option has been great.

"We have a lot of confidence in her when she shoots the ball because most of the time she makes it."

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