Women's Basketball

UC Davis senior Kelsey Harris leads NCAA women in shooting from long distance

UC Davis senior Kelsey Harris, a 5-foot-10 guard, leads NCAA Division I women in three-point-shooting percentage. She’s made 33 of 62 attempts, averaging 53.2 percent.
UC Davis senior Kelsey Harris, a 5-foot-10 guard, leads NCAA Division I women in three-point-shooting percentage. She’s made 33 of 62 attempts, averaging 53.2 percent. Aseng@sacbee.com

UC Davis senior Kelsey Harris has made only 33 percent of her two-point field-goal attempts this season.

But don’t be fooled. She’s one of the best shooters in the country.

Entering this week’s play, the 5-foot-10 guard leads NCAA Division I women’s basketball players in three-point-shooting percentage. She’s made 33 of 62 attempts, averaging 53.2 percent.

The Southern California native has taken only nine two-point shots, making three, so her overall average drops to a little under 51 percent.

“We don’t let her take twos because threes are worth more,” UC Davis women’s coach Jennifer Gross said with a smile.

This season, 92 percent of Harris’ shots have come from beyond 20 feet, 9 inches, continuing a trend that saw her take 82 percent (217 of 264) of her shots from beyond the arc as a junior.

Harris has always been a remarkable long-distance shooter. She is second in Brea Olinda High School history in three-pointers made, including four of five in the 2009 D-II state championship game that the Wildcats won 68-45 over Carondelet of Concord at Sleep Train Arena.

But when asked about why she is so good from so far away, Harris doesn’t reveal a lot.

“Practice,” she says, slightly dragging out the word. “I shoot a ton and know that my coaches have confidence in me.”

Gross says Harris has an impressive work ethic.

“Kelsey is a tremendous lead-by-example player,” Gross said. “You won’t find anyone who works harder in practice. Everyday, the consistent energy and effort is there. I never have to guess what I’m going to get from her.”

Gross said she’d like to see Harris get a few more shots in games. She is averaging just seven shots per game in averaging 9.6 points in 27.8 minutes.

In a 77-56 win over NAIA Menlo College last Saturday at the Pavilion, Harris scored 14 points, making a layup and four of seven three-point attempts. But three Aggies finished with more shots and two others had as many as Harris’ eight attempts.

Returning All-Big West Conference players Sydnee Fipps (first team) and Alyson Doherty (second team) are the team’s go-to players, averaging 16.0 points and 13.4 points, respectively.

“That’s something we’re working on,” Gross said. “We have so many weapons on the floor that demand double teams, so we’ve got to do a better job of finding her.”

Now might be the time. The Aggies (5-7) open Big West Conference play Thursday at defending champion Cal State Northridge (10-4), then play a Saturday matinee game at Long Beach State (13-1).

The game at Long Beach State will be the seventh road contest in the past eight games since Dec. 5 for the Aggies.

“Ambitious, but we’re looking forward to the trip and trying to take down the current top two teams in the conference,” Harris said.

Hornets’ big man – Sacramento State sophomore center Eric Stuteville will play in Thursday night’s Big Sky Conference game at North Dakota after being ejected early in the second half of the Hornets’ 90-75 win against Southern Utah at The Nest last week. Stuteville istepped on the face of Thunderbirds guard Trey Kennedy.

The game officials removed Stuteville, who had 12 points and five blocks, after reviewing the play on video, drawing boos and insults from the home fans.

But the flagrant 2 foul does not mandate that Stuteville sit out the next game. According Ryan Bjork, Sac State men’s basketball sports information director, fighting is the only penalty that carries an automatic suspension for the next game, though conference officials can augment any foul call with an additional suspension.

Stuteville averages 7.8 points and is the team leader (along with Cody Demps and Nick Hornsby) in rebounding at 4.2 a game and blocked shots with 15. Behind his play, the Hornets (8-5, 2-0) have a three-game win streak and are off to one of their best starts of the Division I era.

Happy to be home – Having played just one home game in the past six weeks, the Sac State women (3-10, 1-1) return to The Nest Thursday to play defending Big Sky champion North Dakota (10-4, 2-0), then face Northern Colorado (7-6, 1-1) on Saturday.

The Hornets won their first road game of the season last Saturday at Southern Utah 69-67, holding the Thunderbirds scoreless during the last 3:39.

Sac State leads the NCAA, averaging 13.2 three-pointers, 16.5 steals and 22 offensive rebounds per game.

Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.

UPCOMING GAMES

SACRAMENTO STATE

Men: Today, at North Dakota, 5:05 p.m., 1380; Saturday, at Northern Colorado, 6 p.m., 1380; Jan. 15, vs. Idaho, 7:05 p.m., 1380

Women: Today, vs. North Dakota, 7 p.m.; Saturday, vs. Northern Colorado, 2 p.m.; Jan. 15, at Idaho, 6 p.m.

UC DAVIS

Men: Saturday, vs. Long Beach State, 8 p.m., ESPNU, 105.5; Jan. 15, at UC Riverside, 105.5

Women: Today, at Northridge, 7 p.m., 90.3; Saturday, at Long Beach State, 2 p.m., 90.3; Jan. 15, vs. UC Riverside, 7 p.m., 90.3

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