Pac-12 Feature: Stanford's Samuelson Is Putting In The Time

Nothing sticks in Karlie Samuelson’s craw quite so much as missing an open 3-point shot.

“You don’t get many of them, so when you get them, you have to hit them,” Samuelson said.

And so she puts in the time, before and after practice, to make sure that doesn’t happen. When more than 70 percent of the shots you’ve taken in your college career come from behind the arc, it’s an understandable use of practice time.

“My 3-point shot has been feeling good,” said the senior wing, preparing this week for a tough road trip to Washington that will close with Sunday’s showdown against Washington, a Top 10 matchup with implications in the conference race. “In my four years, this is the best the Pac-12 has ever been. And that has raised the level of everybody’s game. You have to be at your best every night.”

Samuelson is averaging a career-best 12.3 points per game, and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in 3-pointers made with 50. Samuelson, who has made 203 career 3-pointers, is shooting 50.6 percent from the floor and better than 50 percent from the floor from beyond the arc and 59 percent in conference play.

Over the Cardinal’s last four games, she is averaging 16.0 points a game.

“She’s playing great, working hard at both ends of the floor, said Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer. “Her 3-point shooting has been great, but she’s doing a lot more than that. She’s putting the ball on the floor and pretty much doing everything for us.”

The Cardinal are 7-1 and playing strong, steady basketball with an experienced core that includes Samuelson, post Erica McCall and guard Bri Roberson.

“People have been playing together for a long time,” VanDerveer said “Bird (McCall) is playing well, Bri is doing a great job. Marta (Snizek) is moving the ball around. Our team doesn’t care who does it, whether it’s Karlie or somebody else, they just want to win. Other people are making plays and spreading things around helps us a lot.”

Samuelson’s older sister Bonnie played at Stanford, a 3-point shooting specialist. Her younger sister Katie Lou, is having an All-American caliber season with top-ranked Connecticut.

Karlie is a leader by example.

“She’s there early, she’s there late, getting shots up,” VanDerveer said. “A lot of people are putting in a lot of extra time. And Karlie is a leader in that.”

Samuelson said she has only a couple of classes to finish this quarter and she will be ready to graduate come spring, which means her final few months of college are focused largely on basketball, and getting the Cardinal back to the Final Four for the first time since she was a freshman.

“We are really confident, we all know our roles and we are ready to keep this going,” Samuelson said.

And she will stay late after practice and put shots up for as many days at it takes to make sure that happens.

Michelle Smith is a contributing writer for pac-12.com. She has covered pro and college sports for espnW, the San Francisco Chronicle and AOL Fanhouse.

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