By Corbin McGuire
Rachel Ranke started her junior season with a statement. Not in the spoken sense, but on the stat sheet.
Ranke put up 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in K-State’s season-opening win against Omaha. More notably, she did so without a 3-point make. Heck, she only attempted one. It was her first double-digit scoring game at K-State without a trey and only the third time where she attempted one or less from deep.
“She’s probably never played a game in her life where she hasn’t taken a 3-point shot,” K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said, with a laugh. “I thought her pace in that game was great. I thought she probably played as complete a game as I’ve seen her without just scoring 20, 25 points. We know she’s got that capability, but that was good maturity for her.”
Ranke described the performance’s precursor in a number of similar ways – her “big focus,” “big thing” and “big idea,” for starters. All of them boil down to a drive to add to her game, to make her an asset inside and outside the 3-point line.
“I worked a lot this offseason on trying to expand my game, and I have in the past, too,” Ranke said. “I just want to be more effective in other areas. Being just a 3-point threat is easy to guard, at times, so I’m learning to expand my game.”
Five games into K-State’s season, Ranke’s numbers indicate she’s learning well.
Averaging 11.6 points a game, Ranke has scored 52 percent of them from beyond the arc. As a freshman, that number was 68 percent. Last year, she collected 65 percent of her scoring from threes.
“It’s definitely been a big focus of mine this offseason,” Ranke said, as K-State (3-3) returns to Bramlage Coliseum to host UIW on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. “I was trying to elevate my game more. Last year I said I wanted to be a three-level scorer, too. I kind of showed little spurts of that, wasn’t very consistent with it, and I’m trying to make it more consistent this year, make it known that I am a 3-point shooter, but I can also be more than that as well.”
Again, Ranke’s stats back up her words.
Not only is Ranke shooting a career-high 47.6 percent from the field – 13 percent higher than her previous best (34.2) as a freshman – she’s also shooting it better from 3-point range. A career 32 percent shooter from beyond the arc coming into the season, she’s made 40 percent (10 of 25) this season. She’s even getting to the free throw line at a higher clip, averaging 2.8 attempts a game after only 1.2 between her first two seasons.
“I’m just kind of recognizing when I have an advantage or a one-on-one iso situation. If they’re bigger than me, I have to take it inside on them, try to draw a foul, get to the free throw line more. I would like to get to the free throw line more,” Ranke said. “Scoring at all three levels is going to be a lot harder to defend. It’s going to cause a lot more chaos for the defense.”
Ranke’s newfound focus to expand her game goes beyond how she scores the ball, too. She’s averaging 2.8 assists this season, second most on the team. It’s just one of many other areas Ranke has tried to improve.
“My main focus for right now is doing the little things, doing my job, helping my teammates, putting a big emphasis on rebounding right now, on transition (defense),” Ranke said. “Just doing my job, doing those little things, trying to be more effective on the defensive end, and I feel like if I have more energy on that end then I feel like it will kind of help me more on the offensive end.”
Source: Kansas State Sports