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  • What She Does: Brianna Butler will keep shooting 3s for Syracuse after disappointing season

    first_imgComing off the court after any given game, Brianna Butler doesn’t know how many shots she took. She doesn’t know how many baskets she made either — even after several record-setting performances.What she does know, though, is her number of misses. Each one seared into the back of her mind creating a running tally. Each one a blemish that she feels she has to make up for by creating a turnover or grabbing the next rebound.It’s always frustrating. I’m kind of a perfectionist so when I don’t see the ball in the net I kind of get bummed out.Brianna ButlerThree-hundred-fifty times last season, Butler had something to remember. Her 30 and 28.2 percent shooting percentages from the floor and 3-point land, respectively, were the worst in her career. They overshadowed a season in which she reached 1,000 points and broke SU’s all-time record for three pointers.With Brittney Sykes out for the majority of the year, Butler had to the shoulder much of the scoring load. Opponents adapted to her breakout season a year earlier, chasing her off the 3-point line with multiple defenders.Heading into her senior season, Butler says she’s ready to shed the struggles for last year and solidify her legacy as what head coach Quentin Hillsman calls the “best shooter” in Syracuse history.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text,“She’s going to shoot 300 3s this year,” Hillsman said. “She’s going to make over 100 3s this year. That’s just what she does.”At William Penn Charter (Pennsylvania) School, Butler focused on repetition and perfected her jump shot so that there was little variation in her shooting off the dribble or on a step back 3-pointer, former Penn Charter head coach Diana Caramanico said.A silent assassin, as Caramanico describes her, Butler would brandish a slight twinkle in her eye with each big shot made.The 5-foot-11 guard started all 32 games her freshman season at SU, but it was the next year that she came into her own. Two hundred ninety-two threes rained down from Butler’s hands. One hundred of them went in — eclipsing the previous single season school record by nearly 30.,But the notoriety came at a cost. After the standout season, defenders covered Butler tighter around the 3-point line for her junior year. Instead of one defender, it was two, or sometimes three running at her with their hands in the air, yelling “shooter.”The previous year’s leading scorer, Sykes, wasn’t there to draw attention away from Butler and the pressure led to more misses than anyone on the team.Assistant coach Vonn Read looked at plays run for legendary NBA shooters Ray Allen and Reggie Miller to draw inspiration from to get Butler open. But 35 minutes on the floor each game, many of them spent running around screens, was taxing.I wasn’t really satisfied with how I finished the year. I didn’t think I did poorly but I didn’t think I did the best of my capability.Brianna ButlerFor the first time in her career, Butler spent this summer in Syracuse, in part, to work in the gym and weight room. She focused on conditioning, being able to shoot when she’s tired and shooting with defenders in her face. At home, gym time is hard to come by, her mother said.Already, in practice, forward Taylor Ford has noticed a quicker release on Butler’s shots. Ford will think she has Butler guarded, but then she’ll shoot before Ford even realizes she’s open.This year’s squad has more depth, Hillsman said, which will allow Butler more time on the bench to rest her legs, allowing for her to make 10-12 more 3s.If not, her conditioning has gone from “pretty good” to the next level, Read said.“(She’s) saying, ‘You know what? You can work me all day, but just like a Ray Allen or a Reggie Miller, we’re going to be in the type of shape that we need to be in to be able to make shots,’” Read said.Read said he thinks Butler will be an All-Atlantic Coast Conference player. She has a shot at cracking the top 10 in all-time scoring for SU and taking the crown for 3s made in a career, regardless if she even knows how many she’s made.“You come in here as a shooter and you leave as the best shooter,” Hillsman said. “There’s not getting better than that.” Comments Published on November 12, 2015 at 8:08 am Contact Jon: [email protected] | @jmettus,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.last_img read more

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