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February 3, 2013

WOMEN: Myers a threat from long range

TUSCALOOSA | Wendell Hudson knew the question would be coming.

Surrounded by an all-new group of assistant coaches, the University of Alabama's women's basketball coach expected some of the first feedback he received from his new staff would be about the distances from which Shafontaye Myers let her 3-pointers fly.

"I told the staff, I'm going to let 'Taye shoot the ball from distances you're not used to seeing," Hudson said. "Don't talk to me about the distances she's shooting from."

Two steps behind the 3-point line. Three steps. Four.

The junior from Newbern only needs to know she's behind the line - how far does not matter. And Hudson said it didn't take long for one of his assistants to approach him with full agreement about letting Myers play her game, her way.

"I'm making progress each game. It's becoming fun to me now, being able to work on defense and offense," Myers said. "My scoring, my shot has been falling, everything is falling into place."

Myers has made 63 of 212 3-pointers this season, more than twice as many as any teammate in both categories. Hudson said she is able to maintain a true jump shot form regardless of distance.

"It's a true jump shot. It's not a push, or a hope shot. She jumps and elevates and shoots the basketball," Hudson said. "From an inside perspective, her range makes people go out on her, further than they would normally move out, so that's helped us score more inside, as well."

Myers is the team's second-leading scorer at 11.9 points per game, despite starting only eight of 22 games. She opened the season as Hudson's first option off the bench, but her scoring has forced Hudson to place her in the starting lineup of late. Hudson said Myers is comfortable in either role, but would prefer to stick with one or the other.

"We struggled in a couple games from an offensive standpoint, not getting off to good starts, so we decided to put her in the starting lineup, and since then we've gotten off to better starts," Hudson said, "and we've been matching teams early from an offensive standpoint."

Hudson said Myers has become one of the team's better defensive players as well. Myers said defense was among her biggest adjustments from high school, because Sunshine High employed a zone defense and she was unaccustomed to man-to-man defense when she arrived at Alabama in 2010.

But her family has made sure Foster Auditorium still feels like home to Myers.

With Newbern a reasonable drive from the Capstone - Myers averaged 29 points per game as a senior at Sunshine - Myers said up to 15 extended family members and friends form her personal cheering section for every home game.

"I love them and it keeps me going. They're here every home game. They don't miss a game," Myers said. "My sister and brother play back home, and sometimes (the schedule) may butt heads. My mom may come, my dad may come, and the other parent may go to my sister or brother's game."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.



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