By Brian McLaughlin, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Last Sunday against the Purdue Boilermakers Jaida Travascio-Green notched her 100th career 3-point shot at Penn State, becoming just the 16th Lady Lion ever to reach that mark.
Travascio-Green is still just a sophomore and has been a threat all over the court this season for Penn State, and this milestone is just one representation of her hard work.
"It's definitely a big deal especially because I knew coming in I was going to be shooting threes, but to make my 100th and to think about that as 300 points is kind of insane," Travascio-Green said. "It was a big deal. I'm excited to go up from here, I'm only a sophomore so I'm excited to see what happens with the rest of this season and then moving forward in my career."
It is not just the three that has been falling this year for Travascio-Green, as she added many weapons to her game and honed other skills in the offseason.
"This summer I worked a lot on my ball handling, working on my pull-up and getting to the basket. I think I've made more twos this year than I attempted all of last year at this point and I think I hit that point pretty early on in the season," Travascio-Green said. "That makes it easier to get my shot off [from 3-point range] because they can't just run out at me because I can go past them. Just adding in another facet of my game helps me get more opportunities."
Travascio-Green has added a dribble drive to her game, and has also gotten to the free-throw line at a higher rate. Early in non-conference play, leading-scorer Teniya Page was out with injury and it was Travascio-Green stepping up on the offensive end scoring as many as 31 points in a game.
While Travascio-Green has added more skills, she is still most dangerous from outside the arc.
"She's worked pretty hard along with her position coach. They've put a lot of time in before and after practice just working on her form and on her footwork and things of that nature," head coach Coquese Washington said. "I think the results show that when she gets in the game she shoots with a lot of confidence and her teammates have a lot of confidence in her."
But as every shooter knows, not every game is a cake-walk with open looks from the top of the key. There have been games where Travascio-Green doesn't hit with her usual frequency.
"For any shooter there are just days when it's not falling, there are days when it just rattles in and out and touches every part of the rim, but just won't go in. A big thing for me is I try not to think about my shot too much, when I do start to think about it my coaches get in my ear and tell me I have to miss 25 threes before I can stop shooting," Travascio-Green said. "So I try to think about that and think there's no way I can miss 25 threes in a row or even 15 in a row. So just keeping the mentality that if you're a shooter you've just got to keep shooting and they will fall eventually."
The short memory mentality has served her well, and is a mature mindset for a true sophomore. The young Lady Lions have all had to grow up fast in Big Ten play and play with confidence, but it may be more important for the shooter to have it than any other position.
"I think she has learned this year that you have to have a short memory as a shooter and you can't let a couple of misses deter you from taking the next one," Washington said. "As she's become more prolific in her ability she's drawn a lot more attention so there are times she will say 'I didn't think i was open.' I just tell her, 'well that's as open as you're going to get.' When you shoot the ball as well as she does, you're not going to be completely wide open and they're not going to leave you alone. I think she's learned even to be more aggressive when getting that extra attention."
That attention and defensive focus from opponents has been a theme on Travascio-Green. When she is feeling it from deep, it becomes tough to even breath when on offense. She has shown potential to score in bunches and in a multitude of ways adding a third weapon for the Lady Lion offense alongside starting backcourt mates Page and Amari Carter.
Without one senior on the roster, this trio will only grow stronger both individually, and as a unit. When defenses are forced to deny Travascio-Green the ball on the perimeter, it opens lanes for Carter and Page to drive. Three complete offensive weapons is the goal for Washington's offense, and with the additions to Travascio-Green's game this is not a that tall of a task.
"I think the attention is only going to grow as she also grows as a player. She's a player who plays with a lot of pride in being out there on the court," Washington said. "She will continue to add to her game, this year she's working more off her dribble, and she's adding her pull-up jumper into her game a little more. So I think she's working those ancillary skills into her game a little more that go with a tremendous three-point shooter."
As her team grows around her on the court, Travascio-Green's 3-point shooting has been a highlight of this season, and her scoring prowess is only going to skyrocket in the years to come.