By Eric Rynston-Lobel
Abi Scheid doesn’t think she took more than 10 three-pointers in her entire high school career. Now, she’s the best three-point shooter in the country.
The senior, who sports a spectacular 48.8% mark from beyond the arc, is a major reason why Northwestern finds itself in the envious position of fighting for a share of the Big Ten regular season title.
Against Penn State on January 19, Scheid was six for six from deep. From January 16 against Indiana through February 2 at Penn State, Scheid shot 17 of 23 from deep, an astounding 73.9%. But, how did she go from taking less than 10 threes in high school to being as close to automatic as one could be?
In high school, Scheid said she was always the tallest on the court, so the coaches always put her on the block. Then when she played AAU, Shauna Green, now the head coach at Dayton, saw the potential she had as a shooter.
“Then, right when I came here, I started doing workouts that had me coming off ball screens, had me fading to the corner and moving off the ball and all this stuff,” Scheid said. “And then now, yeah, I shoot a lot.”
Players can shoot a lot in games, but that often doesn’t correlate to being insanely efficient like Scheid is. Take Lindsey Pulliam, for example. Undoubtedly the most dynamic player on this team, she plays a very different style than Scheid, averaging nearly 18 field goal attempts per game compared to Scheid’s 8.4. But Pulliam’s overall field goal percentage is roughly 13 percentage points lower. She’s a high-volume shooter, while Scheid is more selective. Nevertheless, Scheid makes sure to hone her craft in practice.
“Shooting every day is definitely something you need to stay consistent,” she said. “I always tell people on my team if I think about it too much, I’ll miss it because I’m not using my muscle memory that I practice so much.”
Assistant Coach Kate Popovec echoed that shooting a ton is paramount to having this kind of success but also added that Scheid having strong mechanics before coming to Northwestern was key.
“She wasn’t someone who came in and had a bad shot, something you need to correct,” Popovec said. “It was literally just that muscle memory, that confidence. She’s a kid that you see in the gym before every practice and after every practice.”
Popovec also noted Scheid’s work with Assistant Coach Tangela Smith in helping her become a more versatile player. She noted things have started to open up for her because she’s developed into a true dual-threat player.
But even Popovec, who in December said the ceiling for this team is whatever they want it to be, said what Scheid’s done to reach her ceiling is unbelievable.
“To see a senior come on the court every night and want to put up those numbers and want that pressure on her, you can’t teach that,” Popovec said. “That’s something that they earn themselves, and I’m just really proud of her.”
Posting Up is a weekly column about Northwestern Women’s Basketball. Each Monday, Eric Rynston-Lobel writes about a unique aspect of the team that hopes to win the Big Ten for the first time since the 1989-90 season.