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TODAY'S SPORTS EXTRA

Ranke's Quick Release Helps Make Immediate Impact on K-State WBB

December 21, 2017
By Corbin McGuire


Rachel Ranke's impact on K-State women's basketball, in relative terms, took about as much time it takes her to get a shot off. Put another way: Not long at all.

The freshman guard led K-State in scoring in her second, third and fourth career games as a Wildcat, all wins that helped her earn Big 12 Freshman of the Week. That week included putting up 20 points against Omaha, 23 against Florida A&M and 14 in a tight win at North Texas, highlighted by a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:03 to play.

A Burnsville, Minnesota native, Ranke collected a career-high 24 points against Chicago State — her 10th game — on Monday when she hit seven treys.

The last Wildcat to make seven 3-pointers in a game for K-State was also from Minnesota. Her name? Brittany Chambers, who made seven in a game as a senior, finished second all-time in program history for made 3-pointers (350) and helped convince Ranke to become a Wildcat.

"I met her when I came on my visit down here. She was the one who helped actually persuade me to come here," Ranke said of Chambers, third on K-State's all-time scoring list. "She had nothing but good things to say about K-State."

Ranke enters K-State's final non-conference game against Northern Iowa on Thursday at 7 p.m., as the Wildcats' second-leading scorer, at 13.4 points a game to lead all Big 12 freshmen. Her rise has been quick and bolstered by an even quicker draw on the perimeter, which started many years ago.

"I was in third grade when I made my first 3-pointer. I just worked on it growing up," Ranke recalled. "I always worked on my own form."
 

 

About 10 years and hundreds of made treys later, Ranke is still looking for any way she can to continue cutting down on her release time. She's found a few already at K-State, where she's canned 31 so far to rank second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made per game.

"When I got here, I worked on faster footwork. It wasn't as fast as it is now," said Ranke, the first K-State freshman to hit seven threes in a game since Laurie Koehn in the 2001-02 season. "I want to have a fast release like Steph Curry; he's always the big idol for 3-point shooting. I just want to make it better and keep improving. Obviously with the coaches' help, it's going to get better."

Ranke's coaches and teammates, alike, realized early on in their experience with the 6-foot-1 guard that she had a rare ability to not only shoot the ball from the perimeter but also do so with speed and precision.

"We felt like she was one of the top shooters in the country. You hear it all the time that there are fewer and fewer pure shooters out there, so it stood out right away," K-State head coach Jeff Mittie said of Ranke, rated as the No. 13 wing in the nation by ESPNU Hoopgurlz. "Her trigger kind of stood out more over the summers, though, as she played elite competition. She was able to get that shot off against virtually anybody."

Sophomore forward Peyton Williams, after her first basketball encounter with Ranke, said she recalls thinking: "This girl is not afraid. She is fearless."

Williams still had her concerns, as she remembered what it was like being a freshman. These faded fast, however, as Ranke led the team in scoring during a four-game trip in Europe, put up 20 points in her first exhibition and continued draining threes when the games began to count.

"I was worried that whenever she got in the game that she would tense up but she didn't," Williams said. "So when I saw that consistency I was, like, 'If she continues to be fearless in that way, she could be really good.'"

Ranke's fearlessness creates what's more commonly referred to as a shooter's mentality. A player who possesses this mindset does not let multiple misses affect whether or not they take, or even hesitate on, the next open shot. Ranke, shooting 36.5 percent from 3-point range, certainly fits this description. She has fired 10 or more shots up in all but one game this season.

"I love the confidence that she has," senior guard Karyla Middlebrook said. "She could be 0-for-7 but she's still going to shoot it and we still have confidence that it's going to go in."

While certainly not without self-confidence as a shooter, Ranke said the support she's felt from teammates, coaches and fans have certainly factored into her early success as well.

"Everybody talks about it and it is actually a family here. You don't understand that until you get here, and you realize what kind of support you have and all the people just care so much about you, not just as an athlete but off the court as well," she said. "Having all that support is just really important when you're going to a home away from home."

On the court, she's made another home along the perimeter. It's where she can do the most damage, which she's not hesitant or slow to inflict on opposing defenses.

"If I have room to shoot the ball, I'm going to shoot it every time. And they want me to shoot the ball, so DYJ — Do Your Job," Ranke said, using an acronym to describe a message K-State's coaches have drilled into this team. "I'm just going to keep doing my job, playing my role."

 

 

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Corbin McGuire, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.

   

This message was sent to dyoder@ksu.edu.