Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Richmond's Oliver - she (almost) never misses

According to the NCAA's latest statistics (through games of Jan. 1), the best free throw shooter in Division I is currently Richmond's own Abby Oliver, who is knocking 'em down at a 94.3 percent clip. With Oliver's expert marksmanship leading the way, the Spiders, who have led Division I in free-throw shooting most of  the season, are currently ranked second (82.7 percent), two-tenths behind national leader Delaware. Blue Hens star Elena Delle Donne ranks third individually at 92.8 percent (77 of 83).

As you probably know, Richmond's associate head coach is Ginny Doyle, who made a then-Division I-record 66 straight free throws for the Spiders in 1991-92. The record stood until last season, when Bowling Green's Lauren Prochaska canned 70 straight.

In August, when we asked Doyle which of the current Spiders most reminded her of herself as a player, she said the one that comes closest is Oliver.

"Abby usually is the one who grabs me after our practices to challenge me to a free throw-shooting contest. We've had many over the past three years; it's an ongoing contest that becomes very fun and competitive."

We bet they're more competitive than ever these days.

As far as streaks go, Oliver isn't exactly breathing down Doyle or Prochaska's necks yet. But she has made 22 in a row since her last miss on Dec. 10 with 6:04 remaining in the second half against UNC Greensboro. The streak includes five perfect games and a 10-for-10 effort against Liberty on Dec. 20.

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