Originally Published: Feb 14, 2010 7:28 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
TULSA, Oklahoma – When teammates say Melissa Alexander has deadly aim, they mean it. Alexander’s Memorial teammates have dubbed the junior “Sniper” because of her long-range shooting abilities.
“I think it fits her, Memorial head coach Mike Hughes said. “She’s got a lot of range, and she can step back well beyond the three-point line and hit big shots for us.”
The sharp-shooting, three-point specialist started taking shots because she wasn't allowed to make tackles.
“When I was little I used to play flag football, but then I couldn't play tackle football,” Alexander said. “So, I just started playing basketball and I have been playing ever since.”
Hughes can see some of Alexander’s “football skills” on the court.
“She's very aggressive and she kind of likes the idea of taking people out,” Hughes said.
For Alexander, practice makes perfect, but genes also play a role in her success.
“I’ve just been in the gym with my daddy and my daddy can shoot real well. So, I guess I got it from him,” Alexander said.
Every player has a sweet spot on the floor, and Alexander said she enjoys shooting from the wing. However, she is willing to take shots from anywhere on the floor.
“She's definitely a wing shooter for us,” Hughes said. “But a lot of her shots come three or four feet behind the (three-point) line. She’s hit some that I say ‘Don’t shoot it, don’t shoot it,’ and its goes in. And then I say ‘Great shot.’”
Now that Alexander has her long-range shooting down pat, she is looking to work on other parts of her game.
“I still want to take (the basketball inside) more and dribble it better,” Alexander said.
“She's got room for improvement, Hughes said. “She's shown signs this year of becoming more of a consistent shooter, which has really helped her out.”
When asked who would win a three-point shooting contest between coach and player, both agreed that Alexander would win.
“She would definitely want to beat me more than I would want to beat her,” Hughes said. “She's really good, and I would put her up with anybody in the state right now.”