“Only the most dedicated Zips’ sports fans know Keyla Snowden. But ask any Mid-American Conference coach and they’ll know exactly who she is. Snowden, a freshman guard on the University of Akron’s women’s basketball team, is one of the nation’s leading 3-point shooters averaging close to three 3’s per game.””
Only the most dedicated Zips’ sports fans know Keyla Snowden.
But ask any Mid-American Conference coach and they’ll know exactly who she is.
Snowden, a freshman guard on the University of Akron’s women’s basketball team, is one of the nation’s leading 3-point shooters averaging close to three 3’s per game.
Saturday, against Northern Illinois, Snowden matched UA’s all-time mark for 3’s in a season, knocking down her 63rd of the season, a 21-footer that cut the Huskies lead to 52-49 with 10 minutes left in the second half.
Oh, I did? Snowden said of tying the all-time school mark. It just feels good that I came in and made a difference.
Snowden has honed her shooting stroke since she was in the sixth grade. She started going to the gym to work on her game with her father and playing one-on-one with her oldest brother Jarrell, a former football player at Campbellsville University.
He would not let me beat him, she said. It helped me a lot. It made me stronger and gave me the will to fight more when playing against girls.
She came to UA out of Lexington Catholic High School in Kentucky, where she led her team in scoring and to two state championships in three appearances.
Coming to the Zips has been a different story. The women’s program has been rebuilding since the turn of the century and has had three different coaches in a five-year span.
It was tough at first, Snowden said. Everybody helped me out; we’re like a big family here. That helped a lot.
Snowden was thrust into a starting lineup that lacked scoring punch since the first game of the season.
Snowden came in and immediately made an impact, scoring 18 points in the season opener against Michigan and hasn’t looked back.
When leading-scorer Sarah Tokodi went down with a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 28, Snowden’s offensive talents were in even more of a demand. She has led the team in scoring in five of the following 10 games, but they weren’t leading to wins.
The Zips finally snapped a 10-game losing streak against Central Michigan last Tuesday and, after Saturday’s comeback-win over NIU, have won back-to-back games since mid-December.
Snowden was a major reason why. She led the team with 17 points, knocking down three 3’s and making a key defensive play, something that head coach Jodi Kest said has been a suspect part of her game.
She drew a charge near mid-court with under two minutes remaining in the game and hit all four of her free throw attempts near the end of the game to help seal the win.
It feels really good, Snowden said. I think we’re starting to find ourselves and our team. Hopefully, we can make some noise in the (Mid-American Conference) tournament.
Fellow freshman Kara Murphy, Amanda Sedlack and Snowden make up three-fifths of one of the youngest starting lineups in the country.
One of the three freshman have led the Zips in scoring in nine of the 10 games since Tokodi’s injury and are starting to get more comfortable and better results.
We fit in really well together, Snowden said.
It really helps that all three of us came in together, Murphy said, finishing Snowden’s sentence.
Last time the Zips had a freshman lead them in scoring, which Snowden is currently doing, was two years ago. Nicki McCoy, a slashing guard who also led UA in rebounds, transferred after last season to the greener pasture at Bowling Green.
Kest has no worries about that happening to any of this year’s freshman class.
She just decided to quit, Kest said. All I can worry about is this year’s team.