Katie Benzan has always been a good shooter. When she was at Harvard, she emerged as one of the Ivy League’s most dangerous threats from beyond the arc. She knocked in nearly 300 triples during her three seasons in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
And since joining Maryland women’s basketball, Benzan has taken her sharpshooting skills to a different level. She’s hit 77 threes so far this season and is currently the best three-point shooter in the entire country.
Yet, she still finds herself open all the time. She ensures she’s moving, flitting around the perimeter to find little pockets of open space in the defense. In Maryland’s 111-93 win over Iowa, she repeatedly found more than enough room, freeing herself for a program record of nine threes.
“We all are threats on the court, so it’s going to be hard to defend us,” Benzan said.
At halftime, Benzan’s teammates and coaches marveled at her achievement. By that point, she had knocked down eight of her nine three-point attempts and had a team-high 24 points.
“Katie breaking the school record in threes — I’m not surprised,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I don’t know what took her so long.”
She exploited that zone in the first quarter on two near-identical inbounds plays. Ashley Owusu threw two passes from beneath the basket to a wide-open Benzan in the corner in less than two minutes for an easy six points.
These kinds of games are the reason Benzan came to College Park — to play with a team that could maximize her ability to create offense.
“I chose Maryland in the first place for this competitive, fun environment to play with great players,” Benzan said. “Honestly, Maryland has exceeded my expectations.”
Benzan’s most outrageous three of the night came near the end of the first quarter. She received a pass from Chloe Bibby that was a bit low, but she gathered it. Standing well beyond both the men’s and women’s three-point lines, she dribbled the ball through her legs before launching and making a three.
Her shooting prowess opened up many other avenues for her to score. Early in the third quarter, Benzan caught the ball and prepared to go into a pick-and-roll. Before she began to dribble, she raised the ball as if to shoot or pass, drawing two Hawkeye defenders to her right. Instead of dribbling into them, Benzan rejected the screen and went to the hoop for an easy layup.
Even with her prowess, Benzan won’t always score that well and that efficiently, especially if teams guard her more closely like Iowa did in the second half. But in those situations, she knows her teammates will be able to use the threat of her shooting to create good looks for other players.
“We share the ball so well … and that’s just a testament to how we love each other and we just want to win,” Benzan said.