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KOEHN vs. CHAMBERS, SHOOTER vs. SCORER

By Mark Janssen

Brittany Chambers is good ... a really, really, really good shooter from 20, 22 and even 24 feet is not out of her comfort zone.

How good is she? Could she be Laurie Koehn good?

Now, that brings a burst of laughter from the current K-State basketball marksman: "Never would I compare myself to her. I can be good when I'm open and feeling it, but Laurie is great every day ... 24-7. She's the best shooter, boy or girl, I've ever seen."

Not meaning to hurt her feelings, but the K-State coaches admit that there's no one like Laurie Koehn in shooting the 3-ball. After all, her 392 treys made from 2001-02 through 2004-05 were an NCAA record.

In a game of H-O-R-S-E, K-State associate head coach Kamie Ethridge says that Koehn would beat Chambers "... every time ... every time."

Even right after Chambers netted seven 3-pointers for 35 points against No. 5 Texas A&M, she admitted, "I'd be afraid to challenge Laurie. I know she would put me back in my place. I've honestly seen her make 99 out of 100, and the most I've ever done is 77 out of 100."

Let's repeat that.

Brittany Chambers once made 77 out of 100 3-pointers just fooling around at practice, which was 22 fewer ... that's fewer ... than Koehn once made ... as legend has it, and multiple sources in the women's basketball family insist that it's true.

Out of Moundridge High School, the 5-foot-8 Koehn had scoring averages of 17.6, 13.2, 13.5 and 12.4 during her four-year K-State career, and made 122, 72, 100 and 98 3-pointers in those freshman-to-senior seasons.

Her 1,733 career points rank only behind Kendra Wecker, Nicole Ohlde and Ashley Sweat, and her 392 treys is a K-State record by 107.

Koehn went on to have a three-year-career with the Washington Mystics in the WNBA, and most recently play for Utex Row in Poland, averaging nearly 18 points per game.

Chambers, also 5-8, is a product of Jordan, Minn., who averaged 11.6 points last year and 16.1 this season. She netted 65 treys last year and a school record for sophomores 84 this season entering play today at 1:30 p.m. in Storrs, Conn., against Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. The game will be televised by ESPN2.

Koehn once made 10 treys in a game against Iowa when she scored a career-high 33 points, but Chambers did tie Koehn's record for a conference game with seven 3-balls on a night when she scored 35 on A&M.

More than one of those long balls were really, really long balls with her heels nearly touching the Powercat on the Bramlage Coliseum floor, which would make them in the 23- to 24-foot range.

Modestly, she said, "I'm sure I have a limit (on distance), but I don't know what it is, but I do practice from that range."

Chambers' 16.0 scoring average ranks 10th in the Big 12. This season she has enjoyed games of 35 against Texas A&M and 32 against Nebraska, plus seven other games of over 20 points. Ten times she has made at least four 3-pointers in a game.

Just two seasons into her K-State career, Chambers' 149 treys ranks ninth in school history, just three in back of Kari Kincaid and four shy of Kendra Wecker.

Chambers' 496 points as a sophomore ranks only behind Tammie Romstad (686), Kendra Wecker (646) and Nichole Ohlde (610) in Wildcat history, and her 864 freshman-sophomore tallies ranks only behind Wecker (1,203), Ohlde (1,074) and Koehn (917).

While no one, including Chambers, is arguing the fact that Koehn may be the best shooter in college basketball history ... guys or gals ... it's the current Wildcat who may be a better total player.

As head coach Deb Patterson says, "Brittany is going to find a way to make a play even if a play hasn't been constructed for her."

"Laurie was very disciplined in making the play that was created for her, but she didn't go out and create shots for herself out of the offense," said Patterson. "She wasn't a super creative player, but she was obedient and disciplined. (Pause) And the best shooter I've ever seen male or female."

Ethridge evaluated the two guards by saying, "What sets Brittany apart is her ball handling. Laurie didn't have Brittany's strength of change of pace. We had to create shots for Laurie, while Brittany can go get her own shots by keeping defenders off balance. People have to guard her drive because she finishes so well at the rim with her excellent body control. Then when a defender backs off, that creates space for her step-back 3.

"Brittany will lull you to sleep. You don't think she's going to do anything, but she's always in a position to make a shot, and she has a change of pace with her dribble," said Ethridge. "I wouldn't put anyone in Laurie's category as a shooter, but Brittany is a better playmaker."

THE MATCHUP: K-State is a No. 8 seed with a 21-10 record; Purdue is a No. 9 seed with a 20-11 record. The Wildcats are led by Brittany Chambers (16.0) outside and Jalana Childs (13.1) inside. The Boilermakers have Brittany Rayburn (14.4) outside, and Drey Mingo (11.9) inside.

K-STATE NOTES:
The Wildcats have won in the first round in each of their last six NCAA appearances.
K-State scores 61.5 and gives up 56.4; Purdue scores 65.5 and allows 58.9.
K-State's roster was the youngest in the Big 12 this year, and the only school not to start a senior in any game.
K-State's backcourt duo of Chambers and Taelor Karr (26.2) rank only behind Laurie Koehn-Megan Mahoney (27.1) in 1-2 guard scoring in a single season in school history.

WHAT'S NEXT? The K-State vs. Purdue winner will play the winner between No. 1 Connecticut and Hartford on Tuesday.


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 either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.