Prior to Saturday’s game, Caitlyn Kroll wasn’t her usual self. Last week, she went 0-5 from 3-point range during Ohio’s loss to Central Michigan. It was the rock bottom of a slump that pushed down her 3-point shooting percentage to 22% and her confidence even lower.
But thanks to a new post-practice regiment, Kroll may finally have her groove back.
Kroll was in rhythm all afternoon, sinking four 3-pointers and scoring a season-high 14 points during Ohio’s 85-66 win over Toledo at The Convo. It was the first time the redshirt junior eclipsed double-digits scoring totals this season. And if she continues her new post-practice workout, it might not be the last.
“After the Central Michigan game, I went 0-for-5, and I was just like ‘I know I’m a shooter, I need to change the way I do things,‘” Kroll said. “I’m going to come in and make 100 shots a day. Make. Not put up.”
So for the last week, when Ohio finishes practice and everyone gets dressed to head home, Kroll has stayed on the court. She said that she picks 10 spots along the 3-point line and refuses to head home until she’s reached the century mark. To make it even tougher, she times herself.
The only thing more impressive than the seven-and-a-half minutes it takes for Kroll to make her shots is how quickly she’s seen the results. Kroll hasn’t made more than one 3-pointer in a game since the season-opener against Liberty. But with extra focus on her shot, Kroll identified the problem: her shooting hand was leaning too much right.
With a minor adjustment, Kroll went 4-for-6 from downtown against the Rockets.
“You just love it as a coach when you watch that and you watch kids put in the work,” Ohio coach Bob Boldon said. “It’s probably one of the more special things about coaching is watching those kids succeed.”
It only took 42 seconds for that success to show itself on Saturday. After a dish from Peyton Guice, Kroll showed zero hesitation pulling up near the right corner. You could hear the crisp sound of the net in the nearly empty Convo.
But Kroll didn’t stop there. She continued to make, not put up, 3-pointers all game. Her 14 points were second only on the team to CeCe Hooks’ 24 points.
“She (Kroll) was just feeling it today,” Hooks said. “That helped out a lot, because we need her to step up and give us extra points.”
Despite her early-season struggles, Kroll was a key component to Ohio’s starting lineup. She’s more than just a shooter, but with Hooks and guard Erica Johnson responsible for most of Ohio’s ball-handling duties, Kroll’s slump was holding Ohio — and her confidence — back.
But Kroll’s teammates and coaches never gave up on her. And when Kroll decided she’d start her 100-makes a day regiment, assistant coaches like Steph Haas and Tavares Jackson made sure she stuck with it by volunteering to rebound for her.
“After practice, he’ll (Jackson) make eye contact with me and make sure I go get my shots up,” Kroll said.
Kroll will continue her regime throughout the season, and that’s great news for Ohio (5-3, 3-2 Mid-American Conference). After Saturday’s win, Ohio moves into fifth place amongst the MAC standings. With no divisions or first-round games this season, the MAC is only inviting the top eight teams to Cleveland for the conference tournament.
Ohio will look to get back in the race for the regular season title when it welcomes Ball State to The Convo on Wednesday, Jan. 13. The Cardinals have one of the top defenses in the MAC, so Ohio’s offense will have to bring it again like it did against the Rockets.
Kroll’s confident her 100-make challenge will have her ready.
“It’s definitely rewarding and definitely helps my confidence,” Kroll said. “It’s definitely going to help moving forward.”