Entering Duke's 90-55 rout of Virginia last night, 6-foot-1 sharpshooter Tricia Liston ranked fifth in the nation in 3-point percentage shooting 49%, according to NCAA.com.
Narrowing the field to seniors, Liston is first in the nation and has a good chance of entering the 2014 WNBA Draft as the best 3-point shooting senior in the nation.
In short, Liston is an elite shooter. Yet to paraphrase Debbie Antonelli from the commentary during the game (in which Liston shot 4-for-6 from beyond the arc during a 21-point, 12-rebound performance) we all knew Liston was a great 3-point shooter - it's actually the growth in every other aspect of her game that makes her worthy of consideration as a 2014 WNBA Draft prospect.
Amrith Ramkumar of the Duke Chronicle wrote an article the other day about Liston's growing role with the Duke Blue Devils over the past few seasons, which has shown up in some impressive statistical leaps.
Although Liston's legacy will primarily be one of an assassin from beyond the arc, she has added new dimensions to her game each season. The senior is averaging a career-high 5.5 rebounds per contest this season and has taken on an increased role as a defender and playmaker as well...Her efficiency as a shooter has also improved from year to year-Liston shot just 45.8 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 68.9 percent from the free throw line as a freshman but currently has marks of 54.6 percent, 47.9 percent and 92.9 percent in the same categories.
To elaborate a bit on her role as a playmaker, it will become more evident with Chelsea Gray out if last night's game is any indication: she brought the ball up to initiate the offense on more than one occasion and didn't necessarily struggle in doing so. That's not to say that she's an adequate replacement for Gray (or sophomore Alexis Jones) at the point guard spot, but it does highlight her improved ball skills.
Yet perhaps more important for Liston as a wing scoring prospect is her improved 2-point percentage: Liston has improved her 2-point percentage to 62.1% (which may well end up being the best of any wing from a major program in the draft) this year up from just 43.22% last season. She does shoot a ton of threes - 51.28% of her field goal attempts are from beyond the arc - which has been a red flag for prospects who don't get to the line at an above average rate (Liston currently has a free throw production rate of 20.51%, which puts her about 2.5% below the threshold). But the overall efficiency along with the rebounding is so impressive that it's difficult to just dismiss her if a team is looking for a 3-point shooter.
We know there's at least one team out there looking for a 3-point shooter in this year's draft. The question for Liston is whether she's the type of 3-point shooting option that fits a role a team needs.
For more prospect analysis, check out our 2014 WNBA Draft prospects storystream.