Vanderbilt seniors take aim at 3-point titles at Final Four

Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:10am

Merideth Marsh spent the last four years building a reputation as one of the best 3-point shooters in women’s college basketball.

Wednesday, on the eve of her opportunity to show how she stacks up against some of the other top shooters, her practice time was limited by the fact that construction of the court at the Indianapolis Convention Center was not complete.

“We only got about 10 minutes to practice,” she said. “I was hoping to get a little more time so I could get a feel for the rims and the lighting, things like that.”

The Vanderbilt senior will have to figure all of that Thursday as one of eight who will compete in the State Farm Women’s 3-point Contest, which is part of the festivities surrounding the NCAA men’s basketball tournament championship weekend.

Similarly, Vanderbilt’s Jermaine Beal will take part in the Built Ford Tough Men’s 3-Point Contest.

The events will be televised by ESPN at 8 p.m. (CDT).

It’s not as if Marsh isn’t prepared. She and Beal spent time in Memorial Gymnasium in recent days trying to dissect some of the finer points of the event in which competitors have a minute to try and make 25 shot – five each from five different spots on the floor.

“The one thing I’ve figured out is that it’s a lot different taking a ball off a rack than it is having someone pass it to you,” she said. “You also have to be in a hurry. Typically, you like to take your time on your shot and make sure the release and other things are right.

“But when you get in a rhythm, you don’t really have to look at the shot. You know it’s going in so you can start to reach for the next ball.”

Marsh made a career-high 88 3-point field goals this season and became the school’s all-time leader in 3-point baskets. Her 256 were four more than the previous mark set by Abi Ramsey (2002-05).

She finished seventh in the SEC in scoring at 15.1 points per game and was third in the conference in 3-point percentage at 39.1.

Beal, who also will compete in the Reese’s All-Star Game on Friday (4:35 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium), made 72 3-point field goals this season (also a career-high). He was the Commodores’ leading scorer at 14.6 points per game.

“I don’t really follow a lot of things that don’t have to do with me or my team,” Marsh said. “So I don’t think about who’s good at different things. Because of that, it almost was like a surprise when I got invited.

“It’s just kind of a nice pat on the back for having a good season and a good four years.”