Pfohl’s confidence high in first year as starter
Michael Riccio – Sports Editor
Women’s basketball head coach Kate Lynch said she thinks every time Amanda Pfohl shoots the ball, it is going to go in.
“I think Amanda has the opportunity to break some records when it comes to three-point shooting and we’ve always kind of said that to her,” Lynch said. “We said ‘this is the year that you can do that.’ She’s such a great young lady that she’s not even focused on any of that. She’s focused on doing what she can for the team and helping us be the best we can be and hopefully that’s winning championships.”
After averaging just 2.2 points in her first three seasons, Pfohl, a senior guard and captain, is averaging 13.4 points per game and has made 16 of her 33 three- point shot attempts. She has helped lead the Owls to their first 5-0 start since the 2006-2007 season.
Pfohl said the transition from high school from college was difficult because of the success she had in high school at Trumbull.
“In high school I was definitely known as the best player,” Pfohl said. “I had the most playing time, I had some school records, and then coming here it’s kind of like a shift with everything that’s going on and it’s like you’re the baby.”
She said being in a backup role was frustrating but she had to have a change in mindset, especially with the team having success.
“I just had to think ‘my team’s winning, my teammates are playing well, it’s more of a team sport it’s not about me,’” Pfohl said. “Obviously I wanted to be on the court but the fact that we were winning and doing well was fine enough for me.”
Lynch said with players like Abby Hurlbert and Taylor McLaughlin, former All Conference players over the last two seasons, Pfohl was able to learn under them while coming off the bench.
“She’s gotten better every single year,” Lynch said. “She’s been more consistent with her three-point shooting, her confidence has been building, she’s gotten a lot better defensively each and every year so she’s really done a great job staying the course and staying confident and everyone is seeing that now.”
Lynch said Pfohl is more confident now than when she was a younger player, and now everyone is seeing her develop more with more playing time.
“She’s really just blossomed,” Lynch said. “She’s one of our hardest workers, she’s always focused, she always wants to win, she’s always giving her best in practice, so watching her grow and blossom into the player she is now has been fun to watch.”
Erin Ryder, one of the two other senior captains for the Owls, said during her first three years, Pfohl would still make the most of her opportunities coming off the bench.
“She would go out there and do what she does best which was her shooting,” Ryder said. “Anytime she’d go out there and she had a chance to make herself known, she took her chances to shoot and she what she did best.
Ryder said her and the team has always been confident in Pfohl because they knew what she is capable of in practices.
“Not everyone can see what we see and do in practice day in and day out and the past four years, especially me and Allie Smith,” Ryder said. “We’ve been able to see what she does best. We’ve been able to see her do the extra work so us being able to see that helps us know she can do it.”
Since Ryder said Pfohl now has more confidence in herself, that has “made her have prominent role on the floor.”
“When she’s out there she knows we’re behind her,” Ryder said. “I think that gives her more confidence in herself too so that gives her the confidence to let her shot fly.”
After scoring 14 and 13 points the first two games of the season, something she did not do in a game her first three years, Pfohl has scored exactly 17 points over the last two games, a career high. After shooting 28.2 percent on three-pointers as a freshman, she shot 35.5 percent as a sophomore and 42.1 percent as a junior. This year, she is shooting 48.5 percent on three-point shots.
“My dad always says ‘there’s never a shot Amanda sees that she doesn’t like’ so I think it’s just I like to score,” Pfohl said. “Shooting was always my best asset of my game ever since I was little so I just continued to work on it and now it’s better than it’s ever been.”
Lynch said Pfohl can give the team a boost at any point in the game because of her shooting and having a player like her is important with the way they play.
“She shoots the ball probably within one second of when she gets it,” Lynch said. “We set up plays for her to obviously get open three’s but she really has a knack for getting herself open.”
Because of the start Pfohl has gotten off to this year, Lynch said it should help Pfohl for the rest of the season going forward.
“I think anytime you knock down three or four three’s, especially right away, that’s going to help you be more confident.
I expect her to shoot even when she’s not on because great shooters keep shooting and she’s got that mentality.”
Along with Ryder and Smith, Pfohl was named as a captain for the season. She said she was excited and knew she can be a leader, even if it is a distinctive role.
“It’s very different,” Pfohl said. “It’s just different to see the other side of it because obviously you can get frustrated and stuff but hearing coach’s input more as a captain kind of make’s things make more sense and understanding the game as a whole better.”
Lynch said Pfohl does a good job with younger players on the team and keeping the team together and focused for every game.
“She’s one of those student- athletes that does anything you ask of them, and does it without question,” Lynch said. “She’s one of those young ladies that if I’m not on the court, she’s an extension of me on the court. She does and says the right things, she knows what the coaching staff expects from them and she’s that person that stepped into that role and holds everyone accountable as a leader.”
Ryder said she has a strong relationship with Pfohl after playing with her for four seasons and said she has become very close with her.
“I consider her one of my best friends on and off the court. She’s always been very supportive of me with anything that’s happened throughout my lifetime the past few years and I’ve been there for her so she’s someone I could really count on.”
Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications