When Suzanne Gilreath suits up for the Fridley girls’ basketball team, the opposition usually employs a box-and-one zone defense or sends double-teams in an attempt to slow her down. Those efforts haven’t slowed her much this season.
The junior guard set the state’s single-season record for three-point baskets last week in a 61-48 loss to St. Croix Lutheran, hitting 122 shots from behind the arc. The previous record of 119 three-pointers was held by Fulda’s Courtney Hulstein and New London-Spicer’s Taylor Thunstedt.
Gilreath hit the mark after spending nearly every day of last summer working on her shot. When she came home from the gym, Gilreath usually sat in front of her computer and watched countless highlight videos of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. She observed Curry’s footwork, including how he ran off of screens, which has helped improve her game.
The junior has scholarship offers from multiple high-major colleges, including Wisconsin. Gilreath spoke with the Star Tribune’s Jack Satzinger to discuss breaking the three-pointers record, her college prospects and what she likes to do on the rare occasion she isn’t playing basketball.
Q: How’s this season gone for you so far?
A: The season’s been great. I mean, coming into springtime I want to win. So, I have to do it. It’s been great.
Q: You recently set the state record for most three-pointers made in a season. What does that mean to you?
A: It means a lot. I just worked on my shot a lot throughout the summertime. Coming into the gym I worked on that shot and throughout the season I worked on it and just kept shooting. … It means a lot to me. To be a state record-holder is great.
Q: You mentioned working on your shot a lot in the summer. What’s your preparation like?
A: Staying in the gym day in and day out. Just working on that every day. Getting a lot of shots up and getting a lot of reps up got my shot going. I like watching highlights on YouTube of Stephen Curry, a lot of him because he’s one of the great shooters in the league, so I watch him.
Q: What are some of the things you’ve picked up from watching Curry play?
A: His footwork, the way he comes off screens, the way he moves without the ball. I really watch that a lot and the way he comes up when he’s shooting his shot, free throws, that’s what I watch from him. He likes to score and I like to score.
Q: How do teams try to defend you?
A: They usually play a box-and-one on me or they put two guards on me to stop me from shooting the ball, or try to press me a little bit. … They usually do a box-and-one. More teams do that to try and stop my shot.
Q: Are there any colleges that are interested in you?
A: Wisconsin, Toledo, a lot more colleges, but those are my top two that I’m looking at right now. I still have a lot to work on, and I’m just staying hungry and humble to see where it goes from there.
Q: Do you have any scholarship offers yet?
A: Yes, Wisconsin, Toledo and IUPUI. A few others are scouting me, too.
Q: It sounds like you spend a lot of time on the court. What do you like to do off of it?
A: Hang out with my family, school. I love school. I’m always spending my time studying and doing schoolwork … working hard all the time.
Q: What subject in school is your favorite?
A: Right now math is, which I’m actually struggling at, but I’m starting to love it. Also, English is one of my favorite subjects.