UE sophomore Mallory Ladd didn’t know about her free throw streak as of last Saturday’s loss to Creighton, but the Missouri Valley Conference made sure she and a few others found out on Monday in naming Ladd the league’s Player of the Week.
Ladd, a Memorial High School graduate and transfer from Valparaiso, has hit 32 straight attempts from the line in four games since missing her first free throw.
Her style is unique, too, because there’s no dribbling. Ladd gets the ball and fires.
“I guess when I look down, or when I used to dribble, I’d miss it because I took my eye off the goal,” she said. “So I just try to catch it, catch a breath for a second and go – but not rush.”
Ladd has posted four straight double-doubles – she averages 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds – since becoming eligible after the fall semester. She helped the Aces to a win over Drake last week, ending UE’s eight-game losing skid, before scoring a career-high 25 in the Creighton defeat.
Ladd hasn’t made enough free throws to qualify among the NCAA’s top shooters, but if she did, her 97 percent clip would rank No. 1 in the nation ahead of Oklahoma State sophomore Liz Donohoe, who’s hit 45 of 47.
The Aces have another stellar free throw shooter in senior Samantha Heck, who’s made 31 of 33 attempts this season. Heck, a post player, has served as an example for Ladd since she transferring into the program a year ago.
“I look up to Sam every day trying to see what she does and learn from it,” Ladd said. “I’m not happy with where I’m at. I could do more – more boards, more assists. But I’d rather win than have outstanding stats.”
The Player of the Week honor is UE’s first weekly MVC recognition of the season.