IOWA CITY – One shot at a time, Makenzie Meyer worked all summer to find her comfort zone on the basketball court.
The Iowa sophomore recorded 16,000 shots during the summer, work Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder believes will help Meyer deliver from the perimeter this season for the Hawkeyes.
“Our expectation is that she’s going to demand as much respect on the floor as Melissa Dixon did during the season when she was the best three-point shooter in the nation," Bluder said. “She is playing with a joy you need to have to be successful."
The Hawkeyes, who host their lone preseason exhibition Sunday at 7 p.m. against Minnesota State-Moorhead, count on the 5-foot-9 guard from Mason City to take her game to another level after she averaged 6.8 points a year ago.
Meyer expects it, too.
“I feel more confident and comfortable now," Meyer said. “Last year was an adjustment for me, getting used to the college game. It took some time."
Meyer started 23 times as a freshman while playing in each of Iowa’s 34 games last season.
She worked through a slow start from the field, an experience Meyer now believes has strengthened her as she prepares for her sophomore season.
“It was something I had to deal with and figure a way out of and it taught me a lot," Meyer said. “I worked through it, kept at it, and eventually the shots started to fall again."
Meyer finished the season shooting 35.6 percent from three-point range, hitting 42-of-118 shots, and she is Iowa’s top-returning shooter from the behind the arc.
“I’ve put a lot of work into that part of my game and I feel like I’m where I want to be right now," Meyer said. “We have some good shooters on this team so it isn’t all on me. We’ll have success as a team."
Bluder likes the attitude and approach she sees as she watches Meyer work through her second preseason with Iowa.
“She is just much more comfortable on the court. You can see it in her expression and the way she carries herself," Bluder said. “Some of that is experience, having gone through it all before, and some of it is skill. I felt a year ago like she was our best three-point shooter."
Meyer has worked to grow her game on the defensive end of the floor and moving from 10,000 shots a year ago to 16,000 shots this past summer, she continues to work on developing the consistency that she wants offensively.
“I’m seeing the results now," Meyer said. “I feel good shooting the ball and I’m looking forward to carrying that over into the season. A year ago, everything was new. Now, I’m ready to go."