Sharp-shooting Mileto regains confidence in sophomore season

2012-12-13T15:16:00Z 2012-12-14T22:39:04Z Sharp-shooting Mileto regains confidence in sophomore seasonBy BEN FREDERICKSON Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

LARAMIE — Kaitlyn Mileto likes to stay after practice.

Hair wet with sweat, she will grab a basketball, pick a spot behind the 3-point line and let it fly. After a few makes, she will move to the next spot and shoot again.

"I've been putting in a lot of extra work on my own," Mileto said recently.

It's the extra shooting — in the off-season, in her free time and after practice — that's led to the UW sophomore guard's hot hand this season. Mileto has emerged as a reliable, efficient scorer. And her team is better as a result.

"Kaitlyn puts a great deal of time and work into becoming a better shooter," Wyoming women's basketball coach Joe Legerski said Wednesday. "This season, it seems she is understanding more how to play the game, and what shots are available for her. When you start understanding what is your best shot, and you have the work ethic she does, you start shooting the basketball really well."

Wyoming has four players who average double-digit scoring this season. A key to that even distribution is Mileto. Her accuracy from long range forces opponents to guard her far from the basket.

"She's done a great job for us this year from the outside," Wyoming senior forward Chaundra Sewell said. "It has really opened it up for us post players inside. It makes everything easier for everyone."

Mileto averages 12.5 points per game. She shoots 50 percent from the field, and her 3-point percentage (54.3) is fourth-best in the country.

"It means you are taking very good looks at the basket," Legerski said of Mileto's knack for nailing the long ball, something that wasn't so automatic last year.

Mileto averaged 9.1 points a game as a freshman, but shot just 33.6 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from 3-point range. While Legerski never told Mileto to stop shooting, he encouraged her to find better opportunities instead of simply shooting more.

"She had a great deal of confidence coming out of high school," Legerski said. "Then, the adjustment to college, I think, she went through a phase where she had to learn that she could still be a tremendous offensive player and didn't need to take 20-25 shots to get it done."

Mileto's confidence is back again now. It grows every time an after-practice shot finds the net.

"You get into a rhythm," Mileto said. "You're not afraid to miss. You're like, 'This one is going in.'"

Reach reporter Ben Frederickson at ben.frederickson@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ben_Fred.

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