Two words describe Jim Flanery's reaction the first time the Creighton women's coach saw Jordan Garrison shoot a basketball.
Creighton assistant coach Steve Huber previously had seen Garrison play and thought she might be a good fit for the Creighton program. Evidently, Huber neglected to fully inform his boss that Garrison's shooting style was slightly unorthodox.
The 5-foot-5 junior from Osceola, Mo., starts her shot by dipping the basketball near her waist. She steps back away from the basket, and it almost appears that she's pushing the ball upward toward the goal instead of shooting it. Most of her shots have a good deal of spin on them, and they'll likely to come from any spot on the court.
Flanery said his first thought after watching Garrison was what could be done to improve her mechanics. His conclusion? Nothing.
“A lot of times, you can make subtle tweaks to improve a player's shot,” Flanery said. “With Jordan, I don't know where you would start.”
Garrison's shooting style has provided her coaches and teammates a chuckle or two over the past 2½ seasons, but it's safe to say opponents find nothing humorous about her shot-making ability from beyond the arc.
Garrison heads into Saturday's game at Wichita State third on the team in 3-point baskets with 24. She's averaging 6.6 points while playing more than 18 minutes a game.
Garrison is on pace to set personal bests this season in just about every offensive statistical category. She has teamed with Marissa Janning, Alexis Akin-Otiko, Sammy Jensen, Tessa Leytem and Jasmin Corbin — before she was injured — to give the Bluejays a backup punch that few Missouri Valley teams can match.
“Every one of us can get hot on different nights,” Garrison said. “Someone steps up every night, and that's what is going to make our team a great team. I think we've all embraced that.
“After the way we finished last season, we've realized that if we embrace our roles that we can do great things with this team.”
Garrison had the hot hand in Creighton's most recent victory as she scored 14 points in Sunday's win over Indiana State. She made three 3-point baskets, one of which came from around 25 feet.
Garrison smiled when asked if she's ever surprised at some of the distances from which she lets shots fly.
“There are times when I watch film that I did not realize that I was that far out,” she said. “I do that a lot. My coaches know me well enough that they know that I'm actually more comfortable shooting out there than when I'm up to the line.
“That's good because it keeps me from worrying about where I am on the court.”
Flanery admits he's given up on trying to convince Garrison that shorter is better.
“We fought her on that a little last year but we've all kind of thrown our hands up into the air,” he said. “At some point, it's about what percentage she shoots, not where she shoots it from.
“If she can make them from 24 just as well as she can make them from 20, that's OK.”
Garrison is shooting 34.8 percent from 3-point range this season, up from 30.6 percent as a sophomore. She's also been more aggressive in trying to get to the basket, as her 11 two-point baskets are just four fewer than she had in 33 games last season.
Still, her forte remains her ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, even if her style might make purists cringe.
“I just found something that worked,” she said. “My dad helped me evolve my game to this level, keeping the same shot I always had. And I've been fortunate to have coaches that didn't try to change me.”
Before a recent practice, the Creighton players took turns imitating each other's shots.
“The first shot to be made fun of was mine,” she said. “It was funny seeing each of the girls of the team try to do that little step back that I do.
“I know that it's not any way negative toward me. It's funny, and I laugh along with them at it.”
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