BURNABY — One of those nights?
When you’re a pass-first point guard with a penchant for getting your teammates involved like Simon Fraser Clan floor general Ellen Kett is, you know all the tell-tale signs.
“I mean, it was all first reads,” Kett said Sunday afternoon after the Clan’s bus rolled up Burnaby Mountain following an 87-65 win over host Montana State Billings on Saturday night in which she scattered dimes in record-setting fashion. “On our first three field goals, I got three assists, and when that happens, I knew things felt right. And then it all just fell into place.”
First, a Great Northwest Athletic Conference single-game record, and then second, a total that pushed Kett’s cache of helpers to the GNAC’s most-ever (214) in a single season.
Kett’s 20 helpers were four more than the previous high of 16 set in 2012 by Ally Schmidt of Central Washington, and the most at NCAA D2 since 1997 when Joanna Bernabei of West Liberty dished 24, which remains the division’s record.
And Kett still has two more regular-season games remaining — Thursday against Fairbanks and Saturday against Anchorage — to boost that number. Both are at home.
The Aussie is a basketball purist and was quick to point out that so many things have to be in synch for someone to garner 20 helpers.
“As much as it is my record, it is a whole-team record,” said Kett, whose generalship was part of SFU shooting 62 per cent from the field as a team. “I can’t get 20 assists without a lot of people putting balls in baskets.”
Four Clan players, who combined to score 49 of the team’s 87 points, didn’t all necessarily score off Kett passes, but their efficiency is the window into the team’s high efficiency, one in which 27 assists were registered on the team’s 35 collective field goals.
Meg Wilson (8-of-9, 19 points), Rachel Fradgely (6-of-6, 12 points), Tayla Jackson (5-of-8, 10 points) and Sophie Swant (3-of-5, eight points) combined top shoot 22-of-28 from the field for a 79 per cent success rate.
Kett, who played 37 minutes and committed three turnovers, actually found the time to shoot nine times and finished 5-of-9 for 14 points.
Kett leads the GNAC at 8.3 assists per game, 3.2 apg higher than the next best performer.
All of this is not what she says she was expecting when she accepted Langford’s offer and moved to Burnaby from Australia.
“No, not at all, I mean, if you look at my first year I wasn’t good, and even my second year,” the senior says. “Then last year Meg (Wilson) got hurt and people had to step up.”
And regardless of what anyone else will tell you, records of the magnitude of Kett’s are important to programs.
SFU was in command in the late stages on Saturday, and when she dished the ball to Jackson, who was unable to convert on the shot which would have given Kett yet another assist, the point guard figured something wasn’t normal.
“Tayla missed a shot and then I heard (head coach Bruce) Langford yell really loud,” laughed Kett. “I was wondering why he was so mad. Then we were up by 10 with a couple of minutes left and I asked to come out.
“Someone said ‘I think you need to stay in’ and ‘We think you have the record but we’re not sure.’”
Kett noted that the cheering from her teammates was much, much louder than normal.
“I had no idea I was even close so that was funny.”
The victory gives SFU a 14-4 record and guarantees a third-place finish in the GNAC.
The Clan can’t finish any higher with Western Washington sitting second at 17-1, but there is plenty of momentum to be gained, especially if SFU can knock of Anchorage, which will come to Burnaby Mountain on Saturday with the potential of a perfect 20-0 season within its grasp.
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