Lieser lends sweet stroke to women’s hoops team

Anthony Maggio

Two games of H-O-R-S-E and three games of one-on-one were enough to teach a reporter what Big Ten adversaries have learned over the last two seasons – Lindsay Lieser shoots the three-pointer well.

Lieser plays guard for Minnesota and preys on opponents with her long-range accuracy. Last season, Lieser led Minnesota in both three-point percentage and number of treys made, each mark also good for fifth in the conference.

She first put her skills on display as a freshman, setting a Sports Pavilion record for threes in a game with seven against Ball State, a mark she tied last season versus Illinois.

Ironically, the new head coach for the women’s team, Brenda Oldfield, was coaching Ball State when Lieser set the record.

“I still remember back to that day,” Oldfield said. “She was lighting us up. We kept sending people at her but it didn’t matter. She was on fire.”

A solid presence on the perimeter, Lieser wasn’t always known for her outside-shooting savvy. While playing on her first organized team, she was the designated screener because she could do it better than anyone else.

Lieser’s coach – the church pastor – along with her father, Steve, helped her develop a jump shot.

Lieser spent countless hours shooting baskets in her driveway wearing an “ugly” sea-green jacket used to wipe mud off her hands. It was there she perfected a shooting touch which endured long after the jacket was thrown out.

While at New London-Spicer High School, Lieser won a Minnesota state title as a sophomore, set a state record with 103 three-pointers as a senior and finished as the state’s premier sharpshooter with 338 career three-pointers made.

After experiencing great success in high school, Lieser came to a Minnesota squad which hadn’t posted a winning season since 1994.

“That was a hard transition for me,” Lieser said. “Coming into games as an underdog was a whole new concept to take grasp of. It’s made me a more well-rounded person.”

Though the Gophers are still without a winning season, Lieser is confident in the program’s direction with Oldfield at the helm.

Lieser was one of two players involved in the selection of Oldfield, the only coach they met.

Their meeting was enough to prompt Lieser to decide on Oldfield.

“(Oldfield) is young and exciting,” Lieser said. “She has a good knowledge of basketball. She knows what she wants to do and she has a good plan for us that we like and we think our team will fit into well.”

The confidence Lieser has in Oldfield is mirrored by the new coach. After watching Lieser drop 23 points on her Ball State squad, Oldfield is looking for Lieser to further develop as a catalyst on and off the court.

“She will play a major role on this team,” Oldfield said. “As a junior, she has a leadership role and experience. The fact that she can shoot well and has a great work ethic will really help this team.”

Lieser is proud of her work ethic and is focused on continuing to lead by example. She also is poised to be vocal if necessary, something she hasn’t done much of in the past. However Lieser chooses to lead, she welcomes the opportunity.

“It’s easy to be a good leader when you have such great team chemistry,” Lieser said.

Despite her individual success thus far, Lieser acknowledges the aspects of her game needing improvement. She wants to become a better ballhandler, work on quickness, and become a better defender.

And after flushing nearly a dozen treys in two games against an exhausted, sweaty – and now beaten – reporter, Lieser chuckled, “I need to develop more one-on-one moves.”

In the meantime, teams in the Big Ten have enough to worry about when Lieser steps behind the arc.

Anthony Maggio welcomes comments at [email protected].