History made: McPherson native Robertson sets three-point recordFree Access

Robertson, who is a native of McPherson and played for the high school from 2014-2018, set the three-point record on Saturday against Iowa State by going 6-8 from three, which gave her a career total of 503 triples made. The previous record was held by Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell, who made 497 threes from 2014-2018 for the Buckeyes.

Robertson initially tied the record against Texas earlier in the week at 497, but now Robertson is the first woman across all three NCAA divisions to reach 500 career-made threes.

“There’s been a lot of talk about it even from before the year started and I was just trying to not put too much of my focus on that, especially early because it was still so far away,” Robertson said on what the process of chasing the three-point record has been like. “The most important thing above any record or anything else is just trying to win games.”

Although Robertson is a fifth-year senior for the Sooners after using an extra Covid year that was granted to all NCAA players during the Covid-19 pandemic, she broke the record in fewer games played than Mitchell. It took Mitchell 139 games to reach 497 made threes, but Robertson tied the record in 137 games and broke it on Saturday in her 138th career game.

Throughout Robertson’s career in both high school and college, teams have tried adapting to the elite shooting nature of Robertson by implementing a face guard technique. Face guarding a player is designed for a defender to never break off of their assignment and not give help to the rest of the defense.

Despite having a defender glued to her throughout most of her college career, Robertson managed to achieve the three-point record by shooting a career 44 percent from deep (503-1141) compared to Mitchell’s 38.6 percent (497-1286). Out of the all-time top 25 three-point field goal leaders at the division one level in women’s college basketball, Robertson has the best three-point percentage outside of Connecticut’s Kaleena Mosqueda Lewis (44.7 percent).

“I think that there are a few things that go into that,” Robertson said on being able to hit threes at such a high rate. “One is just getting up tons and tons of shots over the course of time and always working on shots I would get in games, so doing game shots at game speed. Second, whenever we’re playing, to not just force shots and just throw it up there because I want to just to try and shoot as many threes as I can, especially trying to get the record now. I just really play within our offense and play within myself and the shots will always find me.”

Putting the ball in the basket has been a common sight for Robertson ever since her time at McPherson High School. Robertson left the Lady Pups program as the all-time leading scorer by over 350 points and a state champion in 2018, while also earning the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017 after her junior season.

“She had a knack for putting the ball in the basket from a very young age. It was just really neat to see her evolve not only up through youth, middle school and high school here, but even had to take another evolution step with where she’s at now,” McPherson head girls basketball coach Chris Strathman said about Robertson. “Just knowing that she put in all of the work that we know about as a kid and through high school here and seeing that pay off is pretty special.”

Strathman, who has coached the Lady Pups since 2006 and has helped lead the team to three state titles, noted the uniqueness of the way Robertson broke the three-point record by grabbing the record in fewer games than Mitchell despite playing in a fifth year for Oklahoma.

“Yes, Taylor is playing a fifth year, but she’s going to break this record in less games than what the previous record holder had,” Strathman said. “That’s because she hasn’t had the deep postseason runs that Kelsey Mitchell had at Ohio State, so the number of games is going to be less. The percentage is like five percent difference. That doesn’t sound like much, but that’s extremely significant when you’re talking about a three-point percentage and how much of a difference that is.”

“To do it in less games is the key to me. Even though she did get her Covid year and she’s playing a fifth season, she’s doing it in less games and I think that’s a big key and then the percentage like I said.”

Robertson is playing in her fifth season for Oklahoma, but the senior has set the all-time three-point record in fewer games than the previous record holder. Photo courtesy of OU Athletics

With Oklahoma home games being just over a three-and-a-half-hour drive away from McPherson and the Sooners playing yearly games at Kansas State and Kansas, Strathman and other McPherson natives have routinely attended games to watch Robertson.

Seeing familiar faces in the crowd from her hometown throughout her career has been something Robertson has noticed and appreciated during her time at Oklahoma.

“It’s really cool and it’s just really special because you don’t have that happen everywhere,” Robertson said on people from McPherson traveling to watch her play. “It’s just really cool whenever (Strathman) or anybody from McPherson is able to catch a game because they usually have to travel quite a bit to get to either (Oklahoma) or KU or K-State. It’s just really cool to have all of that support and it just means a lot. McPherson is a great town and I love all of the people from Mac.”

Even though McPherson often travels to Robertson for basketball, Robertson returns the favor by coming to McPherson to help train future players. Every summer, Robertson returns to her hometown by helping host a camp with Strathman that helps train the next generation of Lady Pups. Although basketball is something Robertson hopes to continue to pursue as a player following her time at Oklahoma, she also hopes to get into the coaching side of basketball in the future.

“Whenever I’m done playing, whenever that is, I’d like to be a coach, so it’s really cool to come back and kind of get to do that a little bit and see how Strathman does his camps and just keep learning from him,” Robertson said on being able to help host camps with Strathman in McPherson. “It’s really cool to see all of the young kids and get to help them a little bit. It’s so cool to see that that’s the future of McPherson basketball and hopefully they’ll win some state championships.”

One of the nine state championships that belong to the Lady Pups program came from a Robertson-led McPherson team in 2018. To end Robertson’s career in her final game as a Lady Pup, McPherson defeated Bishop Miege in the class 4A state title game.

Robertson believes that final season in high school with McPherson holds similarities to her time in college, as the Sooners currently boast a top-20 team in the nation and appear primed for a deep postseason run come March.

“In high school, every year we got better as a team and I got better individually, but each year we just kind of took a step to get closer to trying to win a state championship,” Robertson said. “I think that that’s very similar to my college career because each year we’ve got a little bit closer and a little bit better. We’ve got just a little bit better and inching our way trying to win a championship and do all of the things that we want to do in the tournament in March. I think that going through that in high school and playing for a good coach, it’s just really helped shape me into the player that I am now.”

In that 2018 4A state title game, McPherson completed a 23-1 season by defeating the four-time reigning state champions Bishop Miege 62-58 in overtime to help give the Lady Pups their first state title since 2012.

McPherson is no stranger to big basketball games in its storied history, but the 2018 state title game is considered by many to be one of the most impactful games in Lady Pups history due to being able to send seniors Robertson and Mandi Cooks out with a championship.

“It was just an emotional day. You could talk to multiple people in McPherson and that was probably one of their favorite moments they’ve had as a basketball fan here,” Strathman said about the 2018 state championship. “There were a lot of people crying in the stands. There were adults in tears because they knew what that meant for us as a program, but also for Taylor as a senior and Mandi Cooks as a senior.”

Taylor Robertson (left) and Mandi Cooks (right) hold up the class 4A state championship trophy after defeating Bishop Miege 62-58 in 2018. Photo by Kendall Shaw

Aside from the three-point shooting, Robertson is also known for her ability to knock down free throws at a high clip (career 92 percent). However, an underappreciated part of Robertson’s game is her ability to finish around the rim and play basketball with a high IQ. Strathman believes the intense defense played on Robertson around the perimeter helped develop other areas of her game.

“The shooting will always be the standout part. Whether it’s free throws or whatever else,” Strathman said. “The underrated part for her in high school was her ability to finish creatively around the basket. She drove in a lot more in high school than she does at OU just because of the athletes that she has been faced with, but she was able to finish in ways that other kids just cannot do.”

“Some of that IQ that Taylor gained I think was just having to deal with (face guarding), especially late freshman year.”

Now that the three-point record belongs solely to Robertson, she and the rest of the Sooners turn their attention to the remainder of the college season. Oklahoma sits at 16-4 and ranks as the No. 14 team in the nation, but it’s the work that Robertson and the rest of the upperclassmen on the Oklahoma roster have put in that has made Robertson’s historical journey at Oklahoma so unforgettable.

“Obviously winning is fun, but the style we play is fun to play in and it’s fun to watch,” Robertson said. “I think that the work that we’ve kind of put in over the last few years with our new coaches has paid off. A lot of us have been here for quite a few years now and the work that we’ve all put in over the course of our careers here is all coming to light now.”

Robertson handles the ball for Oklahoma. Robertson has made a record-breaking 503 triples for the Sooners while shooting 44 percent from three. Photo courtesy of OU Athletics

Robertson Career Stats (Oklahoma):

Career Points – 2,206

Points Per Game – 16

Field Goals – 665-1426 (46.6%)

3-Point Field Goals – 503-1142 (44%)

Free Throws – 373-405 (92.1%)

Rebounds – 498

Assists – 278

Blocks – 28

Steals – 132

Games Played – 138

Games Started – 137

Minutes Played – 4,742

History made: McPherson native Robertson sets three-point record

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