A scoring mentality: UTSA’s White adds jump shot accuracy to her overall game

Kyra White. UTSA women's basketball beat Florida International 85-79 for Senior Day on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Former Judson standout Kyra White scored 44 points on 18 of 31 shooting from the field in two home games last week. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Kyra White says she isn’t doing anything different, from a technical standpoint, when she shoots her jump shot.

She says her recent hot streak is just a matter of months of practice finally producing results.

That, and a heightened sense of confidence.

“We’re just working on getting to my spots and having the scoring mentality,” she said after practice Tuesday. “I believe that, in the beginning of the season, I was just looking to be a play maker. Making plays for my team. Now that I’m figuring out that my shot is going in, all this extra work is coming to the surface, and I’m just feeling a lot of confidence right now. My teammates trust me to shoot the ball, so I’m going to continue to go out and do that.”

All season, White has been one of the Roadrunners’ best players.

On the ball at point guard or on the wing, the former Judson High School standout has facilitated the offense, averaging 4.5 assists. She’s crashed the boards, averaging 4.3 rebounds. And she’s also supplied offense when needed, producing 7.6 points.

Lately, though, the offense has been eye opening.

In two games at home last week, White scored 44 points — 22 each in victories over the FAU Owls and the FIU Panthers — all while knocking down a combined 18 of 31 from the field.

The 5-foot-9 junior, a transfer from Southern Cal, sparked a UTSA comeback by taking five jumpers and making all of them in the third quarter of UTSA’s 85-79 victory over FIU on Saturday afternoon.

UTSA assistant Jamie Carey says there’s no secret to White sizzling at 58 percent in the two home games after shooting just 33 percent for the season.

“It’s gym time,” Carey said. “It’s a perfect example of what hard work does. She’s in the gym every day before practice, every day after practice. When you put in that time, your confidence does grow. I mean, I think (her shot) is coming off her hand cleaner. There’s a lot that she’s doing really well, but you don’t accomplish that if you haven’t been in the gym.”

White arrived at UTSA last fall with some fanfare as one of the key players on Judson’s 2019 state championship team. But in three seasons at Southern Cal to start her collegiate career, she averaged only 1.8 points and 1.6 assists in 18.1 minutes.

Last season, she shot 47.6 percent on 10 of 21 shooting. But her playing time had been reduced from 24.9 minutes in 2020-21, down to 12.2.

This year, back home in the San Antonio area, she has flourished.

“I’m just so blessed to be with an amazing program, with amazing girls and amazing staff,” she said. “We’re in March and I’m playing basketball. You gotta love it.”

Coming up

UTSA at Charlotte, Thursday, 5 p.m.
end of regular season
UTSA at Conference USA tournament, March 8-11, at Frisco