Savannah Wheeler’s Road to 1,000 Points


Tyler Kennett, Sports Editor

Following the completion of Marshall’s win against Rice, Savannah Wheeler became just the 23rd player in Marshall women’s basketball history to pass the 1000-point mark. 

In short, Wheeler’s game thrives from off-ball shot creation. In her career, the sophomore point guard has produced twice as many threes from assists than those without one. 

 The Anomalies 

In doing a deep dive of Wheeler’s career, one can find a slew of “fun” stat lines that come from the way that teams plan around Wheeler’s ability to create with and without the ball. 

One of the most interesting performances of Savannah Wheeler’s career came in the C-USA tournament of her freshman year. 

In that contest against Southern Miss, Wheeler missed every attempt from three and mid-range. Her only points from the field came on 3 layups, 2 of them being on the fast break in transition. The interesting part of this stat line comes from the free throw line.  

Wheeler hit a staggering 13 free throws in that contest alone. 68 percent of her scoring came from the line in that game as she finished with 19. Her career high in free throws is 15, coming from her former career high of 35 points. 

Another Wheeler trivia moment comes against Rutgers, also in her freshman season. Wheeler was held silent throughout the entire first half. She did not attempt a single shot. In the second half, Wheeler would go 4-7 from the field, hitting 2 threes and shooting 5-6 from the line. At the end of that game, Wheeler led all scorers, including those from Rutgers, with 15 points. 

Career High vs Oakland 

Wheeler’s biggest moment came against Oakland earlier this season. Despite the above breakdown, which makes Wheeler look like someone who prefers the three-point line, Wheeler’s career high is likely more impressive due to the way that she obtained 40: 14-18 from the field and only 2 made three pointers. For many, Oakland was arguably one of the most efficient games in Marshall history. Wheeler dropped 16 points from mid-range jumpers en route to shooting 77 percent from the field against the Golden Grizzlies. 

Expanding Her Range 

Wheeler has evolved in her shot choices since her freshman season. When looking at the mid-range shot, outside of the paint and within the 3-point line, Wheeler rarely made shots from that location as a freshman, only sinking 46 points from mid-range. In the 20-21 season, she expanded that total to 64 points in a season shortened due to COVID. This season, Wheeler has already broken the 60-point barrier with an entire month of play remaining.  

On the other end, when it comes to paint points, Wheeler has declined since her first season at Marshall. 90 points were scored in the paint by Wheeler as a freshman. only 64 points have been scored so far this season. In the shortened pandemic season, Wheeler only put up 52 points in the paint. 

This, by proxy, has affected her free throw numbers. Wheeler had 130 points from the free throw line as a freshman, but now sits at 76 with a little over a month remaining in the regular season. Wheeler is one of the most efficient free throw shooters in college basketball. She has never fell below 80 percent FT shooting in a single season, even when considering outlier games. 

When is Wheeler on Fire? 

When logging each point by month, Wheeler is seemingly most effective in January, scoring 316 points throughout her “Januaries” when not including the two most recent contests following Rice, the game in which Wheeler crossed the 1000-point line. 

However, when it comes to the “best” month, Wheeler averaged 21.6 points per game in December of this season, the highest mark of her career. She continues to evolve as a scorer. Throughout the month of January, Wheeler was averaging 20.5 points per game heading out of the Texas trip. 

How Impactful is Wheeler? 

Wheeler’s impact is seen night in and night out as a pure facilitator. She can create her own shot when she has the ball and get open when she does not.  

Since scoring is the focus of this study, it should be known that Wheeler has been the leading scorer for Marshall in 33 separate contests. In games where Savannah Wheeler leads scoring and scores 20+ points, Marshall has only lost three times.  

The overall record of Marshall when put in that situation is 10-3. Overwhelmingly, when Wheeler scores 20 points, the Herd tends to win. 

What’s Next on the Road? 

For Wheeler’s sake, she was given an extra year of eligibility following the pandemic season. Karen Pelphrey, likely the best player in Marshall history, sits atop the all-time points category with 2746 points. At her current pace, Wheeler could potentially cross 2000 points, a mark only met by 3 players.