Kelsey Minato has two X chromosomes. For those scoring at home, that makes her a female. If the genetic poker game we’re all a part of at conception had dealt her an X and a Y, there would be a line of NBA scouts wrapped around the court wondering at what point of the league draft she’d land. The Army guard’s 23.6 points per game average is seventh in the nation – including a national-best 43.5 percent shooting from the 3-point line — and that certainly would have caught peoples’ attention, the kind that sells tickets and encourages networks to televise their games. Alas, Minato’s got those two Xs, which means the incredible player she is labors largely in anonymity. First, women’s basketball qualifies as a distant second to its male counterpart. Secondly, Army basketball – men’s or women’s – has never been an academy drawing card. Michie Stadium – across the street from the Holleder Center – houses the football team, which has been Army’s signature sport since Benjamin Harrison had dibs on the White House. Still, when the Black Knights play Syracuse Friday at the Carrier Dome in the first round of the NCAA Tournament they will be West Point’s marquee team. And two things are certain – her teammates will be looking for Monken, and the Lady Orange will be looking to stop her. “They have tough, tough kids. They play really hard,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “It’s just one of those deals where you have to be ready to play because they’re going to come in tough and resilient and ready to compete.” “Teams come in and know the kind of team we have,” Army coach Dave Magarity said. “It’s not tough to know what players you have to stop.” Minato can likely be ranked as Army’s second-best-ever basketball player, trailing only men’s player Kevin Houston, who led the nation in scoring during his senior season at Army in 1986-87. He averaged 32.9 points per game and set still-standing school records for points in a single game (53) and a season (953). He graduated as the all-time scorer in program history with 2,325 points. Minato is the all-time academy leader with 2,546. When her uniform number, 5, was lifted to the roof at Christl Arena she became the first active Army player to have her number retired. The funny part is she’s the team’s leading scorer, but doesn’t appear like she wants to be. Rarely does she touch the ball without first looking for someone to whom she should pass. Certainly there’s a teammate in a better position to shoot, right? The thing is Minato is in better position if she’s standing at midcourt. But when she means to shoot, the opposing defense had best react fast. Against Loyola-Maryland in the Patriot League championship game last week, with Army looking at its first deficit of the game, the Black Knights regained the lead with an Aimee Oertner jumper. On Army’s next two possessions, Minato got the ball behind the 3-point line and got the shots off within an eye blink of receiving it. She hit them both. Army never trailed again. “We want her to shoot more,” Magarity said. “We run plays, screens, pick-and-rolls, to get her the ball, but she looks to pass first.” In fact, she led the team in assists against Loyola; her season total of 115 leads the team. She’s tied with teammate Daizjah Morris for the team lead in steals with 55. She’s the team’s statistical leader in every other number except field-goal percentage, blocked shots and rebounds, all held by Oertner. Army’s Patriot League title is what earned it a berth in the tournament. Even a loss to Loyola would have left the Black Knights with a 28-3 record, but as the league is ranked 25th out of 32 leagues, it almost certainly required a championship to make it to the dance. In Army’s two previous trips to the NCAAs, it had first-round losses to Tennessee in 2006 and Maryland in 2014. “Our goal is 30 [victories],’’ Magarity said. It could have been against Loyola, and it might be against Syracuse, but Minato will soon be facing her last game. The senior has her 5-year military commitment imminent; she’ll be training in field artillery. If her base has a hoop standing around somewhere make book she’ll find it. For now, though, it’s the old sports tenet of one game at a time. “I’m not thinking about the end,” she said. “Hopefully, [the victory over Loyola] will just get us started. If [the game against Syracuse] is the last one, we’d have left it all on the floor.” Certainly, she would have.