Ella Ogier announces herself for Omaha with massive weekend
There is no question that Ella Ogier has been a solid addition to the roster for Omaha this season. The freshman has started every game of her first campaign, putting together five double-figure scoring performances and a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double against Kansas City earlier this season. However, that start to her college career pales in comparison to the pair of outings that Ogier produced over the Australia Day weekend, culminating in a position on the shortlist for Summit League Player of the Week.
Although the Mavericks fell to defeat in both of their games across the weekend, Ogier’s performances gave the Omaha faithful something to cheer as the Aussie metamorphosed from solid starter to outright superstar almost in the blink of an eye against Western Illinois. Having already produced her first double-double earlier in the season, Ogier came achingly close to producing a first triple-double, taking over on offence for the Mavericks. Her 17 points were the second-highest of any Omaha player, whilst her 9 rebounds led the Mavericks. Meanwhile, an assist tally of 8 could almost certainly have been higher if not for some inaccurate shooting outside of the team’s top 3 scorers. Ogier and teammates Mariah Murdle and Rayanna Carter combined to shoot 20 of 31 from the field, but with the remainder of the team hitting just 8 of 34, consistent scoring was hard to come by as Omaha fell to an 83-69 defeat.
The Mavericks would host Purdue Fort Wayne a couple of days later, looking to find their second conference win against a Mastodons side still searching for their first. It would prove to be a far lower-scoring contest than the game against Western Illinois, with both teams putting up 9-point quarters before the third term ended with the scoreboard reading 43-43. However, Ogier continued her outstanding form in the face of the defensive scrap, regularly getting to the line and connecting on free throws down the stretch. Six of the freshman’s fourth-quarter points came at the line on perfect shooting, including two to put Omaha up 57-53 with just 11 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, 11 seconds can be a long time in basketball. A quick three from Purdue Fort Wayne cut the margin to one, and a pair of missed free throws from Omaha gave the Mastodons a chance. A last second foul call sent the visitors to the line, with clutch shooting from Hannah Albrecht somehow ripping victory from the jaws of defeat for Purdue Fort Wayne.
Despite the crushing end to the game, Ogier was undoubtedly once again the player of the game and the weekend. 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists saw the freshman finish the two games averaging 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists whilst shooting a perfect 10 of 10 at the line. Ogier has now hit her last 13 free throws, dating back to January 4, when she started the streak by hitting the back end of a pair against Oral Roberts. Prior to this, Ogier had hit just 17 of 27 from the line, with this run improving her season percentage from 62% to 75%.
The run of Aussie Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week selections continues into its sixth consecutive week, with Davidson’s Suzi-Rose Deegan just holding off La Salle’s Claire Jacobs to secure her fifth selection of the season. Although severe lapses from the Wildcats in the second and fourth quarters spelled the end of an undefeated 5-game streak to start conference play, Deegan nonetheless produced yet another outstanding performance in the 69-57 defeat. The Western Australian posted her fourth double-double in seven games, tallying 18 points and 10 rebounds alongside 4 assists and a pair of steals in an exemplary effort. Sophomore Cassidy Gould was the only other Davidson player in double figures, tallying 12 points, whilst Deegan’s fellow freshman Adelaide Fuller chipped in 6 points and 4 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Jacobs topped the 20-point mark for the second time in 11 days as La Salle picked up a 67-59 win over Saint Joseph’s to move to 2-5 in Atlantic 10 play. Having shot just 2 of 19 a few days prior in a loss to Richmond, Jacobs shook off that performance, getting back on the horse and dropping 21 points to help steer the Explorers to victory. The freshman knocked down 3 of 7 from beyond the arc, resurrecting her shooting after hitting just 2 of her previous 16 three-point attempts, and also dished out a couple of blocks to impose herself at the defensive end.
Courtney Woods’ outstanding run of form continued this week, but a lack of offensive support for the senior condemned the Huskies to a sixth loss in seven MAC games as Eastern Michigan secured a 62-55 victory. Woods produced a new season scoring high of 27 points, eclipsing the 26 points the senior scored at Illinois State in November. The senior knocked down 10 of 19 from the field, but with the rest of the Huskies shooting just 11 of 44 and Ohio getting to the line with regularity, the Huskies would come up marginally short in a tight contest. Woods has now passed the 20-point mark in four consecutive games, and it seems only a matter of time until the Huskies pick up their second conference win.
Is Sam Simons a big Michael Jordan fan? It’s certainly something to ponder after the Saint Mary’s star scored exactly 23 points for the third time in just nine games as the Gaels faced Pacific. Aside from that slightly amusing numerical phenomenon, it was also a performance that kept Saint Mary’s in the hunt as the teams battled away in a see-sawing battle. With the teams tied through three quarters, six points to open the final term ensured that Saint Mary’s kept pace with the Tigers before a thrilling contest moved into overtime. Despite battling for 45 minutes, Simons and the Gaels couldn’t quite secure victory as Pacific emerged as 68-66 winners.
Haylee Andrews had a brief scare against Pepperdine but returned to lead Portland to a thrilling 69-67 victory to move the Pilots to 6-3 in conference play. As per usual, the point guard had been combining with fellow North Queenslander Alex Fowler sublimely to keep Portland rolling along in a tight battle. However, Andrews came down on a teammate’s foot with just over 8 minutes to play, crashing to the floor and looking to be in a severe amount of pain. Andrews was helped off the floor, and watching on, a return looked unlikely. The sophomore would make it back on court though, and it was a timely return as Fowler left the court with her fifth foul as Andrews returned with 4 minutes to play. Andrews continued to influence the game down the stretch, and when Pepperdine missed both free throws following a questionable foul call, Portland were able to escape with the win. Andrews finished the game with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, whilst Fowler added 19 points and 5 rebounds. Keeley Frawley may not have added a point, but did grab 8 rebounds of her own, whilst Pepperdine’s own Aussie, Monique Andriuolo, finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds.