The Queensland fans at the 2018 Under 20 Australian Junior Championships displayed a placard featuring the words “Miels on Wheels”, an apt phrase to describe Miela Goodchild’s play for the team in maroon, and now for Duke. The sophomore has delivered time and again, and this weekend was no different as Goodchild led the Blue Devils to a 99-85 victory over Troy.
For much of the early part of this season, Duke sophomore Miela Goodchild had played a supporting role in the backcourt. With upperclassmen Leaonna Odom and Haley Gorecki dominating the scoring, Goodchild nonetheless was able to chip in just over 10 points per game. However, that changed on Monday as the Queenslander took over for the Blue Devils on her way to a career high-equalling 26 points as Duke rolled to the 14-point victory.
It had been a slow start to the game for Goodchild, whose only points in the first half came from a single three-pointer as Duke held a 48-40 advantage at halftime. But as the third quarter progressed, Goodchild found her rhythm with a scintillating burst in an otherwise low-scoring term. Of the Blue Devils’ 18 points in the quarter, seven came from the sophomore in the space of just 65 seconds. With Troy having closed within four points, a timely three sparked the scoring burst, allowing the Blue Devils to re-establish the double-digit advantage they had built in the early parts of the term.
However, the final quarter was when Goodchild truly turned up the wick, leading the Blue Devils to victory in a frenetic final quarter. A low-scoring third term gave way to a shootout, with the Australian ensuring that the now free-scoring Trojans would have no way back into the game. As Troy once again crept within striking distance of the Blue Devils, Goodchild buried her third three of the evening with just over six minutes to play, quickly following up with a lay-up before converting a pair of free throws after being fouled on the break. Another pair of threes took Goodchild’s total to five for the day on eight attempts alongside seven of eight free throws, culminating in a 26-point outing alongside four rebounds and three assists.
The win moved Duke to 4-2, with games against Aussie-laden Davidson and Ivy League side Pennsylvania to come before December’s ACC/Big Ten matchup with Isabelle Bourne and Nebraska.
However, Goodchild wasn’t the only Australian, or even the only Queenslander, putting up monster numbers. With fellow Sunshine State product Haylee Andrews out for Portland, Alex Fowler did everything in her power to keep the Pilots in the contest against Cal State Northridge. Having fallen in a 23-point hole by halftime, Fowler dominated the second half. Shooting 5 of 6 from the field and 5 of 8 at the charity stripe, the freshman tallied 16 of her 27 points after the main break. Despite that performance, the deficit was just too large to bridge, as the Pilots came within six points before the Matadors escaped with a 73-64 win. Fellow Australian freshman Keeley Frawley also started, finishing as Portland’s second-highest scorer behind Fowler with 10 points as well as 3 rebounds.
Air Force proved to be Fowler’s second victim of the weekend, and this time the Gems star was able to lead her team to victory. The freshman proved unstoppable at times on her way to 20 points, shooting 9 of 12 from the field and collecting five rebounds as Portland rolled to a 72-56 victory. Once again, Fowler was better after halftime than before, scoring all bar six of her points in the second half. Frawley also chipped in valuable points, tallying 8 alongside 4 assists and 2 steals. Fowler would also be named the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Week, Portland’s second in just three weeks after Andrews’ nomination in the opening week of the season.
The weekend produced several other outstanding performances, with some more experienced names putting in vital shifts to lead their teams to victory.
- Jade Johnson continues to do what she does best, reaching the 20-point mark for the third time in five games this season. The senior played all 40 minutes in St. Francis’ 89-78 victory over Loyola Maryland, connecting on 10 of 17 from the field on her way to a season-high 25 points alongside 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
- Georgia Dale had a pair of identical scoring efforts as Cal Baptist secured two victories in as many games. The junior tallied 16 points alongside 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and an impressive six steals to lead the Lancers to a 98-79 victory over Northern Arizona. That was followed by another 16-point outing against UC Santa Barbara, a game in which every point would prove vital. In a double overtime thriller, Dale would bury a three to get the Lancers back into the contest after falling 5 points behind in the second overtime period. That was followed by the junior getting to the rack for the go-ahead bucket as Cal Baptist escaped with an 85-81 victory. Alongside 16 points, Dale also dished 8 assists in an exceptional offensive performance.
- Sam Simons led a valiant Saint Mary’s team against nationally ranked North Carolina State, with the Gaels falling to a fighting 84-70 defeat. The South Australian notched 16 points, her third time scoring in excess of 15 points in just five appearances this season, burying 4 of 8 from deep in the process.
- It’s been a tough start to the season for Utah Valley, but Eve Braslis is showing glimpses of the form that has made the sophomore a star for the Wolverines. Despite her team falling to a fourth consecutive loss to start the season with a 67-53 defeat to UC Riverside, Braslis was among the game’s stars. The sophomore connected on 4 of 7 from the field as well as 7 of 11 free throws, culminating in a 16-point, 4-rebound outing.
- Courtney Woods continues to impress in her comeback season, despite Northern Illinois falling to a 68-63 defeat to Big Ten side Purdue. The senior finished as the Huskies’ only player in double figures with 16 points, knocking down a trio of threes in the process. Woods also led the team in assists with 4, and collected 3 rebounds in the narrow loss.
- Redshirt junior Amy Atwell’s continues to emerge as a crucial member of Hawaii’s starting lineup, culminating in a pair of double-figure scoring efforts this weekend. Knocking down 3 of 6 from beyond the arc against UTSA, Atwell finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds in just 24 minutes as the Rainbow Wahine used a 12-2 first quarter to secure a 62-50 victory. The Western Australian swapped the perimeter for the paint against Texas Southern later in the week, connecting on 7 of 10 from the field but not a single three in tallying 15 points and 5 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. Unfortunately, a 46-25 second-half scoreline saw Texas Southern secure the 74-57 win as Hawaii finished the weekend with their record standing at 3-2.