NCAA Women: McCorkell stars for Idaho, Froling valiant against UConn
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In a tough week for Australians results-wise, there were still several performances worthy of mentioning this week. Alicia Froling played an almost lone hand for SMU against the might of UConn, whilst Geraldine McCorkell almost dragged Idaho to a pair of wins despite limited assistance. Elsewhere, Madeleine Dennis was given a rare opportunity to shine, and Grace Lennox continued to lead for Eastern Illinois.
Madeleine Dennis has rarely seen anything more than a couple of minutes per game for Dayton this season, but was given a chance this week and took the opportunity with both hands. In a 75-64 win over Duquesne, Dennis was afforded 21 minutes of action off the bench, and hit an impressive 5-7 from the field on her way to 12 points, her first double-figure scoring effort of the season and just one shy of her career high. Despite this performance, Dennis was surprisingly only afforded 10 minutes in Dayton’s second game of the week, a 78-67 win over Saint Louis, with three rebounds her only tangible impact on the game.
Saint Mary’s may only have been able to split a pair of games this week, but the Australian trio of Carly Turner, Megan McKay, and Jasmine Forcadilla performed admirably. A 92-76 win over Portland for the Gaels saw Turner notch 19 points on 6-15 shooting and pulled down 8 rebounds. Megan McKay was again instrumental in the paint, scoring 11 points courtesy of an efficient 4-6 evening from the field and 3-4 from the charity stripe. Forcadilla was exceptional off the bench and earned 32 minutes of playing time, eventually finishing with 8 points on 4-8 shooting but, more impressively, dishing out a team-high seven assists.
The Gaels’ second game of the week came against arch rivals Gonzaga, and it was a game for the ages. Unfortunately, despite leading by 6 going into the final term, a dismal 8 points in the final period saw Saint Mary’s allow the Zags to come home over the top for a 79-75 win. Nonetheless, Turner was again impressive, shooting 6-11 to deliver 16 points, whilst also contributing 5 assists. McKay was also solid, tallying 12 points and 8 rebounds, whilst Forcadilla was able to deliver 4 assists in 20 minutes off the bench.
Idaho may not be quite as dominant in the Big Sky as they have been at other times in recent seasons, but Geraldine McCorkell remains one of the top players in the conference and proved as such with two outstanding efforts this week. Idaho easily handled Weber State 95-77, with McCorkell delivering an exemplary performance. In just 15 minutes of playing time, the junior knocked down 9-16 from the field to finish with 22 points, and also collected 5 rebounds in the Vandals’ win. However, Idaho will be fuming after throwing away a win against Idaho State.
Up 52-47 with a quarter to play, the Vandals could only score 8 points in the final term as Idaho State ran over the top of them for a 67-60 win. McCorkell was again outstanding at both ends though. Shooting 8-9 from the free throw line, the Victorian scored 23 points and also hauled in 12 rebounds. However, with McCorkell and teammate Mikayla Ferenz combining for 45 points on 13-32 shooting and the rest of the team shooting 5-23 for the contest, it was perhaps not surprising that Idaho let their lead slip in the final stages.
Utah State also split a pair of games this week, although Rachel Brewster and Shannon Dufficy each had a pair of excellent outings. Despite going down 71-48 to Wyoming, Dufficy starred with 12 points and an incredible 16 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Brewster and Olivia West each chipped in 9 points, but the Aggies were vastly outmatched for much of the contest, particularly with the roster shortened slightly due to suspensions stemming from last week’s incident with UNLV.
With the roster restored to full strength for the second game of the week against San Diego State, a highly entertaining contest ensued. Utah State jumped out to a 19-9 lead after a quarter, but San Diego State kept coming. However, 18 points and 9 rebounds for Brewster, plus another 8 rebounds for Dufficy and 6 assists for Eliza West, helped ensure the Aggies ran out 53-47 winners to partially atone for the loss to Wyoming.
Courtney Woods’ scoring has become more and more rounded as the season has progressed, and this week the sophomore produced two more outstanding efforts. In an absolute thriller on the road at Kent State, the Huskies delivered a 30 point final quarter to come from the clouds to maintain their unbeaten start to conference season with a 98-97 win. Despite committing 9 turnovers, Woods was still able to contribute with 14 points on 4-6 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe. The Queenslander also tallied a game high 8 assists in a solid all-round performance.
Toledo provided another stern test for Northern Illinois in their second game of the week. In front of a crowd of nearly 4,000, the Huskies jumped out to an early 21-13 lead, but Toledo chipped away at the lead all game. But with Woods leading the team with 21 points on 7-10 from the field, including 4-5 from beyond the arc, Northern Illinois were able to hold on for a 77-73 win.
It’s never easy to come up against UConn, but Alicia Froling put in a solid effort in a thoroughly over-matched team against the defending national champions. Coming off a 71-59 loss to Tulane in which Froling top scored for SMU with 15 points, the Mustangs then hosted a UConn side looking to break its own record for longest winning streak in college basketball history with a 91st consecutive win. The Huskies jumped out to a 26-2 lead after a quarter, but Froling was determined to not let UConn embarrass her team. The junior forward shot 7-13 from the field to finish with 16 points, and also pulled down 12 rebounds. Froling also tallied an impressive five blocks, but UConn would run out 88-48 winners.
Whilst it may have been a tough week for Eastern Illinois, Grace Lennox nonetheless continued her excellent season. On the back foot from the start, the Panthers went down 92-74 to Murray State, but Lennox was able to contribute 15 points on 6-13 shooting and also led the team with 5 assists. In what appears to be a recurring theme this week, a single-digit scoring effort in the final quarter saw Eastern Illinois go down 69-59 to Austin Peay after losing the fourth quarter 21-9. However, Lennox led the team with 22 points on 9-19 shooting, whilst also collecting a team-high 7 rebounds.
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR