NCAA Women: Reid breaks Buffalo career assists record

Stephanie Reid | Credit: University at Buffalo Athletics

Australians continue to break records in women’s college basketball this season, with Stephanie Reid becoming the latest to do so, and it was a big one for the senior. However, there were several other scintillating performances, particularly from New York-based Aussies Tiana Mangakahia, Alex Delaney, Jade Johnson, and Taylah Simmons, but there were highlights across the country.

If Stephanie Reid wasn’t already considered one of the greats of Buffalo women’s basketball, the senior certainly cemented her position among the best to pull on the blue and white by breaking the program’s career assist record. Reid’s impact wasn’t quite at her usual level in a 67-63 win over Ohio early in the week, but five assists alongside five points put her within striking distance of the assists record as the Bulls hosted Toledo on Saturday. Needing five dimes to break the record, Reid emphatically demolished the record, tallying an impressive 10 assists, plus 7 points and 4 steals as Buffalo pulled away in the final quarter to secure an 87-69 victory. Reid wasn’t the only Australian on the team to turn in a solid all-round performance, with Katherine Ups tallying 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Still in the Mid-American Conference, Courtney Woods continued her outstanding season with yet another high-scoring effort despite the Huskies’ losing streak reaching four games following two losses this week as injury troubles continue to mount. Shooting 10 of 23 from the field, Woods finished with an impressive double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds, as well as 4 assists against Central Michigan, but a slow start to the second half from the Huskies allowed their opponents to secure a lead which they would maintain throughout, culminating in an 81-78 loss for Northern Illinois as Woods’ own last second three was off-target. Somehow, the Queenslander showcased an even more impressive performance against Eastern Michigan later in the week, but once again the Huskies fell, this time going down 83-76. Woods carried much of the scoring load, knocking down 10 of 21 from the field to tally 31 points, whilst also collecting 7 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists to round out what was an impressive all-round week, even if the results may not have gone her team’s way.

It’s been an up-and-down start to Big Sky play for Idaho, but Geraldine McCorkell helped ensure the Vandals moved above .500 in conference action with a pair of double-doubles. Led by 25 points and 10 rebounds from the senior, Idaho used an incredible 60-27 rebounding advantage to comprehensively handle Southern Utah, running out 74-51 winners. Whilst her stat line against Northern Arizona wasn’t quite as astounding, McCorkell was still able to tally another 13 points and 10 rebounds as Idaho opened up an early lead which they slowly built into an 83-68 victory to move to 4-3.

Staying in the Big Sky, a tough start to the week for Courtney West and Portland State was quickly forgotten in a week where they split a pair of games. Idaho State put the Vikings to the sword, rolling to an 88-59 victory in a game in which West could only add 5 points and 4 rebounds, but there was better to come from both the junior and her team as they looked to move above .500 against Weber State. What eventuated was an archetypal Courtney West performance. The Sydneysider shot an impressive 9 of 13 from the field to finish with 18 points, and added 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 assists, whilst also not committing a turnover in her 34 minutes as Portland State held Weber State to just six points in the final term to secure a 77-64 victory and move to 4-3 in Big Sky play, equal with McCorkell and Idaho.

As expected following their scintillating start to the season, things have become more challenging for Syracuse in conference play, but with Tiana Mangakahia running the offence, the Orange remain a threat in every game, and it proved as much this week. The sophomore was involved in just about everything as Syracuse took on Miami, culminating in a near-triple-double. Mangakahia finished with 17 points, as well as 14 assists and 9 rebounds, but unfortunately a slow second quarter dug the Orange into a hole, and whilst they got within a single basket at times, Miami held on for a 72-67 win. Things improved for the team against Pittsburgh, with Mangakahia once again at the centre of things. 14 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals from the Queenslander helped Syracuse open up a 13 point halftime lead before holding off any attempted challenges from the Panthers on the way to a 70-52 win which lifted their conference record to 3-4.

Boston College’s struggles in ACC play as the Eagles dropped to 1-5 in conference action, but Georgia Pineau continued to showcase her talents in spite of the team’s results. It would be fair to say that Boston College should have secured a double overtime victory against Clemson after Taylor Ortlepp knocked down a pair of threes to put her team up 61-57, but four late turnovers from the Eagles allowed Clemson to run over the top and secure a 65-61 win. Despite the loss, Pineau was impressive, finishing with 13 points on 50% shooting, as well as 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Meanwhile, those late threes from Ortlepp took her total for the game to 8 points alongside 4 assists of her own. Pineau put together a second solid performance for the week against Miami, but a 40-20 first half deficit put paid to any chances of a Boston College win. The sophomore finished with a game-high 16 points, shooting 6 of 9 in the process, and collected another 8 rebounds to be one of the team’s few bright spots in a tough conference slate to this point.

Saint Mary’s hosted arch-rivals Gonzaga in Moraga, with Megan McKay in solid form and looking to get one over the Gaels’ nemesis in the West Coast Conference. The junior was one of three players in double figures for Saint Mary’s, with a 6 of 8 night at the line comprising half of her 12 points alongside 7 rebounds. However, despite rallying from 14 down to tie the game late in the third quarter and remain within striking distance for much of the final term, the Gaels eventually fell to a 73-65 defeat. With that loss still stinging, it was Pacific, the Gaels’ next opponents, who felt the full force of a hungry Saint Mary’s offence in a 96-88 bounce-back victory. McKay was again one of the Gaels’ best, shooting 80% on her way to 16 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes of playing time.

Ashley Taia has moved into an impact role off the bench for Indiana State, but may have made a case to regain a starting spot with two solid efforts for the Sycamores in a pair of wins. Facing Bradley in the team’s first game of the week, Taia came agonisingly close to securing a double-double. The Queenslander shot 4 of 6 to register 11 points, whilst collecting 9 rebounds as Indiana State chalked up a 65-50 win. Illinois State proved to be a far tougher challenge, with the Redbirds taking a late lead in a back-and-forth game. However, Indiana State put together a late 7-2 run to eke out a 52-49 win, with Taia contributing a team-high 12 points.

Baylor’s frontcourt pairing of Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox may be dominating the scoring for the Bears in recent times, but Kristy Wallace was still able to contribute some points of her own on the road against Iowa State as her season average hovers around the 10 point mark. The Bears were never threatened in the 79-50 victory, opening the game with a 19-2 first quarter before adding to their lead as the game rolled on. Wallace tallied 16 of the Bears’ points, shooting 4 of 8 from the field and an efficient 6 of 7 from the charity stripe, and also collected 5 rebounds in the win. Baylor were equally as ruthless against Kansas State later in the week, with Wallace finishing a 74-50 win with 4 points, 4 assists, and an impressive 9 rebounds, a number made all the more impressive by the fact that two of her teammates finished with 19 boards apiece.

Staying with the Texas-based theme, Megan Johnson did her best to put the UTRGV team on her back, but despite two solid performances, the Vaqueros fell to a pair of losses on the road. Johnson led her team with 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting, but a 21-9 third quarter deficit allowed Utah Valley to jump out to a double-digit lead, and only a last-second UTRGV three trimmed the final margin to 69-60. Johnson turned out an even better performance against Seattle later in the week, knocking down 8 of 10 free throws on her way to 16 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately though, a slow start from UTRGV saw Seattle open up a 36-23 halftime lead before securing a 64-56 win as despite Johnson’s best efforts, UTRGV fell to 0-5 in conference play.

Despite St. Francis splitting a pair of games this week, Australian pair Jade Johnson and Alex Delaney showed why they are among the top players in the Northeast Conference. The Terriers locked down Central Connecticut State in the second quarter, holding their opponents to 9 points on the way to a 78-73 win as Delaney top scored with 15 points on 5-9 shooting, whilst also collecting 6 rebounds and chipping in 3 assists. The Terriers weren’t quite able to deliver another win against Bryant, falling 73-63, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from the Australian pair. Delaney again tallied 15 points, also pulling down 7 rebounds, whilst Johnson knocked down 3 of 5 from beyond the arc on the way to a game-high 21 points.

Fellow Northeast Conference player Taylah Simmons continued to enjoy a solid freshman season, with the Wagner forward leading all Aussie freshman in both scoring and rebounding. However, despite a solid 9 points and 7 rebounds against Robert Morris, Simmons and her frontcourt partner Sierra Clark couldn’t quite get Wagner over the line in a 58-52 loss. Despite the loss, and falling to a 1-6 record in conference play, Wagner were clearly still up for a fight in one of the games of the week against St. Francis University (not to be confused with the aforementioned St. Francis College). Despite the referees blowing the pea out of their whistles in the third quarter, Wagner regrouped from 61-45 down with ten minutes to play to tie the game late on. The Seahawks scored an incredible 31 points in the final term, but despite 19 points from Simmons, St. Francis were able to just hold on and deliver the Seahawks a 79-76 defeat.

Finally, in one of the more quirky stat lines of the season, freshman Brittany Klaman turned facilitator extraordinaire for Eastern Washington in an 82-62 win over Northern Arizona. With two of her teammates combining for 57 points, Klaman dished out a remarkable 9 assists without actually registering a point herself. However, the freshman was able to point some points on the board in the Eagles’ next game, registering 7 points in a 58-41 win over Southern Utah.

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Fan of all things Aussie women's basketball. Too much college is never enough. Firm believer that winter was made for freezing in tin sheds at Waratah League games.

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