Cadee shoots the Christmas lights out for UC Irvine

NBL fans are well accustomed to seeing high-level shooting numbers next to the name ‘J. Cadee’, with Jason shooting 44% from beyond the arc for the Brisbane Bullets this season. However, on Sunday as Jason shot 6 of 9 from deep in a 102-96 win over Melbourne United, cousin Jayde was showcasing her own shooting talents on the college stage.

Averaging just 3 points per game through her first 12 games, Cadee was hardly expected to be among UC Irvine’s top scorers against Southern Methodist, but the freshman fired to give the Anteaters a red-hot chance at securing an upset.

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Cadee entered the game off the bench early in the first quarter and quickly got to work, burying a trio of long bombs for 9 first-quarter points, just three shy of her career-high of 12. Another in the second quarter followed to tie that record as UC Irvine went into halftime trailing 33-32, giving themselves a real opportunity at securing a fourth win of the season.

The third quarter transpired much like the second, with Cadee entering the game off the bench to connect on another three shots from deep as UC Irvine established a slender lead. With a quarter to play, the freshman had scored 21 of her team’s 47 points, and the Anteaters held a 47-43 advantage in a low-scoring nail-biter.

However, it would be Southern Methodist’s own Australian, Paige Bayliss, who would have the last laugh. The sophomore had been solid all game, and a putback with 17 seconds to play broke a 56-56 tie whilst also delivering Bayliss a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. Following a 1-of-2 trip to the line for SMU, UC Irvine had the chance at a three to send the game to overtime, but the shot was unsuccessful as SMU held on for a 59-56 victory.

Despite the loss, Cadee’s performance was both impressive in its own right and highly encouraging for the future. The freshman finished the game shooting 7 of 10 from beyond the arc, scoring all 21 of her points in that fashion. Whilst UC Irvine may sit 3-10 at this point, the emergence of Cadee could yet garner wins in conference play that may have been considered highly improbable until recently.

Fellow Victorian Jessie Rennie also came into college with a burgeoning reputation as a three-point assassin, but it had taken a while for the Tennessee freshman to come into her own on Rocky Top. However, given the opportunity against Howard, Rennie took it with both hands in an 88-38 demolition of the Lady Vols’ over-matched opponents. Despite playing just 19 minutes, Rennie almost maintained a 1:1 point to minute ratio, burying 5 of 7 from deep on her way to 16 points. The freshman’s accurate evening also improved her three-point percentage to 41.4%, hitting 12 of her 29 attempts, including 9 of her last 14.

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Meanwhile, Suzi-Rose Deegan continues to emerge as a force for Davidson as the Wildcats prepare for Atlantic 10 play.

Fresh off a 30-point, 9-rebound performance in a 75-64 loss to Charlotte that garnered a second A-10 Rookie of the Week award, Deegan quickly set about securing a third selection as Davidson faced a Florida side featuring Aussie sophomore Kristina Moore. In a low-scoring tussle, the Wildcats would fall to a 55-50 defeat as Florida came home with a wet sail, but Deegan once again proved to be the star performer. The freshman collected a first collegiate double-double, tallying 14 points and 13 rebounds, whilst also chipping in 3 assists as well as four steals, the most of any Davidson player this season.

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Deegan’s fellow Western Australians and Atlantic 10 freshmen, La Salle twin pairing Claire and Amy Jacobs also continued their solid early season form as the Explorers took on local Philadelphia rivals Temple. The pair finished as their team’s top two scorers, with Claire racking up 19 points and Amy tallying 15 in 26 minutes off the bench. Claire’s season average now sits at a healthy 11.6 points per contest, whilst Amy has chipped in 7.6 per game as La Salle round out non-conference play with a 6-7 record.

However, some more experienced players also enjoyed success during the festive period. Santa Clara point guard Tia Hay and Saint Mary’s wing Sam Simons faced off in a high-scoring battle of Bay Area rivals. With both players coming off 20-point games in their West Coast Conference openers a couple of days prior, it was little wonder to see the Aussie duo once again among the leaders for their respective teams. Hay followed up a 22 point, 8 rebound, 5 assist effort against Pacific with another 16 points and 7 rebounds, but it was Simons and Saint Mary’s who secured a 95-87 victory in a back-and-forth barn-burner. The Gaels’ sophomore tallied 17 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds in the win, ably playing a supporting role alongside a pair of teammates who combined for 61 of Saint Mary’s final score of 95.

Tipped to finish bottom of the West Coast Conference, Haylee Andrews and Portland gave nationally ranked Gonzaga everything they could handle in their league opener. Leading by 20 points at one stage in the second quarter, the underdogs came out firing in front of 6,000 people on the road at Spokane, but Gonzaga rallied after halftime. A 15-4 final term would allow Gonzaga to secure a 62-57 victory, but the Pilots’ performance will have many voters rethinking their decision to place Portland at the bottom of the pile. Andrews finished the game with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, with fellow Queenslander Alex Fowler adding 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Just 20 minutes down the road from Spokane in Cheney, Jess McDowell-White led Eastern Washington to a perfect start to Big Sky play against Weber State. The sophomore scored 11 of her 19 points in the first half as the Eagles blew out their opponents early in the piece to take a 39-21 halftime lead. Although Weber State won the final term 22-13, the Wildcats would get no closer than six points in the dying stages, with McDowell-White icing the game at the line with four of six free throws in the last 50 seconds. Alongside her 19 points, the sophomore added 4 rebounds and 3 assists as Eastern Washington made an encouraging start to conference play.

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Fresh off a career-high six threes against NAIA side Warner Pacific, Seattle sharpshooter Courtney Murphy reminded everyone that she can do just as well against NCAA Division I opposition as the Redhawks faced Cal Poly. Murphy did nearly all of her damage from beyond the arc in the first half, burying five threes as Seattle took a 34-22 halftime lead. A sixth would follow after halftime as the sophomore finished with 20 points in a 72-49 rout, Murphy's third 20-point outing of the season.

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