NCAA Spotlight on the Aussie Women: The Blackbirds break through (20-Dec-13)

Michael De Lacy takes a quick look back over the last weeks action of NCAA Division I hoops action and calls out the notable performances by the Aussie women.

Small Talk

Sheedy with the sweet stroke - Courtesy Fresno State Athletics

Sheedy with the sweet stroke - Courtesy Fresno State Athletics

The Fresno State Bulldogs kick off this week's recap after recording their third straight win, a 76-67 victory against Portland State. Two Aussies were in fine form, with 5’10” guard Bree Farley compiling 14 points and 2 steals in 25 minutes, while Alex Sheedy was a standout in finishing with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal in 34 minutes. Jacinta Vandenberg was kept unusually quiet by the opposition defence, recording just 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers in 25 minutes on court. Expect to see the big 6’6” Melbourne born center to bounce back for the Bulldogs' next game. Fresno State improves to a 6-3 record for the season.

North Dakota State Bisons had a close 83-88 loss against cross town rival North Dakota. Marena Whittle led the scoring for the Bisons in going 9/17 from the field for 23 points while also adding 5 rebounds and 1 steal in 35 minutes of action. Team mate Bree Whatman quietly did some damage of her own in adding 7 points and 4 assists in 28 minutes. North Dakota featured an Australian on their roster in Samantha Roscoe, however she didn't play.

In the final game of the Air Force Classic, North Dakota State fell to Mississippi State 62-72 who have an incredible 11-1 record. Whittle was once again prominent, recording 17 points and 8 rebounds in 29 minutes, while compatriot Whatman was limited to just 4 points in 21 minutes.

Stacey Barr continued her astronomical form for Idaho, but it wasn't enough for them to snag a win as the Vandals went down 84-85 to Eastern Washington in a nail biting loss. The Vandals had a chance to win the game with a good look at the basket but couldn't convert the final second shot. Barr put up some good numbers once again with 19 points but this time is was on a low 30% shooting from the field. Despite this she did also add 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and a game high 4 steals in 32 minutes.

The Saint Mary's Gael's enjoyed a good 88-71 victory over California-Davis. Kate Gaze continued her consistent play with 11 points, 1 steal and distributing a team-high 7 assists in 25 minutes. She had good support from Lauren Nicholson who went 4/10 from the field to score 15 points with 3 rebounds and 2 steals in 29 mins. Hannah Kaser also provided a 5-point cameo performance in 13 minutes on court.

5’11”South Australian Chelsea Roberts from Texas-Martin had 8 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes but was unable to prevent her team in going down to Ohio State 60-82.

The Virginia Tech Hokies managed a close win against South Carolina Upstate 65-61. Guard Madison Penn collected 8 points and 3 rebounds in just 12 mins, while Vanessa Panoussis filled the stats sheet with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in 28 minutes. Hannah Young also contributed also 11 points, 6 boards and 2 steals in 28 minutes, and combined they proved to be the difference for the Hokies in gaining the win.

Player of the Week

Over the last fortnight, it was Barr who stole the limelight with her stellar performances, and she came close once again this week. However, instead I chose the Cal Poly Mustangs 6’4” forward, Maddison Allen, who gained my attention, and thus the title, 'Player of the Week'.

Allen in the paint - Courtesy Cal Poly Athletics

The sophomore had a big game in posting a double-double consisting of a career-high 11 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes as the Mustangs defeated Pepperdine 80-77. Allen also managed to post a new career and game-high 4 blocks in her break out performance. It was her team's first road win of the season and improves Cal Poly's record to 6-4 as the New Year approaches.

Team of the Week

This week I couldn't go past the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (1-8) who earned their first victory of the season in accounting for Monmouth 67-52. The Blackbirds' Queensland born freshman Aleisha Myers compiled a career-high 13 points that included 3/5 from beyond the three-point line to go with 7 rebounds in 30 minutes of action. The Blackbirds shot 51 percent from the field and 66 percent from beyond the arc that helped them score more than 60 points for the first time this season and thus break through for a first win. And it was Allen who was at the forefront in helping lead her team to a well deserved victory.

Who was your Aussie player or team of the past week? Did anyone get missed that should have received a mention? Share your opinion by posting a reply.