NCAA Spotlight on the Aussie Women: Seekamp and Whittle lead the way (14-Nov-13)

Michael De Lacy takes a quick look back over the past week in NCAA division 1 hoops action and calls out all the highs and lows of the Aussie women in action.

Around the Traps

The 2013/14 college basketball season has begun and some of our best girls players are already putting on a show. This week we had some big performances from some Victorian young guns such as Marena Whittle and Nicole Seekamp to just name a few.

Firstly we had Kiara Bomben from Massachusetts who is the only senior on her team. Bomben has played two games so far, where she lost her first game against Western Michigan 58-66. She ended the game with a solid outing in posting 7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 31 minutes of play. In her second game against Central Michigan, Massachusetts were trounced 61-105. Bomben managed just 4 points, 3 assists and 1 block in 31 minutes of action. Being part of what is a very young team, Bomben is displaying the leadership expected of someone with her seniority. Coach Sharon Dawley praised Bomben after the game, "I would give Kiara the player of the game even though her stat-line didn't show it. Her effort showed more than anything tonight."

The 'three musketeers' in Kate Gaze, Hannah Kaser and Lauren Nicholson at Saint Mary's College all deserve a mention. The Aussies finished the week playing 2 games, and winning their first against Washington 91–81. Gaze had an amazing near triple-double, racking up a big 17 points, 7 boards, 10 assists and 1 steal in 38 minutes. Nicholson had a very quiet game in comparison to Gaze with only 4 points, 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 27 minutes whilst Kaser did not play. The Gael's their second straight win against Portland State 72–54. Gaze was unable to match her outing in the season-opener, this time scoring 8 points to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 24 minutes. Kaser played her first game and had 4 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 7 minutes, while Nicholson improved on her previous performance in posting 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assists and 2 steals in 26 minutes to end the week with a perfect 2-0 record to start the season.

With four Australians on their roster, Fresno State split their first two games of the season; a 74-50 win over UC Mercer and a 54-63 loss to Southern California. Bree Farley was a stand-out with 16 points, 9 rebounds 2 steals and 1 assist in the season openerm backing up with 16 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and 1 steal in 36 minutes. Joining Farley in fine form is also Alex Sheedy, who had 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block followed by a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds in their loss. Jacinta Vandenberg was also in good touch in the season-opener, finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds of her own in the game 1 win.

And lastly, I cannot leave out mentioning the performances of Hannah Young and Vanessa Panoussis helped lead Virginia Tech to an 84-32 demolition of Howard. Young recorded a double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds with 4 assists in 26 minutes. Panoussis chimed in with 4 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 block in 25 minutes.

Player of the week

This week's pick of the crop was a tough call between Marena Whittle from North Dakota and Nicole Seekamp from South Dakota. However Seekamp takes the prize for her team having a closer game while posting a staggering 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 33 minutes of non-stop action! Seekamp is really establishing herself as a proven on court leader, and is prominent in a number of statistical categories in the Summit League.

As a Junior guard for South Dakota, Seekamp has proven to be the team's natural leader in averaging 19 points in her first two games. Also, Seekamp performed big in another game for the Coyotes in posting a 21 point game with 7 assists but that wasn't enough to finish off the strong resilient Cyclones. The difference between the teams was at the foul line with the Cyclones shooting 27 of 31 from the charity stripe and the Coyotes going 8 of 11; a similar percentage just had more opportunities which in the end meant the difference between winning and losing.

You may ask why was Seekamp player of the week? Well I see Seekamp as rising star in the Summit League who is going to continue to put up some big numbers in points this season and may even lead her team all the way to the to of her conference. Watch out for Seekamp in the coming weeks as she is already averaging 19 points and 6 rebounds per game; basically don't be surprised if we end up having Seekamp in this space again in the coming weeks because we can expect al lot more career performances from this Aussie young gun!

Team of the week

The team of the week for mine was clearly North Dakota, posting their first win of the season in steamrolling Mayville State.

Whilst Marena Whittle did miss out on performance of week, however alongside fellow Victorian Bree Whatman they earned a massive win where Whittle compiled a new career-high 20 points to sit alongside a game-high 9 rebounds, 3 assists , 3 blocks and 1 steal in 29 minutes. Whatman backed her up admirably with 13 points, 2 rebounds, a game-high 7 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in 30 minutes.

In their big win, the Bison's 112 points was their largest ever points total in inflicting Mayville's first defeat of the season. They forced Mayville into 17 turnovers and just overwhelmed their opponents across the court. Keep your eyes peeled for the Bison's next game where they will confidently travel to the #25 ranked Harvard for a non-conference game this coming weekend. Can the Bison knock off their more fancied opponents - I certainly hope so!

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