NCAA Spotlight on the Aussie Women: Barr back-to-back (13-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

South Dakota's Nicole Seekamp begins our weekly recap, helping The Coyotes get up over Stephanie Bairstow's Utah. The game finished with a final score of 81-71. Bairstow finished with 2 points and 1 steal in 13 minutes. While Seekamp went 3 of 11 from the field, the charity stripe was mighty charitable, bringing her total to 20 points. She also added 7 rebounds, 1 block, 2 steals and a career high 9 assists in 33 minutes. South Dakota, as a team, went 12 of 21 from the free throw line over the final 5 minutes and 27 from 44 for the game. Madeleine White did not play.

South Dakota also came up with the win against the S.D. School of Mines Hardrockers (81-49). Seekamp finished up with 13 points in 22 minutes, while also managing to reach double digit points for the ninth time this season. Madeleine White added 6 points and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes.

On day one of the Air Force Classic, North Dakota State Bison fell to Air Force 63-82. Bree Whatman went 3 of 12 from the field with 9 points, 4 boards, 5 assists and 2 steals in 29 minutes, while Marena Whittle added 5 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. Air Force Shot a blistering 63% from the field, making 19 of 30 shot attempts. In the 2nd game of the Classic the Bison fell to Wyoming 72-69. Whittle had 13 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block, but only added 6 points, going 3 of 17 in 35 minutes. Whatman accumulated 8 points, 2 boards and 2 steals in 25 minutes.

Moving on, 'Saint Marys '3 Aussie Musketeers' were relatively quiet by their usual standard, as the team lost their first game this season, bringing their record to 7-1. Colberg Court, formerly known as The Hornets Nest, played host to a high scoring shoot-out, with Sacramento State prevailing 94-92. Gaels star Kate Gaze added 7 points during the game which included her 1000th career point for St Mary's. She also distributed a spectacular 11 assists in 37 minutes. Lauren Nicolson also played 37 minutes. Her 14 points on 6 from 10 shooting, accompanied by 5 boards, 2 assists and 1 steal. Hannah Kaser made the most of her court time, going 2 of 2 from the field for 5 points and 1 board in only 1 minute. Jackie Nared added 30 points for Saint Mary's, including a last minute 3 pointer to bring the Gaels within 2. Despite gaining the last possession, the Gaels were unable to put up a shot.

Player of the Week

Last week I lauded the accomplishments of The University of Idaho Vandals’, Melbourne born guard, Stacey Barr, who had a amazing set of games. However, this week I couldn't go past..... Stacey Barr again! The Melbourne born junior continues her stellar season, the second game of the Lady Griz Classic showcasing particularly scintillating form. In her first game of the Classic, Idaho lost to Montana 59-56 with Barr contributing 8 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 26 minutes. Barr's streak of 8 straight games in which she hit a 3 pointer, finally came to a end.

Barr in command against Utah State - Courtesy University of Idaho Athletics

“I think it came down to that last minute,” head coach Jon Newlee stated. “They [Montana] made a couple of big shots and we had some pretty good looks but did not make them. I told our guys it was not won or lost then. I feel like we lost the game coming out flat to start the second half. I think there was a stretch in that first half where things kind of spiraled for us. One person is not going to win the game for us. We have to play together as a team when things get a little rocky.” (via Lady Griz Outlast Vandals)

In the final game of the 33rd Lady Griz Classic, Idaho cruised to a win over Appalachian State (83-60). Barr's performance in this game alone was enough to ensure a second straight player of week selection. Going 9 of 15 from the field while matching her previous season high of 23 points, Barr made it a double / double for good measure, piling on 12 rebounds and a steal in 31 minutes. 20 of her 23 points were scored in the second half, helping Idaho cruise to an 83-60 victory and solidifying their record at 6-4. however, Idaho were down 35-29 at half time, making Barr's second half heroics invaluable.

“I thought we started the game great,” head coach Jon Newlee said. “We got up 8-0 and my guys acted like the game was over. I was very disappointed with our lack of effort the last 15 minutes of the first half. At the half we had a little talk about energy and levels and playing Vandal basketball. They did a great job responding to that in the second half.” (via WBB Gets Win over Appalachian St.)

Team of the Week

The Fresno State Bulldogs are my pick for team of the week due to their smothering defense against the SDC Lady Hawks which led them to a 54 point win (82-28) . Fresno State opened the game with 17 unanswered points in 7 minutes. Clearly relishing the opportunity to play in front of their fans after a 4 game road trip, their victory over the Lady Hawks was the first in a 5 game home stand.

"We told our team that we were going to need to come out and be really aggressive and just get some home mojo going," head coach Raegan Pebley said. "We're home in December a long time and we need to get this started off right." -

Alex Sheedy, now in her third year at Fresno, had a below average game by her usual high standard that sees her second on the team in both points and rebounds per game. Jacinta Vandenberg had a near double/double with 8 points (3-of-5), 8 rebounds and 1 block in 15 minutes. Undoubtedly, she would have both rebounded and scored in double figures if needed, as she's averaging 24.5 minutes per game in her second year at Fresno, scored 6 of the teams first 11 points; and pulled down 14 boards to go with her 10 points in the previous game. The sophomore center from Melbourne, leads the team in rebounds per game. Bree Farley brought down 4 boards to go with 6 points (3-of-5) and a block in 15 minutes. And finally, congratulations to freshman Courtney Gaze who saw court time for the second game in a row and showed her appreciation by delivering 2 boards and a steal in 7 minutes (her debut, the previous game only lasted 2 minutes).

"I was pretty happy with how our team played," Pebley said. "We asked our team not to play to the scoreboard the whole night and to really just play to our potential."

The Bulldogs held the 5-1 (classed as an exhibition game for SDC so the loss is not recorded) Lady Hawks to a very low 22.4 field goal percentage while forcing them to turn the ball over a dismal 28 times, 17 of which were assessed as steals by Fresno State. They also won the rebound count 51-27, including 23 offensive rebounds. The Lady Hawks shared 3 assists between their entire team for the game.

The now 5-3 Bulldogs won again three days later, this time against the Santa Clara Broncos who share the West Coast Conference with St Mary's (7-1) and Gonzaga (8-1). It was another solid team effort from the Bulldogs, with four players scoring in double figures, including Sheedy (12 points, 3 assists and 5 boards), while Vandenberg and Farley both scored 8 points and all three played between 26 and 28 minutes in the 64-49 win. The ever-improving Vandenberg came close to a double/double once again, missing by 2 points and a rebound, while Farley was a defensive nightmare for SCU, coming off the bench to match her career high with 4 steals.

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.