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NCAA Women: Alicia Froling dominates for the Mustangs
The Aussie NCAA Division I women are making their presence well and truly felt in America. Michael De Lacy takes another look at the action and calls out the best performances of the last week.
Player of the Week
Last weeks' player of the week was Senior Alex Sheedy following her stint of impressive games. This week it is freshman Alicia Froling after her big game for Southern Methodist against Tulsa. Senior Stacey Barr gets an honourable mention after her big 30 point game for Idaho.
As one half of the Froling twin towers, Alicia has started all 20 games for the season and is currently averaging an a very good 12 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 block per game.
Alicia Froling - Courtesy of SMU Athletics
Alicia had possibly the best game amongst all the Aussie woman this season, exploding for a big double-double, consisting of game-highs including 21 points and 15 rebounds (9 offensive) and 3 blocks. Despite the massive haul, it was once again a disappointing outcome in a rebuilding season for the Mustangs, losing to Tulsa by 16 points (58-74).
Twin sister Keely Froling appeared in the starting line-up and contributed 3 points and 5 rebounds in the loss. Stephanie Collins was held scoreless in limited court time. Southern Methodist is now on a 13 game losing streak and hasn't tasted a victory since early December and remains winless in conference play despite the impressive season of Alicia Froling.
Team of the week
This weeks Team of the week is no different to the last 4 weeks in a row, the Baylor Lady Bears were again an easy pick as they have managed to continue their massive winning streak and extended it to an incredible 18 games. The streak is second nationally to top-ranked South Carolina's 19-game win streak.
Kristy Wallace struggled with her stroke going just a meagre 3/13 from the field but still managed to deliver 8 points and 2 steals in 23 minutes as the Lady Bears earned another victory over TCU (89-67) . Baylor led in points in the paint (60-24) and has done so in all 20 games this season. It has been a remarkable season to date and one that freshman Wallace is playing a major role in.
Kristy Wallace - Courtesy SMU Athletics
Best of the rest
Stacey Barr went on a scoring outburst, leading her team with 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 38 minutes of action as Idaho defeated Eastern Washington 71-58. While team-mate Renae Mokrzycki was held scoreless in 5 minutes, Geraldine McCorkell had a near double-double with 11 points and 8 rebounds in 21 minutes. The Vandals held the rebound edge with 50 to Eastern Washington's 34. They also held an advantage on bench points with a 19 edge on 2 bench points for Eastern Washington. Coach John Newlee had this to say following Barr's noteworthy scoring performance.
“Stacey got into the flow of the offense which was great. She had a lot of shots, but she did not have to go one-on-one. She got into the open floor which was great.”
Stacey Barr - Courtesy University of Idaho Athletics
Barr is averaging an outstanding 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season as 1 of 4 Australians on the Vandals roster. Idaho Vandals Coach John Newlee has been discussing the ongoing recruitment of international players and the diversity of the team;
''We had a nearby junior college that had some really good international kids. I started recruiting those guys. I met the head of the Australian Institute of Sports when I was at SMU. He brought touring teams around and we often played them. I got to be good friends with him. From there I just started gathering contacts in Europe and Australia and it took off.”
Eastern Illinois enjoyed a 75-59 victory over Murray State, with Grace Lennox impressing. She hit 6/7 from the field on he way to a new career-high 17 points with team-highs of 7 assists and 4 steals. While Lennox was playing a starring role, fellow Aussie Bianca Babic didn't suit up for Murray State.
Lennox managed to continue her strong play in the Panther's second game of the week. This time she grabbed 13 points, 2 rebounds and 5 assists, however she was unable to prevent a 48-65 loss to SIU Edwardsville. The panthers trailed the entire game and recorded 23 turnovers in the loss.
Junior Claire Maree O'Bryan was good for 17 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal in Bucknell's 71-76 loss to Lehigh. It was a great effort and showed what she is capable of delivering. However she was unable to back that performance up in their next outing.
In O'Bryan's last game of month, the junior struggled with her shot in finishing with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and a dismal 8 turnovers as Bucknell lost to Colgate 41-54. 10 of the 11 Bucknell players had 1 or more turnovers with a total of 25 for the game. Combined with shooting just 1/15 from beyond the arc, they struggled to remain in touch.
The Virginia Tech Hokies were defeated by Notre Dame 50-74. Vanessa Panousis has been off lately and unfortunately continued that trend over the past week. She tallied 8 points with 5 turnovers in the 24 point loss. Junior Hannah Young however had a good outing, enjoying a team-high 13 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 38 minutes. The Hokies only had 4 offensive rebounds in the loss and trailed the entire game.
Utah State suffered a demoralizing 35 point loss to Wyoming 51-86 in the Mountain West. It was Freshman Funda Nakkasoglu who shone for the Aggies with a team-high 22 points with 2 rebounds and 4 assists in 31 minutes of action. Nakkasoglu was the only Aggie to score in double figures for the game and has been a shining light in a tough season to date.
The Aggies then faced San Diego State in their second game of the week and were soundly defeated 59-70. Nakkasoglu had a quiet game by her high standards, compiling 8 points, 2 rebounds and a game-high 4 assists in 39 minutes on court.
The South Dakota Coyotes enjoyed an impressive 26 point victory over Denver 82-56. Senior Nicole Seekamp had 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the big win. The Coyotes played some hard-nosed defense, forcing Denver to commit 19 turnovers and allowed just 5 made field goals in the second half. The Coyotes are currently undefeated on their home court this season (10-0).
In Seekamp's second outing of the week she put together another great all-round performance, this time with 9 points, 3 rebounds, a game-high 6 assists and 4 steals as South Dakota defeated Oral Roberts 93-70. Oral Roberts shot a staggering 66% from the field in the second half, yet it wasn't enough as the Coyotes held a 29 point lead at one stage of the game.
After their first game was postponed, the Boston Terriers were defeated by Army in front of their home crowd 40-65. Mollie McKendrick was the only Terrier to score in double figures, adding 10 points, 2 rebounds and 1 block in 21 minutes of action. In the first half of the game, the Terriers struggled to buy a basket, making just 5/23 from the field.
Mollie McKendrick - Courtesy BU Athletics
McKendrick followed up with a big game, producing 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 33 minutes. Yet her efforts were not enough to get the Terriers over the line as they fell to Lehigh 71-78 in a well fought battle which could have gone either way. The terriers are now on a 5 game losing streak that they will look to break when they face Navy.
Over in the West Coast Conference, Carly Turner made her first career start, filling in for compatriot Lauren Nicholson the Gaels leading scorer who missed the game. Turner provide 8 points, 3 boards and 2 steals as Saint Mary's earned a 56-49 victory over Loyola Marymount. Hannah Kaser was held scoreless for the game as the Gaels shot 33% from field.
Fresno State fought hard in securing a nail-biting 57-50 victory over San Diego State. The Bulldogs' senior Aussie Alex Sheedy made a valuable contribution in the victory, producing 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Sheedy's shooting struggles extended to Fresno State's narrow 53-49 win over Colorado State. Despite connecting on just 1/14 from the field, she added 9 points and 2 steals in the win.
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Junior Bianca Dufelmeier put together 7 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 16 minutes as the University of Alabama-Birmington had a victory over UTEP (67-52).
UT Martin had a victory over Tennessee State 64-58 with junior Chelsea Roberts adding 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.
Marena Whittle had 8 points, 3 rebounds and a team-high 3 steals as North Dakota State were defeated by South Dakota State 52-82.
Hawaii's Ashleigh Karaitiana had 10 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists as Hawaii defeated CSUN 64-49.