NCAA Women: Barr leads an impressive group of Aussies

Michael De Lacy takes a look at the action and the standout performances by the Aussie women in the second week of NCAA Division I action.

Player of the Week

Last week's player of the week was the rebounding machine Marena Whittle. This time around I had the hard choice between high scoring Stacey Barr and dynamic freshman Georgia Stirton and Grace Lennox. However after a lot of careful thought I went with Victorian Stacey Barr who has been putting up some big numbers for the Idaho Vandals.

Stacey Barr - Courtesy University of Idaho

The Former Altona 'Gator was at her usual best after her squad played their first home game season, albeit a loss to San Diego 52-58. Star guard Stacey Barr was vital for the Vandals, racking up a big double-double consisting of a season-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, making 9/10 from the charity stripe along the way. But Barr had a rough night from the field, shooting a low 6/23 in 39 minutes of action. Barr has now managed to hit 200 three pointers in her career, leaving her 5 from moving into second place for her school all-time. Team mate Geraldine McCorkell went 1/5 from the field for 3 points and 3 rebounds. The Vandals held a small 6 point lead to start the second half but were not able to hold the lead after they shot 30% from the field.

Not surprisingly Barr was once again played at her high standard in a 77-66 victory over Wyoming. this time she was just 1 rebound shy of another double-double, scoring 23 points with 9 rebounds and 3 assists in 35 minutes. Tayla Corrigan saw 4 minutes of action and provided 2 points and 1 rebound, while McCorkell had 4 points and 2 rebounds in the much-needed win. The Vandals now move on to their next game against Seattle University. This is what Vandals Coach John Newlee had to say to his squad before tip-off.

“Mental toughness. No excuses. We’re not going to take any excuses. We’re just going to play.”

Team Of The Week

Last week we had Hawaii taking the honours; this week its South Dakota featuring Nicole Seekamp who takes the hot seat. Seekamp played a big role for her team, shooting a very good 9/11 from the field in adding 22 points, 7 assists and 2 steals in 25 minutes, sealing their first home victory against UC Irvine 96-52. South Dakota shot a very high 50% from the field and had a good-looking 28 assists in the game. The Coyotes were also able to outrebound the Anteaters 51-30. Nicole Seekamp had this to say after the game.

“We always love playing at home. We’ve got a good crowd always. They’re behind us 100 percent of the way. It was a good showing for them to see what we’ve been working on in the pre-season.”

Best of the Rest

Former Hobart Charger Grace Lennox came out of her shell and showed her coaches what she is made of, helping her team deliver a tight 2 point overtime victory against North Texas. Lennox had some career highs grabbing 7 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in the win. She came up big down the stretch to seal the win, making a key free throw with seven seconds remaining to ensure Eastern Illinois held on and win the game. The victory also ended a 3 game losing streak for her squad.

Lennox wasn't done yet though, compiling 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, managing a perfect 7/7 from the foul line to beat Northern Illinois, 55-46. This is just the start for Lennox; we can expect her to fill the stat sheet on a frequent basis.

Hawaii experienced their first loss of the season against the undefeated California (72-79). Ashleigh Karaitiana struggled from the field after she impressed last week. She shot a sub-par 5/19 from the field yet the 6'0" guard played the entire game and was extremely valuable in keeping her squad in the game, managing a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists. Bouncing back quickly from their last game, Hawaii earned a 79-70 a victory over UNLV. Hawaii shot a noteworthy 48% from the field in the second half and 45% for the game, with Karaitiana contributing 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes in the 9 point victory.

Ashleigh Karaitiana - Credit Ralph Omoto/Hawaii Athletics

Boston University's lone senior Mollie McKendrick had a solid outing in a victory over the winless Vermont 66-61. In 22 minutes in court, the senior grabbed 9 boards with 4 points and 2 assists. The Terriers will look to make improve their record to 3-2 when the play New Mexico in the University of New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament in their next game.

Coming off the bench, McKendrick had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 25 minutes in a loss against fellow Aussie Josie Greenwood's New Mexico 49-56. The Lobos were able to record their first victory of the season, with Greenwood held scoreless and with just 1 rebound.

Stephanie Bairstow, sister of current Chicago Bull Cameron Bairstow, appeared in Utah State's third loss of the season. She quietly contributed 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 24 minutes with fellow countrywoman Funda Nakkasolglu chiming in with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the devastating 43-99 loss to Baylor. For Baylor, Australian Kristy Wallace did not suit up.

St. Francis-Brooklyn's Eilidh Simpson delivered an impressive 17 points and 6 rebounds in playing 40 minutes in a heart-breaking 50-57 overtime loss to N.J.I.T. The Terriers shot a lowly 26.6 % from the field and made earn in the win tough for them. Freshman Alex Delaney went 1-7 from the field adding 5 rebounds, 5 points but also hit a major 3 pointer late in the game to keep the terriers in the contest.

Saint Mary's enjoyed a narrow 57-55 victory at UC Davis with Lauren Nicholson going 6/15 from the fielding compiling 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in 36 minutes of action. Hannah Kaser saw little action and was held scoreless in just 4 minutes. Nicholson was very impressive and has stepped up with departure of Kate Gaze. Nicholson impressed, connecting on the game-winning jump shot with only 1.8 seconds to go! The Gaels destroyed UC Davis in the paint grabbing 44 rebounds compared to 20.

Lauren Nicholson - Credit Tod Fierner/Saint Mary's College Athletics

The Gael's had a high scoring 99-90 outcome against Sacramento in an action packed game. Nicholson was outstanding yet again, compiling 22 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while going 9-10 from the foul line. Kaser had 7 points and was ready on defensive end adding 2 blocks in 9 minutes. Freshman Carly Turner appeared in this game too, pulling down 5 rebounds and handing out 3 assists. The Gaels were in command over Sacramento on the stat sheet, connecting on a staggering 60% from the field in the high scoring game.

Continuing to impress was freshman Georgia Stirton who provided 5 points to go with a career high 8 assists and 4 steals in 20 minutes of action which turned out to be a very impressive game for the young Aussie. Stirton's squad Gonzaga were able to seal a big victory over Montana State 89-60 in front of a crowd of over 1,500. Gonzaga shot a reasonable 45% for the game to keep them currently undefeated to start the season (3-0).

Fast guard Vanessa Panousis went 9/19 from the field including 4 from beyond the arc for a game-high 22 points with 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 38 minutes as Virginia Tech lost to Old Dominion 62-69. In the meantime, Aussie teammate Hannah Young had 7 rebounds and 6 points while Maddison Penn did not suit up in the game.

Fresno State Bulldogs had their first loss of the season after they were defeated by USC 50-68. The flourishing Alex Sheedy has been killing the opposition under her new coach, filling up the box score with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in 37 minutes. The Bulldogs struggled offensively managing 36% from the field against USC and on the rebound count (20-40).

And in rounding out this week's update, here are some other performances that deserve some recognition;

  • Maddison Allen from Santa Clara didn't miss a shot going 5/5 from the field on her way to 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks. Santa Clara snatched a nail-biting victory in a game in which they never trailed against LSU 69-67, with the team shooting a noteworthy 56.3% (9/16) from the 3-point line.

  • Claire Maree O'Bryan was solid in all aspects of the game as Bucknell enjoyed a 1 point victory in overtime over Fairleigh Dickinson. O'Bryan had 7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 30 minutes of action.

  • Washington State had a solid 74-60 win over Hampton with freshman Louise Brown impressing. Brown had a massive night with a career-high's of 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in 33 minutes of game time.

  • The Twin Towers of Alicia Froling and sister Keely Froling pulled out a strong effort in a victory over Eastern Washington, 69-53, Alcia had 5 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks while sister Keely had 7 points and 5 rebounds.

  • Buffalo's own Aussie Twins Liisa and Katherine Ups appeared in a loss over Niagara 73-64. Liisa had 5 points, while sister Katherine had 5 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal.