NCAA Women: Baylor win Big 12 Tournament, Seekamp stars

The girls from Down Under continue to make their presence well and truly known in the NCAA Division I Conference Tournaments over in the USA. The Pick and Roll takes a look at the action and calls out the best performances for these great Australian ambassadors in the first post season update.

The Baylor Lady Bears are now Big 12 Champions after they defeated Texas and now move onto the NCAA Tournament, Nicole Seekamp was impressive in the Summit League Tournament after she was named the Tournament MVP for the second year in a row after averaging 23 points, five assists and two steals in three tournament games.

Find out what else transpired in this week’s post season recap!

Player of the week

This week's player of the week goes to South Dakota's senior Nicole Seekamp. She was the backbone for the Coyotes push for back-to-back Summit League Tournament championships. In eight Summit League Tournament games over her career, the senior has posted more than 20 points in 8 games. Seekamp has scored 1,423 collegiate points and is the seventh-leading scorer in program history.

Nicole Seekamp - Courtesy University of South Dakota Athletics

The Coyotes came into the Tournament as the #1 seed, defending tournament champion and early favourites. Seekamp put in a big game in the first outing of the Summit League Tournament, going 8/15 from the field in stacking a season high 25 points. She also dished out an impressive 8 assists and 2 steals in 33 minutes of action. The opening game of the Tournament was neck and neck straight from the first bounce. In the second half in the last 4 minutes of action, Seekamp led her Coyotes with 10 points to help her team break away from Fort Wayne to grab a 78-70 victory.

In the Summit League Championship semifinal, the Coyotes came up against IUPUI and were able to sneak away with a 69-58 victory. Seekamp was once again ready to play it tough, compiling a game-high 23 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals leading the Coyotes to victory.

In the tournament final, the Coyotes struggled in a 72-57 loss to rivals South Dakota State. Seekamp was named Tournament MVP for the second year in a row, with the Aussie delivering a game-high 21 points, five assists and three steals. At half time SDSU held a 37-19 scoring advantage which crushed the Coyotes as they couldn't break into the deficit. The Coyotes shot a low 13.3% (4-30) in the first half but managed to improve moving into the second where they shot 48%. Seekamp is the third player in Summit League history to earn two Tournament MVP awards.

Following the disappointing loss for the Coyotes, Seekamp had this to say.

"I couldn't have asked for a better team, really — I loved every second of it," Seekamp said. "It's the most I've ever felt like I was part of a team. Nobody really cares about who scores what — we just go out there and play. When we needed a basket, somebody would always step up. Thankfully, I was able to do that for my team — but I'd love to trade that tournament MVP for the championship trophy."

Team of the week

Baylor has continued to make their presence well-known in the Big 12 Conference and that's why they have made their way back into the Pick and Roll's Team of the Week.

The Lady Bears Big 12 Tournament Campaign has been very successful and they have certainly continued to play at a high standard. In the first game of the Big 12 Tournament, the Lady Bears defeated Kansas State 82-70, a team they had previously beaten twice this season already by convincing margins. Kristy Wallace came off the bench and chipped in 13 points and 3 rebounds for her 8th double figure scoring game for the season.

Wallace and the Lady Bears then enjoyed a 17 point victory over Oklahoma State 69-52, yet Wallace was off with her stroke in shooting just 1/8 from the field. She did however add 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 points.

The Lady Bears grabbed their fifth straight Big 12 title after defeating Texas 75-64. This spectacular victory also meant Baylor posted its fifth straight 30-win season, a very impressive accomplishment under Baylor's coach Kim Mulkey and their very young squad with only one senior on the team. Wallace came off the bench and compiled 7 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists as she grabbed her first NCAA Division 1 conference championship!

"I didn’t think this team was capable of possibly winning the Big 12 tournament and handily winning the Big 12, period,” Coach Kim Mulkey said. "I’ve learned not to make predictions with this team."

Lady Bears are No. 2 seed in Oklahoma City Region and will host No. 15 seed Northwestern State Friday in Waco. #SicEm

— Baylor Lady Bears (@BaylorWBB) March 16, 2015

Best of the rest

Down in the Mountain West, Alex Sheedy collected her 10th double-double with a team high 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in 40 minutes of action in leading the Fresno State to a 74-66 victory over Wyoming. Following Sheedy's 19 points, she moved in to eighth place on Fresno State's all-time scoring list with 1,358 points.

Sheedy had an off night from the field when the Bulldogs Senior was needed the most, the senior connecting on just 2/11 from the field but was still able to contribute 14 points, 7 boards and 2 steals in a loss to Josie Greenwood's New Mexico 64-53. This loss inevitably ended the Bulldogs Tournament ambitions, with Greenwood adding 2 points and a game-high 3 blocks. The loss was the first for the Dogs in a tournament championship in five years.

Freshman Alex Delaney came off the bench ready to play in her first Northeast Conference Tournament game and was in excellent form, contributing 12 points and 3 rebounds. Senior Eilidh Simpson was also impressive, compiling 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in playing all 40 minutes as St. Francis Brooklyn defeated Sacred Heart 77-59.

The Terriers played with a squad of 7 players as they then upset the top-seeded Central Connecticut 71-63 in a thrilling double overtime outing. Simpson was important once again, contributing an 11 point and 10 rebound double-double in 49 minutes.

In the championship game, the 5th seeded Terriers came up with a fairytale 15 point victory over Robert Morris (77-62), securing the NEC title and an NCAA Tournament berth! Simpson was able to produce 14 points and 5 rebounds while Delaney chipped in 3 points and 1 steal.

"Robert Morris played a great game," stated Simpson after the game. "The first half was a back and forth battle. The second half of the game we were able to pull away after Sarah made some big shots. It was an unreal feeling coming down the stretch. We went to double-overtime with Central Connecticut, so we know it is not over until that final buzzer sounds.To win with these guys is the best feeling in the world."

In Virginia Tech's first game of the ACC Tournament, the Hokie's came up against North Carolina State in a thrilling game which went right to the last second. It was left to Australian junior Hannah Young who connected on a miraculous game winning buzzer-beater to secure an enthralling 57-56 win. Young compiled 9 points and 3 rebounds while teammate Vanessa Panousis was up and about with 19 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds.

The Hokie's them took on Pittsburgh and were able to escape with a 51-45 victory. Panousis compiled 20 points and 2 rebounds while Young added 7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

In their next outing, Panousis finished with 9 points and 3 assists while Young chipped in 5 points and 3 assists as they were smashed by Florida State 82-43 in the ACC Quarterfinals. For her outstanding and consistent play throughout the tournament, Panousis was named to the 2015 ACC All-Tournament Second team.

In the first game of the West Coast Conference tournament, Santa Clara defeated Portland 66-58, ending a 3 game losing streak. Madison Allen had 6 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks in 6 minutes of action as Santa Clara controlled the points in the paint with a 36-10 advantage. However the Broncos would not progress any further as their campaign came to an end at the hands of San Diego 42-51. Allen recorded only 2 points and 2 rebounds in the season-ending loss.

Louise Brown contributed 7 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals in helping Washington State secure a 2 point victory over the Oregon 66-64 in the Pac-12 Tournament. Washington State then backed up with a tough 48-67 loss to the #2 seed Arizona State. Brown compiled 7 rebounds, 6 points and 1 block in that game.

Check out this video of Louise Browns father surprising her in Washington State.

Southern Methodist came up short to Memphis 59-71 in the American Athletic Conference tournament, a team they previously beat 4 days earlier. Alicia Froling added a near double-double, compiling 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals while twin Keely Froling put in 6 points, 4 rebounds to go with 3 assists before sustaining a serious knee injury (ACL). Stephanie Collins chipped in 2 points and 2 rebounds.

All three Aussie's appeared in the starting lineup for Saint Mary's as they lost to Brigham Young in the West Coast Conference Tournament. They suffered a harrowing loss thanks to a last second jump shot by Brigham Young who prevailed 65-64. Senior Lauren Nicholson went 6/9 from the field and gathered a team high 23 points and 1 rebound in 40 minutes of action. Freshman Carly Turner added 6 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal in 25 minutes while Hannah Kaser chipped in 2 points.

Freshman Funda Nakkasoglu had a spectacular game, producing a near triple-double in gathering 26 points (14/14 FT), 8 rebounds and 7 assists in 39 minutes of action. Nakkasoglu's efforts were short-lived as they were defeated by San Jose State in the first game of the Mountain West Tournament. This was the 25th time this season that the freshman has scored in double-figures, including the 11th time she has scored at least 20 points.

Just Quickly:

  • In the West Coast Conference semifinal Gonzaga was defeated by 5th seeded BYU 61-55. Georgia Stirton was everywhere in compiling 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 points and 2 steals.

  • Hawaii's Ashleigh Karaitiana had 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in a 67-60 loss to CSUN in the final of the Big West Conference Tournament.

  • North Dakota were defeated by Oral Roberts in the Summit League Quarterfinals 71-58. Junior Marena Whittle led the Bison in rebounding with a team-high 12 boards, 9 points, 2 assists and 2 blocks.