NCAA Women: Turner soars, Nakkasoglu nets multiple honours
The girls from Down Under continue to make their presence well and truly known in the NCAA Division I competition over in the USA. Michael De Lacy takes a look at the action and calls out the best performances for these great Australian ambassadors in the last regular season update. Carly Turner nearly made a double-double against San Francisco, the Coyotes dominate this week and Alex Sheedy led the Bulldogs to a win with a 25-point outing.
Find out what else transpired in this week's recap!
Player of the Week
It was a close call this week. Will the player of the week be the amazing Stacey Barr as she pushes the Vandals into their rush to the Big Sky Tournament or will it Saint Mary's Freshman Carly Turner after her very impressive career game against San Francisco. Well after a lot of careful deliberation it was Carly Turner.
Turner had her best game yet in a very short college career, putting together a near double-double with a career high 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. However Turner's big game wasn't enough for Saint Mary's Gaels to gain victory over San Francisco. The Gaels were defeated by a nail biting 2 points (65-63). Turner's fellow Aussie teammate Lauren Nicholson also played a vital part of the keeping the Gaels in the game. Nicholson dropped 12 points, 3 assists and a team high defensive effort with 4 steals. Hopefully Turner can bring this recent effort into more games. Saint Mary's head coach Paul Thomas was one of three coaches to grab the WCC Co-Head Coach of the Year. Nicholson made her way into the WCC all first team.
A big shout out to Utah State freshman Funda Nakkasoglu too, as she was credited with a handful of accolades recently. She made her way into the 2015 Mountain West Woman's basketball Freshman of the Year and also grabbed an honourable mention in the All-Mountain West team. Nakkasoglu unsurprisingly, also had a spot in the All-Freshman Team and above all, secured the College Sports Madness Freshman of the Year for the Mountain West.
Team of the Week
The Baylor Lady Bears' 25 game winning streak collapsed after they were defeated by Oklahoma. The team of the week was left open for the opposing team, the South Dakota Coyotes. They took the spotlight from Baylor, after they secured their first Summit League regular season title with a win over the IUPUI Jaguars (69-53). In the last regular season game, senior Nicole Seekamp led her Coyotes squad gathering a game high 13 points, 5 assists to go with some impressive defensive work including 4 steals. South Dakota scored 16 points off IUPUI turnovers. This was the Coyotes' First conference regular season title since the 2007-08 season when they won the North Central Conference title with a 12-0 record.
South Australian Seekamp was named the Summit League's Women's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday. It's the first time this season and third time in her career she has earned the honour. The award was the final weekly honour of the 2014-15 season. The Coyotes finished the season with an 23-6 overall record and with 13-3 in the Summit League Conference. They also finished the season undefeated at home ( 13-0 ). Seekamp was just named in the Summit League first-team for the second straight year. The Coyotes head Coach was chosen for Coach of the Year.
Best of the Rest
Fresno State Bulldogs Alex Sheedy went 9-16 from the field, which led to the senior adding a team high 25 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Helping the Bulldogs defeat Wyoming (67-50). “I feel like I've reset my life and got back into it,” said Sheedy after scoring 65 points in the past three games following a season-low four-point outing on Feb. 14.
New Mexico was able to rise above the Bulldogs for a tough 3 point victory (63-60). Sheedy, who has been having her best season ever led the Bulldogs with an impressive game with 17 points and 7 rebounds
In the Bulldogs' second last game for the regular season, Sheedy frustrated the Air Force crowd by leading the Bulldogs with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in a note-worthy 24 minutes of action. The Bulldogs defeated Air Force soundly with a 61-41 conclusion. This places the Bulldogs one game out of first place in the Mountain West.
On senior night, the Bulldogs Sheedy had a spectacular game which included a 3 pointer in the last 4 seconds to put the game into overtime. Sheedy compiled 22 points, 8 assists and a very impressive defensive effort with 4 steals, leading Fresno State to a 55-52 victory over Boise State. Sheedy has been honoured with the Mountain West Co-Player of the Year. Sheedy was also selected on the All- Mountain West Team
"Alex hit that last shot - I'm just going to tell the story. In the huddle she said, 'give me the ball, No. 30 is shorter than me and I can get my shot off'.It took us three times, but the girls found her and she knocked it down so obviously, leadership, senior night, it's a nice way to go out," Head Coach Jaime White said.
"I really wanted to get the shot off. I wasn't even thinking. I was zoned in. I was happy I made that shot and I am really happy right now," Sheedy said, unable to hold back her excitement. My perfect senior night? That was it. That was amazing," Sheedy added.
Boston University's enforcer Mollie McKendrick led her terriers squad with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 29 minutes of action as the Terriers were defeated by Army (64-50). The Terriers Coach Katy Steding had this praise for McKendrick following the loss.
“Mollie did a good job scoring, and I thought in particular she was good in supportive ball screen defense tonight.”
Over in the Big Sky Conference, The Idaho Vandals were defeated by Montana (81-68). Stacey Barr dropped 24 points (8-22 fg), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Geraldine McCorkell compiled 4 points and 3 rebounds. Renae Mokrzycki had 2 rebounds in the disappointing loss for the Vandals.
Barr the leader scorer in the Big Sky, went 8-19 from the field and put in 23 points, 6 rebounds to go with 3 steals. But her efforts weren't enough for the Vandals to get the win as they fell 71-62 to Montana State. The loss really hurt the Vandals chance for the approaching Big Sky Tournament. Barr Earned the Big Sky Honour Player of the Week after she averaged 23 points and 4.5 rebounds after helping the Vandals secure two convincing victories against Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.
The Vandals locked in a big victory over Weber State (71-42). The Vandals dominated the game not dropping the lead once while also in the first half they held a 42-24 lead. Weber State struggled from the field shooting just 21%. Senior Barr went a solid 5-12 from the field, adding 21 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists.
McCorkell compiled 2 points and 3 rebounds while Mokrzycki followed with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Thursday’s win combined with Idaho State’s loss at Eastern Washington keeps the Vandals’ Big Sky Tournament hopes alive, setting up an important win-and-in game against Idaho. Barr was named the co-Big Sky Conference Player of the Week and voted into the Second Team All-Conference by the Conferences coaches.
Hawaii snatched a 1 point victory over Long Beach State (47-46). The Victory gave Hawaii their 12th victory in a row and secured the Conference title. Ashleigh Karaitiana struggled with her shot but was able to control the paint contributing a game high 13 rebounds, 5 points, 3 assists and 2 steals.
The Rainbow Wahine secured their 13th straight victory with a win over UC Santa Barbara (60-36). Senior Karaitiana missed her first college career game due to precautionary reasons with her final regular season home game approaching as a senior for Hawaii coming up against Cal State Fullerton.
In Karaitiana's last regular season game the guard was honoured on senior night and notched up 8 points, 3 assists to go with 2 rebounds after Hawaii cruised in for their 14th straight victory, defeating Cal State Fullerton (61-38). They also became the 2015 Big West Conference regular season champions. As voted by Head Coaches the Big West Conference, Hawaii's coach Laura Beeman snagged Coach of the Year while Aussie gun Karaitina earned a place in the second team.
Senior Eilidh Simpson compiled 8 points and 6 rebounds as St. Francis Brooklyn were defeated by only 3 points against FDU (60-57). Freshman Alex Delaney was quiet with 3 assists.
In the battle of the Brooklyn, the Terriers faced arch enemies LIU Blackbirds and stormed over them to a 24 point victory (73-49) in the last game for the regular season. Simpson had 12 points and 4 assists. The Terriers will take on #4 Sacred Heart on Sunday in the first round of the NEC 2015 Tournament.
Up in the Summit League, North Dakota State played their last game for the regular season on senior night and they managed to do it in style securing a 19 point victory over Denver (87-68). Following the victory the Bison's grabbed the No.6 seed for the nearing Summit League Tournament. Rebounding machine Marena Whittle provided some good support chipping in 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 26 minutes of action. North Dakota will face Oral Roberts in their first game of the Summit League Tournament.
Virginia Tech lost to rival team Virginia (73-59). Off the bench Junior Vanessa Panousis led the Hokies with 17 points(4-9 beyond the ark) and 4 rebounds. Hannah Young struggled from the field going 1-9 but was able to contribute a note worthy effort off the bench providing 7 rebounds, 4 points, 4 assists and 2 blocks.
“We are disappointed,” said head coach Dennis Wolff. “We didn’t play with the same intensity or purpose in the second half as we did in the first. Virginia had a little more toughness and made winning plays, and when we needed it, we didn’t.”
Suffering their 9th loss in a row, Virginia Tech had a nail biting loss to Boston College (49-47). Panousis compiled 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Fellow Aussie Hokie Young helped with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
The Hokies scraped through for a tough victory over Pittsburgh (51-45). Panousis finished with 20 points while Young chipped in 7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Panousis recorded the single season three pointer record with 74. Panousis was honoured in the 2015 ACC All-Tournament Second Team and made into the All-ACC Academic Team.
The ''three musketeers'' all featured in the starting line-up in a loss to Temple (55-39). Alicia Froling gathered 9 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 20 minutes. Stephanie Collins contributed 3 rebounds and 2 points. Keely Froling chipped in with very similar numbers to her twin sister putting in 9 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
In the last game for the regular season Alicia led with a near double-double compiling 13 points, 9 rebounds and an impressive 4 steals. Keely finished up with 4 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists while Collins had 2 points and 2 rebounds as SMU defeated Memphis (60-53) and secured their 7th victory for the season. Alicia was named in the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team as voted by leagues coaches.
Devastated to say I've torn the ACL, meniscus and cartilage in my left knee (not the same knee I had surgery on last year) .
— Keely Froling (@KeelyFroling) March 10, 2015
Funda Nakkasoglu led her Aggies squad combining 19 points and 3 assists in 40 minutes of action as Utah State dropped a 69-61 outing to UNLV. Following the loss the Aggies fell to 7-20 overall with a 4-11 Mountain West record. The Aggies had a frustrating 4 point loss to Wyoming Cowgirls (61-57). Funda led Utah State with 23 points and dished out 7 assists. Funda made some crucial buckets down the stretch but the Cowgirls hit back every time.
“They were told to bring it,” said Nakkasoglu, referring to the seniors. “It was their last night, obviously, in the Spectrum — have no regrets, leave everything on the court. I feel like they did that for us. “I’m going to miss them so much and playing with all of them. I’m really going to miss them and I think they brought all they could to the game tonight.”
Kristy Wallace chipped in 4 points and 1 steal in 18 minutes as Baylor lost to Oklahoma and ended the Lady Bears impressive win streak(68-64). Baylor recorded a season high 10 blocks. They had blocked nine shots in five previous games. Wallace's teammate Nina Davis made the following statement after the disappointing loss.
"We kind of got relaxed, seeing that we just won the Big 12, everybody kind of relaxed and laid back,” Baylor forward Nina Davis said. “And we knew coming into this game that that was something that we couldn’t do. But we kind of did it anyway, and we paid for it. We have two conference games left. We just have to come focused and try not to let this happen again.”
The Lady Bears suffered their second loss in a row and their 3rd loss for the season in another disappointing game as they fell to Iowa State (76-71). Wallace had 5 points, 2 assists and 1 steal". In Wallace's last game for the regular season she entered the starting line-up and had an impressive game as the Freshman compiled her 7th double digit game with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals helping Baylor seal the victory over Texas Tech (75-65). Baylor has now won 19 straight home games
Georgia Stirton made a small contribution to Gonzaga's victory over the BYU Cougars (73-66). Stirton put together 5 points, 4 rebounds and had 7 of the 11 Gonzaga's turnovers. The Zags matched the most league wins in West Coast Conference history with the regular season finale victory.
•Claire Maree O'Bryan chipped in 4 boards and 3 points for Bucknell as they were defeated by American (65-55) •Murray States Bianca Babic put in a solid game against Aussie Chelsea Roberts UT Martin. Despite her efforts the Racers fell (87-74). Babic compiled 9 points and 5 rebounds while Roberts put in 6 points and 4 rebounds. The victory gave UT Martin a undefeated Conference record •Maddison Allen went in with 9 points and 5 rebounds. Santa Clara women's basketball fell to Pacific by a final score of 87-75. •Freshman forward Louise Brown snatched 8 rebounds and 2 points. As Washington State dropped an 83-43 contest to the visiting University of Washington. Washington State suffered another tough defeat in the closing seconds Thursday, falling 74-69. Brown went 0-9 from the field and finished up with 8 rebounds, 2 points 2 blocks. •Eastern Illinois fell to SIU Edwardsville by 17 points (55-72). Grace Lennox had a game high 7 assists, 4 points and 3 rebounds in the loss. The Panthers will face fellow Aussie Chelsea Roberts in the first game of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
Bonus: Check out Alicia Froling's interview with Damian Arsenis and the Flag Flyers on SEN.