NCAA Women: Collins and Froling dominating for SMU

Yet another Australian set a record this week, as Steph Collins broke single season blocks record at SMU, moving two clear of Alicia Froling's 2014/15 mark of 54, while Froling received conference honours for the 6th time this season. Elsewhere, Marena Whittle returned to form with a pair of double-doubles, whilst Chelsea Roberts' shooting was instrumental in a pair of victories for Tennessee-Martin.

Alicia Froling picked up two double-doubles for Southern Methodist, but Steph Collins was arguably the star of the week for the Mustangs as the sophomore broke a school record. In a 74-67 win over East Carolina, Froling produced yet another 20 point game, with 8-11 from the field and a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe leading to 22 points for the Queenslander, who also collected 12 rebounds. Collins wasn’t too far from a double-double of her own, tallying 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. The second game of the week, against Tulane, proved to be a bridge too far for the Mustangs, going down 76-64.

Froling’s shooting was down slightly, finishing with 2-8, but a solid 6-8 from the line led to 10 points. However, the sophomore more than made up for this with 15 rebounds. Collins was the story of the day, though. In between notching 10 points and 9 rebounds, Collins’ 2 blocks took her to 56 for the season, two ahead of Alicia Froling’s previous SMU single season record of 54. Froling had her own performances recognised though, being named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll for the 6th time this season.

Chelsea Roberts was absolutely unstoppable from the field as Tennessee-Martin notched a pair of wins to remain on top of the Ohio Valley Conference’s western division and also hold the overall best record in the conference. Up against mid-table Southeast Missouri State, Roberts was dialled in, hitting 3-3 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the field on her way to 18 points and 5 rebounds in a comprehensive 95-65 victory. Eastern Division leaders Belmont proved to be a much tougher test. Tennessee-Martin looked to have put the game away with 2 minutes to go, but a late rally saw Belmont come within two points of victory before some clutch free throw shooting got the Skyhawks home. Roberts again shot supremely well, hitting 5-6 field goals in a 14 point, 5 rebound performance.

Courtney Woods has blossomed into one of the leading players in Northern Illinois’ side in the second half of her freshman season, and proved that once again this week with two excellent performances. The Huskies easily accounted for Miami University, with Woods dialled in from long range. The freshman hit 5 of 8 from beyond the arc in a 19 point performance, and also added 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a 92-73 victory.

It was a tough week for Saint Mary’s, but Hannah Kaser helped make sure it wasn’t all bad news for the Gaels. With Lauren Nicholson restricted to 15 minutes of play, few other players stepped up for Saint Mary’s as they slumped to a 62-58 loss to lowly Pepperdine. Nicholson would be forced to sit for the side’s second game of the week, against Loyola Marymount. With Kiwi Stella Beck leading the way with 27 points, the remaining three Aussies played excellent supporting roles. Kaser finished with 15 points on 4-7 from the field and 5-6 from the charity stripe, also adding 3 assists. Megan McKay tallied 11 points and 4 rebounds, whilst Carly Turner contributed 10 points of her own as the Aussies contributed 36 points off the bench in a 91-81 win.

Marena Whittle had been slightly quiet by her own lofty standards over the last couple of weeks, but returned with a bang this week. The Victorian notched two double-doubles as North Dakota State came within a basket of winning both games. In the side’s first game of the week against IUPUI, Whittle shot 8-18 from the field to finish with 21 points, and 10 rebounds saw her pick up her 11th double-double of the season. The senior also tallied 5 assists and 4 steals, but IUPUI just managed to sneak home, 64-63. An even more well-rounded performance followed against Omaha. Whittle shot a relatively low 7-16 in scoring 14 points, but contributed 12 rebounds and 9 assists to fall just shy of a triple-double as the Bison eased to a 74-67 victory, a welcome change after tough previous few games.

In a tough week for Virginia Tech, Hannah Young’s performances proved to be a rare bright spot for the Hokies. In a close 71-67 loss to North Carolina, Young scored 22 points on 8-20 shooting, and also contributed 8 rebounds. Vanessa Panousis also tallied 14 points and 3 assists as the Hokies stormed back from 17 points down after 3 quarters, but couldn’t quite close the gap completely despite holding the Tar Heels to 11 points in the final term. Young was Virginia Tech’s second-leading scorer in their second game of the weekend against Pitt, but after leading 27-20 at halftime, the Panthers came home with a wet sail to win 59-48. Young scored 11 points, but on 4-15 shooting, and also collected 4 rebounds. Despite this, the Hokies will be wondering what could have been this weekend as a potential 5-7 conference record now sits at 3-9.

Funda Nakkasoglu put in yet another sensational scoring performance, but it wasn’t quite enough as Utah State went down in a tight game against New Mexico, 73-70. Nakkasoglu was a perfect 8-8 from the line and 8-19 field goals in a 28 point performance, but Utah State couldn’t hold on despite leading by 7 with under six minutes to play. Rachel Brewster had a poor night shooting, finishing with just 2 points, but did contribute 10 rebounds.

South Dakota continued to blaze a trail in the Summit League, putting Oral Roberts to the sword. Nicole Seekamp led from the front for the Coyotes, scoring 17 points and tacking on 5 assists as South Dakota skipped away to an early lead before cruising to a 71-48 victory. Jasmine Trimboli also contributed, finishing with 7 points and 3 assists of her own as the Coyotes kept pace with fellow Summit League leaders South Dakota State with an 11-1 conference record.