The Australian guards' crusade towards the top of the national assist rankings continued this week. Stephanie Reid and Kristy Wallace were both dishing out assists seemingly at will, with Eliza West not far behind. On the west coast, it was the bigs stepping up; Alanna Smith, Megan McKay, and Courtney West all had big performances, grabbing plenty of rebounds and swatting shots away with glee.
Stephanie Reid maintained her place in the top 5 in the nation for assists per game with another pair of solid performances. The junior led Buffalo in both scoring and assists in a 65-54 win over Ohio. Reid tallied 21 points with almost half of her points coming from 10-13 shooting from the free throw line.
With nine assists to her name, Reid helped the Bulls pull away from Ohio in the fourth quarter after leading by just four points with 10 minutes to play. Unfortunately, despite contributing another 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists against Bowling Green, Reid and Buffalo fell 64-62 in a tight contest. Fellow Australian Katherine Ups also contributed 9 points, but Buffalo scored just 9 points in the final quarter to see an 8 point lead slip.
Courtney West has been outstanding at the defensive end all season, and this week broke the Portland State single-season blocks record, despite the Vikings going down 82-64 to Southern Utah. The sophomore came up with four blocks to go along with 9 points on 50% shooting from the field and 8 rebounds, but Southern Utah shot 47% from the field throughout the contest to secure the upset win.
West continued her excellent form with a double-double in a nail-biting 74-73 win over Northern Arizona. West shot 5-9 to tally 11 points, and also collected 12 rebounds to secure a double-double. The Sutherland product also blocked Northern Arizona's attempted game-winner, forcing the game into overtime where Portland State hung on by the barest of margins despite almost handing the game to their opponents in the final seconds.
Utah State would certainly have had their eyes on a pair of wins against an Air Force team with just one conference win and a UNLV side that they had lost to in overtime earlier in the season. Things didn’t go as planned, but the Australian contingent performed solidly regardless. Plagued by 22 turnovers in a 64-61 loss to Air Force, the Aggies were led at the offensive end by Eliza West and Rachel Brewster, who finished with 11 points apiece, with West also contributing 8 assists. Shannon Dufficy was excellent on the boards as per usual, picking up 8 rebounds to go with 7 points in what was otherwise a disappointing loss.
The Aggies then welcomed UNLV to Logan, desperate for revenge after the last game between the two teams featured a brawl that saw multiple suspensions followed by an overtime loss. Utah State managed to run out 58-49 winners after taking the final quarter 22-13. Eliza West and Rachel Brewster again led the Australian contingent, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively. West also dished out 7 assists, whilst Shannon Dufficy pulled down another 9 rebounds.
Alicia Froling | Credit: Vladimir Cherry via SMU Athletics
Alicia Froling put in two good performances this week, but ironically her better scoring effort came in SMU’s lowest scoring game of the season. The Mustangs scored in single figures in three of four quarters in a 63-37 loss to Central Florida, but Froling was outstanding at the offensive end. The junior shot 6-9 from the field on her way to 17 points, but with the remainder of the team shooting 7-33, Froling received little to no assistance in the loss. Froling delivered a more balanced performance against Houston as SMU delivered a 74-45 win to atone for the previous game’s dismal performance. Froling picked up 9 rebounds and 6 assists to go with 9 points in just 24 minutes as the Mustangs blew the game open in the second quarter after a tight opening period.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yrpi9Oa4Znk&feature=youtu.be Eager to earn themselves the highest possible seed in the WCC Tournament, Saint Mary’s picked up a pair of wins in their final regular season games to secure the third seed. The Gaels demolished Pepperdine 84-57, with Megan McKay the leader among the Aussies. Despite shooting 4-12 from the field, the sophomore finished with 11 points and also pulled down 15 rebounds, which was just eight fewer than Pepperdine managed as a team.
Carly Turner also finished in double figures with 10 points and also collected 6 rebounds in the win. The Gaels then travelled to Santa Clara, where McKay was again instrumental in a 73-58 win. The Western Australian shot a far more efficient 5-8 on her way to 13 points and 5 rebounds in just 21 minutes of playing time. Jasmine Forcadilla was afforded just five minutes of play, but managed to score six points, all coming from 100% shooting from the line. Saint Mary’s allowed Santa Clara 59 field goal attempts to 45, but with Santa Clara shooting 5-27 from three point range, the Gaels’ efficiency allowed them to cruise to victory. Later in the week, the news came that all three Australians received conference honours. Carly Turner and Megan McKay received honorable mentions, whilst Jasmine Forcadilla was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.
Kristy Wallace is more known for her role as a facilitator at Baylor, but showed her scoring prowess this week as the Lady Bears notched two wins and moved back to the #2 spot in the polls. The week started normally enough for Wallace, who dished out 9 assists alongside 4 points and 6 rebounds in an 86-48 win over Texas Tech, but things changed slightly in a 103-64 win over nationally ranked Oklahoma.
The junior shot 6-12 from the field, including 50% from beyond the arc to finish with 15 points, and also finished with 7 assists in the 39 point demolition of the Sooners. The 16 assists for the week were enough to see Wallace shoot up the national rankings, and the Queenslander now sits at 31st in the nation for total assists with 159.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP9F1CMWca4 Courtney Woods continued to be one of Northern Illinois’ many scoring options on one of the highest scoring teams in the country, but the Huskies were only able to win one of two this week. Despite Woods’ 17 points on 7-17 shooting, Northern Illinois fell victim to their own slow start combined with an almost unheard of 72 point first half from Central Michigan, who ran out 109-86 winners.
Things improved markedly for the Huskies in an 81-71 win over Eastern Michigan, opening up an early 10 point lead and keeping their opponents at bay throughout. Woods had a far more efficient game, shooting 6-10 from beyond the arc to finish with a team-high 22 points as well as 5 rebounds. Woods’ three point shooting kept her in the top 10 in the nation for average three pointer, with the Queenslander hitting 3.22 shots from downtown per game this season.
Geraldine McCorkell started the week solidly and ended it spectacularly in a week that saw Idaho split a pair of games. In an 80-69 loss to rivals Idaho State, the junior had a modest yet reasonably efficient return of 9 points on 3-5 shooting, but the Vandals quickly put that result behind them.
McCorkell was utterly outstanding in the 82-77 win over Weber State, shooting 8-14 from the field and 7-9 from the charity stripe for an impressive 25 points. McCorkell also collected 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double and improve the Vandals’ conference record to 10-6 with two games remaining in the regular season.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW2CPIFb9mQ Despite solid performances from freshmen Taylor Ortlepp and Georgia Pineau, Boston College fell 82-79 to Virginia Tech. Ortlepp gave an excellent all-round performance, dropping in a career high equalling 19 points on 7-15 shooting to go with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Pineau shot an efficient 5-7 from the field on her way to 13 points, but an 8 point deficit with a quarter to play proved a bridge too far for Boston College as a last second game-tying three point attempt was off target.
A trip to the Pacific Northwest to face the Oregon schools is never easy, but Alanna Smith managed to perform solidly on Stanford’s road trip, during which the Cardinal secured the second seed in the Pac-12 tournament. In a scrappy 50-47 loss to regular season champions Oregon State, Smith top scored for Stanford with 9 points and also pulled down 7 rebounds to be one of the team’s leaders yet again. That was merely a precursor for a double-double in a 65-59 win over Oregon. Shooting 5-9 from the field, Smith was one of three Stanford players in double figures with 14 points, whilst her work on the boards reaped the reward of 10 rebounds. Smith also tallied 3 blocks in the win, all coming at vital times when it looked as if Oregon might really start to narrow the lead.
Alex Delaney | Credit: SFC Athletic Communications Office
Alex Delaney became the 12th player in St. Francis' program history to hit 100 career three pointers, while leading the Terriers to a 71-55 win over Mount St. Mary’s. Having lost 62-44 in their last meeting, the victory represented a 34-point turnaround for St. Francis. Delaney hit 4-7 from beyond the arc on her way to an impressive 18 points, also pulling down 7 rebounds in an outstanding individual performance.
Despite not receiving much playing time this season, Sariah Wi Neera was handed a rare opportunity for Utah Valley against New Mexico State. Despite going down 66-53 to the Aggies, Wi Neera’s performances was a true highlight. The freshman shot 4-11 from the field to finish with 10 points, and collected 10 rebounds to go from the end of the rotation to solid producer in the space of one game.
Finally, in more conference award news, Wake Forest freshman Alex Sharp was named to the ACC All-Freshman team after finishing in the top 10 amongst first-year players for scoring, assists, and three point percentage, and leading all conference freshmen in rebounding.