An outstanding week for many Australians was perhaps highlighted by an Australia Day clash between a Wake Forest side featuring Alex Sharp and Boston College’s Australian pairing of Georgia Pineau and Taylor Ortlepp. Elsewhere, Buffalo’s Stephanie Reid finished the week with enough dimes to fill a piggy bank, while Courtney West set a Portland State school record for blocks in a game.
Stephanie Reid has been a facilitator par excellence in recent weeks, and continued her march up the national leaderboard for assists with two outstanding performances this week. Despite going down 89-75 to Ball State in the team’s first game of the week, Reid finished with a school record-tying 16 dimes to go alongside 10 points for her second double-double of the season.
The Victorian followed that up with 8 more assists in a 62-47 win over Western Michigan to move into the top 10 in the nation for assists per game. Fellow Australian Katherine Ups also put in a solid performance against Western Michigan, pulling down 5 offensive boards on her way to a game-high 11 rebounds in the win.
Kristy Wallace also sits in the top 50 in the nation for assists per game, and nudged her own average slightly higher this week as Baylor romped to a pair of wins. Wallace shot an efficient 3 of 4 for 7 points, but delivered 9 assists in a 91-49 demolition of Kansas State which saw the Bears lead 44-14 at halftime before cruising to victory. The Queenslander wasn’t quite as influential in a 92-58 dismantling of Oklahoma, but still dished out 6 assists as Baylor continued to run roughshod over the Big 12, moving to 9-0 in conference play and 20-1 overall.
Whilst Reid and Wallace were setting up teammates with aplomb, Rachel Brewster was doing all the scoring herself, tying her career high in a 68-58 loss to New Mexico. Brewster shot 9-18 for 22 points, but the remainder of the Utah State roster shot just 30%. The Aggies took the lead into halftime, but with New Mexico hitting their shots at nearly 60% in the second half, the game quickly flipped after halftime and saw New Mexico run out winners. Brewster again led the scoring for the Aggies against Fresno State, shooting 7-16 from the field for 19 points as Utah State picked up their first ever win over the Bulldogs, running out 52-47 winners despite scoring just 8 points in the third quarter. Freshman Shannon Dufficy was also instrumental in the win, finishing with 17 points on 6-11 shooting and 6 rebounds. With Eliza West also tallying 7 points, over 80% of Utah State’s points in the win were scored by Australians.
Geraldine McCorkell also enjoyed a high scoring week as Idaho split a pair of games in a week that saw the Vandals host both Montana schools. Shooting 7-17 from the field and a perfect 6-6 from the line on the way to 22 points, McCorkell also collected 13 rebounds but couldn’t prevent Montana State from taking a late lead in the fourth quarter and holding on for a 66-61 win. Fortunately, things turned out slightly better against Montana. McCorkell shot far more efficiently, finishing 6-9 from the field to score 16 points as Idaho dismantled their opponents 75-50 to quickly make amends for the loss to Montana State.
Alex Sharp has had one eye on her Wake Forest side’s game against a Boston College side featuring Taylor Ortlepp and Georgia Pineau all season, and it just so happened that the game fell on Australia Day. Looking for a third consecutive win, Wake Forest jumped out to an early lead and eased their way to a 71-55 win, with Sharp instrumental in the victory. The freshman shot 5-9 from the field to be one of four Wake Forest players in double figures and also collected 9 rebounds. Pineau was also solid, finishing with 12 points and 4 rebounds, whilst Ortlepp scored 6 points and dished out 5 assists in a gallant Boston College side. However, the joy was short-lived as the Demon Deacons travelled to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play nationally ranked Duke. Whilst Sharp was able to contribute 9 points and 7 rebounds, Wake Forest were outmatched for most of the contest, succumbing 71-43 and finishing the week 13-8 for the season.
Southern Methodist may have gone down in a pair of tight games, but without Alicia Froling’s efforts, it would have been a far tougher week for the Mustangs. In a nail biter against nationally ranked South Florida, Froling’s 13 point, 10 rebound performance helped Southern Methodist take the game down to the final possession, but a potential game-winner was well short and South Florida escaped with a 52-51 win. Moving on to a road trip to Tulsa, and any chance Southern Methodist had was all but killed off early as Tulsa jumped out to a 20-9 lead before easing to a 66-59 win. Froling again produced for the Mustangs, shooting 4-9 for 11 points and also collecting 7 rebounds. Stephanie Collins was also solid, scoring 9 points and pulling down 4 boards of her own.
Courtney West was outstanding last week and may have gone one better this week with a record-breaking performance in a stinging 77-68 loss to Sacramento State. West shot an impressive 10-14 from the field to finish with 20 points and hauled in 8 rebounds, but it was her shot-blocking ability that was most remarkable. The Sutherland product swatted away 7 shots in the first half before adding another after halftime to set a single-game blocks record for Portland State. However, Sacramento State won the final quarter 27-10 to steal the win as the Vikings struggled against their opponents’ press.
Saint Mary’s made it six wins from their last seven games, and they had Carly Turner to thank. The junior may have hit just 2-8 from the field on her way to 6 points and 7 rebounds against San Francisco on Australia Day, but the second of those made shots was a delicious 17 footer with under half a second on the clock to hand the Gaels a 64-62 win. The Gaels almost fell victim to a late shot against Santa Clara in their second game of the week, but escaped with a 55-53 win after holding their opponents to 6 points in the final term. Whilst Turner’s late game heroics weren’t required on this occasion, the Victorian did finish just shy of a double-double with 9 points. Megan McKay also performed admirably, finishing with 8 points and 9 rebounds of her own, whilst Jasmine Forcadilla chipped in 4 points in 17 minutes of action.
Elyse Kiploks has been known for getting it done on the boards all season, averaging nearly 7 per game, but this week added a bit of scoring to her production. Despite averaging under 5 points per game, Kiploks hit 6-7 from the field to tally an impressive 15 point haul to go with 8 rebounds as Charleston Southern used a 27-14 third quarter to get past Gardner-Webb, 64-57. The senior wasn’t quite able to have as much scoring impact against Longwood, finishing with 8 points on 3-4 shooting. However, another 8 rebounds saw Kiploks again have an impact as Charleston Southern exploded after halftime to cruise to a 62-47 win following a tight first half.
Northern Illinois have been an outstanding scoring side all year, and have Courtney Woods to thank for a large part of that. The sophomore opened the week with 15 points on 4-11 shooting as the Huskies dismantled Kent State 93-72 thanks mainly to a 37 point third quarter. Woods then went even better against Ball State, and the Huskies needed every one of the 21 points that the Queenslander scored. Down by six after a quarter, the Huskies managed to claw their way back into the game to secure a 101-96 win in a game that saw Ball State take 20 more shots than Northern Illinois. However, the Huskies' 56% shooting meant that the disparity in shots meant little as they moved to 8-1 in conference play.