NCAA Women: Whittle and Collins gain conference recognition

The awards keep coming for the Australians, with Stephanie Collins and Marena Whittle both earning recognition for their performances this week. Elsewhere, Ashley Taia set a second career-high in as many games, while Megan McKay notched the first double-double of her short college career.

Marena Whittle was the undoubted star of the week, with two 20 point performances in as many days, securing the Summit League Player of the Week for the senior forward. Whittle scored 20 points (7/22 FG) and also recorded 9 rebounds and 3 steals in North Dakota State’s 72-64 loss to North Carolina A&T. That was just a precursor to what may be statistically the best performance by an Australian so far this season. Whittle scored 24 points (9/19 FG, 5/6 FT), and also collected 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals as the Bison romped to a 79-58 win over Prairie View A&M.

Claire Ioannidis continued her solid form at the offensive end for North Florida with two solid performances this week. Ioannidis started the week with 16 points (5/11 FG) in a 60-51 win against Warner before the Ospreys hosted a two-day tournament. The Ospreys struggled to score against South Carolina State, shooting just 29% in a 53-48 loss, and Ioaniddis was no exception, shooting just 3/12 for 8 points. Ioannidis bounced back against Campbell, top scoring with 24 points on 8/19 shooting (4/13 3P) as North Florida went down 66-55 to Campbell in their final match of the weekend.

Stephanie Collins put in another couple of solid performances, including a double-double, on her way to being named to the AAC Honor Roll for the second time this season. Collins shot 5/11 from the field on her way to 10 points with 12 rebounds in SMU’s 58-46 win over Arizona. The Mustangs were given little chance in their second match this week against #9 Mississippi State, but hung on all the way, eventually falling 72-70. Collins was again solid, scoring 9 points and collecting another 9 rebounds.

Also of note is that Keely Froling made her long-awaited return from a serious knee injury this week and immediately made an impact, scoring 10 points on 5/6 field goals against Arizona. Froling also tallied 4 point and 3 rebounds against Mississippi State. Keely’s sister Alicia Froling also made her usual solid contribution this week, notching 11 point against Arizona and coming within a point of a double-double against Mississippi State, finishing with 9 points and 10 rebounds.

Nicole Seekamp did a little bit of everything for South Dakota as the senior point guard delivered at both ends of the floor in two wins this week. Seekamp scored a 9 points against Dakota Wesleyan in the week’s first game, but also tallied 6 assists and 7 steals as the Coyotes rolled to a 94-54 win against their small school opponents. Rivals North Dakota brought a far tougher challenge for South Dakota, but Seekamp rose to the task. She tallied 15 points while also contributing 5 assists and 4 steals as the Coyotes snuck home 73-70. Sammy Roscoe added 6 points and 7 rebounds for North Dakota in their loss.

Lauren Nicholson was at her high-scoring best for Saint Mary’s this week against Cal Poly, notching 28 points in the Gaels’ thrilling 87-83 overtime victory. Nicholson got to the line with great regularity, with her 12/14 from the charity stripe proving to be vital for the Gaels. Nicholson took a back seat in the side’s second game of the week, a 78-68 win over San Francisco. Nicholson finished with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists as the Gaels’ interior offence took over and became the team’s focal point.

Saint Mary's other Aussies also contributed on the stats sheet across both wins. Megan McKay chalked up her first college double-double against Cal Poly, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds, whilst Carly Turner scored 9 points against both Cal Poly and San Francisco. Hannah Kaser didn’t see the floor against Cal Poly, but chipped in with 7 points in the win over San Francisco.

Courtney Woods stepped up in a big way for Northern Illinois this week. Woods collected 14 points including 4/6 from three-point range, also contributing 6 rebounds as Northern Illinois stormed home to win 89-73 against Drake after trailing by 11 early. Woods was again dialed in from deep against Bradley, hitting another 4/6 on her way to a 13 point and 3 rebounds performance as Northern Illinois just edged the Braves 68-64, despite trailing at halftime.

Sara Anastasieska | Credit: UTSA Athletics/Jeff Huehn Photography

Freshman Sara Anastasieska was given her first real chance to shine at UTSA this season, and she grabbed it with both hands. Anastasieska shot 3/4 from deep in a 15 point effort as UTSA smashed Howard Payne 106-65. This was followed up by a 9 point and 8 rebound effort in UTSA’s second game of the week as the Roadrunners again notched a big win, this time an 88-51 result over Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Chelsea Roberts played a handy supporting role for Tennessee-Martin in a week that saw the Skyhawks split a pair of games against power conference teams. Roberts was efficient from the floor, shooting 5/7 for 12 points against Cincinnati with 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals in the side’s 63-57 victory. Tennessee-Martin hung with Vanderbilt all the way in their second game of the road trip, trailing by 1 at the half and just 5 with a quarter to play. Roberts scored another 11 points and also tallied 6 rebounds, but a late charge was foiled as Vanderbilt finished with a 67-64 win.

Funda Nakkasoglu was once again among the points as Utah State split their games this weekend against Tennessee State and Montana. Nakkasoglu got to the line frequently in the side’s first game of the weekend, shooting 10/11 from the line on her way to 23 points and 5 assists in the side’s 63-46 victory over Tennessee State. Nakkasoglu was able to contribute another 13 points (4/14 FG) and 6 assists against Montana, but the Aggies went down 86-70. Rachel Brewster chipped in with a solid effort of 4 points and 8 rebounds against Tennessee State, before adding 9 points and 8 rebounds in the loss to Montana.

After setting a career high with 21 points two weeks ago against Indiana, Indiana State’s Ashley Taia extended that mark with an impressive 25 points against Butler. After leading by 8 with a quarter to play, the Sycamores were run down by the Bulldogs who eventually forced the game to overtime. But with Taia knocking down shots with regularity, Indiana State were able to pull away again, eventually winning 70-63.