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NCAA Women: Whittle and Seekamp dominate
It was a week of few games, but the Aussies still managed to dish up more than their share of good performances. Marena Whittle had two double-doubles for North Dakota State whilst Nicole Seekamp claimed another Summit League Player of the Week award with a stunning all-round performance in a win over Illinois.
Marena Whittle was the undoubted star of the week, picking up two double-doubles in two wins. Whittle led North Dakota State to a close-run 64-59 win over NJIT, finishing with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 4 steals. This was followed up with yet another dominant performance, in going just 2 assists short of a triple-double. This time Whittle collected 20 points (7/16 FG, 4/4 FT), 18 rebounds and 8 assists as North Dakota State waltzed away with a 79-64 win over Cal State Fullerton in their second game of the week.
Afforded some extra time on court this week, Alanna Smith took full advantage, managing to score almost a point a minute. The freshman finished with 14 points (6/11 FG) in 17 minutes of play as Stanford fairly demolished Cal State Bakersfield with an 83-41 victory. Smith will be looking to see further court time thanks to her solid output.
Jessie Edwards put together two solid performances for Minnesota this week as the Golden Gophers finished 2015 with two wins from two outings. The sophomore center notched up 10 points (4/6 FG) and 4 rebounds in a low-scoring affair that saw Minnesota defeat North Dakota 57-47. Fellow Aussie Sammy Roscoe managed 5 points and 6 rebounds for North Dakota in their loss. Edwards’ scoring impact was slightly more limited in Minnesota’s second game of the week, an 83-50 win over NJIT, putting up just 6 points. Edwards did however finish with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks for a solid contribution at the defensive end.
Nicole Seekamp once again produced a solid all-round effort for South Dakota, as the Coyotes eased past Illinois 85-76. In a performance which earned Seekamp the Summit League Player Of The Week award, the senior point guard finished with 21 points (7/11 FG, 4/5 FT) while also chipping in 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals to lead the Coyotes to victory in their only game of the week.
Georgia Stirton was dialed in from the field, hitting 6 of 8 on her way to a 14 points and 4 rebound performance as Gonzaga knocked off Loyola Marymount 66-59. Gonzaga managed to build a 10 point lead midway through the 3rd quarter, but it was whittled away to a solitary point with 4 minutes to play before the Zags kicked again late on to win.
Idaho comfortably dealt with NAIA school Carroll College, and had a pair of Aussies to thank for solid contributions to the win. Renae Mokrzycki was perfect from both the field and at the charity stripe on her way to a 14 points (6/6 FG, 2/2 FT) and 6 rebound performance. Geraldine McCorkell also chipped in with 10 points and 3 rebounds as the Vandals cruised to a 75-47 win.
Lauren Nicholson was one of the stars for Saint Mary's against Santa Clara, yet her 20 point (8/16 FG) and 2 assist performance couldn't lead the Gaels to a win. While the Gaels fell 73-67. the remainder of the Aussie contingent also contributed, with Megan McKay adding 5 points and 9 rebounds, Hannah Kaser with 9 points and 3 assists, whilst Carly Turner tallied 6 points in the close loss.
Funda Nakkasoglu put in another high-scoring performance, but it was heartbreak for Utah State as they lost a nail-biter to in-state rival and more fancied foe Utah, 64-61. Nakkasoglu finished with 19 points (6/17 FG, 4/6 FT), 7 assists and 4 rebounds, however it proved fruitless in the end as Utah just managed to hold on as the Aggies were unable to score a last second basket which would have forced overtime. Rachel Brewster finished with 5 rebounds for Utah State.
Jacinta Vandenberg had a more tangible impact on a game than she has had in recent weeks in Oregon’s 82-62 win over Seattle. The center scored 9 points (4/8 FG, 1/2 FT) and also picked up 8 rebounds and 4 assists in a much-needed supporting role as the Ducks’ more vaunted big's took centre stage.