Illinois State senior forward Ashleen Bracey led the Redbirds to three MVC wins last week, averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, while converting 50 percent of her field goals. Against Missouri State, she recorded career-highs of 26 points and 17 rebounds, the highest totals by a Redbird in both categories this season. Bracey tallied her second double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) against Southern Illinois, and was just one rebound short of a double-double hat trick with 12 points and nine rebounds against Evansville. For her outstanding efforts, Bracey has been named MVC Player of the Week. In the Shockers' lone game last week, freshman Jessica Diamond scored 14 of her 16 points off the bench in the second half and overtime of Wichita State's come-from-behind overtime win at Missouri State. She shot 58-percent from the field on 7-of-12 shooting, including going 2-of-4 from behind the arc. Diamond also recorded a career-high seven assists and finished with three rebounds and two steals. For her outstanding efforts, Diamond has been named MVC Newcomer of the Week.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK Ashleen Bracey, Sr., F, Illinois State Illinois State's Ashleen Bracey led the Redbirds to three Valley wins last weekend, averaging a double-double with 18.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. She shot 50 percent from the field (20-40) and 85.7 percent from the free throw line (12-14). Bracey recorded career-highs with 26 points and 17 rebounds against Missouri State, the highest totals by a Redbird in either category this season. Bracey earned her double-double in the first half with 11 points and 11 rebounds. She then had another double-double with 17 points, on 60 percent shooting, and 11 rebounds against Southern Illinois. She just missed her third double-double of the week with 12 points and nine rebounds, plus four assists, against Evansville. Bracey move into a tie with Cathy Boswell for the second-most double-doubles (16) in ISU history.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK Jessica Diamond, Fr., G, Wichita State Wichita State's Jessica Diamond scored 14 of her 16 points off the bench in the second half and overtime of the Shockers' come-from-behind overtime win at Missouri State on Saturday. She shot 58-percent from the field on 7-of-12 shooting, including going 2-of-4 from behind the arc. In addition to scoring, Diamond set up her teammates and recorded a career-high seven assists. The freshman from Houston, Texas, also finished with three rebounds and two steals.
Noteworthy -In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
Raisa Taylor, Bradley - Taylor averaged 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in a pair of road wins last week. Taylor shot 50 percent from the field (10-for-20) and entered the week shooting 59 percent from the free throw line, but made 10-of-13 attempts from the charity stripe (76.9 percent) as she helped Bradley to its first road sweep of Creighton and Drake in program history. She scored 11 points on 3-of-5 from the field and also had four boards, two assists and two steals against then league-leading Creighton. Taylor capped the week with a 20-point effort at Drake. Her 20 points against the Bulldogs matched a season-high and Taylor pulled down a game-high seven rebounds to help Bradley outrebound Drake 39-31. She also had two assists and two steals while making all six of her free throw attempts in a three-point win at Drake. The Braves extended their win streak to a season-best five games and moved into sole possession of third-place in the Valley standings with the victories.
Megan Neuvirth, Creighton - Neuvirth's second-half play against Northern Iowa was the reason Creighton overcame an 18-point deficit to capture a 62-58 win. The senior scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the second half, dished both of her assists in the game during the decisive 10-0 run late in the contest and grabbed a steal on an inbounds pass with less than 10 seconds of play to help secure the win. She finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two assists, while making 8-of-13 field goals and her only three-point attempt in the win. Against Bradley on Friday, she swiped five steals and had 10 points and team-best three assists, while going 8-for-8 at the free-throw line. For the week she averaged 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 2.5 assists per game, while making 9-of-17 (.529) from the field and 11-of-14 (.786) from the free-throw line.
Amy Gallagher, Evansville - Gallagher led Evansville in scoring in both games this week, as she averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game against Indiana State and Illinois State. Gallagher had a team-best seven points and a season-best nine rebounds on Thursday night at Indiana State, before posting her first career double-figure game against Illinois State with 11 points, three assists, and three steals on Saturday against the Redbirds.
Brittany Schoen, Indiana State - Schoen averaged 11.5 points in ISU's two-game homestand with Evansville and Southern Illinois last weekend, helping the Sycamores to their first two MVC wins of the season. The sophomore hit seven 3-pointers in the span and totaled 23 points on the weekend. In a 55-31 win over UE, Schoen had six points with three steals and two assists off the bench. On Saturday against SIU, she shined for ISU with 17 points on five 3-pointers, both of which tied her career bests. Schoen added five rebounds and an assist against the Salukis in the 63-51 victory, and she leads Indiana State with 38 treys this season.
Casey Garrison, Missouri State - Garrison moved onto the Missouri State career top 30 scoring list with a pair of 21-point performances last week. The Bolivar, Mo., product also averaged 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.0 steals in losses to Illinois State and Wichita State. She was 7-of-14 from the field and made six of her seven free throw attempts against the Redbirds, adding a team-high seven rebounds. In Saturday's overtime setback to Wichita State, Garrison handed out eight assists and eclipsed the 800-point plateau in just her 48th career game, moving into 29th place on the Lady Bears' all-time scoring chart.
Jacqui Kalin, UNI - Kalin averaged 15.5 points per game to help the Panthers finish 1-1 on the road last weekend. Kalin led UNI with 14 points in the Panthers' 59-46 win at Drake on Friday. On Sunday, she finished 6-of-9 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, to tally 17 points against Creighton. On the week, she shot 55.6 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three-point range. She also averaged 2.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. On the season, Kalin leads UNI with 14.0 points per game.
Christine Presswood, Southern Illinois - Presswood averaged 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists, shooting almost 53 percent from beyond the 3-point line in two games over the weekend. She recorded a game-high 25 points, adding four rebounds and three assists at Illinois State Thursday, including five 3-pointers. On Saturday, she recorded another game-high 20 points, adding three rebounds and block at Indiana State, 8-of-18 from the floor, including four threes.
Chynna Turner, Wichita State - Turner led the Shockers last week with 20 points and five rebounds in a career-high 37 minutes in Wichita State's come from behind overtime win at Missouri State on Saturday. The freshman shot 75-percent from the field on 9-of-11 shooting, including hitting both of her 3-point attempts. Turner also had an assist and two blocks for the Shockers. In the second half she went 4-for-5, including a 3-pointer, helping WSU shoot 68-percent in the second half and overtime.
Latasha Hollingshed, Bradley - Hollingshed provided a spark off the bench, averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in a pair of road wins. She shot 50 percent from the field and also averaged 1.5 steals per game while averaging 13.0 minutes per game off the bench as she helped Bradley to its first road sweep of Creighton and Drake in program history. With Sonya Harris and Leah Kassing both fouling out against Creighton, Hollingshed scored eight second-half points on 3-of-4 shooting and also had three rebounds and one steal in a 63-57 win at Creighton. She had four points and six rebounds (including four offensive boards) in Sunday's 61-58 victory at Drake as both Harris and Kassing struggled with foul trouble. Hollingshed helped the Braves extend their win streak to a season-best five games and move into sole possession of third-place in the Valley standings with the victories.
Samantha Heck, Evansville - Heck provided UE with a spark off of the bench this week, as she averaged 6.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game against Indiana State and Illinois State on 42.9 percent shooting from the floor. Heck had three points and three rebounds in just nine minutes of action at Indiana State, before going for nine points and a team-high seven rebounds at Illinois State on Saturday. For the week, Heck shot 42.9 percent from the floor (3-of-7), 66.7 percent from three-point range (2-of-3), and went a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line (100 percent) in an average of 13.5 minutes per game.
Taylor Whitley, Indiana State - Whitley averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds over Indiana State's first two MVC wins over Evansville and Southern Illinois last weekend. Against the Purple Aces, Whitley finished with six points and a team-leading six rebounds, as well as four assists and a steal. Two days later against SIU, she shot 4-for-12 for nine points and four boards. Whitley also totaled three assists and a pair of steals in a 61-53 win against the Salukis.
Christiana Shorter, Missouri State - Shorter averaged 7.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in Missouri State's two games last week. Shorter recorded career bests of 16 rebounds and six steals Saturday against Wichita State. The Tulsa native also added a pair of blocked shots and six points in the Lady Bears' overtime loss to the Shockers. That effort followed a nine-point night versus Illinois State on Monday.
Teri Oliver, Southern Illinois - Oliver averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds 1.0 assist and 1.0 steals in two Missouri Valley Conference games over the weekend. She recorded 11 points, adding six rebounds, two assists and one steal at Illinois State Thursday. Saturday she added 17 points, four rebounds and a steal against Indiana State.