Bradley sweeps this week's Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball awards, as Kelsey Budd and Shronda Butts led the Braves to a win over Iowa, Bradley's first win against the Hawkeyes and its first home victory against a Big Ten opponent since 1999. Budd connected on 12-of-14 shots from the field, pouring in a career-best 31 points, six rebounds and four steals, while Butts totaled a season-high 18 points and also collected three rebounds, four assists and two steals. For their outstanding efforts, Budd and Butts have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kelsey Budd, So., G, Bradley
Budd turned in one of the most efficient scoring efforts in Bradley history, connecting on 12-of-14 shots from the field and finishing with a career-best 31 points to help power Bradley to a 96-88 victory against visiting Iowa. She also pulled down a career-high six rebounds and matched a career-best with four steals in 30 minutes off the bench. Budd, who entered the game with a career-high of 12 points and was averaging 4.5 points per game on the year prior to the contest against the Hawkeyes, had 19 points in the first half on 8-of-9 shooting. Iowa pulled within two points (40-38) in the opening minutes of the second half, when Budd highlighted a 34-17 BU spurt with 11 points, two assists and one steal as the Braves pushed the advantage to 19 points midway through the second half. Budd hit 5-of-6 three-point attempts in the game and her 31 points are the most off the bench by a Bradley individual since Shelli Brad had 32 points at Missouri State on Feb. 18, 1988. The victory was BU’s first against Iowa and the first home victory against a Big Ten Conference foe since Dec. 3, 1999.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Shronda Butts, Fr., G, Bradley
Butts scored a season-high 18 points and also collected three rebounds, four assists and two steals to help Bradley to a 96-88 victory against Iowa for BU’s first home win against a Big Ten Conference opponent since Dec. 3, 1999. Butts, who made her first start in a home game, had 13 points and three assists in the second half, helping Bradley build a 19-point advantage midway through the second half. Iowa pulled within two points (40-38) in the opening mine of the second half, when Butts collected eight points and two assists during a 34-17 BU spurt which gave Bradley a 74-55 lead. She hit 3-of-7 three-pointers in the game as she helped the Braves to their first-ever victory against Iowa. She has helped Bradley to a 4-0 record in her four starts and is averaging 10.5 points per game at Renaissance Coliseum.
Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
Sarah Nelson (CU) - Nelson posted her fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds as Creighton topped Bowling Green 49-47 on Sunday. The sophomore made 7-of-13 shots from the field, including 6-of-9 from inside the three-point arc. In addition to her double-double, she added an assist and a blocked shot in Creighton’s winning effort.
Rachael Hackbarth (DU) - Hackbarth scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting to lead Drake to its fourth-straight victory; a 62-60 win at St. Louis. The senior added eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in the winning effort. The game marked her fourth-straight contest with 20-or-more points, coinciding with Drake’s four-game winning streak. Hackbarth made 7-of-8 from the free throw line and accounted for more than one-third of Drake’s offensive output.
Casey Garrison (MSU) - Garrison scored a game-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting in Missouri State’s 104-74 victory over Morgan State Sunday. The senior made all five of her three-point attempts as well while collecting six rebounds, four assists and one steal, all in a season-low 26 minutes. Garrison’s 28 points moved her from 10th-place to sixth on the MVC career scoring list while she passed Melody Howard for third at MSU with 1,951 career points.
K.K. Armstrong (UNI) - Armstrong matched her career-high with 26 points at North Dakota on Saturday, shooting 8-of-15 from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the foul line. In UNI’s comeback stretch in the second half, she scored 14 of the Panthers’ 17 points. Armstrong also notched five assists and four rebounds. She is now tied for ninth on the UNI career list for assists with 278.
Cartaesha Macklin (SIU) - Macklin scored 20 points and tallied six rebounds and five assists in Southern’s loss at UT Martin Sunday. She went 10-for-11 from the free throw line to improve her season average to 86.4 percent, which ranks sixth in the MVC. She has made more free throws (57) than anyone else in the conference. Macklin ranks fourth in the MVC with a scoring average of 15.8 points per game. She leads all Valley newcomers in scoring and rebounding and ranks second in assists.
Jessica Diamond (WSU) - Diamond poured in a game-high and season-high 19 points in a 90-64 win over UT-Arlington at the 2011 Beach Classic. The junior was a model of efficiency, knocking down 7-of-8 field goal attempts - including all three shots from behind the three-point arc. She also found time to dish out four assist against one turnover and picked up hear team-leading 22nd steal of the year. Diamond has scored double figures in all but one game this year and leads the Shockers in point production at 13.1 ppg.
Kyndal Clark (DU) - Clark was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range and scored 13 points to help lead Drake to a 62-60 road victory at St. Louis. Clark added four rebounds, four assists and a steal in the winning effort. Clark scored 13 of Drake’s season-high 40 first-half points against the Billikens. For Clark, it was her third-straight contest in double figures and fifth overall.
Brittni Donaldson (UNI) - Donaldson poured in 11 points and added three rebounds and two steals at North Dakota on Saturday. Donaldson has now scored in double-digits four times this season.
Alex Harden (WSU) - Harden came off the bench to score 11 points and snag a game-high seven rebounds in a 90-64 romp over UT-Arlington at the 2011 Beach Classic. The freshman connected on 5-of-6 shots and hit her only free throw to produce her second straight double figure scoring effort. Harden leads the Shockers in free throws made and attempted, despite playing 15.1 minutes per game.