Women's Basketball Player/Newcomer of the Week (Jan. 9)
Monday, January 9, 2012

Missouri State's Jaleshia Roberson averaged 23.5 points on 70-percent shooting in two Lady Bear victories over Creighton and Drake, while Southern Illinois' Alexus Patterson averaged a 12.0 points adn 10.5 rebounds double-double in games against visiting UNI and Bradley.  For their outstanding efforts, Roberson and Patterson have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively.  
Jaleshia Roberson, Sr., G, Missouri State
Roberson averaged 23.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in wins over Creighton and Drake. She shot 70 percent overall (14-20), 62.5 percent from three (10-16) and 90 percent (9-10) from the foul line with a 3.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Roberson’s 47 points for the week came on just 20 field goal attempts, beginning with 25 on 7-of-9 shooting against Creighton. She hit four treys and 7-of-8 free throws against the Bluejays with five rebounds in 39 minutes. Against Drake, Roberson hit six threes and shot 7-for-11 overall, passing Jackie Stiles on the career three-point list in the process.

Alexus Patterson, Fr., C, Southern Illinois
Patterson averaged 12.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in two games for SIU last week, including the finest outing of her young career against UNI. After posting six points and five rebounds Thursday against Bradley, the freshman center exploded for career highs of 18 points and 16 rebounds against the Panthers. The effort helped her improve her season rebounding average to 7.1 per game, which ranks ninth in the MVC and highest among Valley newcomers. 

Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:

Leah Kassing (BU)- Kassing averaged 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 1.0 assists and shot 58.6 percent from the field in a pair of road games last week.  The first BU player with four consecutive double-doubles since 1994-95, she had her streak snapped after collecting 18 points and eight rebounds in a 72-59 win at Southern Illinois.  Kassing hit 7-of-12 shots against the Salukis and added three blocked shots in 28 minutes of play as she helped Bradley extend its road win streak to a school record eight games.  Against Evansville, she scored a career-high 24 points to go along with 11 boards, two assists, three blocks and a steal.  Kassing scored 41 percent of BU’s points, including 20 of the Braves 34 points in the setback against the Purple Aces.  She was 10-for-17 from the field and is the first BU player with eight double-doubles in a season since Monica Rogers had 10 in 2008-09. 

Briyana Blair (UE) - Blair recorded her fourth double-double of the season on 19 points and 20 rebounds in UE’s 71-59 victory over Bradley that snapped BU’s eight-game road win streak and marked the Aces’ first Valley win of the season and first for Coach Oties Epps. Blair’s 20 rebounds not only represented a career-high, but also marked the first time an Ace has pulled down 20 or more boards in a game since 1998. In addition, Blair was just three assists shy of becoming the first Purple Aces in program history to earn a triple-double, as she had an all-around stellar game adding seven assists, three blocks, and three steals. Against Northern Iowa, Blair logged nine points and 13 rebounds. On the week, the Orlando, Fla. native totaled 28 points, 33 rebounds, and 12 assists with a 4.00 assist-to-turnover ratio (12-3). Blair has recorded at least 13 boards in each of the last three MVC games, averaging a double-double with 11.3 points and 13.5 rebounds per game in the Valley season.

Candace Sykes (ILS) - Sykes continued to be consistent from beyond the arc in Illinois State’s first MVC loss to Indiana State, 67-53. Sykes netted 17 points in the game with 15 of her points coming from three-point territory, shooting 5-of-7 from behind the arc. She also recorded five rebounds and one assist in 28 minutes. In Valley play, Sykes is shooting 69 percent from three-point land (9-of-13), putting her in second place in the Valley. She is also the team’s second-leading scorer (13.7 ppg) and rebounder (8.0 ppg) in MVC games. Through 14 games, Sykes is shooting 59 percent from behind the arc, leads the team in rebounds with 7.2 and is second in steals with 25. 

Deja Mattox (INS) - Mattox led Indiana State to a sweep of their three-game homestand to open Missouri Valley Conference play, posting a career-high 23 points in ISU’s 67-53 victory over Illinois State. The ISU senior scored 16 of her career-high 23 in the second half alone, as Mattox shot 7-for-12 from the field, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 6-for-7 from the charity stripe. Mattox leads the Sycamores with 44 points in conference play, averaging 14.7 points per game.

Katelin Oney (UNI) - Oney played a career-high 39 minutes in the Panthers’ 70-66 win over Southern Illinois, shooting 9-of-18 from the floor, 5-of-11 from three-point range and draining 10 free throws. She also added eight rebounds -- just one short of her career-high. Oney’s 33 points are the most scored in a game by a Missouri Valley Conference player this season.  Oney’s 33 points also tied her for the 11th-best single-game output in UNI history. She also scored eight points in UNI’s 61-51 victory at Evansville on Jan. 5, helping the Panthers to move to 3-1 in MVC play.

Cartaesha Macklin (SIU) - Macklin averaged 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game in two games for SIU last week. The Mayo, Fla., native led all scorers with 19 points to go along with three rebounds, three assists and two steals Thursday against Bradley. She followed that performance up with a 20-point effort against Northern Iowa Saturday. Macklin went 12-for-13 from the free throw line against the Panthers in addition to pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. Macklin’s 12 made free throws against UNI is tied for third-most in a game in SIU history.

Haleigh Lankster (WSU) - Lankster powered WSU to its first 4-0 start to Valley play in school history with a 20-point game in a win over Creighton and a balanced, stat-stuffing effort in Thursday’s win over Drake.  The junior dropped 20 in Sunday’s 65-58 win vs. Creighton on 5-for-10 shooting from the field (2-for-3 from three-point range) and by netting all eight of her free throws.  She also grabbed four rebounds with an assist and a steal in 37 minutes.  Lankster scored six points with four rebounds, four steals, and three assists in a 63-41 victory over Drake.  She has connected on all 18 of her free throw attempts in MVC competition and is averaging 13.8 ppg in conference play.  Now with 1,155 career points, Lankster is 12th in Shocker history and needs 48 more points to crack the Top 10. 

Jamie Russell (ILS) -  Russell was a spark in the Illinois State women’s basketball game against Indiana State, as Russell brought down 10 points, seven boards, five assists and two steals in a career-high 39 minutes of play in the Redbirds’ first loss in Valley play, 67-53. Russell, a two-time Newcomer of the Week honoree, leads the Redbirds in rebounds (8.3), points (42) and steals (9) in Valley play. The Rock Falls, Ill., native is currently in a tie for second place in steals with a 3.0 average in the MVC. On the season, Russell leads ISU in steals (34) and assists (53) and is the team’s second-leading scorer with 11.3 points per game.

Alex Harden (WSU) - Harden continued to contribute off the bench, aiding WSU to its first 4-0 MVC record in school history.  On Thursday in a 63-41 victory over Drake, Harden delivered six points, two assists and a rebounds in 23 minutes.  She hit 2-of-3 from the field.  The freshman put together an even better effort in Sunday’s 65-58 win vs. Creighton, putting in five points with six rebounds, two assists and a steal in 20 minutes.  Harden is averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 60% from the field in Valley play.