Women's Basketball Player/Newcomer of the Week (Jan. 16)
Monday, January 16, 2012

Drake's Rachael Hackbarth averaged 23 points and 14.5 rebounds, notching her eighth and ninth double-doubles of the season in two Bulldog victories over Evansville and Southern Illinois, while Illinois State's Jamie Russell recorded her sixth-straight double-digit scoring effort in games at Bradley and UNI.  For their outstanding efforts, Hackbarth and Russell have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively.  This week's award marks Hackbarth's fourth Player of the Week honor this season, while Russell earns her third Newcomer of the Week honor this season.
Rachael Hackbarth, Sr., F, Drake
Hackbarth led Drake to two victories last week, notching double-doubles in both. The senior scored 25 points and pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds against Southern Illinois, then totaled 21 points and grabbed 14 boards against Evansville. All told, Hackbarth totaled 46 points, added 29 rebounds and shot .515 (17-of-33) from the floor.

Jamie Russell, Jr., G, Illinois State
Russell recorded her sixth-straight game with double-digit scoring efforts. In Illinois State’s win over Bradley, 67-65, Russell made 12 points in the game and handed out four assists. She was strong on the defensive side taking away four Bradley (Jan. 12) balls, tying a career-high in steals. Against Northern Iowa (Jan. 14), the junior guard just missed a double-double with 24 points and nine rebounds. Russell was 9-of-17 from the field and was perfect (4-of-4) from the charity stripe. In the game against UNI, Russell’s had 15 points in the second half with nine of them coming late in the game. She also recorded two blocks in 33 minutes of play. Russell is the second-leading scorer for the Redbirds with 194 points through 16 games, averaging out to 12.1 points per game. She leads the team in assists (58) and steals (39).

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 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.5 steals in a pair of games last week.  She opened the week with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 30 minutes against I-74 rival Illinois State.  Kassing also collected two blocks and a career-best four steals against the Redbirds.  Saturday against Indiana State, Kassing had 18 points and nine rebounds to go along with one assist, two blocks and a steal in a 79-58 win against the Sycamores.  She helped limit all-conference center Shannon Thomas to two points on 1-for-5 shooting and helped BU rally from 12 points down to a 79-58 win as the Braves outscored INS 73-40 over the final 29:15 of the game. 

Carli Tritz (CU) - Tritz led the Bluejays to their first two MVC wins last weekend, topping the team in scoring in the pair of home victories.  The sophomore had 15 points, two assists, two steals and two rebounds against Evansville on Thursday and followed with 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists against SIU on Saturday.  For the week she averaged 16 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game, shooting 60 percent (12-20) from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 at the free-throw line.

Samantha Heck (UE) - Heck was the Aces’ high scorer in both Valley games last week, recording her 12th and 13th consecutive double-digit games. She now owns Evansville’s longest streak scoring over 10 points in a contest since the 2005-06 season. Against Creighton, Heck recorded 15 points and six rebounds, and led the squad again with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists at Drake. On the season, Heck pilots the Aces with 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Katie Broadway (ILS) - Broadway recorded her fifth 20-point scoring game of the season against Bradley (Jan. 12) at the Renaissance Coliseum. Broadway netted 25 points in the Redbird win, 67-65, one point shy of her career-high. The senior guard was 5-of-10 from behind the arc in a career-high 40 minutes of play. Broadway was dominate from the field in the first half, shooting 6-of-11 from the field for 15 points, including eight of ISU’s last 11 points before the break. In ISU’s loss to UNI (Jan. 14), 79-73, Broadway had 13 points and one steal in the game. The Bethalto, Ill., native leads the Redbirds with 15.3 points per game. In Valley play, Broadway has collected 79 points in five games and is the team’s leading scorer.

Shannon Thomas (INS) - Thomas averaged 10.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in Indiana State’s first road swing of the MVC season, as the Sycamores topped Northern Iowa and fell to Bradley. The ISU center posted 18 points and 14 rebounds in ISU’s 68-62 victory against the Panthers, going 7-for-12 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe. Thomas also added three assists, three blocks and a pair of steals in Cedar Falls. Thomas struggled scoring against the Braves on Saturday, but pulled down nine rebounds with a pair of assists. The ISU senior leads the team by averaging 13.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season.

Christiana Shorter (MSU) - Shorter posted game highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds at Wichita State in Missouri State’s only game last week. The junior also became the 22nd member of MSU’s 1,000-point club early in the second half. Shorter shot 6-for-11 from the field and made both free throw attempts while recording her 19th career double-double. She also had two steals.

K.K. Armstrong (UNI) - Armstrong had one of the best weeks of her UNI career, posting back-to-back double-doubles and surpassing the 1,000-point mark for her career. Against Indiana State on Jan. 12, Armstrong scored 17 points, pulled down a career-best 10 rebounds, and dished out five assists. In a 79-73 win over Illinois State on Jan. 14, the senior guard was only one assist short of recording the 2nd triple-double in UNI history and the 11th in MVC history, as she scored 17 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and racked up nine assists.  Along with the new career-highs in rebounds and assists, Armstrong became the 21st player in UNI history to score more than 1,000 points. She started only 29 games on her way to 1,000 points. No other Panther did it with less than 64 starts.

Cartaesha Macklin (SIU) - Macklin averaged 13.5 points 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game in a pair of close road losses last week. Macklin tallied 15 points and five rebounds to go along with four assists and three steals Thursday against Drake before leading the Salukis with 12 points , seven rebounds, four assists and two steals at Creighton. Macklin maintains the fourth-highest scoring average in the MVC at 15.8 points per game as well as the fourth-best assists average at 3.7 per game.

Chynna Turner (WSU) - Turner continued her torrid play against MVC competition, leading Wichita State to a 53-51 win over Missouri State Saturday afternoon.  Turner tossed in 14 points to tie for the game high while grabbing two rebounds, dishing out two assists, blocking two shots and forcing two steals.  The victory lifted Wichita State into sole possession of first place in the MVC with a 5-0 record.  The Shocker junior is averaging 12.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in Valley contests, while shooting a cool. 595 from the floor. 

Catie O’Leary (BU) - O’Leary averaged 7.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals helping Bradley to a 1-1 record last week.  O’Leary had five points and five rebounds in BU’s game against I-74 rival Illinois State, before returning to the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against Indiana State.  She had nine points, six rebounds and dished out a season-best six assists to help Bradley rally from 12 points down for a convincing 79-58 win against the Sycamores.  She stretched her streak of consecutive made free throws to 16 before, her first missed free throw since Dec. 17. 

Kyndal Clark (DU) - Clark totaled 16 points and eight rebounds to help push Drake to a pair of wins last week. The freshman pulled down four boards and tallied a career-high four assists in addition to her three points in Drake’s win over Southern Illinois. She scored 13 points, totaled a career-high four steals and added four rebounds to power Drake to victory over Evansville last Saturday.

Racheal Mahan (INS) - Mahan tallied 10 points in ISU’s pair of road games, tossing in six at UNI and adding four against Bradley. Mahan went 3-for-5 from the field against the Panthers, her third straight game with three field goals. On Saturday in Peoria, Mahan knocked down one of her two shots and went 2-for-3 at the charity stripe while adding two rebounds, two assists and two steals. The ISU newcomer has stepped up her game in MVC play, averaging 5.8 points per game after totaling 1.2 per game during the nonconference season.