Women's Basketball Player/Newcomer of the Week (Jan. 30)
Drake's Rachael Hackbarth collected two double-doubles in games against Bradley and UNI, bringing her season total to 14, which ranks tied for second in the nation, while Southern Illinois' Cartaesha Macklin averaged 19.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a pair of Saluki wins over Murray State and Evansville. For their outstanding efforts, Hackbarth and Macklin have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively. Hackbarth earns her fifth award of the season, becoming just the fifth player in MVC history to don that honor, while Macklin earns her second straight distinction.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Rachael Hackbarth, Sr., F, Drake
Hackbarth had another impressive weekend for the Bulldogs as she tallied two double-doubles to bring her season total to 14, the most in the Missouri Valley Conference. Hackbarth leads the league in scoring (19.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.8 rpg) and her field goal percentage ranks third (.523) in the MVC. Hackbarth had 23 points and 13 boards in a 77-62 victory over the Braves on Friday, while tallying 22 points, 10 boards and 5 assists, which tied a career high, in an overtime loss against UNI on Sunday.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Cartaesha Macklin, Fr., G, Southern Illinois
Macklin averaged 19.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in a pair of wins for the Salukis. The freshman guard led all scorers with 20 points to go along with four rebounds in a 75-57 win over Murray State Thursday before tallying 18 points with three rebounds and five assists in a 74-60 win over Evansville Sunday. Macklin ranks third in the nation in scoring among freshman players and leads all MVC newcomers with a season average of 16.4 points per game, which ranks fourth overall in the Valley.
Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
Katie Yohn (BU) -Yohn averaged 18.0 points, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game last week as she moved up two spots on Bradley’s career scoring list. She scored 14 of her team-high 19 points in the second-half at Drake and also added three rebounds, four assists and a block in 32 minutes of play. Yohn closed out the week, making 3-of-6 three-point attempts and collecting 17 points, two boards, three assists and two steals at Creighton. Yohn passed Jenn Jolley and Ashley Chelleen on BU’s career scoring list and moved into a tie for second in career three-pointers at Bradley, matching Michelle Nason’s 158 career triples. Yohn was 6-for-14 from beyond the arc in the two games last week.
Carli Tritz (CU) - Tritz helped Creighton win a pair of home games and improve to 5-1 in its last six games over the weekend. On Friday night she had her string of 11 consecutive double-figure scoring games stopped, but managed to dish a season-high six assists and led the team with two steals in CU’s 65-50 win over UNI. On Sunday she scored a career-high 25 points, making 10-of-16 shots from the field and 5-of-7 free-throws, including two with 4.2 seconds on the clock to clinch a 72-68 win over Bradley. She also added five rebounds and two assists in the win over BU. For the week she averaged 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field (12-24) and 7-of-10 (.700) at the free-throw line.
Samantha Heck (UE) - Heck led Evansville with 21 points, matching her career-high, while also grabbing nine rebounds and adding two assists, a block, and a steal. Heck scored nine of the Aces’ first 10 points of the contest, including the first seven. She also took a career-high 10 free throws, making a career-high seven from the line. On the season, Heck pilots the Aces offensively with 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Candace Sykes (ILS) - Sykes was a key factor for the Illinois State women’s basketball team over the weekend on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Sykes recorded two-straight double-double performances, her second and third efforts of the season. In ISU’s win over Wichita State, the junior guard netted 16 points, shooting 7-of-12, and brought down 13 rebounds. Sykes also recorded a block and two steals. Against Missouri State, Sykes scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The St. Anne, Ill., native had a block and two steals like she did against the Shockers. Over the weekend, Sykes was the second-leading scorer for the Redbirds with 31 points, averaging to 15.5 points per game. She also led the team in rebounds with 12 per game and collected four steals. On the season, Sykes leads the Redbirds in rebounds (138) and blocks (19).
Deja Mattox (INS) - Mattox scored a career-high 31 points on Friday at Missouri State, tying the school record with seven three-pointers. Mattox went 10-for-14 from the field and 7-for-10 from long range, beginning the game by hitting her first six attempts from beyond the arc. For the week the ISU senior went 13-for-24 from the field (54.2%) and 8-for-14 from three-point range (57.1%), while also leading the Sycamores with five steals.
Karly Buer (MSU) - Buer averaged 19 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and sharing point guard duties for a Missouri State team that averaged 83.5 points in victories over Indiana State and Illinois State. She also recorded three steals, went 8-for-8 on free throws and played 71 minutes. Sunday, Buer poured in a career-high 25 points, including 16 on 6-for-6 shooting in the second half to help the Lady Bears overcome a 35-27 halftime deficit for an 83-68 win. She added five assists and a career-high seven rebounds against the Redbirds, shooting 10-for-12 overall and 2-for-2 from three-point range. Friday, Buer scored 13 points along with four rebounds and three assists against no turnovers in an 84-70 win over Indiana State.
Rachel Madrigal (UNI) - Madrigal had one of the best games of her career on Sunday to lead UNI to an 82-77 overtime win at Drake. Madrigal poured in a career-high 26 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked four shots and made four steals in 45 minutes of action. Her biggest shot came with just under six seconds remaining in the second half when she drained a three-pointer from the corner to tie the contest at 68-68 and force overtime. Madrigal scored the first five points of overtime to give UNI a lead it would not relinquish. In all, Madrigal was 10-of-15 shooting and 4-of-6 on three-point attempts. She also pulled down eight rebounds and added seven points at Creighton on Friday night.
Jazimen Gordon (WSU) - Gordon turned in two of her most efficient offensive games of the year, scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Illinois State on Friday and 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting Sunday against Indiana State, in helping the Shockers maintain a two-game lead for first place in the Valley at the mid-point of the conference schedule. The junior was instrumental in Sunday’s comeback victory against the Sycamores. She scored the first six points after halftime, lifting WSU from a one-point lead to a seven-point advantage, and later sealed the victory in the final 90 seconds with a 10-foot jumper in the lane followed by a blocked shot. Gordon collected five blocked shots over the weekend, giving her 89 in her WSU career (7th on the school’s all-time list). She is the leading active career rebounding leader at Wichita State with 443 boards, good for 29th at WSU.
Catie O'Leary (BU) - O’Leary averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 block per game in two road contests last week. She had six points, three rebounds (all offensive), one assist, one block and a steal at Drake. Sunday, O’Leary had 15 points, three boards, a block and matched a season-best with six assists. She scored four of BU’s 10 points during a late 10-0 run that cut a 13-point Creighton lead to three points in the final minute. She later added a three-pointer with just under 30 seconds to play.
Taylor Johnson (CU) - Johnson appeared to return to her shooting form which she displayed before suffering a concussion at the end of December. The rookie scored 12 points and added four rebounds, three assists and a steal against UNI on Friday, making 3-of-6 three-pointers in the victory. She followed with six points on two three-pointers against Bradley, again pulling down four rebounds to go along with two steals and an assist in the win over the Braves. For the week, the freshman averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game, while hitting 5-of-12 (.417) three-pointers and 3-of-4 (.750) free throws in the two Bluejay home wins.
Kyndal Clark (DU) - Clark was Drake’s second leading scorer in both contests this past weekend. After being held scoreless in the first stanza against Bradley on Friday, Clark went off for 17 points in the second to propel the Bulldogs to victory. Against UNI she had 12 of her 15 points in the second half to force overtime.
Jamie Russell (ILS) - Russell handed out five assists in the Redbirds victory over Wichita State, and scored six points, while collecting six rebounds. Russell also recorded one steal in the win. Russell shot 50 percent (6-of-12) from the field against Missouri State, making 18 points with 12 of them coming in the second half. She also handed out four assists and recorded a steal in 35 minutes of play. Over the weekend, Russell averaged 12 points per game and led the team in assists with nine. The Rock Falls, Ill., native was also the third-leading rebound on the team over the weekend with 4.5 boards per game. On the season, Russell leads the Redbirds in assists (74) and steals (46). The junior guard is the second-leading scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game through 20 games.
Natasha Zurek (INS) - Zurek filled up the stat sheet this weekend, averaging 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals for the weekend. The ISU newcomer tallied four points, four rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals at Missouri State on Friday, before coming back with six points, four rebounds, two steals and one assist on Sunday at Wichita State.