Women's Basketball Player/Newcomer of the Week (Feb. 27)
Drake's Rachael Hackbarth extended her streak of consecutive double-doubles to 14, now totaling the nation's leading total of 21 on the season, averaging 17.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in games at Bradley and UNI, while Illinois State's Jamie Russell averaged 17.5 points, 4. 0 steals, 3.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in games versus Wichita State and Missouri State. For their outstanding efforts, Hackbarth and Russell have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively. Hackbarth and Russell have each earned Player and Newcomer of the Week awards six times this season.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Rachael Hackbarth, Sr., C, Drake
Hackbarth averaged 17.5 points, 14.0 rebounds, four assists per game and helped Drake go 1-1 last weekend. She scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on Friday night against Bradley, then scored 20 points and tied a career-high with 18 rebounds. Hackbarth moved to 12th all-time on the Drake scoring list following last weekend’s games. She now has 14 consecutive double-doubles and 21 overall this season, which leads the country.
STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Jamie Russell, Jr., G, Illinois State
Junior transfer Jamie Russell has recorded double-digit performances in 15 of Illinois State’s last 17 games and played a large part in both games for the Redbirds over the weekend. In Friday’s win over Wichita State, 68-62, Russell netted 18 points, shooting 6-of-9 from the field and was perfect from the line, sinking six free throws in 35 minutes of play. The Rock Falls, Ill., native made 17 points in ISU’s overtime loss to first place Missouri State, 80-76. Russell also grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists and tied a career-high six steals in 41 minutes. Over the weekend, Russell tallied 35 points, averaging to 17.5 points per game, which led the team in scoring. She also led the team with six assists and eight steals over two games. She averaged five rebounds per game over the weekend and shot 52 percent from the field. On the season, Russell leads the Redbirds in assists (96) and steals (70) and is the second-leading scorer on the team with 13.1 points per game.
Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
MacKenzie Westcott (BU) - Westcott averaged 11.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 4.0 steals per game in the final two home games of her career. She had eight points, six rebounds, a block and four steals against Drake, before capping the week with her seventh double-double of the year against Creighton in her final home game. Westcott collected 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in addition to two assists, two blocks and four steals as she tied the Bradley career record for games played. She moved into 13th in career rebounding at Bradley Sunday against the Bluejays.
Caril Tritz (CU) - Tritz filled up the stat sheet in each of Creighton’s impressive road wins last week. Tritz averaged 11.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 steals per game and 2.0 blocks per game in wins at UNI and Bradley. At Northern Iowa on Friday, the sophomore was part of a balanced attack in a 26-point win over the Panthers, with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. She followed by leading the Bluejays with 15 points at Bradley, tying her career-highs with eight assists and six steals and blocking a career-high three shots in a 68-59 win over the Braves. She made both of her three-point attempts at BU and made 3-of-5 threes on the weekend, while shooting 53.3 percent from the field in the two wins.
Meagan Collins (UE) - Collins led Evansville offensively at SIU with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds. She shot a team-best 50.0 percent (6-12) from the field, and made 1-of-2 from three and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. In Valley contests this season, Collins is averaging 10.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
Candace Sykes (ILS) - Sykes set a career-high 21 points in Illinois State’s overtime loss to Missouri State, 80-76, Sunday. Sykes shot 8-of-17 from the field and recorded seven rebounds. She also had three assists and three steals in 35 minutes of play. In Friday’s win over Wichita State, 68-62, Sykes just missed a double-double with eight rebounds and 14 points, shooting 50 percent (5-of-10) from the field. In the game, she tied a career-high five steals in 38 minutes. For the weekend, the St. Anne, Ill., native was the leading scorer for ISU with 35 points, averaging to 17.5 points per game. She shot 48 percent from the field (13-of-27), helping the Redbirds move into a tie for second place in the Valley. Sykes leads ISU in rebounds per game with 7.8 and with a three-point field goal percentage of 42 during the season.
Shannon Thomas (INS) - Thomas led the Sycamores with 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this weekend, as Indiana State closed out their home schedule. Thomas tallied her 11th double-double of the season on Friday, going for 18 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks against league-leading Missouri State. The ISU center came back on Senior Day with 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks on Sunday in ISU’s victory over Wichita State. Thomas shot 72.2% (13-for-18) from the field for the weekend.
Jasmine Malone (MSU) - Malone led the Lady Bears in rebounding (7.0), assists (4.0) and field goal percentage (.538) while putting in 10.0 points per game. Sunday, the senior grabbed nine rebounds, five offensive, along with scoring nine points and handing five assists. She also sank two free throws with 3.7 seconds left in overtime to clinch the win at Illinois State. Friday at Indiana State, she went 4-for-5 from the floor on the way to 11 points with five boards and three assists.
K.K. Armstrong (UNI) - Armstrong averaged 16 points over the Panthers’ two home games with Creighton and Drake. Armstrong scored a game-high 23 points in UNI’s Senior Day win over Drake and averaged 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals for the weekend. Armstrong also moved up on the UNI career lists to No. 11 in scoring, No. 3 in free throws made, No. 6 in assists and No. 8 in steals.
Cartaesha Macklin (SIU) - Macklin came just two rebounds shy of her third consecutive double-double, finishing with a team-best 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and two assists in SIU’s 72-46 win over Evansville. The freshman point guard moved into ninth in SIU history for points in a season with 454 through last week. She ranks third in the MVC with an average of 16.8 points per game, which is the third-best scoring average nationally among freshmen.
Haleigh Lankster (WSU) - Lankster led Wichita State in scoring in a pair of road games at Illinois State and Indiana State. The senior produced her third career double-double Thursday at Illinois State with 22 points and 10 rebounds. She hit 8-of-12 from the floor (including 2-for-4 from three-point range) and nailed all four of her free throw attempts. On Sunday at Indiana State, Lankster put in 13 points and eight rebounds. She was again perfect from the line, sinking all six free throws, and tallied a game-high four steals. Over the weekend Lankster also scored her 1,300th career point to rank 9th all-time at Wichita State.
Catie O'Leary (BU) - O’Leary was Bradley’s leading scorer in both games last week, averaging 18.0 points per game. She made 7-of-8 free throw attempts against Drake and finished with a team high 18 points and four assists in addition to collecting two steals in a career-high 39 minutes. O’Leary made 3-of-6 three-pointers against Creighton Sunday and tallied a game-high 18 points, while matching a season-best with two blocks. She was 4-for-11 from three-point range and 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe. She pushed her season free throw total to 74, marking the most made free throws by a BU underclassmen since Sara Bailey made 87 free throws as a sophomore in 2000-01.
Taylor Johnson (CU) - Johnson was one of five Bluejays to average double figures last week, scoring 11 points per game in road wins at UNI and Bradley. The rookie led the Jays with 13 points, making 3-of-4 three-pointers and 5-of-6 shots off the bench at UNI last Friday. Against Bradley she scored nine points on 3-of-6 shooting from long range. For the week, the freshman shot 8-of-13 (.615) from the field and 6-of-10 (.600) from three-point range to help the Bluejays finish season sweeps of the Panthers and Braves.
Kyndal Clark (DU) - Clark averaged 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and helped Drake go 1-1 this weekend. She was 11-of-12 from the free throw line as well in the two games. Her 20 points on Friday were a career-high until today when she scored 21 points against UNI.
Brooke Brown (UNI) - Brown poured in a career-high 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the Panthers’ 68-66 victory over Drake on Sunday. Brown drained 3-of-6 attempts from three-point range in a career-high 35 minutes.
Alex Harden (WSU) - Harden remained in the starting lineup and continued to contribute for Wichita State in a pair of road games at Illinois State and Indiana State. Harden turned in four points and matched her career-high with seven rebounds Thursday at Illinois State. Harden hit both of her free throws and also dished out an assist in 23 minutes. She followed up with five points and three rebounds, going 3-for-4 from the free throw line, Sunday at Indiana State. She also blocked a shot and handed out an assist while playing 22 minutes.