Women's Basketball Player/Newcomer of the Week (Jan. 7)
Evansville sophomore Mallory Ladd posted two double-doubles last week, averaging 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, while also sinking a perfect 19-of-19 free throws, taking home her first MVC Player of the Week honor of the season. Illinois State sophomore forward Janae Smith also recored two double-double performances in leading the Redbirds to victories over UNI and Bradley to open league play, earning her sixth Newcomer of the Week honor of the season.
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mallory Ladd, So., F, Evansville
Ladd posted two more double-doubles this week, bringing her total to four in as many games for Evansville this season. The sophomore forward opened the week by tying a career high with 16 points and added 10 rebounds in UE’s 66-62 win over Drake in her Valley debut. Ladd finished 4-for-12 from the field and finished the game a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line. In Evansville’s narrow loss to MVC Preseason favorite Creighton Saturday evening, Ladd dropped in a career-high 25 points by going 6-for-12 from the field and knocking down all 11 of her attempts at the charity stripe. She also recorded 11 rebounds, a block and a steal. On the week, Ladd averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest and finished a perfect 19-for-19 from the foul line, pushing her streak of consecutive free throws made to 32.
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Janae Smith, So., F, Illinois State
Smith had back-to-back double-double performances in the opening weekend of Missouri Valley Conference play. Smith has recorded a double-double performance in five of ISU’s last six games. Smith led all scorers and rebounders in Illinois State’s two wins over the weekend. Against Northern Iowa, the forward tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds. Smith was 7-of-12 from the field and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, guiding ISU to a 72-41 victory. In an 81-65 win over Bradley, Smith shot 50 percent from the field (8-of-16), making 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. She also dished out a career-high six assists and had a block and two steals in 37 minutes. After two Valley games, Smith is averaging 22 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. On the season, the Matteson, Ill., native is ISU’s leading scorer (16.6 ppg) and rebounder (9.5 rpg). Smith is shooting 51 percent from the field and leads the Redbirds with 14 blocks.
Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
Kelsey Budd (BU) - Budd averaged 12.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in a pair of road games to open Missouri Valley Conference play, while shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range (5-for-11). She scored a team-high 14 points and also dished out four assists and had two steals at Indiana State, making 4-of-9 three-pointers against the Sycamores. Her three-pointer in the closing minutes of the game gave BU a 54-51 lead heading into the final minute of the game. Sunday at Illinois State, Budd had 10 points, six boards, two assists and a steal.
Marissa Janning (CU) - Janning led the Jays to a 2-0 opening weekend in MVC play, averaging 18 points, five rebounds and five assists. Down 18-2 early to Evansville, Janning drained back-to-back three-pointers to unlock a program record 16 three balls from outside for the Bluejays. Janning finished the game with a career-high 22 points, including four treys. She also posted a career-high six free throws to go along with five steals and five assists in 38 minutes. In the opening game of the week, Janning was 6-of-10 from the field for 14 points. She also grabbed six rebounds and five assists.
Morgan Reid (DU) - Reid averaged 11.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in Drake’s first two conference contests against Evansville and Southern Illinois. The junior forward poured in 15 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds against the Purple Aces and followed that with eight points and 10 rebounds against the Salukis. Her double-double against the Aces is her third of the season. Reid is averaging 11.1 points per game, which is second the team and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game.
Candace Sykes (ILS) - Sykes recorded her second double-double of the 2012-13 season, as she brought down 11 rebounds and netted 20 points, shooting 8-of-15 from the field with four three pointers in ISU’s 72-41 victory over Northern Iowa. Sykes also had a career-high five blocks in the game and two assists in 29 minutes. On Sunday, Sykes made four more three pointers, as she had 17 points and eight rebounds against Bradley. She also recorded a block, steal and assist in 31 minutes, leading ISU in an 81-65 victory. Through two Valley games, Sykes is averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, along with three blocks per game. On the season, the St. Anne, Ill., native is ISU’s second-leading scorer with 14.2 points per game. Sykes also averages 6.3 rebounds per game, the second most on the team. After the weekend, Sykes is 11th on the all-time career list for blocks (50) and made three-point field goals (97).
Racheal Mahan (INS) - Mahan went into double figures in both of Indiana State’s games to open Missouri Valley Conference play, posting 18 points against Bradley on Friday before going for her fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds against Northern Iowa on Sunday. Mahan pulled down 18 rebounds for the weekend, with 11 of those coming on the offensive glass. The ISU sophomore leads the conference with 55 offensive rebounds (4.2 ORPG) for the season.
Whitney Edie (MSU) - Edie led MSU with 14 points to go with six rebounds, two steals and one assist Thursday at Wichita State. Edie shot 5-of-9 overall and 4-of-6 from the foul line and has now scored in double figures in all but two games this year.
Jacqui Kalin (UNI) - Kalin proved why she is the conference’s leading scorer this weekend when she reached double figures against both Illinois State and Indiana State. Against a tough Illinois State team, Kalin notched 10 points and shot 50 percent from the three-point line. In a game that battled to the last second, Kalin scored 21 points against Indiana State, marking the fifth time this season she has score 20-plus points. She also notched eight rebounds against the Sycamores, just one shy of tying her career high.
Rishonda Napier (SIU) - Napier led SIU in scoring in its first two conference games, averaging 17.5 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game. The freshman guard scored 16 points with three assists in a loss to Creighton before tallying 19 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals in a win over Drake. Napier went 5-for-7 from 3-point range against the Bulldogs to help SIU break the school record for 3-pointers made in a game.
Jessica Diamond (WSU) - Diamond poured in 22 points to match her career-high in Wichita State’s MVC-opening 76-64 win over Missouri State, the defending regular season conference champions. The senior guard inspired a double digit halftime lead with 17 points in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting. Diamond also matched a career-best with four steals while dishing out three assists. Now with 1,248 points, Diamond is 25 points shy of cracking WSU’s top 10 in career scoring.
Mary Pat Specht (DU) - Specht averaged 10 points and two three-pointers per game off the bench in Drake’s first two conference contests against Evansville and Southern Illinois. Specht, a junior college transfer, scored eight points with two three-pointers made and two steals against the Purple Aces and followed that with a team-high 12 points and two three-pointers made against the Salukis. Specht added two rebounds against SIU. The junior guard is averaging 6.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in her first season for the Bulldogs.
Kenzie Williams (MSU) - Williams scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting Thursday at Wichita State, adding three assists, a rebound and a steal against the Shockers. Williams scored nine points in the second period to reach double figures for the ninth time this season.
Jen Keitel (UNI) - Keitel shot 50 percent from the field against Illinois State notching six points, four rebounds and one block. Against Indiana State, Keitel’s defensive presence helped lead her team to victory. Keitel grabbed 13 boards against the Sycamores for a new career high. While she only score two points in the game, it was the most important two points she could have scored because they came in the final two seconds of the game to put the Panthers in the lead to win the game. She also notched two blocks and five assists against Indiana State.