Dec. 17, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

STAYING AT THE TOP: Northern Kentucky University’s Cassie Brannen was named Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Week after playing a key role in the Norse’s trio of wins last week.

The senior center began the week with 16 points and six rebounds in a 67-50 win over Georgetown (Ky.), and then earned a place on the all-tournament team at the Travel America Classic over the weekend.  Brannen, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, tallied 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots against UNC-Pembroke and followed it up with 12 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots as the Norse downed then-No. 22 Carson-Newman.

Brannen, who contributed 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last week, paces the GLVC with 3.3 blocked shots per game.

Top-ranked NKU currently boasts a 7-0 record and looks to remain flawless at West Virginia Wesleyan on Dec. 22.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE:  Stonehill College continued to hold on to first place in the Northeast-10 Conference standings with a 63-45 win over Southern Connecticut on Dec. 9 in the Skyhawks’ only game of the week.

Junior Kelsey Simonds picked up her first NE-10 weekly award of the season, and third of her career, after contributing 20 points and 13 rebounds on 9-of-14 from the field in the victory.  It was the sixth double-double of the season for the native of Middleboro, Mass.  Simonds is averaging 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, and is one of just four players in the league (male or female) that is currently averaging a double-double.

The No. 7 Skyhawks will return to the court at Adelphi on Dec. 22 for a non-conference match-up.

REACHING FOR THE SKY: Fort Lewis College broke into the USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 at No. 22 after opening Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action with a 2-0 mark last week.

Junior Laura Haugen sparked the Skyhawks with 17.5 points per game in the victories against Regis and Metro State, earning RMAC West Player of the Week honors.

The Skyhawks will test their new national raking at Nebraska-Kearney and Chadron State in league play this weekend.

DESTINED FOR SUCCESS:  Southeastern Oklahoma upended third-ranked West Texas A&M, 69-65, on Dec. 15, handing the Lady Buffs their first loss of the season. 

Junior forward Destiny Brown connected on two free throws with one second remaining in regulation to secure the victory.  The native of Stillwater, Okla., finished the game with 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.
The win also ended the Lady Buffs’ eight-game winning streak, their best start since the 1993-94 season.

NOTABLE:  Rollins College extended its season-opening winning streak to eight games with a win over Flagler on Dec. 15, and then proceeded to jump four spots to No. 19 in the latest national rankings.  The Tars have won 17 of their last 18 regular season games dating back to last season.  Monday’s win also marked the 495th career victory for head coach Glenn Wilkes, Jr., who is in his 23rd season … Senior forward Katie Cezat set a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference single-game-record with 13 blocked shots in Hillsdale’s win over Ferris State on Dec. 13.  It is the highest blocked shot total by a Division II women’s basketball player in this decade, and more than doubled her previous school record of six set on Dec. 4.  The native of Plymouth, Mich., was named GLIAC South Division Player of the Week for her achievement.  The Chargers are the only unbeaten squad remaining in the league, and their No. 6 national ranking is the highest in program history.