Jan. 13, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

BUZZING AROUND:  Top-ranked Rochester knocked off two nationally-ranked University Athletic Association teams last weekend as the Yellowjackets remained unbeaten on the season.

The Yellowjackets downed then-No. 5 Brandeis, 66-62, on Jan. 9, and followed it up with a 10-point win over No. 13 New York University two days later.  It was the first time Rochester swept a Brandeis-NYU road weekend since the inception of the UAA in 1987-88.

Sophomore guard Melissa Alwardt netted a game-high 21 points against Brandeis, and added 13 points and a career-high eight assists versus NYU to lead the Yellowjackets for the weekend.

Rochester returns to the court against Keuka as the top-seeded team in the JPMorgan Chase Scholarship Basketball Tournament which begins on Jan. 13.  The Yellowjackets have won the tournament for three consecutive years.

KNIGHT WATCH: Wartburg College sophomore forward Katie Zittergruen garnered Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week after sparking the Knights to a pair of league wins last week.

The native of Van Horne, Iowa, contributed 10 points in a win over Central on Jan. 7 and then tied a career-high with 15 points off the bench in the Knights’ victory at Coe on Jan. 10. 

Wartburg has won seven of the last eight games, and is one of two teams in the league that boasts undefeated records.
STREAKING SPARTANS: York (Pa.) College extended its winning streak to 12 games with two Capital Athletic Conference victories, while the Spartans stayed unbeaten in league action last week.

Senior guard Keli Ward picked up her second CAC Player of the Week award after averaging 21 points, 5.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists last week.  The native of Nottingham, Pa., scored 19 points and posted a career-high and school-record 13 assists in an upset of then-No. 17 Mary Washington, ending the Eagles’ 35-game home winning streak.

Ward added a game-high 23 points in a convincing 78-44 win over Salisbury as she moved into eighth-place on the school’s career scoring list with 1,242 points.

QUITE AN ACHIEVEMENT: When College of Saint Benedict women’s basketball head coach Mike Durbin celebrated his 500th career win last month, he knew that assistant coach Denny Johnson had a big part in the achievement, and now Johnson has also reached the milestone.

CSB honored Johnson’s 500th win at the school on Jan. 10 – a 77-53 victory over Concordia – following the game. Johnson has coached with Durbin for 23 years.

“I’m quite sure there is not a longer coaching relationship in women’s Division III basketball than the 23 years Denny and I have been together,” stated Durbin.  “I’m so grateful for Denny’s professionalism and friendship.  Five hundred CSB wins are directly related to him.”

CSB also remained unbeaten in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at 8-0 with the victory.

NOTABLE:  Trinity (Texas) University’s Krista Prato Matthews became the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference’s all-time leading rebounder with 16 rebounds in a 79-62 win over Millsaps on Jan. 2.  She leads the league with 13.9 rebounds per game, and if she keeps the pace, Prato Matthews will break the SCAC single-season mark of 12.3 per game … Moravian College improved to 12-1 on the season with a 73-62 win over Susquehanna on Jan. 10, giving head coach Mary Beth Spirk her 400th career win.  The Greyhounds have not lost a game since dropping a decision to No. 1 Rochester on Nov. 22.